What is social pleasure?

Abstract: The re-hierarchization of oneself is not only beneficial for society. It is also a means of renewing the contrast that keeps our personal experiences of pleasure unforgettable.

Don’t end up as aged laboratory humans

Are we very different from the laboratory rats who tirelessly press their pleasure pedal, forgetting all other considerations? We have not yet tried electrode stimulation of the reward centers in humans, however one observation stands out: the more direct the access to pleasure, the more difficult it is not to immediately return to it. Drugs are addictive for this reason. They sensitize electro-chemically, without an intermediary; no need to complicate your life to climb to paradise. Our identity is reduced to a few excited neural groups, the others having nothing more to do. Why continue to represent the world, since it has shrunk to a well of euphoria?

Most of us are aware of the trap and sublimate the means of achieving pleasure with more vitality. This vitality is the desire to come together with the world —soliDarity pleasure— or to take hold of it —soliTary pleasure— in a never-ending quest to understand it and subjugate it to our mental image. The task is difficult, competitive. Exceptional destinies are by definition rare in society. Sublimating the everyday is the most difficult. Further embarrassment, we naturally feel the pleasure diminish when it is too stereotypical and repetitive. Contrast at all costs! Lady Evolution has kept us always lively and enterprising, exploring all facets of the environment and adjusting to its unpredictable ups and downs.

Awakening surfs on contrast

When the vital force weakens, due to too frequent disappointments or the effect of age, pleasure becomes untouchable, less alluring. The brain becomes a sum of habits and we “let ourselves live”, which actually means “let ourselves die”. There is no doubt at that moment that the placement of an electrode would awaken us from the state of living death and we would press on the pedal with the same enthusiasm as rats. Medicine is very poor in offering instead some nice mood regulators called anti-depressants, which are nothing like boosters in any case!

It’s that with age and disappointments, we forget that contrast is needed. Consciousness neglects that it is the mother of the physical body. It must take care of it like a brainless child —if it sees itself independent of the rest. It must interest the body-child in its daily day, force it to do its exercises, stimulate its curiosity, in short give some animation to this bodily existence.

The contrast in hyper-hierarchization

Which is the sharpest contrast? It is the one who has just alternated between soliTary and soliDarity pleasures. To achieve success in society is to generate rewards for oneself and for others. Apparently competitive pleasures but strengthening when they are satisfied together, thanks to the powerful contrast obtained. Simultaneous enjoyment is stronger than separate ones. However, the current trend is to combine soliTary pleasures, to communicate them rather than experiencing them with two or more people.

This article proposes this: Let us revalorize the pleasure of solidarity through greater integration. This is not synonymous with mixing, which is a deadly dilution for individuation, but on the contrary with the re-hierarchization of social circles. Hyper-hierarchization is synonymous with hyper-privacy and constantly renewed contrasts for our access to pleasure.

The cage is vast but the strings remain

We have a little more freedom than laboratory rats, but are nevertheless closely monitored by algorithms. Like rats, our actions ultimately aim to stimulate a neural network called the reward circuit. Without this connection, we would have no taste for anything. Consciousness would be devoted to its high intellectual activities without more of the passion of a supercomputer grinding data.

A little fatalism makes us accept this ontological mechanism as essential as genetics. Our wonderful experiences do not fall from a mystical paradise. They are anchored in the flesh. Virtual pleasure does not exist without its material integration. The brain is a sort of game console from which the incentives to explore the chaos of daily life are born. Additional controllers and software allow access to ever more virtual and varied worlds, without fundamentally changing the chain that connects them to the hypothalamus and its ravishing excitations. It is in this circuit and not in the haughty consciousness that we must recognize the true CEO of our lives.

United by reward before ideals

In fact, the way in which consciousness is organized has relatively little importance in obtaining pleasure. A great diversity of existences makes us happy. Some take pleasure in satisfying high moral values, others in cultivating the land, watching stadium heroes on screen, in the simple company of loved ones. Different neurological highways, all leading to the same circuit. We turn arround. All roads lead to the hypothalamus. It is the reward that unites us and not ideals or a particular way of life. The preferred is that which guarantees the obtaining of pleasure, which is why direct access, drugs and easy-to-program worlds, are so popular and addictive.

How can we get the human guinea pig to let go of its overly routine habits of obtaining pleasure, replace those that are dangerous or too costly, and finally diversify the means of stimulating the famous circuit? Sex is underused, that’s for sure. Free, improving physical condition, not creating dependence, soliTary or soliDary, addressing concerns treated nowhere else, not even sometimes at the psychologist. If I take sex as an example, however, it is for “soliTary or soliDary”. Sex can dazzle our hypothalamus both in a soliTary activity and coordinated with conspecifics.

Drowned in too vast currents

Isn’t this the essential source of contrast in the search for pleasure? Find it for yourself and for others, jointly or alternatively. But today, lost in the crowd, a little lazy too, we lose this double source of pleasure. SoliDarity disperses and soliTary becomes diluted. Anonymized by networks, by the stereotypical ways of being flattered, it becomes difficult to exist as an individual. Democratic Equality is a trap, as we have said. Every individual would have the same importance, which paradoxically contributes to cloning us, to destroying individuation. How is my identity special since no matter what it is made of, it has the same value as others? The D of soliDarity in me is satisfied but the T of soliTary? How can it refer to itself if between what it was and what it will be, nothing modifies its brilliance?

The great social bath drowns the T(s). Who rebel, are exacerbated, are interested in absurd beliefs because they differentiate better than the probable ones. As for pleasure, T no longer knows where to look, so many links are offered to it. And this ends up weakening this soliTary part of pleasure, this narrowness to experience it. SoliDarity is too vast. Impossible to love it. How to exist within a love that is limitless ? The social circles that focused us in this immense crowd are too loose and too vague. They burst over nothing. An atom wants to make love, but what does it mean to make love among millions of identical atoms? The ravishment of soliDarity has disappeared and we lock ourselves into soliTude.

Open door

The contrast comes from the people we associate with, but even more from the changes of direction in these relationships. In a way we are the individual who wants to lead the group; in the other we let the group enter into us. I invite people over to my house, or I go to a bar. Each direction stimulates a part of me, independence and belonging. If only one is excited, the contrast ends up fading.

Let others in to what extent? When should harassment be defined? In this direction the door is open. But our contemporaries, having become extremely soliTary, barely open it and close it nimbly. Harassment is defined with the same haste now. One of the directions of pleasure has become anemic, that of discovering others, which requires letting them in.

The circle is an umbrella

The door is barely half-open because behind it are thousands of strangers, impossible for our tribal brain to manage. Withdraw in on yourself! The self is the innermost circle, sometimes already stormy within, so how do we open ourselves to external risk? The only effective protection: leading, after the opening of the self, to a still restricted social circle, still strongly personal, in which our identity is not too diluted. The second circle is the couple, assured when we have the impression that our companion inhabits our own brain. With the family, education in solidarity really begins, since we have not chosen its members. We must let different minds in, share our private inner theater with actors who write their own scenes.

To let the pleasure of soliDarity accentuate its contrasts, you have to cross other circles, fill yourself with additional experiences. But not just any ones, not all those that present themselves, since there are so many that they put us in a state of permanent indigestion. We are so inundated with them that we no longer even have the desire to look for the ones that really interest us. The T cowers under the umbrella, soaked by the permanent storm of the networks.

Re-educate soliDarity using the concentric method

Because circles, very quickly we no longer encounter them. Or they are vaguely drawn. There is still the professional circle, but people enter and leave at full speed. This previously paternalistic circle becomes anonymous. Without doubt one of the notable reasons for the disaffection for work. It no longer concentrates our identities. Nor the pleasure they could derive from it. The paternalistic hierarchy formed protective circles, while the modern company is a black box that produces job descriptions, multicolored but all falling into the same bin.

The weakening of social circles is the primary cause of mental illness. Their treatment by support groups is nothing other than that: recreating an intimate circle, a place where we are less diluted.

Not just a political necessity

Today the “Let’s stand together!” are outrageously repeated injunctions… because they fall into a void. The funnel that formed our social circles, between society and the self, has disintegrated. The pleasure of soliDarity is no longer concentrated in us. Personal re-hierarchization, within numerous and assertive circles, is not just a political necessity. It is essential to make us truly social beings again, before an overly artificial way of life transforms us into algorithms installed in a biological body, surpassing our worst Orwellian nightmares.


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