Friday, January 27, 2012

Profound thinking about the origins of pleasure

A couple of issues surfaced for me in Paul Bloom's TED Talk about "The Origins of Pleasure". He is a psychologist and I'm always been interested in their perspectives on me and my brain, as well as their views on the mind of others.

First, Bloom tells quite a story about why art collectors want the original of something even when a forgery is identical. It made me think about the debate in the publishing industry right now and the small war going on between those traditionally published and those independently published. The innate value and the historical origins are being questioned. What I create--my books or my "art"--is on the table. The curators of originality and "essentialism" as Bloom calls it are what is changing for me. Now instead of the acquiring editor/agent/publisher who says this is not valuable, I choose to let my readers determine it.

After watching this talk, I also understand a little more why I chose to write about artists in my second series. I believe after I finished the Never Too Late Series, I developed a comprehension that I was an artist for the first time in my life. It still feels strange to think of what I do that way.

The second thing that captured my thinking was near the end of the talk where Bloom makes the correlation between how our minds determine how much something pleases us or how much something pains us. He closes with a quote from Milton about how our minds create our own Heaven and Hell which I always suspected was true for most people. If you are seeking peace, I think the biggest favor you can ever do for yourself is to learn not to take everything that displeases you as something done to hurt you personally. More often than not, I think the "people in the other room" don't know they are pushing the button. It's like the car that cuts you off and goes on. Does that person stay upset? Unlikely. Why should you then? Move on quickly, vote for people who increase traffic monitoring, and save your pain response for bigger things.

The actual talk is only for the first 16 minutes.

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