16 The link between pleasure and crueltyJill Loree2023-11-23T13:59:48+00:00
Negative pleasure is what fuels fantasies that involve hurting and being hurt.
Why are we destructive? Why do things like war and cruelty even exist? These are big, important questions; let’s find some meaningful answers. For it really doesn’t fly to just say our wrong thinking is what leads us headlong into strife. No matter how far off the mark our misconceptions might be, they couldn’t possible hold that much power. Could they?
In a word, no. Mere negativity when left to its own devices is just that: negativity. It’s a bad attitude that wants to throw shade. Where things turn interesting is when our cruelty attaches itself to our desire for pleasure. When that happens, the fan better duck, because things are about to get ugly.
In other words, when our positive life force gets wrapped around a destructive attitude, seriously unpleasant things can happen. This, friends, is the killer combination that creates evil. Without the powerful punch of the positive life force behind the negative condition, destructiveness would fizzle out fairly fast.
Exposing the root of the problem
All of us who feel called to some kind of spiritual path have endured hurts and pains as a child. Turns out, it was at the moment we were hurt that a specific process took place. Our experience of pleasure—which is part and parcel of the erotic force—got put into the service of our hurt, of our pain, of our suffering.
So whatever emotions accompanied the original hurt, they attached themselves to our ability to experience pleasure. And here is the root of the problem. In fact, all the unwelcome circumstances of our lives grow out of this root. The place where we are particularly apt to notice this phenomenon is in the love connection.
Whatever emotions accompanied the original hurt, they attached themselves to our ability to experience pleasure.
If, as a child, we experienced cruelty—and it doesn’t matter if it was an actual fact or if it happened in our imagination—our pleasure principle hitched its wagon to that cruel horse. This shows up later in either of two ways: actively or passively. In other words, we can only experience pleasure from inflicting cruelty, or we can only find pleasure from enduring it. Or maybe we like both. There are many shades of grey.
Or maybe in our case the cruelty wasn’t all that bad; it was more like a vague rejection or a feeling of not being fully accepted. So then our experience of pleasure gets attached to finding a similar sort-of-unacceptable situation. This means that despite our conscious desire to be accepted, our circuits only light up when we feel somewhat rejected. We find ourselves attached to ambivalence. And that of course is going to lead to conflict in our current-day relationships.
Making the connection with cruelty
As one might imagine, if we can only know pleasure in conjunction with cruelty, we’re going to find ourselves holding back from love. In this situation, love is not a tempting, sumptuous experience when a part of us rejects it out of fear for what else might come along for the ride. Buried within this disturbance can be deep hopelessness that we can never, ever feel fulfilled. The yearning for the pleasure of love becomes a minefield.
This is what fuels fantasies that involve hurting and being hurt.
And it’s not just us. There are actually a lot of souls traveling on this Earth plane who, because of this crazy connection, can only experience pleasure in the presence of cruelty. This is the inflection point that gives rise to cruelty as a whole. This is what fuels fantasies that involve hurting and being hurt, and is the actual nucleus of war.
If this makes us cringe with feelings of guilt, well, we can nip that in the bud. Rather, we can use this information to enlighten and transform ourselves. We got into this pickle through a giant misunderstanding that has led to the condition we’re in now. Sticking our head back into the sand won’t get us out. Only by understanding the link between pleasure and cruelty do we have a means to stop the destruction.
Unwinding and rewiring pleasure
Keep in mind, when we talk about pleasure here, we’re talking about our life force, for life and pleasure are essentially the same thing. In short, people can’t live without pleasure. But this twisted wiring can make our experience of “pleasure”—of having our life force activated so that our circuits light up—feel downright unpleasant. It’s more like sticking our finger in a light socket.
Not surprising, pleasure for many feels so painful that we avoid relationships altogether. Or perhaps the shame of our desire to inflict or endure cruelty will make us shy away from reaching out, leading us to withdraw and numb our feelings completely.
Sometimes we’ll have so much shame and guilt about all this, we’ll shut down our entire fantasy life. But if we can see that this connection was just something that happened—something we now can do the work of rewiring—then the guilt and shame can lift off. Eventually, we’ll discover that our pleasure can shine in an all-positive light, without any twists or turns of darkness.