Watts, Alan - To strive for pleasure to the exclusion of pain is to strive for the loss of consciousness
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Wisdom of Insecurity – Alan Watts
The more we are able to love another person and to enjoy his company, the greater must be our grief at his death, or in separation. The further the power of consciousness ventures out into experience, the more is the price it must pay for knowledge. It is understandable that we should sometimes ask whether life has not gone too far in this direction, whether ‘the game is worth the candle’, and whether it might not be better to turn the course of evolution in the only other possible direction – backwards, to the relative peace of the animal, the vegetable and the mineral.
If we are to be fully human and fully alive and aware, it seems we must be willing to suffer for our pleasures. Without such willingness there can be no growth in the intensity of consciousness.
Yet, generally speaking, we are not willing and it may be thought strange to suppose that we can be. For ‘nature in us’ so rebels against pain that the very notion of ‘willingness’ to put up with it beyond a certain point may appear impossible and meaningless.
Under these circumstances, the life that we live is a contradiction and a conflict. Because consciousness must involve both pleasure and pain, to strive for pleasure to the exclusion of pain is, in effect, to strive for the loss of consciousness