Arts Lab

‘How Pleasure Works’ by Paul Bloom

Excerpt from Paul Bloom’s How Pleasure Works’ – Vintage Books 2011 ….

‘The depth of pleasure is hidden from us. People insist that the pleasure that they get from wine is due to its taste and smell, or that music is pleasurable because of its sound, or that a movie is worth watching because of what’s on the screen. … But this is only partially true. In each of these cases, the pleasure is affected by deeper factors, including what the person thinks about the true essence of what he or she is getting pleasure from.’ 

Essentialism – the notion that things have an underlying reality or true nature – this hidden nature of things is what really matters. The classic definition comes from John Locke: the “very being of anything, whereby it is what it is. And thus the real internal, but generally …. unknown constitution of things, whereon their discoverable qualities depend, may be called their essence.”