‘As a psychologist, one of my favorite puzzles is the motivation to experience pain and unpleasantness, something the psychologist Paul Rozin has called “benign masochism.” The best examples here are the pleasures of the imagination. There are millions who pay to see movies that terrify them, including those with scenes of imaginative and horrific torture. Others prefer sadness to fear. They are drawn to the suicidal prince, the young mother dying of cancer, the school bus and the cliff. Hundreds of years ago, David Hume marveled at the “unaccountable pleasure” that spectators of a tragedy feel from sorrow, terror, and anxiety: “The more they are touched and affected, the more they are delighted with the spectacle,’ Paul Bloom writes in today’s Herald Tribune . The article is worth reading.
Mr. Bloom adds: “Even seemingly perverse pleasures have meaning; they have been shaped by natural selection to solve problems that we might not be consciously aware of. Simple pleasures aren’t that simple after all.”
The meaning of seemingly perverse pleasures must be equal to the meaning of life.