When is it too much?

Most of us are obsessed with seeking pleasure. Greek philosopher Aristotle had a different take on it. He believed that happiness is a byproduct of life. Martin Seligman, father of positive psychology, calls it ‘happyology’. Though we tend to associate happiness with a vague metric of ‘feeling good’ by indulging in sensual pleasures, in the long term, it can prove to be detrimental. An individual by way of unwinding might crave for a drink to derive temporary succour, which may gradually turn into a habit, then into an obsession, ultimately resulting in a health hazard.

That is when the ‘Law of Diminishing Returns’, as envisaged in 19th century by economists, David Ricardo and others, comes into play in three stages: firstly, increasing, then decreasing, followed by negative returns resulting in neutralisation.

Krishn in the Bhagwad Gita emphasises that in the pursuit of a fulfilling experience, one has to control the mind and senses, and this might seem like poison at first but tastes like nectar in the end, like a medicine would. Yama explains to Nachiketa in the Katha Upanishad that the wise prefer the good to the pleasant.

Avoiding the ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ syndrome might be a better choice; as Oscar Wilde puts it, ‘When a man says he has exhausted life, one always knows life has exhausted him.’

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