Monday, September 29, 2008

If It Feels Good

Just as pills can temporarily deaden physical pain, sensory experiences can temporarily deaden emotional pain. That’s why many people turn to alcohol, drugs, overeating, or sex when they are upset, depressed, or lonely. The sensory high masks the emotional low—but only for a brief time. Our culture has generalized this response by glorifying sensory experience. People say, “If it feels good, do it” or “It can’t be wrong if it feels so right.” Ernest Hemingway said it this way: “What is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”[i]

Our kids have picked up this fascination with physical pleasure in our culture. It’s one of the reasons they are not waiting for sex until marriage. In an attempt to soothe the pain in their lives—conflicts with parents and peers, school pressures, the struggle to find their identity—they turn to anything that brings them physical pleasure: alcohol, drugs, food, sex. If it feels good, they go for it, sometimes at great expense to their moral principles and welfare or happiness of others.
[i] Lowen, Alexander, M.D. Love and Orgasm. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1975, pp. 317‑318.

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