There’s no pleasure without pain” said the monkey, as he did the porcupine.

You may know what many of us go through to achieve something desirable – even something so unexciting as keeping our bodies in condition. If you are doing it right, some amount of pain is going to have to be endured and very often, the greater the pain, the greater the effect and success in achieving what was desired. Any sportsperson or one who has excelled in one’s field will readily admit to the toil, discipline and pain that have to be experienced in order to gain the pleasure of success – particularly if it involves anything physical.

So anyway, this pithy saying, remembered from as far back as College days, occurred to me as I was doing what is my regular morning exercise routine when I’m not in Colombo. It was in the middle of the ‘stomachs’ bit, when the dull ache where the six-pack should be kept getting almost to the point of excruciating – and I wondered if this was some dormant masochistic streak that I had so far successfully kept out of view of the thought process, that was now manifesting. Not so, I quickly realized – it had much more to do with all sorts of other aspects of the character, among which I counted discipline, concern with conditioning the ‘machine’, vanity (I guess) to do with not looking crapped out too soon and most of all, with the end result.

Following this stream of thought took me to the realms of sadomasochism and wondering about those aspects of pleasure and pain. The monkey was undoubtedly on the masochistic trip, although one will not be sure if the agony generated by the quills was part of the pleasure or just something to be endured in order to reach the pleasure of the climax. Sadists are those that gain pleasure out of inflicting pain and not experiencing it, whilst masochists are built the other way around – getting pleasure out of the pain that is experienced. As Wikipedia elucidates:

Sadism is the sexual or social pleasure or gratification in the infliction of pain and suffering upon another person. The word is derived from the name of the Marquis de Sade, a prolific French philosopher-writer of sadistic novels, plays, and a unique philosophical discourse that championed the infliction and reception of extreme pain as an art form that to him was both sublime and beautiful. The counterpart of sadism is masochism, the sexual pleasure or gratification of having pain or suffering inflicted upon the self, often consisting of sexual fantasies or urges for being beaten, humiliated, bound, tortured, or otherwise made to suffer, either as an enhancement to or a substitute for sexual pleasure. The name is derived from the name of the 19th century author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, known for his novel Venus in Furs that dealt with highly masochistic themes.

And then there’s a combination of the two, or ‘sadomasochism’. Once again, Wikipedia:

Sadism and masochism, often interrelated (one person obtaining sadistic pleasure by inflicting pain or suffering on another person who thereby obtains masochistic pleasure), are collectively known as S/M or sadomasochism.

There’s more in there if you’re interested.

That’s where the stream took me and where it will go from here won’t trouble me for the moment, as I get back to my ‘to do’ list and leave this here for now.