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Unformatted text preview: es is not only a result of
the economic forces of the time; it is made permanent by the fact that the cities are exciting. The multiplicity
and variety of the stimuli of a city--social, sexual, its stir and bustle--make it difficult for those once
habituated ever to tolerate the quiet of the country. Excitement follows the great law of stimulation; the same
internal effect, the same feeling, requires a greater and greater stimulus, as well as new stimuli. So, the cities
grow larger, increase their modes of excitement, and the dweller in the city, unless fortified by a steady
purpose, becomes a seeker of excitement.
Not only is excitement pleasurable when reached through the intrinsically agreeable but it can be obtained
from small doses of the intrinsically disagreeable. This is the explanation of the pleasure obtained from the
gruesome, from the risk of life or limb, or from watching others risk life or limb. Aside from the sense of
power obtained by traveling fast, it is the risk, THE SLIGHT FEAR, producing excitement, that makes the
speed maniac a menace to the highways. And I think that part of the pleasure obtained from bitter foods is that
the disagreeable element is just sufficient to excite the gastro-intestinal tract. The fascination of the horrible
lies in the excitement produced, an excitement that turns to horror and disgust if the disagreeable is presented
too closely. Thus we can read with pleasurable excitement of things that in their reality would shock us into
profoundest pain. The more jaded one is, the more used to excitement, the more he seeks what are, ordinarily,
disagreeable methods of excitement. Thus pain in slight degree is exciting, and in the sexual sphere pain is
often sought as a means of heightening the pleasure, especially by women and by the roue. I suspect also that
the haircloth shirt and the sackcloth and ashes of the anhedonic hermit were painful methods of seeking
Sometimes pain is used in small amounts to relieve excitement. Thus the man who bites his finge...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11