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Unformatted text preview: ttention become painful and fatiguing. Crowds, though usually pleasurable,
become too exciting, and there is a sort of confusion resulting because attention and comprehension are
interfered with. The neurasthenic finds himself a prey to stimuli, his reaction is too great and he fatigues too
readily. He finds sleep difficult because the little noises and discomforts make difficult the relaxation that is so
important. The neurasthenic's voluntary attention is lowered because of the excitement he feels when his
involuntary attention is aroused.
In the condition called anhedonia, which we shall hear of from time to time, there is a blocking or dropping
out of the sense of desire and satisfaction even if through habit one eats, drinks, has sexual relationship, keeps
up his work and carries out his plans. This lack of desire for the joys of life is attended by a restlessness, a
seeking of excitement for a time, until there arises a curious over-reaction to excitement. The anhedonic
patient finds that noises are very troublesome, that he becomes unpleasantly excited over music, that company
is distressing because he becomes confused and excited, and crowds, busy scenes and streets are intolerable.
Many a hermit, I fancy, who found the sensual and ambitious pleasure of life intolerable, who sought to fly
from crowds to the deserts, was anhedonic but he called it renunciation. (Whether one really ever renounces CHAPTER VII. 55 when desire is still strong is a nice question. I confess to some scepticism on this point.)
2. Seeking excitement is one of the great pleasure-trends of life. In moderation, tension, expectation and the
diffuse bodily reactions are agreeable; there is a feeling of vigor, the attention is drawn from the self and there
is a feeling of being alive that is pleasurable. The tension must not be too long sustained, nor the bodily
reaction too intense; relaxation and lowered attention must relieve the excitement from time to time; but with
these kept in mind, it is true that Man is a seeker of excitement.
This is a factor neglected in the study of great social phenomena. The growth of citi...
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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