Pleasure and Pain

Sorry if the consistent inconsistency in E@L's blogging is driving you crazy - there is work to do!

Got some training to give in Dubai for a few days, and he's been struggling to find something he knows that they don't... Relating to work, not obscure literature, unfortunately. The History of the World (aka Competitive Update) in 27 & 1/2 lucid Powerpoint slides.

Question: what sort of half-arsed airline flies out of town at 2 afreakingm? A good one, they tell me. Never flown 'em before. After Dubai and the Arab Health meeting, it's a coupla days in Kuwait for a demo of our equipment, and where the Amir, Sheik Jaber, just recently passed away. E@L is presuming the mourning will be over by next week and that we will be able to do our jobs there, and that he'll get a chance to look around a bit.

He is predicting a lot of sand.

Not sure if E@L can blog over that time, but he still certainly has a squillion anecdotes and observations from Xmas and NYE and even more recently that he hasn't had a chance to bore entertain you with as yet.


Like how difficult it was to finally buy that freaking phone! E@L learnt some excellent lessons about himself in that episode, but he's gonna save them for another time.

Like how NOT to thread nylon rope onto a Whippper-snipper thingummy (not the way E@L does!)...

Like how NOT to put down a sick cat (not in front of my distressed sister!)...

Like how you can find the closest thing to a true saint in this day and age in the most unlikely of places (a Phuket golf course!)...

Like why taxi-drivers behave like caged panthers (because they ARE caged panthers!)...

Like why E@L now must pass through several stages of anger and distress, rising to vertiginous heights of passionate insanity involving swearing slightly louder than under his breath at minor public officials, before he can reach that bemused imperturbility of the truly pessimistic (aka hysteria). Is he inexorably morphing into that rude German guy in Manila?...

Like why his cousin's daughter was questioning her belief but was frightened by the vehement atheism of Nat and his dad and is afraid of going to hell if she listens to us too long...

Like why Limbo just doesn't cut it in the Catholic scheme of things anymore: speaking of preterite!

Yes, so much to blog, so little motivation time...


And there are so many quotable quotes in his current little Schopenhaur book that E@L is drooling with morbid glee at the recognition of like minds... How come he's never read this classic pessimism stuff before? Surely it was written for him!

Here's one, published in 1850:

...This [the postulate that evil is positive, goodness negative - in that it negates pain to a state of neutrality] is also consistent with the fact that as a rule we find pleasure much less pleasurable, pain much more painful than we expected. p4.

This is almost a straight quote from a book E@L mentioned a while ago: The Paradox of Choice. In it, author Barry Schwartz points to psychological research that attempts to quantitate the difference between winning and losing in a deal:

Losing...produces a feeling of negativity that is more intense than the elation felt by a gain. p70. (Published 2004.)

Ha! Nothing new under the sun, what?


For example: 2am flight, geez! Arrive at 5:45 their time. Pain? Too fucking right.

But Business Class. Pleasure? Not at all, merely the zero-summing of the anticipated fear and trembling of an economy classs flight, passing a sleepless night in discomfort and pain, arriving totally useless for work. Also merely what a gentleman of E@L's standing in the community should expect.



Posted by: expat@large on Jan 17, 06 | 6:39 pm | Profile


Dude. when you leaving? i'm gonna be going to jakarta friday night and back sunday night...

Posted by: pc on Jan 19, 06 | 9:01 am

Already there. Not back until CNY.

Anyone want to sub-lease my flat/aprt/unit/condo from me? There's a 42" plasma going to waste!!! To say nothing of watering the plants!

Posted by: expat@large on Jan 19, 06 | 9:21 am


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