Pleasure and pain


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Addiction Ageing and death Childhood and adolescence Cognition and intelligence Consciousness and altered states Family life Gender and identity Language and linguistics Life stages Love and friendship Mental health Mood and emotion Neurodiversity Neuroscience Personality Pleasure and pain Psychiatry and psychotherapy Self-improvement Sex and sexuality Sleep and dreams Social psychology Spirituality Teaching and learning Technology and the self Wellbeing

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Cognition and intelligence
It’s hard to fool a nose

Theories of perception are heavily tilted to the visual: we have much to learn from our surprisingly acute sense of smell

Ann-Sophie Barwich

Photo by SSPL/NRM/Getty

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Pleasure and pain
Catching desires

That drink, that cigarette, that dance: wanting things is highly contagious. Can you be immunised against the infection?

Bence Nanay

French composer Pierre Boulez in 1976. Photo by Herve Gloaguen/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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Music
Musical pleasures

We know music is pleasurable, the question is why? Many answers have been proposed: perhaps none are quite right

Roger Mathew Grant

Sisters, Pennsylvania, 1962. Photo by Eve Arnold/Magnum

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Pleasure and pain
Enjoy!

Philosophers have traditionally been highly suspicious of fleeting pleasures, but to enjoy the moment is a radical act

Sandy Grant

Photo by Anna Stepska/Getty

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Neuroscience
Where pain lives

Fixing chronic back pain is possible only when patients understand how much it is produced by the brain, not the spine

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Photo by Antoine d'Agata/MagnumPhotos

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Pleasure and pain
The orgasm cure

What if we could expand ecstasy, reduce stress and lift depression, all by delaying and extending orgasm?

Peter von Ziegesar

Classic /Meaning and the good life
CLASSIC

On the happy life

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 64 CE

With a new introduction and commentary by Massimo Pigliucci

At the Baltic Sea, 1933. Photo by Herbert List/Magnum

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Neuroscience
Touched

We ride a stream of naked neurons, stripped of their sheaths, to the most blissful moments and deepest intimacies of life

Steven M Phelps

Th original fan-fiction; Bridget of Sweden, mystic and saint writing while an angel whispers in her ear. From the Fifteen Oos of St Bridget, Harley 2850, f.47v. Courtesy the British Library Board

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Stories and literature
Full-body reading

Literary criticism taught me to scrub my feelings out of my reading, but a medieval mystic showed me how to put them back in

Anna Wilson

From The Secret Companion  by R J Brodie London, 1845. Photo by Wellcome Images

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Virtues and vices
A handy history

Condemned, celebrated, shunned: masturbation has long been an uncomfortable fact of life. Why?

Barry Reay

Rick Rowell/ABC

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Self-improvement
The pleasure of their pain

Why the punishment and humiliation of reality TV contestants provides such a satisfying and deep pleasure

Batya Ungar-Sargon

Relax! You'll get there. Photo by Christopher Anderson/Magnum

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Pleasure and pain
When it’s good to be bad

The relentless pursuit of success is valorised in our culture, but taking the long way around is often the best

Cody Delistraty