Years ago, there was a video game called SimCity®. The purpose of the game was to simulate the building of a city. The players act as leaders of a city with the single-mindedness of keeping their townspeople happy. When the leaders do this, the townspeople produce revenue, pay taxes and the player receives payment from City Hall. The purpose of the game is community growth, more happy people equal more taxes; more taxes mean the leaders earn more money.
“The Pleasure Principle” is the object of Sim City®. “The Pleasure Principle”, devised by Sigmund Freud is the inherent seeking of pleasure and the avoidance of pain in order to satisfy both psychological and biological needs. This principle offers a simple understanding of nature’s guidance of mankind which is governed by two sovereign lordships: pain and pleasure. It is an easy explanation of why people do what they do along with why some people never take steps towards what seems to be too painful. If one’s value system is solely based on elimination and eradication of pain or the reduction of suffering rather than being based on a value, ethical and moral system that understands and incorporates pain as a part of life, one runs the risk of accepting mediocrity as life.
I am not “a gamer”, yet I am a connector. I listen and in listening I can often connect something I previously heard about to something else. These connections influence my awareness, appreciation and capacity of information, knowledge and wisdom. Following a conversation with a fellow entrepreneur, I realized I live in Sim City®.
To expand further on “The Pleasure Principle” within only my imagination, I live where an agenda of pleasure lives. I live where deeper conversations are not advanced. I live where the downtown has plans for expansion, yet currently small shops have difficulties staying in business. Crisis intervention is the way of addressing unpleasant circumstances with “pie in the sky” hopes that these situations will never happen again. I live where an agenda is being played out. I live where professional names are known in specific areas, but actually contacting these professionals is nearly impossible. I live where an agenda is not well-known, but the effects are apparent when stories are told about how business is run. I live where there doesn’t appear to be much community unrest or no ripples of public concern, but as an old proverb goes “Birds of a feather flock together”. I live where cultural humility and diverse topics are not discussed openly.
Maybe it’s time to place “The Pleasure Principle” in the archives and look toward “The Reality Principle”. “The Reality Principle” describes the capacity of deferred gratification. Maturation is the learning to endure the pain that comes with deferred gratification. Where is it that deeper conversations of meaning and values are welcomed publicly? Where is it that maturation and wisdom is appreciated? Where is it that goodness is being cultivated in the community? Where is it that tough topics are being discussed with humility therefore giving meaning a chance to bring living back to life?
Maybe it’s time to ruffle a few feathers. Maybe it’s time to review who leads our community. Maybe it’s time to inquire who sits on that board, does the work, and makes the decisions. Maybe it’s time to appreciate the past and the present, but with a wider view of the future. Maybe it’s time to peer at the trajectory of where we live. Maybe it’s time to bring in speakers or movies or presentations that are multifaceted and have multilayered untold stories in order to make more readily available diverse topics for discussion.
“You understand so little of what is around you because you do not use what is within you.”
Hildegard of Bingen