Both pleasure and pain can pull us off balance and dim our sense of well being. This parallels chapter 13’s Favor and disgrace are things that startle. Of course, it is easy to see how pain and disgrace do this, but favor and pleasure? That’s more subtle. The innate sense that more pleasure increases well being is one of Nature’s finest hoodwinks. No wonder it is so easy to overindulge on one of many delightful by-paths people prefer.
However, the pursuit of pleasure in the wild can seldom, if ever, get out of hand. Indeed, in the wild, this hoodwink improves balance and well-being. Here, both the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain lead to well-being. Civilization interferes with this natural process by make pleasure far easier to pursue and pain far easier to avoid. The pomp and ceremony of civilization obscures its underlying reason for existence: to make life as safe and secure as possible. The only problem: We are often just too good at that for our own well-being.