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    I was just wondering if "the unpleasant" has ever been treated 
philosophically. Much has been said about "pleasure" and even 
"the pleasure principle" but "pleasure" is an unclear term as shown 
by the ambivalence shown to it in many circles. In addition some 
pleasures sometimes become unpleasant. This is not so for "pleasantness". 
The pleasant is ever pleasant, and is often to be found like a blossom 
in the desert of unpleasantness. The persistence of the 
pleasantness of the pleasant is one of its defining characteristics 
and one which distinguishes it from pleasure. It proves 
therefore to be consistent and important not only to smell 
the roses along the way but also 
to nurture and remember them fondly. 

I have heard that Stoics admitted the existence of unpleasantness 
but has anyone ever refined the notion of "the unpleasant". 
It seems to have some properties that recommend it as a philosophical 
notion. For one thing it accommodates an unbounded range of 
experiences, secondly it is easily perceived and handled descriptively. 
That there is a need for a philosophical treatment is indicated by 
the confusion that can be caused in the frail mind by
even the mildest of unpleasant things. The notion of 
"the unpleasant" displays some facility for, as some 
experiences are unpleasant, so are thoughts of them
unpleasant. It therefore transcends the boundary of 
experience and analysis. Are not criteria that transcend in this way, 
like the categories, part of perception as well as part of the 
perceived and of the perceiver? A notion of "the unpleasant" 
may serve to codify and unify the myriad inputs attendant 
to anxiety. And that brings me to my point. 
The philosopher may learn to think of unpleasant 
experiences as well as thoughts of those experiences 
in pleasant ways and in so doing be a civilizing force.

Joe Ferrara.
Joe's Artindex