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In a world of instant gratification it can be a rare delight to wait for things we want. Where everything is available to us and we are exhorted to over-consume by supersize-me, three-for-two and BOGOF offers, taking only the minimum seems daft.

But more availability doesn’t necessarily mean more pleasure or enjoyment. Gathering firewood or stocking up on candles before winter can help us feel more secure and may ensure our comfort. Chugging down a litre of cappuccino ‘because we can’ doesn’t have the same effect.

Maybe the opposite is true; is there an inverse relationship between quantity and pleasure which says that the more available something is, the more insensitive we become to the pleasure it provides? It has been said the addictions are 90% anticipation and only 10% gratification, so maybe it’s true. When something is scarce or when we must wait for it, not only is the pleasure greater when we actually get it, but we also enjoy the expectancy.

More is not necessarily better, and with pleasure you might say that ‘more’ defeats the object.

 

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