Do you have to scratch an itch...

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  • Not sure this belongs in Philosophy, but it had to go somewhere..


    I was thinking about scratching itches, and how on a physical level it can provide relief, but it can also make the irritation worse. Then I started thinking about metaphorical 'itches' - habits, temptations, urges.


    On the one hand, we're encouraged not to scratch because it makes it worse, but then there are popular ideas like Oscar Wilde's, "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself"


    It kind of makes sense, but it also sounds selfish, and it's not necessarily a wise course of action (look what happened to Dorian Gray after all...!) Should we always scratch that metaphorical itch - succumb to temptation lest it eats us away? Doesn't it reflect an 'every man for himself' mentality? Or is there something to be said for stoicism and resistance - gritting your teeth, and refusing to scratch the irritation until it just goes away?

  • Yielding to temptation is all good and well but it is important to have a sense of perspective and realize that sometimes biting the bullet and resisting is the way forward. But the whole key is not having urges and temptations, to realize that life as you know it is absolutely fine and longing for the unobtainable is a total waste of time and energy. People would be so much more content and happier if they lost the "what if" bullshit that seems to be a controlling factor in so many lifes these days.

  • I read something once about how when you're falling asleep, your body makes you want to itch random places (I can't remember why... something to do with losing consciousness). So now, when I'm falling asleep and I get said itch, I IGNORE IT! It's often very difficult because the random itches make me twitch almost. I think this is relatable to metaphorical itches also... if you are strong enough to resist and have good reason to, you can.

  • I often get the urge to scratch my opium itch. Medication when its peaking can cause itching as a side effect of the prescribed drug. Often with me its a sign of temporary OD-ing. If I do give in & scratch, even if only for a few seconds. the itch moves around my body instantaneously. If I accidentally scratch a place that isn't itching, it will start itching immediately. I have tried both approaches, Scratching and ignoring the itch. Although scratching brings instant relief & to some extent is a reward in itself. Not scratching is the best method as the original itch will dissipate & itching doesn't spiral out of control. Although a certain amount of control/will power may be needed.

  • If I do give in & scratch, even if only for a few seconds. the itch moves around my body instantaneously. If I accidentally scratch a place that isn't itching, it will start itching immediately. I have tried both approaches, Scratching and ignoring the itch. Although scratching brings instant relief & to some extent is a reward in itself. Not scratching is the best method as the original itch will dissipate & itching doesn't spiral out of control. Although a certain amount of control/will power may be needed.

    Very true!

  • I guess scratching the metaphoric itch is ok so long as its not hurting anyone in the process
    I mean we all give in to temptation at some point or other
    It only becomes selfish if it hurts others


    As for scratching a body itch i get an itch on my back in the same place alll the time and it drives me mad as i just cant reach it
    Im often found rubbing up and down on door frames etc