Objectively, it seems improbable that the Earth is in fact the pleasure planet in our corner of the universe, but it is a charming notion because it represents a useful fiction. Scientists and mathematicians often take advantage of useful fictions in order to understand things that would otherwise be inconceivable. For example, an atom is not a miniature solar system in which electrons orbit the nucleus the way planets orbit a star, yet it is sometimes useful to think of atoms that way.

Something interesting happens if you try pretending that Earth is the pleasure planet. The smallest details of your existence appear in a new light. People who formerly seemed obnoxious appear as minor distractions; the simple fact of their humanity makes them seem appealing and honorable. Events, circumstances, and sensations that once seemed aversive seem more neutral; they contain pleasant elements that you would otherwise have overlooked: "It's another gray, rainy, day on the pleasure planet. What lovely, cool, sweet-smelling fog they have here. I'm going to the dentist on the pleasure planet. How nice the dentists are here. How kind they are to provide sterile instruments, Novocaine, and laughing gas. Pain here on the pleasure planet is hardly ever severe. . . ."

In short, imagining that this is the pleasure planet — and further imagining that you are one of the few lucky people who know it — temporarily tricks your restless mind into wanting what you have. The experience may not be profound and probably won't last for long, but it gives you a glimpse of what it might be like to want what you have, completely, all day, every day.

Timothy Miller in How To Want What You Have