You never want what you want, you want the wanting!

Jack Willis




Endgaining is focusing only on the completion of an action, and not on the action itself. The term was coined by FM Alexander. With endgaining, everything becomes a means to an end, but the satisfying end never seems to arrive. When endgaining is taking place, contact is lost with the present, with the surroundings, with feeling, and with the self.

Pleasure is lost in activity, not just because of inattention to detail, but also because of loss of gracefulness. With endgaining, no pleasure is experienced moving toward the goal, and actions have a mechanical quality. Endgaining may arise in part from paying to much attention to time and too little attention to space.

There is a difference between delaying gratification and endgaining. Delaying gratification only makes sense in the context of fairly regular and fairly certain gratification. In that context, delaying gratification builds feeling and excitement and the release is all the more satisfying. Endgaining on the other hand, involves losing excitement and moving toward a goal mechanically. Alexander Lowen writes:*

The key to health is to live fully the life of the body. This means that feeling is more important than doing, that being free is more important than being rich, and that the present is always more important than the future. This is not to deny some validity to the reality principle. But in sacrificing the present for the future, we must be sure that the future is not an impossible dream, an illusion that can never be fulfilled. In terms of the body there is neither success nor failure. Life is to be lived and in the living of it one grows old and dies. But when the living is postponed until the success is achieved, "He made it," the end is always tragic.

Because humans have imagination and reasoning, the 'future' will always have a role in desire, and it is probably disingenuous to pretend otherwise. The key is for the pull of the future to 'spice' the present rather than sacrificing contact with the present and actual for pursuit of an image.

*Stress and Illness: A Bioenergetic View (1980)