[Cassius Admin Note: This thread was excerpted from a longer discussion on another topic, but it quickly turns into a discussion of desire and its relationship to pleasure.]
Say I have a headache. An aspirin might remove the pain, in which case you could say that the resulting pleasure is a byproduct. Or a pleasant nap in the shade might remove the pain, where you could consider pleasure to be the active principle.
Or say I'm depressed. I could take a pill, which might remove the pain, with pleasure as a byproduct. Or I could actively pursue activities meaningful to me, pleasure being the active principle.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but having put the thoughts in writing I would react that using pleasure as the active principle is certainly more empowering and, well, pleasurable.