Let's explore and reclaim pleasure

  • This article might be a start for those of us who are in need of reclaiming all aspects of pleasure...and hope to hear from others on any further thoughts and ideas.


    I myself am stuck on pleasure = food ... and hope to move beyond that.


    Article title: "When did pleasure become a dirty word?"


    Excerpt:


    "Why is pleasure so valued in other parts of the world, but not here, not in the U.S.?


    On the heels of International Happiness Day, which has been celebrated internationally on March 20 since 2012, let’s begin to unpack our uniquely American aversion to pleasure and how that might be affecting our happiness. According to the Oxford Dictionary, pleasure is defined as “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment,” or “enjoyment and entertainment, as opposed to necessity.” Given that suicide has ranked among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. every year since 2008, should we be asking ourselves this question: Have we been underestimating the importance of enjoyment, of pleasure? Is it possible that it really is a necessity?"


    https://www.theolympian.com/opinion/article207534699.html

  • Going out beyond the enjoyment of discussion and study of philosophy...for anyone who wants to share...Currently, what are your most pleasurable activities beyond eating and sexuality?

  • I myself am stuck on pleasure = food ... and hope to move beyond that.

    That's funny but a good start!


    I was looking for the Metrodorus quote for that but all I found was:



    **Plutarch, _Against Colotes_, 2, p. 1108C:** ... those who keep shouting that the _good_ is to be found in the belly and that they would not give a copper coin with a hole in it for all the virtues in bulk apart from pleasure.

  • For me, pleasure encompasses a wide spectrum:

    • Walking in the woods and admiring the sun shining through the leaves.
    • Looking up at the sky, eyes closed, and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.
    • Partaking in lively conversation.
    • Finding an old book on the shelves at the library and feeling the imprint of the printing plates on the page.
    • Losing myself in reading or working on a translation.

    Pleasure can be big and all-encompassing, or small and intimate, shared or solitary.

    Those are my initial thoughts.

    Thanks for starting this thread, Kalosyni !

  • This is a wide subject! Allow me to narrow it through the lens of a few poems I like.


    Romance:



    simple hospitalities:


    Quote

    Arrived there, the little house they fill, Ne looke for entertainement, where none was: Rest is their feast, and all things at their will; The noblest mind the best contentment has.

    -Edmund Spencer


    The countryside: (from a much longer poem)


    Quote

    [...] Now, Penshurst, they that will proportion thee

    With other edifices, when they see

    Those proud, ambitious heaps, and nothing else,

    May say their lords have built, but thy lord dwells.

    -Ben Jonson


    Wine: (from a much longer poem)


    Quote

    O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth. Tasting of Flora and the country green, Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth!

    -John Keats


    Traversing the landscape:


    Quote

    Whose woods these are I think I know.

    His house is in the village though;

    He will not see me stopping here

    To watch his woods fill up with snow.

    -Robert Frost


    Walking alone by night:


    Quote

    The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

    The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,

    The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,

    And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

    -Thomas Gray


    Thinking about nature and the cosmos:



    Finding a good translation of a classic text:



    And now one or two of my own:


    And in lieu of a lucrative synecure for writing poetry: the pleasure of my day job, land-surveying!

    That last one I sent off to the Walden Woods Project (Thoreau was a surveyor by trade), and they (allegedly) filed it away in their archives. :D

  • A couple of quite pleasurable activities that I've recently begun are restorative yoga and meditation. Although I've done both activities for years at a time in the past (yoga having been far more active than passive), I'm pursuing them free of dogma and with no "path" and am discovering a new and somewhat guilty and decadent pleasure in them. Which somehow makes them even more pleasurable!

  • Thanks Cassius, Don, JJElbert, Godfrey


    Reading all your inputs...lots of pleasures!


    I realize I am just going through a phase of "dampened" pleasure right now, so I am needing to mentally clear out my mind in order to open back up to receiving enjoyment from the activities that I usually enjoy doing (hiking, dancing, biking, going to the library and to coffee houses). The past two weeks were stressful, visiting my parents and sisters. Now back home in recovery mode...


    ...and so it would seem that the mind must be tenderly cared for so that pleasure and joy can flower.

  • A very insightful post, Kalosyni ! What you are describing is exactly the process of opening to the Feelings as a guide. Half of the guide is "pain": not avoiding or suppressing the unpleasant, but being guided by that as much as by pleasure.


    A pleasant and fulfilling recovery to you!

  • To summarize the pleasures from the above posts, for the sheer enjoyment. ^^

    And for sure there are many more than these.


    ---nature/outdoors/cosmos - sensations of warmth on the skin from the sun and taking in pleasing sights and sounds with the eyes and ears


    ---joy of the intellect and thinking - books, reading, writing, poetry


    ---movement of the body - walking, yoga, dance


    ---stillness of the body - meditation


    ---conversation


    And I would create a separate category for the following (due to the possibility of mixed results and the need for moderation)

    ---romance, wine, food, sex


    Then also there is the pleasure of recollection...


    In a separate thread Cassius shared a passage that I find to be very helpful from Torquatus "On Ends":


    "...let him never suffer the pleasures of the past to fade away, but constantly renew their enjoyment in recollection, and his lot will be one which will not admit of further improvement."


  • To summarize the pleasures from the above posts, for the sheer enjoyment. ^^

    And for sure there are many more than these...


    ---nature/outdoors/cosmos - sensations of warmth on the skin from the sun and taking in pleasing sights and sounds with the eyes and ears


    ---joy of the intellect and thinking - books, reading, writing, poetry


    ---movement of the body - walking, yoga, dance


    ---stillness of the body - meditation


    ---conversation


    And I would create a separate category for the following (due to the possibility of mixed results and the need for moderation)

    ---romance, wine, food, sex


    Then also there is the pleasure of recollection...


    In a separate thread Cassius shared a passage that I find to be very helpful from Torquatus "On Ends":


    "...let him never suffer the pleasures of the past to fade away, but constantly renew their enjoyment in recollection, and his lot will be one which will not admit of further improvement."


  • Yes that's a great way to summarize.


    We need all the help we can get in articulating the point as eloquently as possible - which is - that "pleasure" as Epicurus is describing it is a wide and sweeping term that includes everything that we "feel" to be pleasant. No matter how much the high-brows look down their noses and accuse the Epicureans of focusing on the "belly," even the most intellectual of pleasures also qualify as pleasure because the criteria is that we "feel" it to be so - not that we identify it through logical analysis.

  • Well summarized, Kalosyni !

    People seem to sometimes think that pleasure always has to be capital-P Pleasure. But the simple everyday pleasures can be powerful due in fact to their being readily at hand. We just have to remember to appreciate and notice them.

    I had an experience today driving to work in traffic. Several cars ahead of me, another driver had his window down and I could see soap bubbles coming out his window and floating through traffic. It was so whimsical and unexpected, it made me smile for several blocks the whole way to the parking garage. It was a wonderful way to start the day! ^^