If you’ve reached adulthood, it’s probably clear to you by now that everyone has to face good times and bad. There are ups and downs and how you deal with them depends on your philosophy. Whether knowingly or not, everyone has a philosophy. The trick is to keep it simple. Find a philosophy that’s right for you.
This isn’t to say that you enjoy yourself at the expense of others – that leads to trouble – or that you are more important than other creatures – you’re not. That’s where kindness, humility and sensitivity come in. Helping others to enjoy can be enjoyable and if you hurt others, they might hurt you.
It’s a ping-pong thing.
All creatures are alone, together. Whether duck or human, it’s appropriate to enjoy. If enjoyment is selfish, then every living creature is selfish. Even helping another could be construed as selfish. It’s all in how you look at it.
The keys to enjoyment are found in sensual awareness and contemplation. You don’t need a particular lifestyle with lots of possessions or acquaintances or admiration from the crowd. You don’t need luxury. Those things might be enjoyable, but they’re not necessary.
Professional philosophers debate the nature of enjoyment and happiness, but you know what it’s about. You know when you are enjoying yourself and when you are not. You know that when others are not enjoying themselves, its better when they are.
If you have a philosophy of enjoyment, morality is simple. What is good is kind and what is evil is cruel. It’s what children know. It’s natural. Trouble rises when people get unnatural.
Imagine that you are a cloud hovering above a city. What do you see? You see a few people enjoying themselves in a park (a few sky watching), but the majority are busy acting like ants in an ant-hill or wasps in a wasp-nest. Why is that?
People act like ants and wasps because they’ve lost touch with enjoyment. They’re busy for the sake of business. In the battle of life, they think it’s a survival-of-the-fittest game. They don’t realize that survival for the sake of survival isn’t what it’s about. Billions survive to survive. They conclude that life is suffering so they go about doing just that. They get technological, industrial, mechanical and electronic. They lose touch with nature. They choose virtual over a real. They favour artificial intelligence over biological intelligence.
One reason for ant-hill behaviour relates to the type of person each unique individual is. There are basically two types of people. There are saints and there are earth-creatures. People get lost between two extremes. This isn’t about science or religion. We’re talking about your enjoyment! Let’s break it down.
A saint’s mind is fixed on pity. Sadness is the prevailing emotion. Others are the priority. Suffering love is the ideal. Personal enjoyment for the saint himself is irrelevant. Saints thrive on abstractions, not sensations. A saint is sad about the tragedy of life because there is poverty, starvation and disease. Saints feel sorry for people but not themselves. Saints feel superior. Saints aren’t funny. They don’t laugh at the absurdities of life. They take life and death very serious.
Earth-creatures (including humans) are the opposite. Happiness is the prevailing emotion. Self is the priority. Earth-creatures are happiness seekers. They understand what drives other selves to do what they do because they have a self and they do it too. They live sensuously on food and drink. They try to ignore tragedy and focus on beauty. They like to laugh. Humour helps them to enjoy life. They know that ecstasy comes and goes.
Earth-creatures enjoy the lightness of being. They value humility. They live for sunshine and rain and rainbows. Despite death, disease and starvation, earth-creatures can experience moments of elation from simple things like a drop of rain, a kiss, a kind word, the sight of a happy dog wagging its tail, a country road, a piece of bread and jam, a hot beverage, a friend…
So, what’s it going to be? Which would you rather be: a saint or earth-creature?
What’s your philosophy?