The guiding intuition of this philosophy follows the hunch that life is to be enjoyed. It asks that you make enjoyment a priority of epic proportions without actually doing anything in particular. We’re not talking about doing exciting things like zip lines, amusement parks or buying socks. There’s no need for putting yourself through the pressure of a bucket list (see: What Do You Enjoy?). It’s just a matter of shifting your perception of reality.
Let’s get trippy (hippy talk for cool, freaky and groovy). Rather than think of your life in practical terms with all its aches, pains and frustrations, perceive the enjoyment of your life as somewhere between the eternal (not ending) and temporal (ending). It’s easy, just perceive life from multiple vantage points.
Think of yourself as a manual or “standard” transmission in a car. You’re the shifter. Enjoyment is the clutch.
Take the literal experience of your life – you, as you are, where you are – and think of it as a metaphor. Think of your lifespan as a ferryboat. You can float along without noticing, or, you can enjoy it. Think of enjoyment as a symbol.
A metaphor and a symbol are related, but a metaphor draws a comparison between two distinct objects (as in your lifespan is a ferryboat taking you between birth and death), whereas a symbol is used as a stand-in for a much more complex, and generally more abstract, idea.
The point is this: a symbol is literally a throwing together of the eternal (that which is without ending) and the temporal (present life). To feel the symbol is to go beyond practical. It is to enter a zone of poetry. It’s the words beyond words. Dare it be said: it’s transcendence.
If you can go into the zone of your average 18th century romantic poet like Keats, Blake, Wordsworth or Coleridge, you’ll recognize that a flower isn’t just a flower. A tree isn’t just a tree. You are not just a you and a Cosco isn’t just a Cosco – well maybe it is – but the truth is that there is more to living than just living.
Life is so serious that it isn’t. It’s a paradox. It’s pretty incredible if you think about it. First, there’s a you and then… there isn’t.
Philosophy of Enjoyment Imagination Exercise #42
Picture LIFE! as your best friend’s girl (like that song of long ago). Picture LIFE! as a beautiful girl always dancing down the street with suede blue eyes (Ocasek, 1978).
Imagine that you are LIFE itself.
You are the music. You dance ‘neath the starry skies except you do it like an idiot.
If you are to enjoy the experience of living as yourself in your situation, if you are not going to go around and around not enjoying yourself like you’re in some kind of cockimamy 1920’s car wash – LIFE! – if it is to be fruitful and not fruitless, futile, frivolous and a big waste of time – LIFE: requires discipline and imagination (among other things).
Look at the faces of people. Study them without creeping them out. You can’t help but notice how people don’t get it. They don’t. They’re hypnotized by themselves. They’re blinded by science. People live unwisely. If not convinced, watch the News on TV. Individuals don’t get the sense of themselves in their surroundings. If they did, they would be amazed and not do half the stuff they do.
A lot of people (excluding philosophers of enjoyment) do not make enjoyment a priority or if they do, they’ve got the wrong idea of what enjoyment really is. Enjoyment isn’t a thing, an object – it’s like love. It’s the spirit of good feeling feeling good! That’s it.
Now: Go forth and enjoy. Make it a priority to spread gentle enjoyment wherever you go with whomever you meet and in so doing, enjoy doing.