Imagine two human-animals (otherwise known as “people”) sitting together at a table. It’s pleasant. They’re having a drink. Conversation flows as it will and even though the setting is comfortable, feelings within each will waver between hospitable and hostile depending on what is said and the reaction of one to the other.
In this scenario a Philosophy of Enjoyment can tell you exactly what you feel. If you are one of those human-animals or “people” having a drink, you’ll feel somewhere between love-hate and tenderness-fury. Your opposing feelings will mingle into a different position with each minute of each hour of each and every day.
And as you age, every season of every year will deepen, make worse, mellow or complicate past feelings depending on your habits of mind.
Imagine that you and your partner are each hooked up to an “Emotion-Feeling Meter.” It could be a simple meter with a sliding scale or a complicated meter connected to wires measuring brain activity, respiration, perspiration and heart rate.
As you talk one to another, you can see the needles on your respective meters slide one way or the other – from love to hate to neutrality, from tenderness to fury and back again – like the needle on a thermostat going from cold to hot. Depending on the trajectory of ideas expressed, each human-animal will feel the glow of a good feeling or the edge of irritation.
It might even come up in conversation. “Look! What you just said about robots made my love meter go down,” or “Look! When you said how great I was, my tenderness level went up!”
Such are we. Dithering bowls of emotional jello, sliding up and down love-hate scales. One minute cheerful and the next not-so-much and ready to kill. We subject ourselves to opposite feelings minute by minute as we think and measure what we say against what is said to us.
We measure slights, impatience and hurt feelings misconstrued one to another in concentric circles of complexity. We worry and we fret about how we feel, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can be free of fretting. You can stop yourself from being an emotional yo-yo by recognizing the silliness of what you and everyone else is.
This isn’t serious. This is enjoyment. Each of us is tragically and humorously human. We’re all grotesquely and pitifully animal. The trick to it is to see yourself and all the other human-animals not as spiritual entities to be assessed, but as comical animals to be enjoyed and appreciated as oddities.
We need to lighten up and take the joke that is ourselves.
After you develop a sense of comic ridiculousness, you recognize and sympathize with the tragic absurdity and special silliness of all the other “humans” who irritate, aggravate, and infuriate. You might even feel compelled to flatter rather than critique. You can enjoy humility and obscurity like a crow. You can love the tragedy of being born to die.
With awareness of a silly built-in “Emotional-Feeling Meter”, you can recognize the pathetic heroism of each person’s struggle with this thing called life.
Ever since René Descartes, that swarthy French philosopher with long hair, wrote, “I think, therefore I am,” (as it is translated) in 1637 and people concurred, human-animals have separated themselves from the outside world into thought bubbles.
And then when self-help entertainers saw opportunity in undoing the handiwork of Westernized busy-brains with Eastern ideas of non-thought, people started to sit uncomfortably and walk very, very slowly.
In either case, in the Western, “I think therefore I am,” or the Eastern, “don’t think about not thinking and listen for one hand clapping,” life gets confusing. We bounce between over- and under-thinking like ping-pong balls and miss the immediate.
We don’t know if we’re coming or going and we argue about what we do and don’t believe as trees outside our windows drop their leaves.
Expert philosophers bamboozle with never-ending hard questions that become meaningless as spiritualists obfuscate what is easy with fluffy language that says nothing for a fee.
In this, the immediate is what nobody sees. Right now you’re here. That is all. Enjoy it. While you can. Hug. Be kind. No harm. Look up and become aware of yourself as you are. No judgement one way or the other. Does a tree judge itself as worthy or not? Mental conventions, reflections and political concerns can turn one’s very existence into a realm of ideas.
Relax and play. Enjoy when and what you can.
Someone who discloses the immediate enjoyment that’s all around is not profound. It’s just someone who’s free to be, like a goose, a duck, or a bee (see: Busy bees and peripheral visions).
A philosopher of enjoyment is an abstainer from nonsense that passes for clever. An appreciator of the immediate is someone whose depth is nothing but innocence recovered.