Philosophy is the study of living. The absence of a true philosophy can destroy a life. We may want what we want, but we get what we get. Sometimes we don’t know why we want what we want or, even less, why we get what we have.
There are about five billion web pages on the Internet (source). Readers who return to a Philosophy of Enjoyment or who stumble upon it, are looking for something.
Unless you’re a bot—an autonomous program on a network—you’re here for a reason.
We’re more or less a mystery to ourselves. That’s why we say and do things and think later, “Why did I say and/or do what I said and/or did?”
The post “Priming, Framing, Transcending & Enjoying” (2017) produced evidence from the sciences that says we don’t always know why we think and do what we think and do do. We can be manipulated at an unconscious level by priming and framing (source).
Priming can influence any decision including one’s judgment of happiness. Priming is when an exposure to a stimulus activates mental pathways without conscious guidance. Those pathways can become mental ruts with repetition.
In the dictionary priming is a “substance that prepares something for use or action.” It comes from the Latin primus meaning “first.” Priming here means the same except, in psychology, instead of a substance preparing a surface or priming a pump, it’s a memory triggered by a sensation that leads to streams of associations.
We see the word “BLUE” and get confused. Priming is more than a wandering mind triggered by sensation. Every perception that we have consciously or unconsciously sets off a chain of ideas in our neural network (McRaney, 2011).
Magicians trick us through our brain’s limitations. If life is a joke, wanting is the set up, getting is the punchline. You get it or you don’t. If you get it, you laugh and enjoy. If you don’t, there are no spontaneous eruptions of glee.
Look at Jim Morrison from the Doors. Jim wasn’t into playing it safe. Better to be wasted than see life being wasted. For Jim Morrison, life boiled down to having fun regardless of consequences.
In 1968 Jim Morrison sang, “No one here gets out alive.” It’s from the song “Five To One”. Jim had no idea when he sang that one-liner that he’d be dead three years later.
And so it is for many people who argue that nursing homes are full of people who played it safe and now live with mental deficiencies. Rather a full life that is shorter than a slow life that is longer, so the argument goes. For Jim and others like him, the hardest thing to do is do nothing.
But doing nothing can be a good thing. By not doing and enjoying a moment of stillness, time feels extended. You can see how driven, agitated and restless our brains normally are (see also: “Enjoy a Funny Feeling“).
Can you watch a pot boil?
Can you stop and stare like a sheep or a cow? Can you enjoy the stillness of a lull or the silence of no sound? Can you not do anything, at least, for a while?
Existence is the starting point. If you don’t exist the absence of pain is assured and the absence of pleasure, although sad, isn’t bad either.
Want buys you a Kinder egg in hopes that you enjoy the toy inside. What you get from wanting is a prize, guaranteed.
Rather than fight the current of your stream of consciousness or think what you want is important, go with it. Let life take you.
What did Kurt Vonnegut Jr. say in Breakfast of Champions (1973) when a character sees the question, “What’s the purpose of life?” Answer: “To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of the Universe, you fool!”
The universe exists because you’re in it and of it for when you cease to exist, you and your universe go together.
If you’re reading this, this reading is your life. Primed by sensations, you make a collage of images from your consciousness pasted from memories, emotions and thoughts that exist only in your skull.
Memories hidden from conscious awareness prime associations without you knowing why. That’s when you confabulate—as in, fabricate imaginary experiences as compensation for a loss of memory.
Framing is like priming except different.
Large and small decisions are based on a “frame of mind.” Words used to frame perceptions are based on thoughts and feelings these same words evoke in you. Framing is circular or, more usually, rectangular.
Appearances frame perceptions based on visual cues. Feelings frame perceptions based on emotional responses. We think we know what affects our behaviour, but in truth, we don’t always. It’s how you spin it.
The painter René Magritte once said, “There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us.”
On TV when someone is falsely accused or “framed,” evidence can be construed as damning or inconsequential. If you effectively frame, you strategically magnify losses and gains depending upon the desired outcomes.
The truth is, most of the time, we’re unaware of the influence of our unconscious. We react in the situation (the ground) to some thing embedded (the figure). We toggle between positive and negative and sometimes mistakenly frame what we think we saw.
Framing is how we see an idea, issue or reality based on context. One’s perception of reality is not set in stone or passively observed. One constructs reality as one sees it.
You could be somewhere and smell a rum-dipped cigar. Automatically you think of your grandfather. Grandfather loved his garden. His garden was replaced by a Walmart which reminds you, pick up vegetables and rum.
To enjoy the full experience of this movie, there is laughter and tears, but there’s a big difference between a brain as thing and the experience of thinking or the heart as a pump and not the home of loving.
The trick is to enjoy what transpires as it’s transpiring.