What does it mean to enjoy? Let’s get right to it. Is it just a matter of having a “Good Time”? Is that what this about? Have fun? Take it easy. It’s a no brainer. Enjoy yourself. End of story. Why make it complicated?
Most people would probably recommend that you relax, take a deep breath and enjoy doing whatever you do. Enjoy a show. Enjoy theme parks. Enjoy eroticism and angry comedy. Enjoy texting, surfing, skiing and skipping. Lift weights. Get religious. Eat protein supplements. Water slide. Run on or off treadmills. Get a dog—carry a bag for poo.
Adopt a highway. Go Buddhist. Do yoga. Go churchy. Take classes in mindfulness and meditation. Play video games. Fight death. Enjoy the pure satisfaction of a lush green lawn from fertilizer. Doesn’t matter what you enjoy as long as you keep busy—so goes society’s mass mentality.
Jump from airplanes (with parachute and/or helmet). Climb mountains. “Follow your dreams.” Doesn’t matter what you do—as long as you do something.
Industries are dedicated to providing the highest quality products and services for you to enjoy. If you work hard enjoyment’s, “Easy peasey!” as they say—whoever they are.
Put on a Life is Good® t-shirt and jiggle as you walk to “I Love to Boogie” by T-Rex. (Note: Life is Good® is a registered trademark). Doesn’t matter if people find you irritating. Who cares? Smile to spite them. Stay positive. Ignore negativity.
Maybe all you need is a six-pack of Pabst Blue ribbon, a fishing rod and a beautiful day. Or, if you’re a real man’s man, all you need is an outlet mall and a blow-out sale on fashion and accessories. Wear humour like a life preserver. Be quick with a smile and say, “Have a stupendous day! Wipe those tears away!
“Keep it simple,” as they say—whoever they are.
If you’re a woman, maybe all you need is a mythically comfortable bra and to dance with abandon with Mr Right.
Or, if you’re not of a stereotypical gender or race, maybe all you need is a big screen TV, some snacks and the latest episode of the Big Bang Theory or The Walking Dead.
There are any number of enjoyable things to do on (or off) this planet. But if enjoyment is easy, why are so many people unhappy? Is it political, geological, psychological, situational or economic? Even people who say they’re happy might just be busy.
Busy is often mistaken for happy.
On TV in his Unnatural Act (1991), comedian Jim Carey wondered, “Imagine if you could just be that happy? That would be powerful man. People would be tunnelling under the street to avoid you.”
Life is bitter sweet. It’s a truth. “Trying to make ends meet, you’re a slave to money and then you die—” so sang The Verve. Maybe that’s why, as Chris Rock observed, “People love to get high!” (“Getting High”).
Transcending is a craving. Look at the fun such greats as Lenny Bruce, Mitch Hedberg, River Phoenix, and Philip Seymour Hoffman had on their way to the pleasure dome of “Kubla Khan”.
But it’s all fun and games until someone starts on fire (or dies). Drugs are slippery. What goes up must come down—sometimes hard.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), the philosopher (not the tiger) said that life is, “nasty, brutish and short” (Leviathan, 1610). He had a low opinion of humans. To him we’re all selfish and driven by a fear of death and a desire for personal gain. Only the rule of law keeps us in check” (source).
A biologist might say that life is an arrangement of molecules of self-sustenance and self-replication. Life is self-organising chemistry reproducing and passing characteristics via DNA, but this definition puts humans in with the amoeba.
Science bases life on externals but knowing life means knowing it from within. Life is either a meaningless accident operating in a meaningless universe, or it’s a planned experiment with future unknown. If the universe has any purpose, it is to explore what will happen.
Many physicists believe that the universe is only information and life is a process of energy being transformed—so is non-life, but the difference is that life is linked to the story it contains. Non-life is indifferent to stories imposed.
In Human Givens (2003) Ivan Tyrrell and Joe Griffin said that we are born with needs that seek satisfaction. When enough physical and emotional needs are met, an individual will enjoy life.
But a meaningful life becomes impossible if physical and emotional needs are insufficient and unfortunately, modern society seeks meaning through materialism which leaves us dissatisfied because of our biology. We can’t seem to find meaning. The result us mental ill-health on a societal level.
Many people will never experience the satisfaction of a meaningful life. So, what’s the answer?
Look to nature.
Life is an unbroken flow of rippling simultaneous events. The sheer Scale of the Universe is as mind boggling as human ignorance. This world is beautiful. Animal life and the life of vegetation shows us that life is a matter of being. By means of a modest routine of eating, sleeping and reproducing, animals and vegetation balance their days doing what their bodies ask of them.
Life is simply a beautiful and harmonious borrowing of energy.
Humans lose the power to simply be happy eating, sleeping and reproducing because we believe we need a reason to be alive—a purpose and a goal to reach. On our deathbeds (something we have been made to fear) we want to be able to look back and tell ourselves that we have done something.
Life loses its purpose when we try to give it one. We are each no more significant than the sand by the sea or the clouds in the sky.
No more significant. But as significant.
Whatever your race, religion or gender, when you step outside your door in the morning and feel the morning sun on your face and the fresh air in your lungs, close your eyes and smile. In that moment you feel life as it should be. No defining. No understanding. No thinking. Just that feeling of pure bliss.
Hear violins in birds singing. Sing Chaplin’s, “This Is My Song” in your heart to yourself in the voice of Petula Clark. Let tears of unbridled love and enjoyment flow from you as you feel the significance of your own existence and everyone else’s.
This is you! This is you! This is you! Ignore advertising and look around! This is what life is.