Todays reply to this old post.
I very briefly explored the “holiday” life:No work, living off my wits and my charm, always somewhat homeless, always somewhat at loose ends, no plans, no stability (political or otherwise), sex 24/7 if that was what I felt moved to do (it frequently was), hikes in the nude, dangerous stupid drunken adventures. It was fun. It seemed to agree with me to a large extent. In that life, I partnered with an expert at it.
No work, homeless, no plans, no stability, and dangerous stupid drunk adventures. Is that what I’m an expert in?
I understand what you are saying about enjoying the game and the challenges of increasing material and social position, and how it is useful. I understand you saying that you work for a balance, and do enjoy and try to enjoy life.
So you probably also understand that I work, have plans, and take fine care of body, home and my partner.
Our emphasis is drastically different.
Money does make a big difference in life. As a middle aged man it’s difficult to date without it, but as I am a bit of a slacker who is not materialistically minded, I prefer to do the initial dating stages while being poor, so as not to attract someone with wildly different ideals and ambitions.
Ideals and ambitions get honed over time, for a person who lives an examined life. Many times people re-evaluate the lives they have lived. I’ve never heard of anyone looking back over their life and regretting not putting in enough hours at work. The regrets are always about not taking the time to enjoy each moment.
I have nothing against work, nor money. Each has purpose and use and challenge and fun built in. And a possible downside. Both can swallow up a person, a life. Games are fun, but any gamer will warn you of addiction, and any addict knows how a life can be swallowed.
That is why I often talk of values. Not merely stumbling upon them, picking ones way here and there through the thickets of life, but occasionally taking the arial view, consulting maps, seeing the bigger picture.
And hedonism, individual and communal, is the magnetism that aims our compass to give direction to our lives. Winning the game isn’t.
You can’t have a richly hedonistic life without establishing some security, but you can have a secure yet empty life. The direction that a life takes ought to be guided by principles other than security. Claiming “no choice” in the big decisions and therefore the small decisions in life is a lazyness, cowardice, and lack of imagination. The intelligent and brave can create something novel and make a new direction – invent and refine and follow a vision. There are choices, and we can choose, and our choice must be governed by a vision broader than security and social power.
Creative imagination is not the potential, it is the duty of each life.
Hedonism is the magnetism that aims all the atoms in the compass needle. The atoms that can be aligned include our appreciations for security, truth, beauty, companionship, culture, body, emotions, and mind. It isn’t fulfilling to be merely happy, nor merely insightful, nor merely secure. The needle pulls in the same direction – the hedonistic direction – for all persuits. So how to be the most fulfilled? Don’t get bogged down in the particulars of merely security, or merely being happy. Fullfilment requires letting go of some stuff in order to have more of others, and valuing what to give up and what to put more effort into is fucking important, not something you can expect to stumble upon through trial and error.
Each day plays a part in each tomorrow – we create where we go, where we can go, and where we want to go. I knew an amazingly sensual, attractive, smart, funny and sensitive guy who de-emphasised those parts of himself until his sex life fell apart, he lived the life of a workaholic, and didn’t like nor even want to like people any more. He also started to have bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts. That kind of thing happens all the time.