Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Debauchery and the Pursuit of Pleasure:

Debauchery is defined as an extreme form of immorality and an unbalanced form of indulgence in things that give person sensual pleasure. Some examples include: Gluttonous gorging of food, excessive sexual activity and physical companionship, extreme laziness and over-sleeping, drugs and alcohol, risky thrills including gambling, and of course, emotion addiction. In essence, debauchery is undoubtedly pleasurable. As stated above, it’s sensational! But at what cost?

Epicurus (341-270 B.C.)  the Greek philosopher writes: "No pleasure is a bad thing in itself, but the things which produce certain pleasures entail disturbances many times greater than the pleasures themselves."

Too much food can make one lazy and lethargic. Certain substances can leave the user slow and foggy.  Gambling can leave you broke (or in debt) or lead to other bad behavior. Debauchery can leave you lethargic, angry, empty, lonely, hazy, broke, diseased, incarcerated, or all of the above. Shooting heroin sure looks like it would feel fantastic! But not without the side affects that would infiltrate your life, family, future, society, and the world at large. So, in short, pleasure is not a BAD thing. Pleasure is just that. It’s pleasurable. But it may not be worth it.

Many forms of debauchery have a common theme – they are all easy, comfortable, and short lived. But not all lasting pleasure is easy or comfortable.

Other, more valuable types of pleasure are longer lasting and worked for. For example, if you give your time and listen to someone who is emotionally distraught or help the old lady cross the street or provide for the needy to buy food, you are creating something everlasting. By giving, we not only feel good once but are creating memories that can be accessed time and time again and can continuously make us feel good.

Other types of long term pleasure can be an investment. Loving and building human connections, consumption of knowledge, creativity, personal development… these are all things that progress and grow with time and effort. Breaking barriers, trying new things, and stepping out of our comfort zones give our lives an element of mystery, excitement, and surprise. This sharply contrasts with the almost mundane and predictable outcomes of debauchery.

Another, more specific type of investment for long term pleasure is facing our demons and tackling issues that are so much easier to ignore than take care of. By patching up our past - as daunting of a task as it may be - we can attain levels of our personality that were previously inaccessible. In short, make PEACE with your PAST so it doesn’t screw up your PRESENT.

No vice, object, or drug can produce a greater feeling than that of love and hard work. Ironically, they are one and the same…

Just because it’s easy it doesn’t mean that it’s worthwhile. Real human growth comes from breaking routine, taking risks, and blasting past the fear of failure and rejection. Life is change. But there is a big difference between just being ALIVE and really LIVING. Let’s all make the investment.

It's been a pleasure :D

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Delight of Human Nature:

Throughout existence, there are many parallels and similarities that can be found between nature and human life. The following examples are part of what I believe is a “Majestic System” that is, simply, way over my head. Regardless, I will try and present it in an agreeable, informative, and poetically pleasing manner. I hope you enjoy reading this paper as much as I have found delight in writing it.

The human mind is to the body as the universe is to planet earth. From an outsider’s point of view, the body is a physique frame with arms, legs, a torso, hair and other features. While the human body is nonetheless complex and intricate, it is the limitless mind that holds the information, memories, desires, and secrets of the person. While cloaked in the shell of a skull with hair, the brain is the motherboard of a human being.

A resemblance can be found in regard to the relationship with planet earth and the universe. On a superficial level, planet earth is a green sphere with mountains, valleys, oceans, and fields. But it is the universe and its vast solar systems that have witnessed earth’s history; through our phases and experiments, our ups and downs. Just as the information in the brain is unseen, so is the vast majority of outer space.

The human eye – traditionally know as the gateway to the soul – shows others our emotion and experience; the epicenter of our personalities. But we can only catch a glimpse… In a striking similarity, we can peer into the perplexities of our vast universe when we look up into the sky on a clear night, yet, it has proven impossible to fully grasp the intricacies and infinitude of the cosmos. Furthermore, I find it mysteriously thrilling that the iris (color) of an elegant eye looks similar in appearance to a cluster of stars in a galaxy…


Photo Credit: Jessica Ossa Photography 

As a side note: The earth is 2/3 water and a healthy human body is 65% water. Our attitudes can be compared to nature’s four-fold seasons: Bright, fun Summer, the pitfalls of Fall, cold as Winter, or warm and growth-oriented like Spring. Albeit an illusion, nature sleeps with the absence of the sun much like a healthy human sleep schedule. Just as the globe spins without fail the human heart doesn’t miss a beat…

Additionally, we cannot feel ourselves moving on this ever-spinning globe we dwell on. In parallel, we sometimes cannot appreciate or recognize the mammoth advancements we all make in our personal lives on a daily basis.

In human life, unfortunate circumstances such as disease, accidents, or injustices can strike as unexpectedly as natural disasters occur in nature. A personal tragedy can shake our lives to the core, in ways similar to that of an earthquake. Just as destructive lava explodes out during a volcano’s eruption, a similar reaction – of our own emotions, words, and actions – may occur when angry or in a rage. Sometimes, our emotions are so unbearable that they manifest themselves through tears much like a torrential downpour. Other times, we are so full of passion that we sing or vocalize, in a strong wind, like a gust in a tornado or hurricane.

Water, grains, and produce – a divine charity – help plants, animals, and humans survive and grow. So too, a man’s seed and woman’s milk help create life and sustain, nourish, and cultivate it into development.
Besides for the obvious similarities that human beings have with animals – such as the need to sleep, eat, pass toxins, and the desire to procreate – humans share personality traits that are stereotypically found in animals: We all have the potential to be bold as a lion, swift as a deer, loyal as a penguin to its unborn offspring, or graceful as a gazelle prancing through the prairies. We can also be sneaky and conniving like a fox, lazy as a sloth, or stubborn as a mule. Or perhaps, like a parrot, we can offer lip-service to our family, friends, and acquaintances. Animals are merely the potential of humans and ultimately, we as humans, have the power to choose how we live our lives.
A butterfly that is trying to emerge from its cocoon must first develop the strength to break out of its original protective shell. This requires tedious and painful work but, ultimately, it is this painstaking labor that gives the butterfly the fortitude to not only break out of the cocoon, but survive in the environment it is so desperately trying to push out into. Perhaps, this too, is the system that we, as humans, must battle in order to spread our wings and fly and emerge as successful and prosperous individuals in societal and personal life.
Much like plant-life, we have roots. Along with our ancestral origins, the ideas of our intellect, like a tree, will bear the fruits of creativity if watered properly. The seed that we plant is the seed that we sow - if we are so lucky to see the fruits of our labor…

These parallels prove that we are not only dependent on nature but we are one with nature. We share life and death, growth and beauty. But as humans, we are the intelligent life – the top of the food chain – and with power come responsibilities. We have the ability to use nature or abuse nature. To work with its systems or deny how influential they are in our lives.

We have the freedom to choose, let’s make the right move.