Why do we deny ourselves earthly pleasures? Is it for the false sense of security, or for fear of the magnetism that earthly pleasures possess? Is it for the cold comfort of predictability, or for the uncertainty of passion and delicious expectation?
What moves us from one moment in time to another – habit or propulsion? Are we on a path which pulls us along, or do we carve our own path out of the putty that is The Human Existence?
When we hope, and dream, do we see in those hopes and dreams our own future before us, or do we see someone else’s memory – just beyond our reach – and at the edge of our consciousness?
If we have arms full of eggs, do we carefully and methodically select into which basket to place them, or is there just the one basket – our basket – to which all our eggs belong? In times of failure, or triumph, do we give credit to the eggs and supposed baskets, or do we collectively agree that nothing is certain, except that we (maybe) have eggs and a basket?
Without any answers to speak of, do we flail and flounder through our narratives, or do we stand united and unafraid of whatever happens next? Do we so quickly forget our own strength that pain is a foregone conclusion, or do we see the beauty in the things around us?
When we love, do we do so unapologetically, or do we love quietly and shamefully in a room in the dark? Do we give our whole hearts, or give only the parts of the heart that are well-guarded against the things we can’t control? Do we succumb to our passions and let it fill our souls, or do we temper that passion with logic and rigid self-control?
If there were ever to be a rule book – a survivor’s guide for The Human Existence, so to speak – would it advise us to tread lightly and carefully, as if a member of a delicate glass menagerie, or would it advise us to crash our way through, devouring every waking moment and bathing in the sublime experiences?
If we are to be the music-makers and the dreamers of dreams, then let us create the sweetest of lullabies for the world’s children and the most extravagant dreams to mirror the bravery in us all.
1. Why do we deny ourselves earthly pleasures? – – – – Well, some people don’t, but for those that do, I think it’s more about what you said in regards to the fear of the magnetism life’s pleasures pose. It is born from a desire to be in control of oneself. The worry is that constant indulgence in one’s pleasures will eventually enslave him/herself to the act of pleasure seeking itself. A friend of mine once said, “that doesn’t make sense. If I do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it, then that means I have freedom.”
Unfortunately, our brains don’t work that way. At first, pleasure seeking is a choice, and it remains a choice for people who do it in moderation. But indulge in your pleasures too often, and your brain becomes dependent on the natural dopamine and endorphins. Thus, you become addicted to pleasure seeking, and you eventually find that you can’t even help yourself. So instead of pleasure seeking being a choice, it has become a compulsion resulting in one being incapable of restraint and discipline.
And the lesson we learn from Brave New World is that when pleasure seeking is a compulsion, we can be controlled and manipulated through that.
2. What moves us from one moment in time to another – habit or propulsion? – – – – Your question can be boiled down into an even simpler question: does the future exist? Your original question is often thought of as being philosophical, but it actually presents more of a scientific conundrum that humanity has yet to answer. Einstein and others believed that time exists on a quantum level, rather than linear. Essentially, some believe that all of time–past, present and future–exists simultaneously.
Since my brain lacks the capacity to wrap my head around such a concept, I’ll say that–in the absence of proof on whether or not events are already pre-determined–I like to believe that we make our own way. Sure, things happen that are outside of our control, but I don’t believe in a grand design. Perception of the future, and whether or not we shape our own destinies, is a matter of personal comfort.
The real question is this: do you prefer to think of your future as being outside of your control, or do you prefer to think of your future as nothing more than what you make it? I think that people who have had a lot of really shitty things happen to them often like to think of their destiny as being set in stone. It’s a lot easier to resign oneself to “fate” than it is to sit and wonder: could I have done something to prevent this?
2 – 5. Although I already answered 2, these all seem to be asking the same question: What am I doing with my life, and how will my life turn out? All I have to say about it is this: don’t worry about the future or fear whatever it may portend because it hasn’t happened yet.
6. There aren’t many people who temper feelings of love and sentiment with logic and reason. Those feelings are incredibly powerful, and history has shown us that such feelings can make even the most rational mind function irrationally. When you find yourself being guarded, that means you don’t fully trust the other person. I think the best way to go about it is to be guarded until you feel you can trust the person for whom you have feelings. Then, when you are certain you can trust him/her, let go and “love unappologetically” as you put it.
7. Rules are stupid. I have recently discovered this about myself: I don’t like being made to have to follow the rules. I think that is most people, though. Rules certainly have a positive function in that they keep society from falling apart at the seams. But I think that each individual has rules they don’t like to follow. This may be surprising as I have lived most of my life as someone who always “follows the rules.”
So my rationalization for only following rules that I deem worthy of following is thus. Since I have dutifully followed the rules, and because I understand certain philosophical concepts regarding the social contract and human behavior, I feel as though I’ve “earned” the right to follow whichever rules I please. Some I follow naturally, like not killing people. I don’t think I could live with myself after murdering a human being, so I’ll follow that one. But then, you see that rules are merely statements for how “most people” feel.
Really, when a human chooses to follow or break a rule, he considers two things:
1. His personal sentiment regarding the matter, i.e. whether or not he can live with himself after breaking the rule.
2. Whether or not he/she would be willing to bear the consequences should s/he face reprisal/justice for what s/he has done. And in that, one also considers the likelihood of being caught.
At any rate, I could be wrong about all of this. I recently discovered another truth visa vis my favorite modern philosopher Albert Camus. Only when we fully embrace the notion of uncertainty are we truly freed from the burden of needing to be “right.” That’s when life truly begins, because that’s when we can finally start enjoying it.