Humor is the last feature I will include in our Enjoyment Need. I suggest that humor is an important part of enjoyment. Not some mean spirited hollow jocularity, but humor that is uplifting and enjoyable. If done appropriately humor can be of help during moments of sadness, loss, and grief. Sobel and Ornstein recommend we use “humor instead of anger,” and even use “humor to handle anxiety.” (1996) Humor can be one of those techniques we can use to avoid a knee-jerk reaction during heated emotional situations. Rabelais proposed that, “to laugh is characteristic of man.” (16th Cent) Humor is part of the joy of laughing —-> “I will laugh.” Risible moments that elicit laughter are needed by all of us. Over time I have found a laughter that is associated with all the craziness there is in this world. I don’t think I will ever stop being amazed at all the crazy, weird, and unnatural things we humans are capable of doing. I am doing a better job of going-with-the-flow concerning the absurdities of human nature, and how these flapdoodles are played out in my own life. Absurdities in life that sometimes there is no response to but to cry or laugh, and I prefer laughter. I am even doing a better job with tongue-in-check bantering. I am trying to do a better job of laughing at the imperfections I find in myself. I am trying to reach a point where I can jokingly be self-deprecating about my own craziness and absurdities, and not take myself so seriously. Over time it can be easier to be self-effacing about our own quirks, insecurities, and silliness. Without the human ability to both play and share humor, I sometimes wonder how much crazier and mean the human world could be.
In further posts down the road I planned on spending time discussing the human brain. That splendid organ that allows us to think, and to think about thinking. But a question came up about what happens as our brain ages. So I will briefly discuss that subject now. If anyone has questions about what I write, just ask me and I will address it on this site, or individually through a message. Old age has certain failing mind-body faculties related to seeing, hearing, physical agility, and mental acuity. However, old age also brings accumulated knowledge that adds to our wisdom. Brain research now indicates that there is “life-long brain plasticity.” (Goldberg, 2005) Even in old age our brain can rewire itself. Even in old age we can challenge our brain. Old age doesn’t have to be about being weak-minded. What was once thought impossible is the growth and development of new synaptic connections even at an older age. Brain decline is either from disease or the brain is not being used —> “use it or lose it.” For some individuals old age can lead to atrophy with non-brain usage. The brain that is not used (at any age) can be frozen with few new brain connections being made. According to neurologist Richard Restak, “the brain never wears out; it gets better the more we use it; it changes in structure and function throughout our lives. As a consequence of this plasticity we sculpt our brain according to our life experiences.” (2009) What research is starting to investigate is the advent of those super-agers who are not just living longer, but are engaged with life and are performing and functioning productivity well into their late 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and beyond. This research confirms that indeed an, “old dog can learn new tricks.” There is now a realization that our brain has potential powers and uses that have not even begun to be explored. Please ask questions and/or make comments.
Over the last week I have made some posts related to the human basal Enjoyment Need for some level of happiness in our life. Our need for enjoyment and happiness really isn’t fully addressed without some focus on human play. I propose that play is natural, play is good, and all of us need to play. It is when we are having playful fun. Play is part of the human basal Enjoyment Need no matter what our age may be. Play is a useful form of socialization no matter what our age may be. Play is a natural component of life —-> play for plays sake. There is an innocence coming from pure play that brings a kind of pristine emoji expression of joy. Play is the liveliness that comes from living in the moment where we can “laissez les bons temps rouler,” or “let the good times roll.” Pure joy and delight springs forth from such activities as dancing, writing, painting, drawing, and sing-song rhythm and thyme. I experience emotive, cognitive, and intuitive natural play that comes from a walk in the rain, smell of flowers, hiking, horsing around, and gardening. There is au natural play in a carefree bare feet walking in the grass. Play connects me with Nature, human nature, and my own nature. Play has been called the foundation of childhood learning for both emotive and cognitive learning. I say play has a role in intuition and creativity. That is, during playfulness our inner intuitiveness can be released and this can release an inner creativeness. Play is a foundational source of enjoyment in life because it is about elation, being jovial, festivity, gleefulness, gaiety, and merriment. I so appreciate Nietzsche saying, “I know no better means to deal with great tasks but play; this is an essential prerequisite and sign of greatness.” I suggest play can be an anecdote for boredom, anxiety, and even depression. What do you think?
Over the last week I made posts concerning the human need to find enjoyment in life. Our Enjoyment Need includes pleasure (hedonism). In the previous post, I discussed short-term hedonism. In this post, I will detail long-term hedonism. Epicureanism is frequently interpreted as pleasure for pleasure’s sake, or that unending parade of sensual and bodily excitement. However, I point out that the Epicurean approach to enjoyment is really oriented towards eudaemonism —-> a Greek word for happiness. Eudaemonism is a happiness that is oriented towards pursuing a balance between the mind and body. In the Theory of Balanceology, I equate eudaemonism with a constancy of contentment. Rosenbaum maintained that, “Epicurus taught that all life is oriented toward pleasure but that the rational being will differentiate between short-term physical pleasures that are destructive and pleasures of the mind that are ultimately gratifying. Here was the Epicurean approach to the good and evil life.” (1982) Long-term hedonism is a pursuit for those activities that are healthy for both the mind and the body and are long-term oriented. Long-term hedonism is: a.) an enlightened pursuit of enjoyment of the body and the mind, b.) an enjoyment that brings a balance between the more bodily oriented pleasure and mind pleasure, c.) an enjoyment that is a realization of our mind-body connections. d.) an enjoyment that comes to us, and at times can be shared with another, and has the potential to connect with another, e.) an exultation that allows us to connect with Nature, human nature, and our own nature, and f.) approaches food not only for bodily pleasure and nourishment, but also for the joy it brings to life, its sustainment of life, and the comaraderie that comes from mutual enjoyment of food with others.
In Wednesday’s post I stated that traditionally there has been two views on hedonism (pleasure). In today’s post I discuss short-term hedonism. Short-term hedonism is pleasure for pleasures sake, pleasure for the moment, and pleasure of immediate gratification. A hedonist is a pleasurist who is seeking titillation through exciting the senses —> sensual-bodily pleasure. Short-term hedonism is a mode of living seeking sensual-bodily pleasure, having as much as possible, and having it now. Short-term hedonism is basically amounts to an endless repetition of the pleasure principle. John Powell viewed hedonists as, “my pleasure before all type of people try to hide their emotional immaturity under various euphemism ‘just for kicks’ but the immaturity surfaces quickly in relationships. It is characteristic of the child and the neurotic (the emotional child) that they must have their pleasure and have it immediately. They will not inhibit for long any impulse to indulge themselves. Habits of hedonism are very often required as compensation for difficult aspects of life.” (1969)
I ask, “Don’t we all want enjoyment and pleasure that comes from the senses?” The answer is yes. There is nothing wrong with sensual and bodily enjoyment and pleasure. However, for the self-indulgent person the entire aim of life is an unending pursuit of sensual and bodily excitement. The pleasure centered person has their senses in a constant state of animation. There is a continuous search for the next thrill. Over time, the pleasure centered person will find that our brain can only tolerate so much sensual input because our brains are hedonistically conservative. Our brain only has the capacity to allow so much stimulation. At some point the brain readjusts to a more electrical and neurotransmitter balance. The brain will habituate to a bio-electric-chemical brain level that can be tolerated. The pleasure-centered person constantly pushes that level of tolerance with higher levels of drugs, alcohol, sex, and food. Camus felt, “you will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.” (20th Cent) When one episode of pleasure ends, another begins. Over time the body over extends itself and at some point starts to break down.
The Theory of Balanceology suggests that all of us need some form of enjoyment in life. Happiness and to be happy is a huge part of living. We all need times of fun, play, pleasure, and even a certain degree of hedonism. Historically and philosophically there has been two main views to conceptualize hedonism: 1.) short-term hedonism, and 2.) long-term hedonism. Over the next two posts I will go into greater detail in defining these two views. And, finally enjoyment is a matter of balancing out our needs from our wants (review previous posts on related to needs and wants).
Finally, I designate enjoyment as our fourth basal Self-Need. I have already discussed our basal needs for safety/security, worth, and empowerment. Now I address the Enjoyment Need, and its relationship to the different forms of pleasure. I previously addressed the concepts of will-to-meaning and will-to-power, but we humans also have an innate will-to-pleasure. Sigmund Freud used the term “pleasure principle,” where he maintained that joie de vivre is one of the key forces that direct human behavior. I contend that for some individuals delectation is their only directing force. E. V. Stein refers to the narcissistic person and “his worldview is ‘anything for my pleasure,’ and if he is sadistic he may add ‘even hurting another for my pleasure.'” (1965) Baruch Spinoza used the phrase “psychological hedonism,” where humans have their main goal to bring pleasure and happiness to life, and to avoid pain. However, I suggest in my writings that it is difficult to build a meaningful worldview and philosophy that is only aimed solely at one’s personal pleasure.