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Primal blueprint as asceticism?

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  • #31
    1



    SS, I see what you are saying, but I feel as though always chasing worldly pleasures means that you will pretty much always come up short. Basically, most of this mindset has come from reading books by the dalai lama and other buddhist monks.


    Anyway, let me relay a few examples for you. What are some foods that you love to eat? Maybe it is bacon. Well if you eat a few slices of bacon, it will definitely make you happier (how could it not, it is bacon!). But at some point you will not want anymore bacon, and eating too much will make you sick. So is bacon really a good source for happiness if too much of it makes you sick?


    What about material objects. I know that a while ago I bought a nice big TV, and it is awesome...but I always look at bigger more expensive TV's and say "man, I wouldn't mind having that." I bet most people that buy a nice car will be happy with it until they see someone with an even nicer car and think "it would be nice to be driving that." Also, the novelty of these devices and gadgets wear off after a while. At some point, even with the nicest car or biggest TV, you get used to it and it is just normal.


    Anyway, what I am saying is that there is a lot to be learned about your own happiness.


    Happiness is something that comes from within, not from external factors (although these will obviously influence it a bit.) But let me give you an example. You know how sometimes you wake up and you just feel good, and you are on your way to work and you hit unusual traffic. Or maybe you end up spilling your coffee. Or maybe something some what irritating happens. Well some days you will get extremely upset about it and let yourself get all worked up, while on other days you will just laugh it off, let it slide, and go on through the day. The fact that you have different reactions to similar happenings on two different days suggests that maybe it isn't just external factors that control our emotions.


    Basically, if your happiness comes from inside and doesn't depend on external factors, you can be happy in just about in situation...something that isn't popular if you are a hedonist. I think that to fully understand this concept, you have to at least partially do away with many worldly pleasures.

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    • #32
      1



      I can understand the concept of exercising some discipline and consciously deciding to entirely forego eating junk foods forever. You are in essence deciding to give up comfort/ pleasure foods and function on a higher plane. That I can see as admirable and spiritual in a certain sense. But I'm not so sure if it's spiritual to be in a sensory rut.


      I get into food ruts out of sheer laziness of putting the attention into finding a new recipe or spending an extra few minutes shopping. Recently I've begun to consciously take more time to prepare some new foods and it has really renewed my appreciation for all the flavors we have available to us. The same can be said when I go for a run in the morn. During the week I take the same routes because I know I have only about an hour and I'm on a schedule. Again, I've been trying to shake it up a bit more on the weekends and it's amazing how heading off in a different direction and seeing some new things is so invigorating. I feel it gives me a lot more appreciation for things I may have begun to take for granted. So I guess my point is, if you renounce too much, do you also risk not appreciating enough?

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      • #33
        1



        bobbylight I see where you're comming from.


        It's funny that you mention the example of bacon though, because one of the main reasons that I'm so happy in the PB is because I can indulge in bacon all I want without getting sick. Note that I used the word "want", not "can".


        And I totally second what you say about material goods, but I think that craving things is grounded on the idea that the things themselves are what will make them happy. Such as the car you are "supposed" to have, or the thing you are supposed to own because society deems it adequate. Few see material possessions as *means* to happiness.
        [quote]

        Basically, if your happiness comes from inside and doesn't depend on external factors, you can be happy in just about in situation...something that isn't popular if you are a hedonist
        </blockquote>


        That&#39;s where I think we are all different. I myself cannot think of happiness as something unrelated with the environment.


        The way I see it, being happy requires different time scale approaches. On one side, happiness ensues when we do what we want to do, when we want to do it, the way we want to do it.


        On another side, happiness ensues when the above is possible while enjoying a complete lack of physical and emotional needs.


        But for the above to happen, you need periods of mental clarity in which you plan ahead to ensure the necessary conditions for them to happen, and this implies making rational objective decisions about why we are doing what we are doing.


        But thats just me.


        And I evidently need a vacation.

        “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
        "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull

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        • #34
          1



          Asceticism places the body as a hindrance upon the mind&#39;s optimal functioning; denial of sensory pleasure and physical sustenance is done in an effort to achieve mental clarity. However, this is a futile endeavor as the mind is intrinsically bound to the body. Extreme deprivation does not grant superior cognition. If it did, then starvation would yield supreme lucidity. Instead, starvation yields hallucination and disconnect from reality. The mind is a complex interaction of biological processes, and continuous denial of sensory input and sustenance can only hinder these biological processes rather than help them.


          This is not to say that self-discipline is worthless and one should completely indulge every sensory delight that the body desires. However, there is a big difference between regulating one&#39;s impulses and denying one&#39;s needs.

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          • #35
            1

            [quote]


            I don&#39;t think aestheticism is bullshit. Self discipline and delaying gratification is HARD. I think the biggest problem with mindless indulgence is that it is mindless.
            </blockquote>


            It sounds like you&#39;re implying that by giving asceticism a &#39;pass&#39; I&#39;m automatically professing adherence to (and approving of) mindlessly indulging.


            To reiterate (from wikipedia):

            Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures (especially sexual activity and consumption of alcohol) often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals


            The double negative not abstaining does not mean anything other than not abstaining. It doesn&#39;t mean debauchery.


            While I don&#39;t seek to pursue any religious or spiritual goals, I do feel very strongly about things like honesty (which I have plenty of) and tact (which I lack, for the most part) and reliability and self-discipline and the ability to mindfully indulge in life&#39;s pleasures and clean code and automated unit tests.


            But I never said that asceticism is bullsh*t. I just said that it isn&#39;t for me.


            [edit:]
            [quote]


            However, there is a big difference between regulating one&#39;s impulses and denying one&#39;s needs.
            </blockquote>


            Ah, now that is what I was trying to say!

            quette's journal

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            • #36
              1



              groquette, you are right, not abstaining doesn&#39;t necessarily mean self-indulgence. I wasn&#39;t trying to imply that contesting asceticism = mindless indulger. Sorry, I think my semantics just got lazy (damn mediated communication and it&#39;s imperfect transmissions! . And I&#39;m sure my interpretation of asceticism is different than wikipedia&#39;s but I guess I&#39;ll try to use that as the reference point from now-on. I think the problem is that hedonism or self-indulgence doesn&#39;t require the individual to be particularly mindful. Of course that doesn&#39;t means mindfulness is absent, but it certainly isn&#39;t a prerequisite. So in itself self-indulgence isn&#39;t bad, but when it is mindless it can be. I think this is what I was trying to say the first time (but my semantics sucked). On the other hand, I think when people inhibit impulses it shows that they are doing so because they are mindful or conscientious of some context greater then the immediacy of the moment or rote behavior. In this scenario mindfulness is necessary for this inhibition to occur. Of course this doesn&#39;t even mean the inhibitions are necessarily derived from good or virtuous ideals. You could just be paranoid for example. And self-indulgence could very much be mindful: have your bacon and eat it too. But in that instance the pleasure is just part of the equation, not the sole driving force - we eat the bacon because it tastes good AND we know it is good for us. Do we do this with cake? No, because we have greater foresight - it is not worth it when the context extends to our future health.


              I think SS was even arguing it the other way-around - pointing out that people can mindlessly inhibit themselves for a "greater good" and loosing sight of what that "greater good" really is. Like never eating sweets, even pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving because it is "not healthy" even when in the long-run it is negligible (and totally worth it IMO. I&#39;m def having punkin pie). So I agree you certainly could loose sight of your self-disciplining but I think it is a harder argument to make.


              bobbylight, you are starting to get into stoicism - I like!

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              • #37
                1



                Tayda, the problem with the cakes and pies is that, for some, it results in a very unpleasant carb hangover. Plus many have developed a hypersensitivity to sweet flavors, so passing on desserts would not really an act of asceticism anymore.


                The above being said, I still see purposeful planning of recurrent and mindless self-indulgence episodes with bacon, for example, as a welcomed add-on to my personal happiness, because they have no long-term negative impacts on my health, nurture me and tastes phenomenally good.


                So my point is that planning hedonistic episodes without jeopardizing long term goals such as health, income security and intellectual development can be absolutely aligned with happiness. Even if these hedonistic episodes result in sessions of mindless self-indulgence and debauchery.

                “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
                "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
                "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull

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                • #38
                  1



                  Tayda, thanks for the thoughtful reply.

                  Plenty of food for thought in this thread!

                  quette's journal

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                  • #39
                    1

                    [quote]

                    Enjoy "worldly pleasures" like steak and sex are part of the primal philosophy (just not at the same time). </blockquote>


                    I wish someone had told me this sooner

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                    • #40
                      1



                      @bonesheal: Never overlook the potential of sharing a roast duck in bed

                      :-D


                      I would venture to guess that it&#39;s the best of both worlds.

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                      • #41
                        1



                        Oooh kuno...

                        The more I see the less I know for sure.
                        -John Lennon

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                        • #42
                          1



                          <i am probably a very bad person for bringing that up>

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