Generous Hedonism

As a writer I believe it is my job to seek my own pleasure, a perspective I carry as much as possible into my non-writing life. Technically, this would make me a hedonist. Hedonism has generally received a bad rap, due mainly to the perception that if everyone simply pursued their pleasures we would be a race of obese, drug-addicted, sexaholic couch potatoes. This perception is entirely backwards, of course. The obese, drug-addicted, sexaholic couch potato is the person who has not pursued their pleasure. For instance, this could be the portrait of a writer who does not write. But pleasure, I suppose, is a tricky word. It suggests a vacation, a massage, fine food. Passivity.

Ah, but therein lies the clue. As with all things, the truth often waits just behind the veil of misperception. Passivity is not the operative quality of pleasure, but ease. When you have landed on the thing you love most, the struggle of forcing yourself to do something that brings you no pleasure vanishes in an instant. Life, after all, is not inherently a struggle; doing what you don’t enjoy, however, is.

You know you have found your story, that thing you most want to tell, when it comes quickly—or, if not quickly, at least clearly, and you do not mind the wait for the precise word because you know how delicious it will be when it arrives. So often, we struggle with our work because we have not found what interests us most about it. So we hunt and we hunt, seeking the pure pleasure, the gold that is our heart’s desire.

Do not think life is anything but a search for our own pleasure. And do not think that this pleasure will not invariably involve other people, that it will be selfish. Your truest pleasure is always generous at its core, for nowhere on earth is there one who soul who, having found what they sincerely love the most, would not at least wish the very same for everyone else. Some of us might even write a blog about it.

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