Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. A simplification of the heart of Epicureanism seems to make it align with one of my earliest teenage epiphanies: “The meaning of life is to enjoy oneself”. Simple enough. Despite all of my intellectual self-torture in the ensuing years, the only change to this basic worldview has been the addition of the disclaimer, “…without causing intentional harm to others.” And just like that, Bacchanalia became Buddhism but Buddhism stripped of its supernatural elements is essentially Epicureanism for the empathy-prone.
Going back to the previous topic of why we still adhere to most of society’s rules despite having mentally divorced ourselves from its cultural tendrils, I think we missed the most obvious reason for this: it’s just easier. In establishing that we both still pursue enjoyment in our particular ways, we also established that we’d prefer to avoid unnecessary suffering. When one flagrantly flaunts society’s conventions, jail is often the outcome of such behavior. I’d do terrible in prison. Worse than most.
My problem with a passionate embrace of a pleasure-seeking life is that very little gives me pleasure anymore. I eat in order to avoid the feeling of hunger, but I hate cooking and three decades of smoking has dulled my palette. Alcohol and all drugs aside from medically prescribed weed are verboten (see the desire to avoid incarceration in the previous paragraph). I still love music, but the way it would shake me to my very soul in my youth is an increasing rarity. The entire world of sex and romance — once my very raison d’etre — is something I now find an unnecessary hassle. In other words, despite the fact that I still have a hint of a sex drive, the negatives of dating far outweigh the potential positives.
So I watch a lot of TV and sometimes I even show up here on WordPress and write about shit that I watched on TV. I’ve already explained my love of passive activities, but TV is also where I gather new material at which to laugh.
What did Epicurus or Lucretius have to say about laughter? If I possess any skill whatsoever, it’s the ability to find the humor in everything. It is literally what keeps me sane (and amused). Would you guess that this love of comedy says something deeper about my need for constant reminders of the absurdity of it all? Does it perhaps betray the fact that I don’t really feel it to be as laughable as I contend?
You now have a picture of Ozzy sitting on the toilet gracing your blog page. You’re welcome. That’s what friends are for.