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"Guilty pleasures"

"Guilty pleasures"
October 11, 2012, 02:01:46 AM
Are we on this forum generally enlightened masters of our emotions and impulses or are there those with guilty pleasures that they choose to cultivate at their own discretion? What is best? To acknowledge that you have a tendency towards the lesser and try to minimize the instances or instead try to purge oneself completely of them? Do personality/idiosyncratic methods come in to play or can we conclude that purging is the most practical method?

I'd like to think of my idealized self and in that existence there being no place for dawdling about like a deluded philistine unable to conceive of any reality outside his asinine feelings, but something else makes me stop and consider the value of entertainment and distraction to the man intent on pursuing higher ends. Perhaps there is a time and place for doing nothing of any value at all if only to clear the mind?

Now, I'm sure a more organic approach would be to replace said desire for distraction/entertainment with regular intervals of meditation, but then again I must ask if that is for everyone? Can I even reconcile a desire to be distracted at times or is entertaining the notion of and engaging in this form of simple gratification a sign of personal weakness?

To give some examples for consideration:
-Television (non-religious viewing of course, various movies here and now, some shows of the marginally more respectable than Jersey Shore variety)
-Video Games (Most of them can only hope to be inspired by great art, but nonetheless some have something resembling a respectable storyline, if at least in the context of gameplay)
-Going out with folks to do any of the above/nothing useful at all/consume some alcohol/light drugs
-Sports (both being involved in as a player and a spectator/fan). Now I'm sure playing a sport certainly can be seen to have some spiritual benefits (as a way to cultivate competition and as a medium for good conduct between players), but being a fan/spectator of a particular player/team seems pathological oftentimes (even in milder flavors)
-etc. (you fill in the rest)

Re: "Guilty pleasures"
October 11, 2012, 12:56:02 PM
Whatever happens is fine.  There is no "wrong" thing to do; whatever has occurred throughout time could not have occurred otherwise, so it does nothing at all to feel "guilty" about this, that, or the other activity.  Everything can be a learning experience if you allow it to be, even the most mundane of activities.

That said, I used to think it wasn't "right" to take heavier hallucinogens with groups of other people, as the people would serve to distract from the experience.  I now realise that there's a great deal of worth in cementing relationships with others, and that such hallucinogens allow for the dissolution of barriers between people in ways which alcohol or other "party drugs" can't.

Finding a group of like-minded people is important for the emotional wellbeing of many, including, I should think, most of us.  Group activities are often rather more banal than those undertaken by oneself, but that banality should serve simply as a levelling of the field, that all in the group might connect over a simple thing.  The connection itself is not simple or banal, and should be nurtured through these activities (I'm thinking films, games, small parties, etc.).

Re: "Guilty pleasures"
October 11, 2012, 06:51:40 PM
I'd like to think of my idealized self and in that existence there being no place for dawdling about like a deluded philistine unable to conceive of any reality outside his asinine feelings, but something else makes me stop and consider the value of entertainment and distraction to the man intent on pursuing higher ends. Perhaps there is a time and place for doing nothing of any value at all if only to clear the mind?

Now, I'm sure a more organic approach would be to replace said desire for distraction/entertainment with regular intervals of meditation, but then again I must ask if that is for everyone? Can I even reconcile a desire to be distracted at times or is entertaining the notion of and engaging in this form of simple gratification a sign of personal weakness?

Stay your zeal towards betterment and accept the "lower" parts of yourself. These things are not bad, they just have their place. If they have an even place in your life then there is nothing to worry about. I don't see how forcing in bouts of meditation in place of entertainment is a more "organic" approach.

The last time I mentioned Myers-Briggs types on this forum, not realizing that long discussions have taken place on that subject before, it derailed a decent thread. Here however, I think it may be applicable. I have noticed INTJs have a great desire to "do stuff", but I think this can sometimes become perverted into constant negative feeling about "Why isn't anything getting done?!". An intellectual stigma towards taking it easy.

I try not to have any guilty pleasures. Most things I do, no matter how banal and useless, are ultimately something I am comfortable doing; something resolved in my worldview and idea of self rather than causing conflict (however minor). It isn't easy being a righteous man, no need to make it even harder. I think it is also wise to disabuse oneself of the notion of being enlightened, especially in the realm of emotion. At best, we here try to be good people (with a dash of learning).