- What should I do for a better life?
- Enjoy yourself! Eat great food, drink fabulous wine, whatever makes you happy!
A classic hedonist answer. And a great one for three reasons:
Quoting Camus: «After awhile you could get used to anything.». That’s great news! Once accustomed to the food and wine we find fantastic today, we will be driven to explore some more and set on a search for something new. We will never be static, but always pushed forward. This never ending quest is a promise for a life filled with the meaning associated to a vision and goals, as well as a life full of satisfaction brought by the achievement of said goals.
It’s also a great place to start. If one doesn’t enjoy oneself, then why would the others enjoy being in one’s company? And we need to remember that, as Epicurus said, «Of all the means to insure happiness throughout the whole life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends.» Enjoying ourselves makes us cheerful, easy to go, attractive to others. It creates a positive feedback loop, a merry and virtuous circle of happiness. We can then open up to others, creating relevant relationships built on a pleasant foundation. Not to mention the pleasure one can find in making other people delighted. Being contented is great, sharing the feeling makes it fantastic.
Some will say the pursuit of purely sensual pleasures is just too shallow for them. Firstly, as we saw above, there’s much more to them than one might think. Superficial they may be, but deeper layers cannot be reached without going through the ones close to the surface. We can move towards our final destination only by understanding where we come from. Basic layers are the concrete we need to support our jumps towards the stars. Secondly, the pursuit of sensual pleasure needs not be compulsive. The way of zen can be applied in any circumstances. Mindfulness is a state of mind that can accompany any of our actions, meditation as well as mastication!
As Seneca wrote, «True happiness is to enjoy the present», let us enjoy then!