What A Pleasure
25 October 2009 § 2 Comments
The Book Of Pleasures, Raoul Vaneigem: Revolution no longer lies in refusing to acquiesce and survive but in taking a delight in oneself.
Well now, it does and it doesn’t. If you’re reading this with deconstructive eyes, you already know that for the worker bees to stop and consider their own pleasure would bollux up the works something terrible.
It’s interesting to consider whether there’d be enough to go around, should everyone suddenly develop healthy self-regard and, even more importantly, believe that satisfying, life-connected experiences are available to them, through the direct path of their senses. My thesis being, of course, that capitalism demands mass unhappiness in order to work, as the slightest examination will reveal. As long as we live by a competitive system, many unfortunates are required at the bottom of the pyramid; they—these creatures with human needs and desires much as yours and mine—provide the base, the platform, upon which the great structure rests.
Vaneigem: “The long dark night of trade is all the illumination our inhuman history has ever known.”
Where were we. Taking delight in oneself. A damn sight easier if them what gave birth to you felt the same way, if delight in one’s presence filled one’s infancy and childhood. The rest of us brokens gotta limp toward the finish line, making art of it, if we’re lucky. There is no greater investment than taking delight in your children, for they will absorb that good feeling as if coming from the universe itself and their pleasure in being alive will spread, generationally, long after you are gone.
In a capitalist, consumerist society, this is a revolutionary act. It means finding your own self apart from where the market tells you to locate it. It means—as do most good things—delving within and repopulating that space, if necessary, with friendlier folk. That’s the marvy thing about the human mind; as the Dalai Lama says, you can fool it, and to do so heals. Well that’s not exactly how he put it, but he did say that creating an exact neural replica of your trauma changes the brain. One of those Zen things that are two-fold, all at once. Constructing the replica jolts (my theory. not unfounded) the neurons out of their stale and terrible ruts in the neocortex into new paths, apparently something they need help to do. I can see why.
Vaneigem: “All in all, do authority and money really regulate how lovers kiss or the taste for wine, or your dreams, or the smell of thyme on a mountainside, since they govern what they cost?”