Life

True Enjoyment Comes From Within: Finding Happiness Beyond Material Consumption

  I hate asceticism in all its forms. People live a lifetime of birth, old age, illness and death, and there are enough sufferings. Why not enjoy them when you can enjoy them? Enjoyment is a natural part of life. Montaigne even called being good at enjoying life “the highest and most holy virtue”. According to him, Caesar and Alexander regarded enjoying the joy of life as their normal activities, and regarded their all-powerful war careers as abnormal activities. .
  However, how can we truly enjoy life? Different people have different opinions on this. In my opinion, one of the misunderstandings of our era is to regard consumption as enjoyment, but in fact the two are completely different. I don’t want to get involved in the debate about whether high consumption can promote prosperity, because that is a matter for economists and has nothing to do with philosophy of life. I have no intention to object to cars, villas, high-end furniture, four-star hotels, KTV rooms, etc. I just want to point out that all of these are only within the scope of consumption, and luxury consumption is not a necessary condition for enjoyment, let alone a sufficient condition.
  Of course, consumption and enjoyment are not absolutely mutually exclusive, and sometimes they overlap. However, the difference between them is obvious. For example, walking around and seeing fancy tourist attractions is only tourism consumption, while being at ease among mountains and rivers is the true enjoyment of nature; using TV, newspapers, and books to relieve boredom is only cultural consumption, while enlightening reading and art appreciation are the true enjoyment of culture.
  In short, real enjoyment must involve the soul, which must include the so-called “pleasure and sublimation of the soul” factors. Otherwise, no matter how much you spend, it can only be called consumption. The difference between enjoyment and consumption is equivalent to the difference between creation and production. Creation and enjoyment belong to the category of spiritual life, just as production and consumption belong to the category of material life.
  It is really a confused view to think that the quantity of consumption will be directly proportional to the quality of enjoyment. Socrates looked around the stalls on the streets of Athens and exclaimed: “How many things are here that I don’t need!” Every savvy reader can’t help but smile knowingly when reading this story. Seneca said it best: “We discover how unnecessary many things are only when we can get along without them. We have used them all the time, not because we need them, but because we need them. Because we have them.” On the other hand, just because we have so many things that we buy with money, we ignore the enjoyment that does not cost money. “You don’t have to pay for a cool breeze and a bright moon,” but how can we remember them when we sit in front of the TV every night? “What night is without moon? Where is there no bamboo and cypress? But there are few idle people like me and my two ears.” Today, when everyone is busy making and spending money, where can such idle people be found?
  So, isn’t there any purely physical, material enjoyment? Yes, people have a body, and this body also likes to enjoy. In order to enjoy it, it also needs material means. However, if we think about it carefully, we will find that human physical needs have limits determined by their physiological structure, so the purely physical pleasure obtained from the satisfaction of such needs has almost remained unchanged throughout the ages. , nothing more than food, color, food, clothing and health.
  King Zhou of Yin “used wine as a pond and hanging meat as a forest”, but he only had an ordinary stomach. Qin Shihuang built the Epang Palace with “five hundred steps from east to west and fifty feet from north to south”, but he himself was only five feet tall. Spending money on delicacies from mountains and seas is more of a show of extravagance. Hiding beauties and taking concubines, there are so many beauties, but more of them are just for vanity. The greatest happiness brought by a wealth of wealth is not direct material enjoyment, but the joy that a miser feels when he counts his property, and the pleasure that a prodigal feels when he squanders his property. All these are beyond the scope of physical satisfaction, but it would be silly to call them spiritual enjoyment. At most, they are just a kind of psychological satisfaction.
  I believe that people must have a soul, and that the soul must belong to different levels from psychological phenomena such as feeling, thinking, emotion, and will. The soul is the residence of human spiritual “self”. What it seeks is sincere love and solid faith, and what it focuses on is the realization of the meaning of life.
  Happiness is only a matter of the soul. It is the fulfillment of love and a vivid feeling of living a meaningful life. The body will only have pleasure, not happiness. At most, a luxurious lifestyle brings a shallow sense of superiority to people, not a sense of happiness. When a lucky person who enjoys all the glory and wealth in the world is still troubled by the emptiness of life, what he hears is the sigh of his soul.

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