I’ve slowly been having a change of heart, dear readers. I used to be quite hedonistic, honestly. Everything was about pleasure, the next fix. Gradually I moved from the empty pursuit of constant stimulation toward a healthier, more moderate lifestyle, yet one where I was still intent on “allowing myself” to go against my higher values every once in a while, to give myself permission to eat bad food, meet bad people, ingest bad chemicals, etcetera. This approach was, I felt, justified because nobody’s perfect, right?
However, we all mature. We all grow. We all begin at some point to grasp the lies we tell ourselves. I’ve realized that this view of life is somewhat twisted.
You see, there is no place for poison in a healthy diet. There is no place for violence or coercion (like in the case of pornography) in a healthy sex-life. There is no place for lies, bullying, gossip, or negative people if your aim is to be pure of heart. Giving yourself a “treat” laden with hormone-unbalancing, addictive, downright harmful chemicals and substances, as a “reward”, is plain silly.
What I’ve come to understand is that living pure and true to your goals, all the time, is way easier than the alternative. You see, just as occasionally eating sugary foods makes staying away from sugar way more difficult, so too does allowing yourself to indulge in any harmful vice make it way more difficult to stay away from it in the future. Why not simply make the decision to not do those things that you know to be harmful? Why not train ourselves to rejoice in living the pure life, rather than to constantly bemoan our lack of sugar, tobacco, hook-ups, alcohol, and video-games?
I’ve come to believe that “everything in moderation” is a fool’s errand. When it comes to living the life you’ve always wanted to live, to be the person you know you’re capable of becoming, it may be wise to simply cut out the crap permanently and find alternatives that align with our goals, aspirations, and values.
Now, to be clear, I do not mean to say that you should remove all pleasure from your life.
Although paradoxically, by removing all the superstimulating, unnatural substances and behaviours from your life, such as refined sugar, virtual reality video games, high-speed internet porn, Netflix and YouTube, you may come to find that it was never pleasure to begin with. You’ll begin to understand that true pleasure is to be found in the simple, wholesome activities in life, like true connection between two human beings as opposed to the artificial connections of social media and pornography, like actually building or creating something of value right here in meat-space, rather than levelling up an avatar in Skyrim, like going into nature and hearing the birds sing and the creek trickle its way to the ocean, rather than numbing out over Squid Games.
Rather, this will become a process of discovering true pleasure. As much as our culture pushes us to constant gratification, constant pleasure-seeking, it doesn’t actually understand what fulfilment actually is. Pleasure isn’t patented by empty, mindless activities and harmful addictive substances. Those things don’t actually produce anything resembling actual pleasure. They are empty. They are degrading. They are an affront to human potential and dignity.
That’s why I implore you, put down the phone, and go into nature. Put down the Pringles, and fast. Let go of who you think you must be, to transform into who you know you could become, if you’d only put in the effort.