Guilty Pleasures: Not Guilty

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Guilty Pleasures: Not Guilty


     For me, the words "guilty" and "pleasure" do not conjoin. Except in such cases as with sick sadistic monsters.

     Any pleasure of any kind, as long as it does not hurt another, is nothing to be or to feel guilty about. But then arises the issue, what if a certain pleasure you enjoy harms you? Smoking, let's say; or eating too much, and gaining excess weight, etc. My view is that if you have pleasure that brings bad consequences, as long as you recognize those consequences (or, in some cases, possible consequences) you have nothing to feel guilty about: you have calculated the cost or possible cost, and have decided that you are willing to pay it.

     Okay, look. Life is too short for all of us. Life at its longest is too short.

     I don't know who here may or may not have heard of Alan Watts, the author of such books on Zen as *The Two Hands of God*. Dr. Watts had gastrointestinal problems that meant he had to eat a rather bland, drab diet in order to maximize his lifespan.

     He chose not to do this. He ate rich, spicy foods; he ate sweet, luscious desserts; he drank copiously of wine and other alcoholic beverages, and also many non-alcoholic drinks that were on the list of foods and drinks forbidden to him, such as coffee.

     He used to say that the only bothersome aspect of his physician-prescribed diet (which he ignored) was that some of his friends nagged him too much about what he ate and drank, that he was forbidden to eat and drink.

     Was he guilty of anything? He would have been guilty of negligence, if he had taken the course he took thoughtlessly. But he had decided that he would rather enjoy all the foods he loved, and he was willing to pay the price of losing a number of years of life rather than live all his years eating bland, unjoyful foods.

     As a result of his course of action, Alan Watts died in his forties--I believe he was 43. He took his gourmet and gourmand pleasures freely, and paid with the loss of a few decades of life. I personally would have chosen differently. But he knew the price he stood to pay, and chose to risk it. He was guilty of nothing, because he thought it through.

     Perhaps the Universe was guilty of presenting him with the terrible choice of either living a long life eating joyless food, or living a short life eathing all the foods and drinking all the drinks he loved.

     Guilty pleasures? I have none. I try my best to live my life so as to hurt no others.

     Some pleasures I forgo because I have decided I am unwilling to take them because they would hurt others. Some pleasures I forgo because I have determined that the cost to me, the risk of harm to me, is greater than I am willing to risk. Other pleasures are pure gold, because they harm neither others nor myself.

     Finally, there are those few pleasures that may or may not harm myself, that I am willing to run the risk: for example, riding a motorcycle fast and against the wind, with my hair helmet-free, feeling the wind blow it wild. While I have hair, I'm going to enjoy such freedom and joy, at the risk of an accident that could render my health issues moot. I am going to enjoy my life to the last drop of light.

     Pleasures, yes. Guilty, no.



--Written by Michael LP, aka MLP
aka PoetWithCancer, aka PWC, aka Mr. Poet
Written on Tuesday, July 28, 2009  4:43 am PDT
Copyright © 2010 by Michael L.P.  All rights reserved

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abuelita1 commented on Guilty Pleasures: Not Guilty

12-31-2010

Golden pleasures, more precious than any gem on Earth. This is my goal!! ;) Love.............Super Angel

abuelita1 commented on Guilty Pleasures: Not Guilty

11-29-2010

My father was told by the doctors to watch his diet, not do anything strenuous, among many other things. He was painting our house, on a ladder, when I told mt dad to be careful and not fall. Wrong thing to say...lol...He told me he had lived his life his way, and if he followed anybody's orders, he would have died years ago, from boredom. Shoot, I was conceived when my dad was 68 years old, and he died two weeks before he was 95. He drank a shot of wine every night, ate what he wanted, and lived happy. I'm glad he did. ;)

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.

Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) Greek philosopher.

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