Sunday, 21 August 2011

Ok. So let me try

The idea I am struggling with, which I fear i shall not articulate well is this:
There is a branch of philosophy known as sensualism, which maintains, to paraphrase badly, that the senses are at the root of all we perceive. As nutshells go, that possibly is one of the more ill-fitting, but I am casting about me here in wild desperation, to capture an idea that I feel but only vaguely. It is possible it would seem, to feel something strongly and deeply, and yet vaguely.

I shall attempt to give outline to its vague form. It is something along the lines of the contribution to our existence of our senses. Oh, we see all the time, if we are lucky enough to have functioning visual equipment. A myriad of other senses also have their say within the experience that we deem consciousness.
But we seem to rather passive in our engagement with out senses. A stubbed toe demands attention in screaming waves of pain far in excess of the actual organic damage done by the act of forceful collision. And yet sometimes the most glorious of potential experiences occurs whislt we are absentmindedly contemplating something else; The sunset burning incandescently in our field of vision whilst we trudge home weary; The gulped down wine served to us at an inopportune time when savouring is far from our immediate thoughts.

So, then, we waste opportunities to enjoy. If, as I seem to be coming to believe, the now is all we have (memory being an inadequate method by which we relive our moments of joy), then the majority of the time, we are squandering possibilities for enjoyment of the spectrum of pleasure, from satisfaction to rapture, by being somehow distracted with inconsequential details.

And this then is my quest: To remark to myself when such opportunities are encountered or anticipated. Many cliches exist in this vein by those who would have us believe they truly are aware of this way of being; the crust of a creme brulee being broken, the foil on a coffee jar lid being pierced. Oh these are all very well, but they are like saying you like classical music because you can recognise Vivaldi's Four Seasons, or that music off the Hovis advert.
Ok, perhaps I am too harsh here and there are others who espouse this method of experiencing. But mindfulness and "being in the moment" appear to be very trendy at the moment and this to some extent distracts from the true message that in our daily lives are small moments of delight which all of our senses can appreciate to a greater or lesser extent.

My aim therefore, for my own development of awareness, and general enjoymet of life, is to attempt to document every day, one thing, one episode, sensation, sight, sound, whatever, which transports one or more of my senses beyond the mundane. And to do this without recourse to the usual tired and well-worn triteness that can devalue some of these daily revelations.

I can start with any number of things such as the texture of the word "concupiscent", which disregarding the actual definition of the word, is so delicious to articulate mentally or vocally, that it brings to mind the final consuming of the fruit from a glass of Pimms on a Summer afternoon. That word is a small pleasure for me. Until it wears off or I forget about it.

You grasp the idea by now, I hope?

More will be forthcoming. But for now, I feel somewhat cathartic that I managed better than I had expected to clarify my particular thought.
And I am tired, so I am going to bed.

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