I’m sometimes sorry I don’t have a way to express this without getting all “woo-woo” on the atheists, but I guess, all I can do is speak from my own experience and hope it rings true with you, or that you can at least see what I’m getting at close enough to extrapolate something useful from it.
Because I do believe that pleasure is revolutionary, that acting on our desire for pleasure and believing that we deserve it, has the potential to transform our lives, for the better. And I know that every time we talk about this, folks raise the objection that, while they think pleasure is a good idea, they don’t want to get too caught up in it, that other things might be neglected.
Which is why I think that there needs to be some thing after pleasure, something like “pleasure in accord with the will of the universe,” but I realize that such a sentiment is funny to atheists and useless to those of us who believe that the universe is governed by judgmental capriciousness. So, maybe I mean something like “pleasure that serves us, and others, well” or “pleasure that does not add to the suffering of one’s self or others.”
Do you see what I’m getting at? Someone can take a month and in it sleep with twenty different people and, if it makes her feel alive and vibrant and decadent and joyful and hedonistic and well-pleased and happy, etc., then there’s no problem. But if someone takes a month and sleeps with twenty different people and feels like shit about herself because of it, even if she enjoys the sex itself and finds in it some measure of pleasure, that does her little good.
It’s not the impulse to feel good, even for a short time, that’s the problem, though. It’s the shame and other baggage that doesn’t have to be inherent that we need to address.
I’m not sure how to do that.
As I was telling the Professor at dinner tonight, a lot of us seem to agree that there’s something inherently wrong with the structure(s) by which we relate to each other. And yet, when we talk about revolution, we only, as far as I can tell, talk about how we’ll address the problems that are obvious in the current structure. We rarely talk about what’s working and why.
So, when we go to implement new systems, they aren’t any less inherently fucked-up than the old structures, because we’ve carried with us from the old way a belief that we’ve destroyed the injustice of the old structure without the realization that, without something new to guide us, we’ll set up new structures to resemble the old structure, because that’s what we know.
Which is why I think it’s okay that I don’t know how pleasure will save us. I don’t want to impose any of this way, the way that hurts so many of us, on the future. I just want to be open to the new shapes a just relationship to pleasure might bring.
I’m thinking of giving up the term “the Patriarchy,” because though I use it as a jokey way to mean all those structures, and though I believe that things between men and women are FUCKED UP, with a capital FUH, I think it helps gloss over the shitty ways men are to each other (not that we always have to talk about men) and it focuses on just one part of how the system works, without having to address how the whole thing makes life unnecessarily hard–dare I say it?–unnecessarily unpleasant for a whole lot of people, and not just because of their gender.
This time of year, when it doesn’t get any sun, the boob freckle is faint, like a ghost of pleasures past.
I may never get to the point where I easily believe that I deserve pleasure. I’m kind of fucked up. But I’d like to at least commemorate the random spot on my breast that makes me smile; it seems so frivolous. I don’t believe it exists for any other reason but to delight me and bring me pleasure.
Ha, this is kind of a weird meandering post, but I like it, so what the fuck, huh?