Enjoyment: private or social?

Pleasures can be obtained in company or privately – no question. Ecstasy and spiritual joy can be totally private but a good party is difficult on one’s own…

I question whether our private pleasures on a walk, a visit to a gallery, watching a film or listening to a new piece of music are really so private?

We are social animals, so at the back of the mind is the notion of sharing any private experience at a later time with friends or family, or at least to tell the story, send a photo or, dare I say it, write a blog or post on face-book.

Even if we don’t do this – we often talk to others inside our own heads. They are fully alive in our heads. Sometimes they answer back. Often we manipulate their response to our own liking and prejudice. We discuss matters with these carefully chosen others and – right or wrong – adjust our views accordingly. The filter of our wishes and fears colour our internal debate – yet since the other with whom we talk has a definite place in our psyche, the private interchange of thought and idea is essentially social. The taxonomy of THEE would say, “of course this is simply one aspect of the reality of the psycho-social world in which we live”.

So I suggest that enjoyment, as we commonly understand it, is a totally social phenomenon. Our social nature as human beings depends on community. We may not like our particular communities, and we may not have much in common with the majority of people around us nor share their interests. Yet, however isolated and cut-off an individual may be, however private his enjoyments, he remains a social animal and true enjoyment will depend upon sharing with others.

Curiously this magnifies the enjoyment – others’ observable joy increases our own and vice versa. Without this life would be a miserable thing.


About veritytraveller

My professional personal website is www.veritygoitein.info This blog is a more personal set of reflections on life and art, art and life.
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