Monday, October 8, 2007

The Lost Art of Enjoying People

A magnificent article by Mitchell Kalpakgian. To quote:

Human beings, then, are sheer delight because of their infinite variety; overflowing fountains of joy, love, and goodness because of their spiritual depths; and bountiful sources of laughter, conversation, and wisdom because of their playful, rational, and social nature. So why are people not fully appreciated as life's greatest source of true pleasure? Why has a love of things surpassed the enjoyment of people, and why have the more temporal pursuits of gratification -- travel, education, career, health -- replaced the more eternal sources of happiness? In a consumerist society such as ours, one is accustomed to purchasing pleasure, receiving instant gratification, and living in comfortable ease. The enjoyment of persons is an art, however, and like all arts (ars longa, vita brevis -- art is long, life is brief), it requires time, effort, practice, patience, and commitment. It takes an effort to know a person, initiate a conversation, cultivate a friendship, conduct a courtship, or receive guests with hospitality. The pleasure of a child demands constant care, diligent teaching, and habitual training in manners and morals. The joy of a marriage tests both husband and wife to give, love, and sacrifice more and more in the course of a whole lifetime -- to carry crosses, to honor vows, and to be generous and forgiving. The pleasure of friendship involves visits, letters, invitations, and communication. Unlike easy consumerist purchases, these arts require a lifetime of cultivation.
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4 comments:

Terry Nelson said...

I knew you would pick up on this - I considered posting on it. :)

elena maria vidal said...

It is a good article, isn't it? His publisher is The Neumann Press, too.

alaughland said...

And therein lies the conundrum.....the purchase of pleasure, (purchase being the operative word here), requires money for which one must work long hours to achieve, which takes time away from cultivating the pleasures of old that did not cost anything. Since the Industrial Revolution, (industrial being the operative work here), the wealthy social class who made money off someone else's labor no longer exists.

Widow Capet said...

I very much enjoyed that article. :D