Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pleasure and the Ethical Life

"Power results from the orderly pursuit of pleasure," I said, "[as knowledge results] from the orderly pursuit of certainty." I think I'm on to something here. The orderly pursuit of a goal must be patient. One does not fool oneself that one has reached a goal when one has not. One accepts the progress one has made.

You pursue certainty on a particular issue, but you often have to settle for lesser certainties (not less certainty about the major theme). Likewise, you may be looking for a great pleasure, but you often have to settle for lesser ones. The orderly pursuit of pleasure and certainty implies actually enjoying what you get, not being disappointed by not getting everything all at once. One must accept, as Pound says somewhere, the length of the journey.

I like this idea that the ethical life (would Hegel call it Sittlichkeit?) is the orderly pursuit of pleasure.

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