As I walked down Professors Row feeling distraught after a fight with my friends, I noticed rain droplets dripping off the trees’ leaves along the snow covered sidewalk.
once frozen in snow
now dripping endlessly
I’m not sure what to think about Hedonism, but I feel it’s a matter of perspective. I’ve always been taught since I was young that there is more to life than “simple pleasures.” However, studying about the evanescence of life, or mujo, I have grown accustomed to why Japanese people may embrace this idea, feeling “a sense of urgency to the pursuit of pleasure” (Inouye 70). In the context of Hedonism, I feel like this “pleasure” can be construed as lyrical. When someone gets drunk, falls in love, becomes entranced by lust, etc. he/she seems to become completely entrapped by emotion. Even then as Saikaku points out, “the blossoms of the heart are sacred/ by evening the tree itself has been turned to firewood. Who can escape?”(Saikaku, 154). Pleasure and strong emotion is temporary, but I feel even though that Saikaku points out that this pleasure could lead to our own destruction, there is still something can be learned from it. Pursuing a life full of pleasure seems to be destructive and only ends in sadness, as all things are evanescent and all ends in sadness, or mono no aware. But as we talked about in class, sadness can be beautiful (Lecture 2/20). This beautiful sadness has become an intrinsic part of the Japanese culture. Takahito highlights that the “dual structure of inner and outer dimension” is responsible for the actions we take (Takahito, 13). Takahito’s words hit me hard. The idea of morals seems to not matter in this context. People do not make actions based on moral values, but by their environment. Thinking back however, this makes sense in terms of the Japanese idea of evanescence. As the environment changes, so does life, and because of this we are all eternally (at some point or the other) sad. But we can learn from sadness, as Inouye highlights, that resigning oneself to the sadness of reality has its own rewards (Inouye, 85). Reading this made me wonder if it was to become enlightened and engage in a hedonistic lifestyle by learning through the beauty of sadness.