Pursuit of Pleasure

Sarah Marakos

Unfortunately, I did not have a lyrical experience this week.

Most of our discussion this week was about living life in pursuit of pleasure.  This concept of Hedonism sounds pretty good to me- who doesn’t like to feel good? At first, this idea seemed to contradict what we had been learning so far about the world constantly changing. How can you lead a life of pleasure if nothing lasts? However, after reading The Woman Who Spent Her Life in Love, I began to understand where the evanescence of the world fit into place with this concept of Hedonism. The woman in the story lives a life of pleasure, but that pleasure is fleeting. Since the world is always changing, the good things can’t last. She ends up in poverty and has nothing left but sorrow. “How cruel the floating world, its solaces how few—and soon my unmourned life, will vanish with the dew,” (Saikaku 172). Just as the pleasures she once experienced do not last, neither will the misfortune and poverty she encounters. I think it is important to fill your life with pleasure seeing as every day could be your last, but it The Woman Who Spent Her Life in Love teaches us that these pleasures are not permanent, “In this floating world anything can happen,” (Saikaku 185). But even when the woman is left with nothing but sadness, isn’t that the beauty of life? According to the ideology of mono no aware, there is sadness in all things, which is what I think leads to the pursuit of pleasure in the first place. If we all suck, then we are all on the same lowest level. “We become the denizens of a floating world of pleasure tinged with sorrow, temporarily finding reprieve,” (Inouye 82). This corresponds to Saikaku’s idea of mono no aware “a sadness that is constantly evolving toward gaiety,” (Inouye 84). In my mind, if this evanescent world is always going to be sad and we all suck, why not enjoy ourselves and feel good even if the pleasure might not last?

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