Week 5: Hedonism, mono no aware, and monstrosity
No moment this week
The fifth week, we mainly discussed the value of Hedonism which is a different response to evanescence. Our lives are fragile and weak, so the hedonism that we embrac in our youth is valuable. We might die or get in an accident tomorrow. Even though we are working hard now, if there is no future, it does not matter at all. So why don’t we enjoy our lives more than now? I lived a very ascetic life. I was swinging between the twin poles of hedonism and asceticism. However, after I went to the last lecture, I realized that the only thing that is valuable is pleasure and all things are means to a pleasurable end. Let’s enjoy, we do not know what is going on tomorrow (Lecture 02/20).We should not consider pure passion for sexual desire as a sin. We have to accept that human’s sexual instincts and needs are inevitable.
In The Woman Who Loved Love, the lives of five women are bold because they try to seek their love and pleasure aggressively. However, their lives end up sad and poor. In The Musical and Dancing Festivities, the gentleman also tries to have a physical pleasure with women dancers. “Thus the gentleman’s feelings were deftly stirred” (Saikaku 161). The man is stirred by women’s temptation. However, those women want to get money from man, not love. So there is no real love. “The average man was unaware of it, but all these girls were after the same thing” (161). They use their music and dance to make the gentleman lose control. “We can take advantage of all the noise and excitement… (161). In Hedonism, it could be that there is no pure love. It might be sad, but we cannot always seek a platonic love. In Mono no aware, Kenneth said that “I have a feeling that Japanese people are living with a somewhat strangling notion of uneasiness” (Norinaga 14). To release our extreme uneasiness and stress in the world, sometimes we need to enjoy a physical pleasure.