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AEros of flourishing
december 31, 2011 / may 28, 2012


the hills are alive

Ease of enthusiasm, exuberant response to appealing experiences, elation, and ecstatic desire—wholehearted engagement with being alive—deserves to infuse one’s sexuality, too! But highly flourishing is not basically sexual possession (‘eros’ uncapped or unitalicized, in my discussion). One might prefer the exhilaration of great discovery over sex. Orgasm is a purely somatic ecstasis, but endorphinic ecstasis is not just sexual.

Excitements of loving what draws feeling and thinking through the whole of one’s life should be part of our sense of eros—of an Eros highly conceived (“AEros”), at least in terms of all the kinds of intense pleasures there are, mindally as all the kinds of loves—altogether expressing our potential for a wholly elating Love.

Yet, a high wholeheartedness of life is no mere stance, like standing at a vista merely feeling overwhelmed. It’s enactive, engaged and engaging—also (for me especially) inwardly. I’m endeared to a notion of inner-worldly in-wordness—which could be signed as a high inwor[l]dness. An artist or researcher given into the Flow of their work might easily call the time exhilarating, where little discoveries feel ecstatic (like little shots of endorphins, mindally educed). At heart, a good “love life” is about loving life’s potential for entwining outer- and inner-worldliness.

[Aside: But politeness calls for keeping the sense of AEros modest (a very outer-worldly stance); and so, too, for economics (which thrives on the largest common denominator). Behold the expansive lowlands: To focus ‘love life’ (the rubric) on sexuality is “loved” by the market for reproduction because the sexual economy indirectly motivates so much else, like the housing market (very labor-intensive) and an elaborately-profitable common sense of family in politics (where one marries to grow children, like having pets, as a private discretion, regardless of children’s rights to sustainable planning and good enough parenting). Reproductive economics is supposed to provide the elderly a safety net from a good tax base. Indeed, thinking about the politics of sexual economics is an academic industry, as well as a keynote of public policy for actual governing. (And actually, the sex industry is funny. Hey, I’m talking about fashion, not pornography. The latter’s beyond ridiculous, by the way. But it’s clinically fascinating—for a short while, then chronically boring.)]

Increasingly, lives are lasting longer (but meaningfully?) and more persons are choosing to forego parenting (and also, parenting involves a decreasing percentage of the longer life span). One might say that higher grounds—midlands—are growing across the lowlands? Increasingly, the reproductive aspect of life is just less important to more-individuated and longer lives. So, need for more orientation to long-term engagement in fulfilling aims becomes more salient—for education, for health care, and for culture. This is a matter of what we do with the parenting we choose, the education we advance and support, the care for healthy living we exemplify, and the culture that we admire and might love to advance.

But I’m not now going to focus on well-being and public policy (though I will, eventually). Nor am I going to recycle themes from conceptualizing a “good life” generally (though I’ll eventually go beyond that, too, way beyond what I’ve started). But my view of the hilly road ahead is long and—may I say—lovely.

That’s not to say I want to see my own loves adopted by everyone else! But having influence is so fulfilling. Having wide influence is such a high. But I really don’t expect that. So, I enjoy fidelity to my wayfaring—and hope you do, too.

loving hedonic highs

You can easily imagine an holistic sense of healthy pleasures that provides a rich conception of somatic happiness. Everyone would include notions like “mind-body integration,” “mindfulness,” and the like. Healthy minds, healthy bodies! But lifelong love of mental challenge, lifelong love of learning is especially important for living long, as the heart of True happiness involves meaningful engagement which is fulfilling. And the uptake of gaining fulfillment is to eventually want more—like orgasms. Exuberance, etc., for life, leading to fulfillment, is great.

As a matter of conceptual venturing (for later), I would love to theorize all this (way beyond what I’ve already done on feeling), like a conceptual version of Rauschenberg gathering an array of appealing kindreds into the studio and wondering what may become of their interplay in artful minding.

I want to celebrate arrays of gratifications with varying relative importances to each other like a landscape whose topography is in motion through the life span. (Not to be obtuse for its own sake, but: I might pursue an ontogenic-individuational theory of value relative to a conception of conditional prioritization among developing purposes. That’s one way to capsulate the “good life” project: as a great preface to a philosophical approach to value.)

At best, gratifications (or satisfactions) serve desires for fulfillment which, at best, compose a landscape of sustainable Meaning for a life. Accordingly—bear with me here—theorizing an ethic of pleasure might be tenable as practically relative to given options in valuable situations played relative to good sense of timely prioritization. That’s obtuse, but the point is that ethical notions of relativity, value, situationality, enactive play, good sense, and timeliness would be foci for an ethic of pleasure (or the somatic mode of happiness for a philosophical conception of authentic happiness). A rich sense of timeliness for a lifetime—situational, project-ive, relative to a life’s era, and oriented to gaining and sustaining authentic happiness—seems to me integral to artful self interest and selfidentity in ethical life. I’m taking to heart conceptually a genuineness of saying “I’m having the time of my life” in the times of my lifetime, lived at best artfully.

better living through high fidelity to beautiful openings

Can you love a guy who gets thrilled by etymology? I do love myself.

Today, children, we shall dwell with ‘demon’. (I know: Periods should go within quote marks, which I do with double-quote marks, but not with the mentional marks that single quotes serve.)

Demon’, children: It originates from Greek daimon: spirit, deity. It’s standardly about an overwhelming presence of intelligence or guidance or insightfulness within oneself. Look: It’s originally not frightening. The historically-first English sense was to denote an “indwelling power or spirit” which was “attendant” or “ministering” (Merriam-Webster Unabridged). A synonym is ‘genius’, which was originally about an attendant spirit of a person or place. Though ‘daimon’ historically suffers dark woods (as Medieval demonism), it emerges (in contemporary usage) like where it began: denoting a person “possessed [of] extraordinary drive, enthusiasm, or effectiveness....” The Wikipedia article on this (which indicates no editorial qualms) notes at the top that “As a psychological term, [‘daimonic’] has come to represent an elemental force which contains an irrepressible drive toward individuation.. As a literary term, it can also mean the dynamic unrest that exists in us all that forces us into the unknown, leading to self-destruction and/or self-discovery” [my emph.]. But my point is not to dwell with the daimonic as such. (Sorry, kids; I tease. But you, too, may explore your own daimons at Wikipedia.)

At heart, we’re stirred by the wind in our souls tacking the waters of a life cycle. Our history is full of penchants, peculiarities, incarnations, and shadows which may seem to lack promise of dissolving, sometimes becoming evils which must be excommunicated. But the Odyssean message was that foreign lands are fonts of discovery. An archetypal truth about discovery is that some souls can’t stay away from a mystery, due to what mysteries may be—as we may lust for as much seduction as possible, be it delicious or transgressive. We want It so bad, we may wholly surrender to its AEros of appeal.

Far, far away, they say, there’s a freedom of imaginability, capability of comprehension, and potential for synergy and cohering that may possess your whole being—all sensibility—whose high fidelity to itself (capability and potential) is like possession by a goddess or a god. “But that’s just me,” and the AEros of the waters was just a font of letters.

Dear, I’m so much energy for doing what I can, if only just to see if I can draw some wonderful things into a cohering conceptual garden that’s lastingly valid (though mainly because it’s fun).

Not that I don’t appreciate stable grounding. That should be clear from much of what I’ve written in recent years. But the common ground of responsibility is marginal for discovery. Inasmuch as we want new possibilities (which is ever wanted by “the” artist or scientist—the scientific artist, let’s say, whenever I refer to an “artist” or “artistry”)—inasmuch as we want new possibilities, then we want creativity, which is conceptually a matter of the conditions for the possibility of original insight (presuming that being “original” is a relative thing, even “for” evolution, as I discussed earlier).

That kind of interest isn’t likely appealing to many people, except my Artist (you). So, I appeal to my aristic (i.e., best and brightest—idealized) Artist. Others are welcome.

Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei is exemplary here: a philosophical literary psychologist. I mentioned her Ecstatic Quotidian awhile back (a book which I’ll soon focus on—at last). The book description of her just-published Exotic Spaces in German Modernism notes that “As exotic spaces are conceived as mystical, liberating, erotic, infectious, frightening or mysterious,” life—I’m adding now—grants itself luscious potential for bearing—and indeed, “several possibilities for transformation emerge...[including] re-enchantment through epiphany.” Yes!

So, let me tell you more about my love of transgression in ethical artistry, how welcoming what others might regard as exotic, marginal, abnormal, extreme, weird, alien, high minded, low minded, or extraordinary, is not only an ordinary part of being young-and-adventurous, but part of being highly drawn to creative life (which so much youth abandons—or wastes—because they lose the daimon). Let me tell you more about how I never lost love for being seduced by infatuation and inspiration and elation and prospects of high synergy, high serenity.


artful life

I intended to write you briefly about—well, you’d find the list dreadful, but it was about the coming year’s affairs with others’ senses of flourishing, mind, enaction, love, somatic pleasure, autobiography, ethical possibility, high creativity, literary thinking, beauty, goodness, and conceptuality as such.

Then, February—no. And also not to be all told by mid-April, about which I’ve proved myself too readily springy. (Funny, April did turn out to be a cruel month, 2009—then again, 2010, mygod, really something about early spring. But no more. Never again. Yet, the story of It All to be told!—some day way far.)

The dreadful list indicates key themes I’ve mentioned ad nauseam, now as focal topics which I’ll develop, as chancey influence, luck of insight, and desire altogether afford. The other side of repeating myself too easily is a comforting coherence in my way of thinking.

One can smugly think of what s/he writes as being read by, say, millions. But in fact, each reading is just between a “you” and an “I,” a fruitfulness relative to what I can give and what you make of it.

That’s not to overtly challenge you to make something of what I do (—but by the way....); rather, to emphasize an intimacy of all human presence across time (generations) and space as textually potentialed.

Yet, that’s just between us. We are each minding persons, “psyche”s or psychalities. Textuality is an interpsychal medium between writer and reader (writer “reading” an absent other and reader writing
the mentality of an other displayed)—or, at least, there’s here one Self showing itself (like any expressiveness) or manifoldly enstancing (a freestanding combine of stances across narrated time)—intra-psychality expressing one’s daimon channeled as displays.
Robert Rauschenberg painting, 1954

Finding oneself reflected in the mirror of writing another is gorgeous to me (and to literary psychology). Finding myself inspired in the mirror of writing you was always the best I could give.

This is sec. 5 of “autotelic mind.” Finally, sec. 6: “intimacies,” part 1:“therapeutic living


  Be fair. © 2017, gary e. davis