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Thread: The ascetic lifestyle

  1. #1
    creator kali's Avatar
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    The ascetic lifestyle

    Just want to make a parallel first

    asceticism : hedonism :: anal retentive : anal expulsive

    The first two are lifestyles we can choose, and the latter two are seemingly used to describe a personality disposition.

    What are your thoughts on the ascetic lifestyle? Do you practise aspects of it? Or do you think there is not necessarily anything sinful in indulgence?

    In a very platonic way, asceticism is praised because it elevates us from our limbic lizard brain/stupid bodies into higher spiritual realm. The body is dirty, the body must be repressed, our instincts are sinful.

    However, to someone like Nietzsche, the ascetic lifestyle is nihilistic because it is "anti-life", because there is nothing more true and authentic than bodily drives. To deny our desires is to deny life itself.

    These philosophies, like most are very much removed from our concrete lives... it's not as flat as mere abstraction...

    [On my anal expulsive nature] I dream of being able to repress certain desires to achieve all my goals, eg. stop eating crap, stop needlessly spending, stop being a mushroom
    [On my anal retentive nature] Yet I also dream of being able to be less restrained in social situations, because at times it makes me seem inauthentic, like I'm hiding my true self.

    What do you think?
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    Senior Member BarIII's Avatar
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    If I may, for my own reference if nobody else's:

    ascetic
    relating to or having a strict and simple way of living that avoids physical pleasure


    hedonism
    1 : the belief that pleasure or happiness is the most important goal in life


    nihilism
    1: the belief that traditional morals, ideas, beliefs, etc., have no worth or value
    2: the belief that a society's political and social institutions are so bad that they should be destroyed

    (I had the gist of hedonism but forgot the details)

    What are your thoughts on the ascetic lifestyle? Do you practise aspects of it? Or do you think there is not necessarily anything sinful in indulgence?
    Feeling good is the only thing that's good. It's the "right" in "right and wrong". It's what you should live your life for. That doesn't mean to not think of the future, to be impulsive, or to be selfish. The more feeling good in the world (as opposed to just in your own life), the better. I try to be disiplined and, in a way, to the extent I can at the moment, charitable. This influenced my preference of occupation. On many of these online tests that we take there are simplistic questions like "which would you rather be" that I'm always conflicted by because there's the thing I'd like to be if I were being totally selfish and there's the thing I'd like to be considering the contribution I'd make. How far you go is more complicated. Self preservation is a factor. If you try to be a hero and die half way through your first attempt of doing good, or if you work your way to misiry and suicide, you may be doing the wrong thing.
    Last edited by BarIII; 09-21-2016 at 01:58 PM.
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  3. #3
    fluctuating Obfuscate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kali View Post
    What are your thoughts on the ascetic lifestyle? Do you practise aspects of it? Or do you think there is not necessarily anything sinful in indulgence?
    i'm very much like a pendulum in these matters... i achieve balance through excess and denial... i think of it as similar to wavering between taoist and tantric states (denial of stimulation and excess of stimulation: both silence the mind)... the swings between the two compose my daily life ("a time and a place for everything")... tirelessly perusing hedonism is it's own form of denial and self flagellation... what is more selfish than the ascetic hermit? while some propose that happiness (or enlightenment) can be found this way, i would propose that total adherence to any lifestyle is blinding...

    post script:

    i guess one could argue that a life withought focus or rudder is meaningless, but life is somewhat meaningless anyhow (in my opinion)...
    Last edited by Obfuscate; 09-21-2016 at 11:19 PM.
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    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    i'm somewhat drawn to minimalism* not cuz i think indulgence/luxury is "sinful" but for environmental & personal economical reasons, life quality reasons (not having to "manage" so many things) and as a matter of health. i'm simply not drawn to hedonism characterized by excess and satiation of one's desires above everything else one could possibly live for, but i'm not sure my "reasons" are reasons to anybody else.

    at the same time, i like tons of stuff i don't need and would prefer those things not be removed from my life. i love beauty, art and experiences and the pursuit of these things can be the most fruitless and wasteful endeavor, depending on your perspective. i don't see how this would get in the way of one's spiritual fulfillment; rather, for me at least, it's kinda important to allow myself those things cuz that's what i'm drawn to when i'm healthy & it's how i develop my ideas of how to relate to anything in the world. i don't exactly know what's meant by "indulgence" here, though. if it's consuming til you're sick, i think my bodily limits should be respected (i don't value sickness and pain, personally), but if it's just allowing yourself little pleasures, and nothing about it is hurting others or morally questionable, i think that's important for people to have.

    if i couldn't indulge in beautiful things, i'm just not sure that's a life worth living.

    * edit to clarify: i know this isn't the same thing, but i'm just not into self-deprivation as a lifestyle at all. don't have much to say about that
    Last edited by jigglypuff; 09-22-2016 at 12:44 AM.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    I have no self-restraint to speak of, so it's a good thing I'm not a hedonist.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    I would've been a good Catholic. I tend to take a sort of pleasure in depriving myself or living simply. I very rarely indulge in material luxuries (no TV, basic computer, minimal furniture, standard clothes, etc) and whenever I indulge in other areas (usually eating or drinking), it's done with guilt or a sense of shame afterwards.

    I remember when I was a kid, I'd look down on other kids that liked the Power Rangers. To me it seemed childish, silly, frivolous, and immature. Same went for cartoons, Pokemon, etc. I had plenty of double standards, obviously. I still have some similar attitudes. I tend to look down on people who seem too involved in fashion, for example. Bleeds into my sex life, even. I'm typically more emotionally attracted to women who are more restrained. If my partner is more interested in sex than I am, it tends to be offputting. Which is a challenge, because I'm not that interested in sex in the first place.

    I used to also wish that I could cover the world in pavement, have all my meals/nutrition come from meal replacement foods, and that I could turn myself into a computer.

    Edit: Actually, come to think of it, I probably would have been a lousy Catholic. Maybe a Puritan instead.
    "Doesn't matter what a man has if he doesn't have purpose. You take that away from him, man usually goes with it." -Beau

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lud View Post
    Edit: Actually, come to think of it, I probably would have been a lousy Catholic. Maybe a Puritan instead.
    Seriously. Don't try to pin that hard work/delayed gratification lifestyle on us.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    Seriously. Don't try to pin that hard work/delayed gratification lifestyle on us.
    I was originally thinking of the medieval Catholics with their self-flagellation, abstinence, and spending all day writing manuscripts. You modern Catholics just cross yourselves when you pass a church while you're drunkenly going home with a stranger at 9 in the morning after spending all night in the club.
    "Doesn't matter what a man has if he doesn't have purpose. You take that away from him, man usually goes with it." -Beau

  9. #9
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lud View Post
    You modern Catholics just cross yourselves when you pass a church while you're drunkenly going home with a stranger at 9 in the morning after spending all night in the club.
    That might depend on which stranger we're talking about.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  10. #10
    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    I think I live the despicable neoliberal TED talk version of an ascetic lifestyle.

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