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bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

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day six of eighteen (b)
bird poops on plum branch
I started the book yesterday, it was sort of a philosophical book.  Today I turned that into notes and started a fictional book with a bitter self-help evangelist as the protagonist.  Who knows, maybe tomorrow it will be a screenplay.  I have these ideas, and this desire, but they have no cohesion, no manifestation.  Just a circling restlessness.  Even endless coffee and lots of wikipediaing around the history of hedonism, epicurianism, eudaimonism, altruistic hedonism, cyrenaicism, psychological hedonism, utilitarianism, individualism/egoism, collectivism, Freud's life instinct, hedonistic utilitarianism, ethical hedonism, consequentialism, act vs. rule utilitarianism, two-level utilitarianism (archangels and proles), average vs total utilitarianism, felicific calculus (hedonic calculus) was enough to give me good momentum.  I'm curious to see if this comes together or falls apart.

Hedonic Calculus, invented by Jeremy Bentham in the early 19th century, is pretty interesting in itself though.  He wanted to basically create a MATH for pleasure and pain.  Here are the seven variables:
  1. The intensity of the pleasure or pain.
  2. The duration of the pleasure or pain
  3. The certainty or uncertainty of the pleasure or pain.
  4. The remoteness of any pleasure or pain. (Propinquity)
  5. The chances of the same effects being repeated. (Fecundity)
  6. The chances of the same effects not being repeated. (Purity)
  7. The number of people who will be affected by any pleasure or pain arising as a result of the action(s) in question.
Weird.  It never seemed to go anywhere, but it's sort of like an antique piece of thought, and if I bought things at garage sales and kept them in my garage until I myself had a garage sale, I would buy this and put it in my garage.  If I had a garage.

Here's the new premise of Enjoymentland: the pursuit of enjoyment trumps all other pursuits.  But who's enjoyment?  I can't compete with all this philosophy I've been reading.   And anyway, as Ingo said about something else, that's sort of boring.  Which is why it turned into a fictional story.

I think tomorrow it's going to go back to being a book on etiquette.  We definitely need more etiquette books in our modern lives.  Or maybe this is just an excuse to piddle around on the internet for my entire vacation.

It was fun seeing David at his lovely Soho offices today though. 

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I like the idea of an etiquette book better. Enjoyment and hedonism are good shit, and lord knows I'm a partaker of far more than my share, but it does nothing for your soul in the end - there needs to be something more, I think, at least for me. At least etiquette starts to touch upon the idea of good.

Oh, my ideas about enjoyment and hedonism are all about good. And actually, if you look into it, so were the original ideas. I think it's only the simplification of it all into pop culture that hedonism turned into a completely selfish thing.

But yeah, I like etiquette for its more subtle approach. I'm just not sure I can write anything about it.

i think turning it into a fiction is a good idea. it's an easy way out for sure, but i think it will be far less boring and i don't think people would be so incredulous about a philosophy if you say, "see? i don't really MEAN it, it's just part of this fictional world i created for these fictional people who are just exactly like us in every way."

go with that. philosophy is so pompous on its own, make it crazy and give it a story and run with it.

Yup! Maybe only the narrator will be fictional. I'm just tired of my voice. I need someone else's who is more entertaining.

"We definitely need more etiquette books in our modern lives."


Interesting. I've read the Modern Gentleman too which is full of witty etiquette. What else is out there?

I spent part of lunch trying to figure out when you would use a calculus of happiness, but considering how little I use calculus, it's not a surprise I couldn't come up with something.

[I shouldn't say that I don't use calculus, because Maya uses calculus. All of those geometric shapes in 3D are that double barreled calculus that comes after BC Calculus.]

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