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Megha Kansra
Megha is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a junior student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.
 
Hedonism  

I think it all started with my thinking that hedonism was counterintuitive. Like, wouldn’t pleasure-seeking be more effective if an individual didn’t actively go looking for pleasure? Seeking pleasure seems to take out the leisure aspect of it all. And it seems to devalue any pleasure one may actually end up finding.

But then, I started to think of how we – students – tend to satiate hedonist tendencies in order to decipher some sort of pattern. I mean, this would be the only way I’d be able to gauge whether people generally tend to actively pick up things they enjoy or whether they just seem to happen to them.

The first thing that struck me was...FOOD. High school students have insane cravings for food and innate abilities to sink into a dish with hearty abandon. Honestly, I believe that food is a funny method of escapism; the activity of eating requires no advanced mental processes, no real pondering. Just simple lift and consume mechanism.

The next most obvious example is video gaming. Countless students have mastered the art of keeping their eyes glued fixedly at a glaring, noisy screen for hours on end. Level to level, move after move, they remain transfixed. Really, what better way to escape than into the pixilated abyss of a video game? There are some superficial goals and targets to reach, some robust main characters to take up the guises of, and some loud apex of annoying, gaming sounds to outdo, but, really, it’s the paragon of purposeful pointlessness. Brilliant.

And then there’s music. If the most fitting music is selected, one can drown happily in symphonic waves. Yes, music is a great outlet, as you can turn it up as loud as necessary to muffle the sounds of the surrounding world.

But, again, none of this requires any thought. It’s pure escapism. These pleasures parade under various names: pastimes, hobbies, whims, guilty pleasures, indulgences, and cravings. But really, these are just labels made to mask the reality of a proactive choice to indulge, to seek pleasure. The labels try to make said activities appear involuntary, as though some magnetic field binds an individual to it.

So what does it mean, really, if in a time when ignorance is rampant, that life’s sensuous pleasures trump the intellectual wonderment in individuals, the desire to think actively? People seek to escape increasingly, without any real contingent spike in pressure or obligations. So the whole deal can’t be connected necessarily to things like stress. And it isn’t necessarily just a rise in notions that people should “be themselves” and give in to their inner gluttons.

Maybe people can’t always reconcile their idea of life with reality. Maybe they feel that something about real life is revolting, or at least disconcerting. After all, we as people have a definite proclivity to form life in our own image, try to shape people and things around us the way that we want them, and then feel critical if something doesn’t work.

So escapism works. Not just as an actual escape from duress, ennui, or worry. But also as a method to ensure that the simple world we want to dip into exists somewhere.

Megha is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a junior student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006