Hedonistic Imperative

From: altamira (altamira@ecpi.com)
Date: Sat Jun 17 2000 - 10:48:28 MDT

I have just read David Pearce's web site--quickly, I must confess, without
taking the time to ponder the contents of each paragraph. All sorts of
possibiilities and questions ran through my mind as I was reading, and I'm
very sorry I don't have someone around to talk to about it. I could've
talked to my cousin Lizzie, but unfortunately she's dead.

She was taking Prozac for a while and described the vividness of colors,
escpecially purple, when she was on the drug. Comparing descriptions, we
decided that my ordinary view of the world was like her view on Prozac. I
tried taking some to see what it would be like, and I didn't notice any
difference in colors. I DID notice a startling feeling of goodwill towards
strangers I encountered, such as people standing in check-out lines at
stores. I found myself striking up conversations with them and they sharing
the secrets of their lives with me. I'd never before found ordinary people
so fascinating. I only used the Prozac for a couple of weeks, because it
was having some bad side effects.

Something I've been wondering about lately is this: what is it that makes
me and certain of my relatives different from most people? My daughter
brought up this question when Lizzie's son came to visit for a day. She
commented that it was great to see him, because it's rare to meet people who
are REALLY FUN to be with, as he is. The quality I'm talking about has to
do with sensing the unexpected in the ordinary--for example, looking at
clouds and seeing hundreds of different shade of white and at the same time
hearing (in one's mind) all these shades of white translated into
corresponding frequencies of sound; or listening to the rumbling of a
machine and suddenly hearing intensely beautiful music in the combination of
sounds and seeing (in the mind) the sounds translated into something like
graphs of mathematical functions, weaving in and out of each other. Walking
down a city street, pausing to look into partly veiled windows and under
stones and into alleys can be among the most exciting of experiences. Most
of the time I prefer to walk alone, but when I can be with a person who
shares this way of seeing, the experience is all the richer for sharing it.
The "bipolar" people I've known sometimes seem to see this way when they're
in their manic phases.

I've always thought of this way of seeing as being "childlike," because
young children often seem to understand it better than older people. So
maybe the explanation for it is that some people retain certain childlike
aspects of the nervous system into old age. I'm pretty sure my
great-grandmother was like this, although she died when I was pretty young,
so I can't know for sure. I'm 50 years old, but I generally feel as though
I'm in the company of my elders when I'm with people in their 20's and 30's.

I'd like to know more about this, just out of self-curiosity. Why am I the
way I am? It's a pleasant way of being, except that I don't come across
many people to share it with. Is there some practical use to be made of it,
or is it something to be enjoyed mostly in silence (I say in silence,
because people usually think I'm crazy if I speak of it. Lizzie didn't
think I was crazy. God, I miss her so much!). Maybe the Prozac made
ordinary people fascinating to me because it allowed me to better translate
my thoughts and theirs into a mutually understandable language.


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