The play of passions

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
Nature built them inside us, like unruly children.

Submitted: January 07, 2007

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Submitted: January 07, 2007

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"As for me, my business was his money. The passive jade thinks of no pleasure but the money." - Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe

Freedom is a basic necessity of man. If there is any worth and dignity to be have in being a human being, it lies in being free. So much so that, for all crimes the simple punishment consists of taking away this vital element of life. Constraints and necessities too rob us of this precious element. Yet, freedom itself brings along with it a mortal enemy which, given a free reign, reduces man to a mere animal governed by his own instincts. The enemy is pleasure.

The dersire to be free comes instinctively to every one of us, and its opponents are easily identified too, dictators of all types and anyone in a position of authority over others. The control exercised by them comes from outside. Inside us there are forces at work that can have a similar effect, and more conclusive too, for their bases are built inside, between our thoughts and instincts. Unlike outside dictators, our passions speak in our own voice, and so almost impossible to be distuinguished from our true self.

A life ruled by passions is hardly a free life. Whether it is food or other basic instincts, true freedom consists in being free from both external and internal control. This wisdom is stated by many, though difficult to pursue. For at every step, a thought comes to us that says: "This is more important, this is what life is all about; if I am not doing this then I am not living a full life; if I miss the plesures of life, then what is life good for?; I won't mind spending my money on this rather than some other stuff for this is closer to me, as it gives me more satisfaction." Once let loose, passions take us to a stage where we want to experience the same pleasures again and again, a strong urge being present or not; a signal of having lost control.

The effect of living a life of pleasure shows up in the damage done to both our finances and health. In a world run on money, saving for the future is all important. Health too is like a saving, for living a healthy life today would surely pay its dividends in old age.

Nature built them inside us, like unruly children. It is our task to get them under control. Their voices can not be extinguished or denied, but need not be listened to all the time. A free play given to our appetites leads to loss of self control, erodes our value as human beings, and is not worthy of a true man.


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