A Student of History

October 24, 2007

The Lost Art of Enjoying People

Filed under: Simple Living,The world today — John Maass @ 6:47 am

There’s an interesting, albeit long, article at the New Oxford Review web-page entitled “The Lost Art of Enjoying People.”  A very good commentary on today’s disposable world.  Here are some extracts:

In his natural desire for pleasure, man enjoys the whole gamut of sources of happiness, from the pleasures of the five senses to the entertainment of the arts to the possession of worldly things. Eating in restaurants, listening to classical music, going to the theater or the cinema, traveling to foreign countries, attending organized sporting events, swimming on the beaches of Hawaii, and reading great literature all represent rational worldly pleasures that civilized men savor. In Western societies, where materialism and consumerism run riot, expensive gifts, modern conveniences, and new technologies multiply the sources of pleasure to include new cars, video games, e-mail, cable television, and cell phones. A person is never at a loss for amusement or diversion, whether at home, in the car, at the mall, or in the city. But in this pursuit of pleasure and entertainment, the greatest source of happiness, the enjoyment of persons, is downplayed and underestimated. The gift for enjoying people has become a lost art.

Thus, when human beings are categorized as inconvenient things, disposable parts, and obsolete items, they are judged, according to John Paul II, by “the criterion of efficiency, functionality, and usefulness” — not for what human beings “are” but for what they possess, produce, or do. People, then, are not enjoyed for their own sake but as a means to an end — as things to be manipulated, experimented upon, and exploited.The art of enjoying people, on the other hand, views them as ends in themselves, as gifts to appreciate, and as persons who are inherently lovable for their own sake. The favor of their company and presence, a delight in their unique, unrepeatable individuality, and the gladness of mirth that people radiate enrich human life with priceless treasure.

1 Comment »

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    Comment by online stock trading advice — January 10, 2010 @ 11:56 pm | Reply

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