Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Pleasures of Taste (Random)

Pineapple Bun

While reading a recent post by HK Epicurus, his name reminded me of a few passages by Alain de Botton which I came across quite a while ago on the subject of ... general philosophy.  The philosopher's name Epicurus (or its verb Epicurean) has been associated more than often with good food and wine, but there is more to Epicureanism than simple enjoyment of culinary excellence. Epicurus philosophy focuses on the attainment of "happiness" with a strong emphasis on sensual pleasures which includes the pleasure of taste thanks to his love of excellent food.
The beginning and root of every good is the pleasure of the stomach. Even wisdom and culture must be referred to this. - Epicurus 
Pleasures come in many forms and they are all essential ingredients to what Epicurus considered part of happiness; for example, the pleasures of hearing, the pleasures of taste and the pleasures of sight. As Epicurus put it himself, "I do not know how I shall conceive of the good ... if I take away the pleasure of taste, if I take away sexual pleasure, if I take away the pleasure of hearing, and if I take away the sweet emotions that are caused by the sight of beautiful forms." One important aspect of these pleasures, especially the pleasures of taste, need not to be expensive.

According to Epicurus (and of Alain's interpretation), 3 essential elements of happiness are needed: (1) Friendship (2) Freedom and (3) Thought.

So what does all these have to do with my blog? Let me try to express it as straight forward as possible. By explaining Epicurus' concept of friendship, Alain stated:
We don't exist unless there is someone who can see us existing, what we say has no meaning until someone can understand, while to be surrounded by friends is constantly to have our identity confirmed; their knowledge and care for us have the power to pull us form our numbness.  - Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy
The above passage somehow strikes me as somewhat quite relevant to my blog and many other blogs out there as well. While it is true that I blog because I like to document my dining and travel experiences for my own personal enjoyment, the love to share is a big part my commitment for working on this blog. Without readers and the wonderful interactions, the blog is just not the same in many aspects. While the blog would still exist, without readers, its existence is no longer the same, perhaps duller for sure! I guess what I am trying to say or do is to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to readers of this blog for giving colors and excitements not only to my blog but to my life experiences for the past 2 years. Although I only have the honors to meet some of you, I still want to say Thank You to all you!

We now live in digital age where friendship is no longer restricted by distance or even language, it is a time in which friendship can be extended beyond the old "circle" of friends definition. The pursuit of happiness according to Epicurus just got easier. This blog will continue as always, business as usual as some like to put it. To all my friends, whoever you are or wherever you are, thank you and happy eating!!


reference: Alain de Botton, The Consolidations of Philosophy, Penguin Books, 2000.

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