We have needed, for a long time, a cultural shift around pleasure. The exciting thing, is that is has started. The first notable shift has been though contemporary philosophy. French author, Michael Onfray, writes in his literature, defining hedonism "as an introspective attitude to life based on taking pleasure yourself and pleasuring others, without harming yourself or anyone else."
The second, more cultural, reference is witnessing the rise of sexual wellness in the last few years. People using their design and community-centred businesses to educate, elevate and expose narratives that have long laid in the shadows about sexuality. The startups that are making waves are predominately women, non-binary, female-owned businesses. (The irony). It's the folks whose pleasure has long been oppressed that are the people dismantling the toxic institutions built to reduce their well-being.
Because that's what it is – well-being. Our ability to feel well, is deeply connected to our ability to experience pleasure. But as touched on in Part One, pleasure has been historically feared by those in power. Why? Because *well* people aren't people who can be controlled. People in pleasure, are empowered people. People with creativity at the helm, are seen as disobedient people to those trying to maintain power. And people with access to pleasure have greater access to peace.
Further, I don't believe life looks like a continual search for pleasure. An almost compulsion towards dopamine. There is more to the spectrum of feeling than dopamine. I believe the highest value in life is actually peace. To me, peace is a practise of coming back to centre; either from great distress or great pleasure. A commitment to undo and prevent harm towards the self, humanity, other species and earth. Peace is a neutrality. So many of our world's crises are, at the core, an issue around people's selfish obsession with power, control and entitlement; the very opposite of peace. But it's access to pleasure that I believe will invite a greater reveal of peace.
Embrace a practice of healthy hedonism. That is, an indulgence in creating pleasure for you and around you. Such as a walk in nature, painting, a long run, making love, fulfilling a fantasy, a deep dish lasagne or a great bottle of wine. Let it be a balance to the days and events that bring us to our knees. Let it inspire a life toward more human connection, more species equality, more collective consideration, more self-expression, more self-love and more peace. This is your birthright.