The End of Desire: Reflection and Art

Man Cutting Watermelon

The Limitations of Desire#


When I was a child, I loved to eat. My face would be covered in watermelon juice, and I could even eat a mouthful of fatty pork with hair. I felt good only when I didn't move after a meal. At that time, on the way home from school, I would often feel hungry and weak, walking on the country road while fantasizing about what I would eat for lunch. I always told my friends that I could now eat a barrel of instant noodles.

Sexual Desire#


Similarly, when I first saw someone else's pornographic film, it was a feeling that was completely different from appetite but equally exciting. See My First Love, Sex Addiction, and Castration.

The Limitations of Thinking#

Desire for Thinking#

Of course, in addition to appetite and sexual desire, I also have a desire for thinking.

If we look at the intensity of pleasure, appetite and sexual desire are definitely strong, but as the saying goes, "Food nourishes people, but it can also harm them." Just like the expansion of the Roman Republic, when I was a child, I could digest as much as I ate, but now I can't eat as much. Especially that one time during New Year's Eve, I had to stop eating after a taste.

The same goes for sexual desire.

Vincent van Gogh - Head of a skeleton with a burning cigarette

Therefore, we can see that "These violent delights have violent ends." - Romeo and Juliet. Or in other words, it's better not to go too far.

The Durability of Thoughts#

As for the joy of thinking, although it can last a long time, there are only a few thoughts that are essential to human beings. Just like the elderly men and women in their seventies and eighties at the village entrance, as long as they understand the principles of treating others with kindness, they can evaluate everything. Furthermore, the materials for thinking are also limited. Li Bai and Du Fu wrote many poems, but their central thoughts remained the same.

(right) kneeling before Confucius (center), as depicted in a painting from the _Illustrations of the Classic of Filial Piety

However, they have written extensively, not to express new thoughts, but to constantly express their own life experiences and emotions through poetry. This expression is certainly a form of creation, but it does not pursue the renewal of content, but the renewal of form.

The End of Thinking is Art#

There is also the fact that art leans more towards form creation. If thinking is vertical creation, then art is horizontal creation. Art revolves around certain ideas and continuously expresses these ideas through various forms. On the other hand, thinking is constantly changing ideas. The end of thinking may not necessarily be religion, but perhaps art and aesthetics.

Beauty on the Edge of Desire#

Standards of Beauty#

If we measure various desires based on the intensity of pleasure and duration, then the subtle happiness definitely involves thinking and aesthetics. And the most enduring is aesthetics. It can last a person's entire life. Just like taking a sip of tea, it may not have a strong taste, but it's still passable.

Water Glass and Jug

Beauty is something that is difficult to perceive because it is not so intense, but it can still be sensed, plain yet not plain.

What is beauty, what is art, I don't know too much. But beauty is everywhere because it is a human emotion, a feeling. The beauty of things is not the inherent characteristics of the things themselves, but the value bestowed by the subject. By combining the intensity of the pleasure of beauty with its duration, we can roughly feel what beauty is.

Distinguishing Beauty from Desire#

For example, in pornography, it may all be about our sexual desires. But with the same characters, if you take some portraits, the taste changes. When a set of portraits looks good but doesn't elicit a physiological response, that may be the limit of beauty. Of course, everyone has different judgments about what is obscene.

Diana and Her Nymphs Bathing

Similarly, with appetite, if you eat recklessly and pursue strong stimulation, that may be appetite. But if you eat with the eyes of a gourmet, perhaps it is beauty.

Therefore, the beauty I understand is very broad because my standards are simple. For example, some people like to listen to instrumental music and think that vocals are not good or too stimulating. For them, listening to instrumental music is beauty.

There is also a feeling similar to the difference between movies and TV dramas. Of course, Love O2O is more like a mini-movie.


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