Thursday, September 17, 2009

Talk Thursday: Self Deprivation

In all fairness, I’m not the best person to rant on self deprivation, since I’ve rarely

—no, maybe never deprived myself of anything.

My name should appear next to “Hedonist” in dictionaries.

Ok, ok, I did fast (you know, skip a few meals) once in a while back when I was a Mormon, but I’m not sure that counts as self deprivation because I always felt coerced—first by parents, later by wife, family and other (self) righteous church members.

That’s not self deprivation!

No, actually I cringe at any thought of self deprivation… and I wonder, does it count as self deprivation if we convince our self that what ever it is we are depriving our self of isn’t really deprivation at all because it is for our best good? If it’s for our own best good, what is it we are depriving our self of anyway?

The ten Ox herding/taming pictures from Zen justify my hedonistic attitude toward self deprivation. I will leave it to the reader to discover how so.

If the Zen folks are right, self deprivation is an illusion anyway because there really is no individual self to deprive. I know, I probably offended some egos with that, but what is an ego anyway

In this case, self deprivation might be not only a linguistic invention, but a double illusion… no real self really to deprive of anything and what we call deprivation often is reasoned away as being the best thing for us.

Truly, when I think of the timeless examples of humans engaging in self deprivation, it always seems to involve "spiritual one-upmanship" of one kind or another.

Gotta go now, so I can go flagellate myself before bed time.


  1. Ooh this is pretty much the path I take, with out the self flagellation and Zen pictures.

  2. God, this cracked me up :)

    The hedonist in me is waving at the hedonist in you in a Zenful sort of way.