On Base Pleasures

St. Augustine really got to me today (see my previous post).  I started thinking about a guy I used to know.  To make a long story short, we were fast friends my freshmen year of university.  We attempted something more but things turned disastrous.  Since then we’ve sort of had a tumultuous long-distance friendship and haven’t seen each other since last year.

Lets call him, Noam.

Now don’t get me wrong, he isn’t perfect by any means.  He’s made some mistakes.  But nonetheless, I have to admire him.  He is just such a well balanced, well rounded person.  He’s so focused and so hardworking.  But it’s more than that, there’s a kind of purity about him and his interests.

He’s genuinely happy to work, to study, to learn, to experience new things.  When he isn’t devoting time to chemistry, he’s practicing the drums, or reading philosophy, or at the art museum, or enjoying a dinner with friends.  He just gets enjoyment out of the right things.

If I’m being perfectly honest, towards the end of our friendship I showed him my absolute worst side.  Something not many people see, but there was something about him that literally drove me insane.  I was neurotic, melodramatic, constantly seeking attention, etc.

And so he asked that I never contact him again.

I was initially shocked and hurt, not to mention angry.

But today suddenly everything was illuminated.

He couldn’t afford to have me in his life.  During the brief period we dated,  I distracted him from his studies.  When I attempted to get my way through sexual means, he called me out on it.  It was the first time I’d ever heard a man say he “didn’t want sex to rule [his] life”.  And while we were friends, he often found me petty, judgmental, and sometimes hysterical.

So I got to thinking, why is this?  I know I’m of above average intelligence yet I seek enjoyment, entertainment, comfort from all the wrong places.  I experience the most base pleasures, pursue the silliest things.

I’m not nearly as well- rounded or cultured as I thought I was.  Instead I’m often focused solely on my current relationship, or finding a man in the future.  I delight in the suffering of others (reality television anyone?) more often than I care to admit.

So for Noam, under the best circumstances I’m a waste of time, a distraction.

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