Joseph Vining

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This has been one of my deep fears-that people around me might put simple pleasure as enough reason for living, and that I might be unable to persuade them otherwise and would have to believe they were ultimately serious in saying so.

"There is only pleasure out there to seek," people often say. As for accepting pleasure as "enough," I can imagine them telling me that it is always easier to accept something as enough if there is nothing more. They would remind me how rich the basic pleasures are if sought and achieved, of consciousness itself, of sex, of the taste of food, of strength and health, of the thrill of winning a game and at once beginning the game again.

They would also say none of this that is enough has any meaning. There is no need for meaning. Meaning is superfluous as well as illusory.

I have feared all this with a personal fear. There is always an inner temptation, I think, to be as modest as possible with one's own view and one's own doubts, and therefore temptation to conclude despite one's doubts that because others all around believe this, I actually, deep down, do too. Then there would be not much between me and death.