The sybaritic lifestyle

It soon began to be whispered that Johnson was mad. He accused Burnet of being the author of the report, and avenged himself by writing libels so violent that they strongly confirmed the imputation which they were meant to refute.

Excerpt From
Thomas Babington Macaulay Macaulay
“The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 3

Seemingly there are times when the circumnavigation of one’s dissolute conduct is best kept under wraps. While the contrary declamation may work as a skilful debating or rhetorical device, it is for the most part bad instruction. In short, “Keep your mouth shut!” You may only be making it worse.

For those of us consumed by narcissism or other manner of self-aggrandisement, we are soon reminded of the quip, “Them that’s got don’t talk about it.” The crude message is that celebrity is its own proclamation without the echo. What however makes this self-evident truth all the more peculiar is that the conceited adherent is unwittingly doing himself or herself a disfavour by overlooking what are in fact real and laudable characteristics. It is the ignorance of bliss which constitutes its fortune. The greater harm isn’t whether one justifiably or otherwise announces one’s esteem or worth; rather that one unintentionally minimizes what are in fact one’s personal merits from which one is paradoxically clouded by the identical thesis of possessory entitlement; that is, “If you’ve got it, you don’t talk about it.”

But in a world absorbed in superlatives, we are easily misguided in both conduct and assessment. First, the adjudication of what is denominated achievement is frequently nothing more than approbation of whatever is being marketed for commercial advantage. To attribute instruction or worth to that particular fawning is a gross misinterpretation of the underlying stimulus. Second, relying upon vulgar commercial intellect for anything approaching humanitarian insight is simply comical aside from being egregiously wrong. Succumbing to that tainted direction is not unlike submitting to prescience from a clown.

Prodigality of any nature is eventually cause for remorse, ultimately associated with waste and pollution, brutalizing human nature. The biblical parable of the prodigal son is a cycle of redemption and forgiveness. It is however not so certain in common practice that anyone will be awaiting or searching for the prodigal son upon his return from his spendthrift life with harlots. The reality is not the boundless mercy of god.  Ironically the peril is more in terms of “law, merit and reward” which are regularly the unforgiving commercial standards of conduct. It does however enliven the scope of religious achievement (though the advantage may only be in another world following a temporary relief from immorality).

I have recklessly forgotten Your glory, O Father;
And among sinners I have scattered the riches which You gave to me.
And now I cry to You as the Prodigal:
I have sinned before You, O merciful Father;
Receive me as a penitent and make me as one of Your hired servants.

There is however room for principled thought without mysticism. The admission of error is not confined to the religious vernacular. And without having to dismiss the probability of human error (itself a preposterous premise) there remains a subsequent avenue for acceptance and understanding. This enlarged view of the world is not something attributable to another world or experience; it is but a sterilized way of looking at things. Because of its clinical nature the sober expression of truth and candid thought are frequently ignored or disguised which naturally defeats the pasteurizing and purifying effect. Frankly I rather enjoy participating in a conference of unmuted tales. Nor is there any need to wax poetic as in Geoffrey Chaucer’s the Canterbury Tales (1387) or Alexander Pope’s the Dunciad.

The Dunciad is a landmark, mock-heroic, narrative poem by Alexander Pope published in three different versions at different times from 1728 to 1743. The poem celebrates a goddess, Dulness, and the progress of her chosen agents as they bring decay, imbecility, and tastelessness to the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Simply put, debauchery has its appeal especially if openly acknowledged. Luxury and the epicurean lifestyle are not uncommon products of existence on this planet. Of course its avowal does not diminish its intransigence; but it qualifies as pardonable conduct within the reality of human misadventure.