For about ten years now, I’ve thought that the best palliative to complex, inundating, and over-the-top commercial culture are acts of pleasure, large and small. Whether it’s sex, reading, conversation, or smelling a furry rabbit tail, whatever pleasure one takes in life is also inherently subversive, outre, and difficult for the larger culture to reclaim.
I’m no longer so sure about this, as it seems that most of the pleasure undertaken in the U.S. is now pretty commercialized to begin with. Our voyeurism has turned inward and it’s not clear where one person’s pleasure sales are another person’s wails. True rest is still very transcendent and transgressive. In this month’s issue of Utnet, Rabbi Arthur Waskow writes the cover piece called Reclaiming Our Day of Rest. It’s possible that doing nothing — and I mean nothing — can put one on the true path outside of commercial existence. “Nothing” can’t be bought, it can’t be packaged, and it can’t be managed. “Nothing” lives by itself, it requires no feeding or grooming, and it costs nada. And, at least for some, it can be the ultimate pleasure.

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