On Being a Sensualist
The world that lieth in wickedness, the sensualist, has no taste nor relish for that bread which cometh down from God out of heaven, and nourisheth the soul up unto eternal life.
Thomas Lechtworth, They that wait upon the Lord
Roget's Thesaurus defines a sensualist as a person devoted to pleasure and luxury, a hedonist or sybarite. Merriam-Webster defines the sensualist as a person in "…persistent or excessive pursuit of sensual pleasures and interests."
Weighed down with this association to addiction of earthly delights, the sensualist has been cast as the wanton, the wicked, and the antithesis of both the intellectual and the spiritual throughout history.
Eyes and fingers speak in its favor, visual evidence and palpableness do, too: this strikes an age with fundamentally plebian tastes as fascinating, persuasive, and convincing - after all, it follows instinctively the canon of truth of eternally popular sensualism.
Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Small wonder that I've spent most of my life trying to deny my own sensualist nature; first wearing the misty face of the spiritualist, and later donning a mask showing the placid wisdom of the intellectual. It's only been recently that I've stripped away all such self-doubting foolishness, and have felt confident enough, or perhaps indifferent enough, to show myself.
The populace think that your rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standards, and mere antinomianism; and the bold sensualist will use the name of philosophy to gild his crimes. But the law of consciousness abides.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Being a sensualist doesn't mean I run into the street, tackling every man I see - a modern day succubus. With laptop.
Nor does this mean that I am not capable of intellectual pursuits or appreciation of same. And if my spirituality is tempered, it is more so by the intellectual aspect of my personality rather than that part of me that is sensual.
Being a sensualist just means that I'm highly attuned to and very aware of my senses, to the point of defying conventional behavior at times.
Helen woke up in the middle of the night wearing someone else's breasts. Not her own insignificant, almost non-existent bumps, but huge, pendulous, full ones. Breasts whose only master was gravity, whose creases ached in bands across her ribs, whose weight cascaded irrepressibly onto her lap. Breasts that could round shoulders and cave in chests. "Damn," she murmured to herself, "it's begun," and then went back to sleep.
Barbara Hodgson, The Sensualist
I will stop to listen to a bird, or alter my course to follow an intriguing smell. I hesitantly place a hand on shoulder or arm when in conversation with another - being aware of the possibility of giving offense with said action.
I love sparkly sidewalks.
i love sidewalks that are all sparkly. i can't imagine why a city would not get sparkly sidewalks. the sidewalk company says, "ok, 50 new sidewalks…. you want sparkles with that?" and the city says, "nah, we'll take the ones with black, dried up chewing gum on them, instead."
Being a sensualist also does not make me a sentimentalist. As much as I appreciate subtle and complex emotional interplay there is nothing I abhor more than maudlin, contrived sentimentality.
The movie Titanic would have been best served by sinking the ship in the first ten minutes, and taking the Bridges of Madison County with it. Debbie Boone singing "You light up my life" or Helen Reddy's "I don't know how to love him" generate an almost overwhelming revulsion in me. Yet the Andrew Sisters World War II classic, I'll be with you in apple blossom time never fails to move me.
Yeah, okay, fine - and I did cry when I watched Old Yeller. But only the first time!
As for writing, there is some writing that is so sensual, invoking such strong mental imagery that I have to put the material down–there is no room left in my mind for processing the letters into words and the words into sentences.