Today, I delve into carnal pleasures: understanding what they truly represent, why indulging in these physical desires can be detrimental, and the journey towards overcoming temptations.
Table Of Content
- Understanding Carnal Pleasures
- What Are Carnal Pleasures?
- The Drawbacks of Misguided Indulgence
- Seeking Stability and Long-Term Fulfillment
- Steps to Overcome Carnal Desires
- 1) Recognize the Shortcomings of Carnal Pleasures
- 2) Avoid Vice
- 3) Find Positive Outlets
- Finding True Happiness in a World of Temptations
- Reading Lists
Understanding Carnal Pleasures
“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E.B. White
In a world where instant gratification often takes precedence, understanding carnal pleasures — their essence, risks, and the journey to master them — becomes increasingly crucial.
What Are Carnal Pleasures?
Carnal pleasures, often synonymous with instant gratification, are feelings and desires rooted in the physical, devoid of any spiritual element. Carnal means “of the flesh,” especially at rejecting the spirit.
The “spirit” loosely means eternal, long-lasting, and deals with instinct. The spirit is separate from the body but is part of each individual’s whole being. The flesh and the spirit work together with the mind to create a complete person.
Desires are not evil, but how we express those desires deserves criticism.
We are physical beings. Thus, we want to satisfy our physical needs. The impulse to be cold when we are too warm or to eat when we are hungry are reasonable wants to fulfill.
The Drawbacks of Misguided Indulgence
However, when we succumb to these short-term pleasures in an unhealthy manner, we become enslaved by our passions, drifting away from long-term happiness. We exclude the importance of our minds and souls to pursue only what feels good instead of what is good.
For example, people will have one-night stands. This satisfies their physical desires but nothing else. A revolving door of sexual partners does not teach one how to be a good mother, father, husband, or wife. It does not teach one how to be a pillar of the community or a disciplined individual.
Seeking Stability and Long-Term Fulfillment
The alternative is to seek a stable, virtuous individual who could fulfill your physical needs within a committed relationship. Because the relationship is committed, the drawbacks of promiscuity are eliminated. And within that stability, you create the foundation for family and community, long-term desires that cannot be built on one-night stands.
Steps to Overcome Carnal Desires
“Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.” – Neil Gaiman
Limiting our carnal desires and avoiding the pitfalls of instant gratification provide us with greater control and personal fulfillment.
With more self-control, we can avoid self-destructive habits that rob us of time, energy, and effort. If we reduce our blind desire to appease our physical needs and wants, we are less likely to be a slave to ourselves.
Here are the three ways to go beyond your carnal desires.
1) Recognize the Shortcomings of Carnal Pleasures
True happiness stems from virtuous living and meaningful actions, contrasting the fleeting joy of mere physical desires. You will struggle when you act morally. But that struggle makes us strong enough to achieve our virtuous ends.
Conversely, sensual pleasures are the opposite: short-lived, hollow, and enslaving. The more time, energy, and effort we invest in fleeting desires, the harder life becomes for ourselves and others.
For example, if I sleep well, exercise often, and eat healthily, I and my community benefit. A healthy lifestyle allows me to live longer, think clearer, and feel better. My positive attitude will improve the lives of others. Additionally, a healthy body can help others.
However, if I eat crappy foods, refuse to care for myself, and barely sleep, I will be in a terrible mood. An unhealthy lifestyle leads to a shorter life span and more expensive healthcare. Additionally, I won’t be as valuable tired and irritated. Eating crappy food and staying up late to play video games fulfills my carnal desires for comfort and sugary foods, but no one benefits from this arrangement.
Overall, we must accept that constantly seeking to fulfill our carnal pleasures will not produce the happiness we think it will. Your one-night stand will simply need another one-night stand, and so forth. But what have you built? What stability have you earned? While we should not shame the fact we have these desires, the unhealthy fulfillment of these desires should be shamed.
2) Avoid Vice
“My God, a moment of bliss. Why, isn’t that enough for a whole lifetime?” – Fyodor Dostoevsky
Vice is self-destructive actions and behaviors that grow over time, slowly eroding the good in your life.
You must see vice for what it is and acknowledge that your carnal desires can lead you to vice. For example, your craving for sweets can lead to overeating. Therefore, you must actively regulate your passions.
Acting responsibly makes you less likely to give in to the first impulse. Acting responsibly is to put barriers between you and the vice you may engage in. Such reduction requires careful, meaningful planning, but doing so will positively affect your life.
For instance, a common carnal desire many people grapple with is the yearning for intimacy or sex. This desires leads you to the vice of pornography. Instead of fighting the desire for sex, you should have blockers on your electronics to prevent temptation. You plan and anticipate your poor choices when your thinking is clearer.
Lastly, move away from the forces, people, and intuitions that want you addicted. For example, the elites, such as celebrities, promote hedonism whenever they can and encourage fans to over-consume. Such a negative influence will convince you to waste your resources on fulfilling your carnal passions so you can feel “cool.”
If you prevent yourself from pursuing a vice, you can reduce the hold carnal desires have over you. Once these desires crop up but have no negative way of being satisfied, they are less likely to bother you.
3) Find Positive Outlets
For instance, the desire for intimacy or sex can find a healthy outlet within the bounds of a committed relationship, emphasizing healthy relationships and long-term connections. This leads to fewer problems for the individual and fewer problems for society.
You may have many carnal desires for things, such as food, that can be replaced with positive, meaningful alternatives. Candy strawberries can easily replace crappy candy and fulfill the carnal desire for sugary treats.
Of course, such a replacement is not easy. You need creativity to look for alternatives all around you. Once again, the broader society has no interest in pushing you in a positive direction. Do not look to the ruling classes, elites, or the mob for guidance.
Finding True Happiness in a World of Temptations
While carnal pleasures, whether they be related to sex, food, or entertainment, can offer momentary delight, their ephemeral nature often leaves us seeking more. True contentment doesn’t lie in these fleeting moments but in the pursuit of virtue and meaningful connections.
It’s easy to be enticed by the instant gratifications the world flaunts. However, these often lead to vices that can leave us feeling hollow and directionless. We empower ourselves to lead a balanced life by recognizing and redirecting these urges.
Dominate your carnal passions. Redirect your desires towards what is virtuous and life-giving. Become An Individual.
- Think critically about what you want. What do you struggle with? What vice ails you? Research what you can do differently. How could you scale back the vice in a sustainable way?
- What are your life goals? Do these goals give you a deep sense of purpose and meaning? If not, try to tweak them or find new ones that fill your belly with passion.
- What’s one thing you can do right now to improve your mind and health? My first suggestion would be ten pushups and ten situps. Try doing this and see if your mind doesn’t feel sharper.
“Melancholy is the happiness of being sad.” – Victor Hugo
- James Clear’s Atomic Habits – If you want to adjust your life by removing poor habits and embracing better ones, you should look read this book.
Please remember it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.