Pleasure-less: An Excerpt from Eat, Pray, Love

Pleasure-less: An Excerpt from Eat, Pray, Love July 30, 2007

There is far too much in this book, Elizabeth Gilbert‘s Eat, Pray, Love, to mention in one small blog entry, so over the next little while (just warning you) I’ll be sharing some passages in the book that resonated with me. Haven’t read it? You must. Really. Here’s one for today, from page 61.

“Generally speaking, though, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that’s not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. But as Luca Spaghetti pointed out, we seem to like it. Alarming statistics back this observation up, showing that many Americans feel more happy and fulfilled in their offices than they do in their own homes. Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opporsite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). Americans don’t really know how to do nothing. This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype–the overstressed executive who goes on vacation but cannot relax.”

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  • I was struck by this same passage. But then I thought, “Hey, she’s not just seeking pleasure, she’s writing a book!”

    I’m enjoying the book, and I’m still in Italy. I’ve been told it gets even better in India.

    I hear she’s going to be at the National Cathedral soon.

  • I was struck by this same passage. But then I thought, “Hey, she’s not just seeking pleasure, she’s writing a book!”

    I’m enjoying the book, and I’m still in Italy. I’ve been told it gets even better in India.

    I hear she’s going to be at the National Cathedral soon.

  • John N. Salazar, Jr.

    Well, I don’t normally comment on people’s blogs (I’m actually not much of a blog reader, much less a writer), but I’m trying to procrastinate doing stats homework and I couldn’t help reading through the last few blogs you’ve wrote. In particular, this last one caught my eye.

    I slightly disagree with the author’s point of view. I get how Americans do love to work (and over work) and that unfortunately many of us (including myself, of course) often do spend way more time in front of the television as couch potatoes (usually at the expense of spending time w/ loved ones). However, I’m not sure I see this desire to work hard as necessarily a bad thing. There are so many things wrong with the world and we as Americans have so much to give. Do we not have a responsibility to work hard and give back?

    Maybe I am simply defending my Type A personality, but I think with so much hurt & pain in the world, it just does not seem like such a horrible thing for one to suffer from not knowing how to do nothing. But then again, maybe I am just a recovering Type A, workaholic. Just thinking…see you Thursday, I think!

  • John N. Salazar, Jr.

    Well, I don’t normally comment on people’s blogs (I’m actually not much of a blog reader, much less a writer), but I’m trying to procrastinate doing stats homework and I couldn’t help reading through the last few blogs you’ve wrote. In particular, this last one caught my eye.

    I slightly disagree with the author’s point of view. I get how Americans do love to work (and over work) and that unfortunately many of us (including myself, of course) often do spend way more time in front of the television as couch potatoes (usually at the expense of spending time w/ loved ones). However, I’m not sure I see this desire to work hard as necessarily a bad thing. There are so many things wrong with the world and we as Americans have so much to give. Do we not have a responsibility to work hard and give back?

    Maybe I am simply defending my Type A personality, but I think with so much hurt & pain in the world, it just does not seem like such a horrible thing for one to suffer from not knowing how to do nothing. But then again, maybe I am just a recovering Type A, workaholic. Just thinking…see you Thursday, I think!

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