Creative Hedonism, Selfish writing, and Eis Heauton

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by Jonas Ellison

I’m 15 days into this little exercise of creative hedonism where I write about whatever topic I feel like hooking up with that day for a month. They say that things become a habit after 30 days, so if I can tough it out until then, these babies will be on autopilot. Right now, they’re a bit of a trudge, I must admit.

I gotta say, though, my thoughts are becoming clearer. As I go through my day, I find myself noticing things at high-definition. My awareness has expanded. Because I know I have to write again tomorrow, I’m always looking for things to write about, whether they be physical events or just strands of thought.

The key is to notice. And I feel that happening. Noticing my life feels awesome.

I’m breaking the habits I acquired as a copywriter where I always wrote to please an audience or an avatar. Let me put it another way… I’m still writing for an audience (you), and I DO hope you enjoy this stuff, but what’s shifted is my main driver of the work is not you. It’s me. That’s what’s changed.

My writing is more playful now. It’s random. And that’s fine.

One day, I’ll write about spiritual, metaphysical stuff. The next day, I’ll write a random short story. Then, I’ll turn around and just write about a perfectly uneventful day.

What matters is that I write something every day.

Marcus Aurelius and the concept of Eis Heauton

I’m currently reading Meditations from Marcus Aurelius — the Gregory Hays edition which came highly recommended (and I see why — Hays translates Marcus’ words in an extremely clear and readable way, which is good for people with undiagnosed ADD like myself).

Hays explains in the introduction that Marcus never intended his work to be published. He wrote them Eis Heauton, or “to himself”.

I realized this is basically what I’m doing here. I write to an audience of one — myself (although I hope you enjoy reading).

But this is scary. Because everything I learned about writing online says to write for an audience/avatar. Right now, my avatar is me☺

Back to Aurelius — Writing to himself was Marcus’ way of ingraining his philosophy into his own psyche. And because his work was published, he unknowingly helped the world become more self-aware.

Who knows? If he would have written them knowing they’d be seen by the world, he may have censored himself more. He may have watered down his message to appeal to a greater audience. More than likely, he would have.

I’m glad he didn’t.

So why do I write in a public forum like this if I write Eis Heauton?

It keeps me sharp. It keeps my thoughts clear. I know that, because you’ll be reading this, I need to package my thoughts in a way that you’ll be able to understand (at least a little bit). This, in turn, helps me understand them.

Win-win. I understand so you understand. Another selfish act that works for both of us.

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