opposites, delight and gratification

lately, i’ve been mulling around in my head the concept of delight. i am part of a small support group, and one thing my support people do is to phone me up on a regular basis and ask me, “what was delightful in the last 24 hours? what will be delightful in the next 12 hours?” this helps me focus on delight, something that i’d like to have more of in my life.

when i’m trying to understand something, i find it helpful to see what its opposite might be, and then to get a sense of what might be on the continuum between these two opposites.

for a while, one opposite of delight was worry; an opposite maybe not so much in terms of black being the opposite of white but in the sense that delight lives in a totally different realm than worry.

if we draw a line between delight and worry, what’s in the space between, then?

pleased, slightly anxious, or neutral might be on that continuum.

like any concept, delight has more than one opposite (a fascinating topic to begin with; had i used some of the material in the linguistics book i mentioned during the blogathon, i’d definitely have talked about the notion of opposites). one of them is, i believe, gratification.

gratification is self-centred, small, short-lived and junky (it’s easy to achieve quick gratification with a hamburger from mcsomething or a dip into the casino for a 15-minute tango with the one-armed bandit). delight, on the other hand, conjures up a long-lasting sweetness, a feeling of connectedness with the source of the delight, and openness.

which brings me to another set of opposites: receptivity vs. obsession. openness and receptivity are cousins, and so are obsession and gratification. obsession is “i must have it now“, “i must have this” and “i must have this“. there is not ifs and buts about obsession, no room to manoeuvre, you’re stuck in obsession.

receptivity stands there with open hands. “yes, i am ready”. we don’t know what will come, when it will come, there is patience and curiosity.

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