On Hedonism

I’ve recently been re-reading one of my favourite books, Donna Tartt’s ‘The Secret History‘. I fell in love with it as a teenager because it reminded me so clearly of the sensuous decadence and lyrical lushness of one of my other all-time favourites, ‘Brideshead Revisited‘. Tonight I’ve been invited to a Bacchanalia-themed party, which brought me back to the classical debauchery of Tartt’s dark and evocative story. I plan on dressing in a long white flowing dress, with flowers in my hair, and I will be drinking wine from a bowl and revelling with the gods. Here’s to hedonism, indulging the senses and being alive!

“It’s a very Greek idea, and a very profound one. Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely? To throw off the chains of being for an instant, to shatter the accident of our mortal selves? Euripides speaks of the Maenads: head thrown I back, throat to the stars, “more like deer than human being.” To be absolutely free! One is quite capable, of course, of working out these destructive passions in more vulgar and less efficient ways. But how glorious to release them in a single burst! To sing, to scream, to dance barefoot in the woods in the dead of night, with no more awareness of mortality than an animal! These are powerful mysteries. The bellowing of bulls. Springs of honey bubbling from the ground. If we are strong enough in our souls we can rip away the veil and look that naked, terrible beauty right in the face; let God consume us, devour us, unstring our bones. Then spit us out reborn.”

(unknown, unknown, Waterhouse, Brideshead Revisited, David LaChappell, Paloma Faith,  The Great Gatsby, Le Divan Rouge, Erwin Olaf, Mert & Marcus, unknown, Manko Honey, Annie Leibowitz)

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