Life has many pleasures, like tasty food, soft sheets, the smell of spring, sunlight through leaves, the touch of skin, the sound of a sweet song, etc. And the quality of these experiences vary with the quality of inputs — how much one pays for good food, sheets, etc., and how much one studies which inputs give the best value per price.
But honestly, for me the biggest factor influencing how much pleasure I get from these experiences is how much I pay attention. I can get great pleasure out of most foods if I simply stop for a moment and focus all my attention on that food as I eat it. The pleasure of food in a medium budget meal savored is more than from a top budget meal when distracted thinking or talking, etc. Similarly, a pleasant office window view doesn’t offer nearly as much pleasure when one is focused on a computer screen.
Yet knowing this, I do not actually spend that much time savoring my food, caressing my sheets, or gazing out my office window. I am often happily in my own head thinking, or focused on what other folks are saying. I mostly prefer those mental pleasures to food, etc. While I could learn more about what foods are tastiest, or what window treatments will make my room sparkle, I usually prefer to invest that time learning about what ideas are interesting, important, and neglected.
I also notice an internal reluctance to savor things that others I know consider to be of only moderate quality. By judging those things good enough to open myself to them, to let their feelings rule me for a moment, it feels like I am accepting a lower status position. After all, if I were higher status, I would insist on only being pleased by higher quality inputs. This may be part of why I prefer intellectual pleasures, since I have invested enough there, building on high innate skills, to be able to honestly say that my inputs are of a high quality, relative to inputs available to others.
Time is my key resource. With more time I can better savor my experiences, which usually offers me more pleasure than buying expensive inputs, or researching where to get good inputs cheap. Even if I don’t savor as often as I could, for fear of lowering my status. Money is mainly useful to me as a way to buy more time, and inputs into the intellectual pleasures which are my main focus. I love to savor the sweet taste of an insight acquired, and explained. Like right now – aaah. 🙂