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Monday, 9 April 2012

H is for Hedonism

I have wanted to do a post on this for some time now, but decided to wait when I found out about the A-Z of April.

As a life philosophy, Hedonism has to be the most infuriating.

Let me first of all make it clear that when I refer to Hedonism I am not talking about the kind of modern day life style where people sleep around and binge drink at clubs etc. These are obviously key parts of a Hedonistic lifestyle but having a bit of fun does not make you a Hedonist.

Hedonism as a life philosophy is actually impossible in our modern world mostly because of economics. First of all we need money for the basic things for our existence such as food and shelter. We also need money to facilitate a Hedonistic lifestyle such as for buying alcohol or drugs etc.

As a result of this we need to acquire money which of course means we have to work. Working takes up a lot of our time, time that therefore is not being spent being a Hedonist and since the definition of Philosophical Hedonism involved the pleasure to be roughly 90% of the time target, this makes it impossible.

Secondly, part of the definition is that everyone is having all this pleasure, whatever race or class. It is a kind of childish “Look everyone is getting laid hooray!”, which is also never going to happen in our modern lifestyle. If you are one of these arrogant childish people who decides to life a completely hedonistic life in our time then usually this is at the cost of people around you, who are either directly affected by your lifestyle choice or for some reason facilitate you living this life (Such as paying for you to do it) these people are not having fun, therefore you are not being a Hedonist because you are not assisting in others having fun, your just being selfish.

I cannot stand that song about “Girls just wanna have fun” or however it goes. Hate to break it to you ladies, but Guys just wanna have fun too, everyone just wants to have fun, but we can’t just have fun all the time and that is the sad reality of it.

I also get annoyed with Hedonism because I doubt if push came to shove it would be all inclusive, some people would be deemed to ugly for example “Everyone should sleep around! Whats that? Bob can’t get laid? No... i’m not sleeping with him he’s ugly, but someone should!” for example.

Hedonists also have a very narrow view of pleasure, limiting it to the physical, some people do not enjoy such activities are cannot partake for whatever reason, where do they fit into the grand scheme?

So if you are one of these who thinks everyone should just have fun all the time, nice idea and I wish it was possible, but it isn’t sorry!



  1. This is of course very true Paul however I hate it when the work that we do to earn money takes over our ability to have fun and therefore all we think about its Bills and money and never ever ever ever have fun! Fun to me can be brought to the workplace and u KNOW what I mean! hahaha

  2. Even the Ancient Greek Hedonists wouldn't have fit that description, since their pleasure was based on the existence of other, lower orders such as servants. However, seeing the meaning of life as being essentially about the accumulation of pleasurable experiences is certainly doable, and is probably at least tacitly accepted by many people.

  3. Even in Ancient Greece hedonism was recognized as fully impossible. You can try, but you'll end up only serving base desires and not expanding your mind.

    Good luck with the challenge!

    Dianna Fielding

  4. Another potential problem with the Hedonistic lifestyle is that if, indeed, it were possible for everyone to be having fun all the time, would that still be "having fun"? I mean, part of our (at least modern) condition is that we "get through" the not-fun parts of our lives so that we can enjoy the fun parts (we work so we can go on holiday, or go out at the weekend, etc.). If it was all fun, all the time, we'd probably all go batshit crazy.
    That said, I'm so far removed from a Hedonistic lifestyle that I clearly don't know what I'm talking about ;-)))
    Oh and for they Cyndi Lauper song? In the absolute, yeah, I guess it's kind of annoying, but as a teenager with seriously restrictive parents back in the 1980s it really struck a chord with me!

  5. Hedonism would get boring after a while. Part of what makes life interesting is the balance of work and play as well as the anticipation of receiving rewards after certain periods of being deprived. A good quality life should also have times of serving others as well as special times of being served and in the limelight.

    I like your thought processes. I am now following your blog.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  6. @ Stu and Dianna

    yeah your quite right, I was a bit stumpted by the Greeks when researching this as every source was telling me something different, what really gets to me is those who preach this as the way to go as an excuse to not pull their weight in the world, I have friends who claim to be Hedonists just so they can be lazy and not accept responsibilities

    @ Magic27 and Arlee

    I agree, it is only by expericing hardship do we really understand fun and pleasure. 'Just wanna have fun' as an act of rebelion against parents? That's an interesting thought which I'll admit I did not consider!

    @Arlee Thank you so much that is very kind!