A life of hedonism | INFJ Forum

A life of hedonism

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by TinyBubbles, Aug 24, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    What do you think about the merits of a life of hedonism?

    from wikipedia:
    Hedonism is a school which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good.[1] This is often used as a justification for evaluating actions in terms of how much
    pleasure and how little pain (i.e. suffering) they produce. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize this net pleasure (pleasure minus pain).

    Could you see yourself embracing such a life?

    Hedonism goes directly against the kind of values religions encourage, such as selflessness, hard work and dedication to something other than yourself. Yet perhaps the only real happiness we can have is through fulfilling our own personal, immediate and sensual desires, such as those for food and sex?

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. athenian200

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    Incidentally, I do follow a philosophy similar to this, in accordance with not being very religious. But it's only based on avoiding pain, not seeking pleasure.

    Believe me, there's a difference. When focusing on avoiding pain, you pass up a lot of things that might give you pleasure in the moment, but could hurt later on.

    It essentially results in trying to maintain a baseline level of comfort that has minimal risk of being upset.

    I don't think any long-term thinker could focus on immediate gratification without worrying about consequences, but I've adopted one half of the philosophy. Just not the half most people think about.
     
    #2 athenian200, Aug 24, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  3. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Selflessness, hard work and dedication can all be very pleasurable can't they?
     
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  4. KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    I think it's hard to get away from some form of hedonism without imposing duty, though I think hedonism is just normally quite misunderstood. For example, one of the main types of hedonism, Epicureanism, suggests that we should avoid base pleasures (ultimately because tranquility is the ultimate pleasure, or something like that).

    I see 'pleasure', as it is normally understood, as quite empty, but if we expand the general idea of hedonism to include things that lead to personal fulfillment and happiness, I think it's a great philosophy.
     
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  5. athenian200

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    Epicurianism?

    Huh... here is something written about it:

    "When we say...that pleasure is the end and aim, we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality, as we are understood to do by some through ignorance, prejudice or wilful misrepresentation. By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. It is not by an unbroken succession of drinking bouts and of revelry, not by sexual lust, nor the enjoyment of fish and other delicacies of a luxurious table, which produce a pleasant life; it is sober reasoning, searching out the grounds of every choice and avoidance, and banishing those beliefs through which the greatest tumults take possession of the soul."

    I guess Epicurianism is closer to what I believe than I thought.
     
  6. NeverAmI

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    I beleive hedonism is an incredibly simplistic notion and ultimately leads to a short-sighted way of life that produces many opportunities for enhanced difficulty; such as putting things off until they snowball and small issues become HUGE and causes incredible suffering because it was not 'pleasurable' to handle such an issue at the time.

    Now, if the the mindset was to sacrifice limited short-term pleasure for later gains, then that isn't so different from the average lifestyle.


    I could see myself embracing that sort of life if someone else provided me with everything or somehow gained rockstar status. I would basically incapacitate myself to deal with anything but the smallest issues, which is commonly referred to as being spoiled. I already consider myself spoiled and hedonistic to an extent, that which comes with the luxuries of the privileged Western society comparative to many other places.

    Actually, I don't know if I would even embrace it then, I don't think I could truly know unless it happened.
     
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  7. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    I find it ironic that when most people say hedonism, they think of perusing pleasure when really it is more about avoiding pain.

    I don't think it is something that needs to be emphasized because everyone naturally does this anyway. I think that placing a positive value on hedonism actually defeats the purpose of being hedonistic because, in the process of desiring pleasure, you actually suffer and therefore experience less. The most hedonistic thing you can do is to find something else to live for besides any crude hedonism.
     
  8. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    lol, nice spin
     
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  9. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    After surviving, animals basically have only two significant functions: eating and reproducing. The rest of the time they are resting, forming/strenthening social structures which make survival, eating and reproduction more secure.

    Without the drive to fulfil these functions species become extinct. In the higher animals, this drive translates into pleasure.



    Humans are animals, true, - but we are capable of functions which surpass the capacity of all animals - to understand, learn, contemplate, meditate, reflect, etc. Strangely, in us, the pursuit of the basic functions which we share with all animals interferes with the pursuit of our distinctively human abilities. This interference is probably because of how distracting/overwhelming significant pleasures are. Indeed, the most profound thoughts/concepts/inventions/etc are usually associated with situations separated from domestic eating/sleeping/living environments.


    So.... could I be a hedonist - no, because I would have a constant pang about the lack of profundity in my life. My intention is to go the opposite way (some day) to live in a remote wilderness, far from many of the comforts/distractions I enjoy (with quite some pleasure, I might add) - to develop a more contemplative way of life for myself.
     
    #9 Flavus Aquila, Aug 24, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  10. Trifoilum

    Trifoilum find wisdom, build hope.

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    To me life (my life, at least) was more or less connected with pleasure. Whether attaining it, avoiding it, or withholding it. It's.... well, hedonism seems to make it the ultimate goal of life, which does have some grain of truth, does not make a good all-encompassing life view. :|

    Just like how you can connect everything, one can also connect everything related in this world using the language of pleasure, but suffice it to say it's not the language I liked much.
     
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  11. durentu

    durentu Regular Poster

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    hedonism has this curious effect of being without depression or anxiety. The reason behind it is that if you live for pleasure, you live for right now, the present, and this is important.

    Depression is being stuck in the past and anxiety is being stuck in the future. And while making plans is a good thing, it become worthless if you cannot enjoy the present for when the planned future becomes the present.

    Hedonism is healthy when in balance. I think most people practice hedonism on friday nights.
     
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  12. BostonAndy

    BostonAndy Community Member

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    I lived in the french Quarter of New Orleans for fifteen years. One halloween night me and a friend were standing on the sidewalk watching a man and woman have sex on the hood of a car. Stan casually turned to me and said... I'm bored, what do you want to do.

    My response was simply... find something less boring. We walked to burger king and found something more enjoyable just because it was something we usually didn't do. We had become so accustomed to seeing the most unusual and hedonistic things that in time the unexpected became boring and the mundane had become exciting.

    Hedonism, like any other activity, becomes boring if overindulged. Lifes fulfillment is always found in diversity, and there are many things that hedonism precludes. What about the Joy of sitting in on the couch with the pup on a cold winter afternoon with the dog watching the snow fall? It isn't productive and some therefore MAY even say its hedonistic.

    As long as you aren't hurting someone, and you are not doing the same things over and over again, I think you are on the right path.

    Hedonism implies many different things to many people.
     
  13. Kavalan

    Kavalan Has risen

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    With that little stitch dealt with... I find hedonism not to be my fancy as the effort, energy, sweat, blood, and tears that go into some goals far outweigh the quick thrills that hedonism generally entail. The world isn't sunshine and butterflies so I love as BostonAndy put it the diversity of the world the good and bad. I see that balance as something that humbles people and makes even the smallest things be memorable.
     
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  14. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    I personally believe that the meaning of life is to live. That's it. There's nothing else. You hit the cosmic jackpot and got born, so make the best of it.

    I feel that I've got it to where 70% of my life is relaxing and indulging my whims while 30% is getting down to business. And I'm still relatively busy with school and work despite those estimates..

    I'd rather play than work. A life a piety and workaholism seems squandered to me. I will have my cake and eat it too, thanks. That said.. there's got to be a balance in order to survive. You've got to do some work, deal with some unpleasantness.. but I figure what is the point in denying myself enjoyment and relaxation while it presents itself?

    There have been studies done (I heard it on NPR and I'm taking it into another context) where lab rats were given some down time or just time to relax after tasks... and it was discovered that their brain functioning improved after the downtime.. like they were more receptive to learning new things.

    A bit of hedonism is good for us. And maybe if people indulged more repression wouldn't drive people to commit heinous destructive acts against themselves and others. I make my happiness and pleasure a priority. I'm sure that sounds entirely self-centered, but to be real, when I'm happy--I'm not making anyone else unhappy with my stress and bitterness, I'm able to share joy with others. More of an Epicurean view.
     
    #14 acd, Aug 30, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
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