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by Lloyd Harrison Whitling

~ Copyright ©2007 by Lloyd Harrison Whitling. All rights reserved. Updated 8/3/2013

We’ve all heard hedonism condemned, used as an example of the worst humanity has to offer, reviled and warned against by preachers and their patrons everywhere, never defined as choosing pleasure over pain or preferring reward rather than a penalty. Why must that be so? Is what those who set our standards claim about it true, or is there some secret about it they’re afraid you might learn? Is it, then, a conspiracy against some truth that, once let out, might cause massive stampedes away from religious teachings? If not, then why attack something that has nobody to defend it?

Well, here’s the secret: Most of religious teachings, and most of nature’s flock, practice hedonism as a matter of course. Think about that. It is built into the systems upon which animated life depends for everything. Human beings are the first animals to wonder about morality, recognize the good and bad in it, and make a mess out of trying to keep them separated. Test your knowledge about a practical view of it that allows you to see how affected you have become by hedonism’s principles, and to see how much the requirements of living have taught you about them. Check whatever applies to you. Stay honest.

In this section, each question is worth two (2) points for a ‘yes’ answer. Have fun, enjoy, the pleasure is all yours. The pain, too. This is all about you, and how you feel about things. There are no wrong answers; there may be dishonest answers, but they are your answers, truthful or not. Who’s to know?—only you.

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  1. [__] I believe that, since we are human beings and a part of nature’s fauna, our moral valuations must be derived from the way our intentional actions affect other human beings and humanity overall, in the present and in the future.
  2. [__] I believe nature has provided us, as well as all sentient life, with natural tools and senses that we must learn to understand so we can write moral principles and rules they will serve to verify.
  3. [__] I believe most evidence supports the pleasure/pain/equilibrium principle.
  4. [__] I know what “Pleasure/Pain/Balance Principle” means.
  5. [__] I am not a religious person, since religion introduces unnecessary pain into one’s life.
  6. [__] Unless circumstances require clothing for protection, shade or warmth, I feel most comfortable when naked.
  7. [__] I am willing to endure minor pain or discomfort if it promises to lead to avoidance of greater future pain or to a pleasurable reward.
  8. [__] *I recognize that gluttony in any form, while immediately pleasurable, will eventually lead to painful penalties.
  9. [__] Therefore, I have learned to regard pain to be the cost of pleasure.
  10. [__] The Principle of Action and Consequence states most concisely the basis for my philosophy of life and delineates and regulates my behavior.
  11. [__] Rigid moral principles work against my own moral values, and cause harm rather than good.
  12. [__] No truth is ever final, complete, or inerrant.
  13. [__] Truth is a goal more than a human possession.
  14. [__] Truth and reality are better understood by science of today than by sages of ancient times.
  15. [__] Pain is the price paid for pleasure plus interest, so pain paid in advance (as while working to earn a pleasure) is far less costly than enforced pain that demands interest after the fact.
  16. [__] I believe human beings to be generally good, even though quite apt to be misguided.
  17. [__] I would describe sin as actions done against humanity or human progress and our supportive environment.
  18. [__] Such sins would include dishonesty, destructiveness, betrayal of trust, murder, inciting unjustifiable war or fighting, pleasure obtained at someone else’s expense, inducing pain to innocent others for which there is no real promise to them of pleasure, and others of like nature.
  19. [__] I would describe morality as intentional behavior that tends to promote humanity’s interests, including my own small part within them.
  20. [__] I would describe evil as a malicious kind of process that works against humanity’s interests, including my own small part within them.
  21. [__] I would describe good as that which nurtures human beings in whatever ways will promote humanity’s interests, including my own small part within them.
  22. [__] I believe we have no right to judge others except according to whatever pain or loss they have caused, or dangers they have posed, to ourselves or to humanity.
  23. [__] Denying to others their rights to pleasure without justification, or without an explanation of how doing so will prevent their experience of undue, regrettable pain, must be considered immoral, since it reduces their quality of life.
  24. [__] Actions that induce pain into others innocent of any involvement, who stand no chance for gain of equitable pleasure (reward) from such actions, is immoral because it is inhumane.
  25. [__] Since pain and pleasure are measurable physical conditions, science should be able to determine a legitimate secular equivalent of good and evil by using Gaian Ethical Hedonism as a philosophical guide.

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Part B: Choose [A] or [B] for each statement. [A] represents pleasure; [B] represents pain; [C] represents neither, no choice, or unknown. Each [A] or [B] response is worth two (2) points, each time you decide on [C] is worth none.

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  1. [ ] In my mind, illness is generally [A]pleasurable or [B]painful.
  2. [ ] I believe happiness must be a [A]pleasurable or [B]painful condition.
  3. [ ] I find most aspects of religion as I know it to be [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  4. [ ] I find the study of deep subjects to be [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  5. [ ] I believe burning forever in Hell would be [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  6. [ ] Knowing the right answer to a question important to my future has to be [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  7. [ ] When I experience joy, I have to say the feeling is [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  8. [ ] To accomplish something one has spent years working at ought to be [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  9. [ ] To fail, on the other hand, at something one has spent years developing would be [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  10. [ ] To see someone I admire or love achieve a goal is [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  11. [ ] To see someone I loathe win what I wanted fills me with feelings that are [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  12. [ ] I find hunger to be very [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  13. [ ] To see a bleeding animal dying at the side of a road is very [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  14. [ ] Anything that makes me feel excited is [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  15. [ ] To even just be informed about someone’s suffering is [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  16. [ ] To do things for other people makes me feel [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  17. [ ] I find hard, drudging labor to be quite [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  18. [ ] I try to make my relationships with other people to be mainly [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  19. [ ] To see someone mistreating another animal or a human being is [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  20. [ ] My mental image of myself naked is [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  21. [ ] To discover how to once and for all time prove that God is real would be very [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  22. [ ] To discover how to once and for all time prove that God is not real would be very [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  23. [ ] A feeling of relief is one that is [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  24. [ ] Having a toothache is [A]pleasurable or [B]painful
  25. [ ] Taking a long trip with (my/a) family is mostly [A]pleasurable or [B]painful

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The point behind all my essays on hedonism should be well understood by now. Whether you answered yes or no/pleasurable or painful, or remained apathetic, pleasure, pain or balance became specified. Your honest brain should be zinging with new insights by now. They are yours to enjoy, compliments of Mother Nature.

“Lloyd”

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FOOTNOTES:

(1) You may have noticed that, with the exception of number 8, sexuality has not been given special attention here. What you must understand is that sexuality must be measured by the same rules that apply to every other area of human involvement. By stationing oneself across the street from any church entrance at the ending of a meeting, one will quickly observe the uneven treatment of issues regarding lust by most doctrines, simply by watching the waddling exits of a good percentage of the congregants.

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Copyright ©2007 by Lloyd Harrison Whitling. All rights reserved. Updated 8/3/2013

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