Hedonism: What is It?

Three interpretations of hedonism seem to prevail in today’s world: Commonest are the commercial approach and the misapprended misunderstanding derived from that, upon which the religious approach relies. Least common, but most true to hedonism’s origins are the various philosophical hedonisms, including my own Equatarianism and Gaian Ethics that attempts to update hedonism in ways the average person can grasp.

As true hedonism requires a high level of self-control and an advanced ability to cogitate, the philosophy suffers from the absence of metaphorical images available to the commercial and religious presentations, which enabled those to dominate from nearly the beginning of human life. Pitting Hell against Heaven, for a quick example, presents a more immediate pain/pleasure image than unspecified torment that may result from ill-considered questionable actions. Having a mean (tho loving) god to mete out specific dire punishment is far scarier than if Mother Nature threatens you with something that might affect you only if you live long enough. Rewards (pleasure) for good behavior are just as uncertain. You may never suffer obesity if you avoid overeating, and still die a miserable death from some other unforeseeable cause—or become obese due to defective glands. At any rate, those are not behaviors with which religion ordinarily bothers.

People of any organized belief system are left to find their own answers to life’s conundrums. Patriarchal religion’s main moral concern is about property: wives, asses, camels, land; worship and obedience: honoring the god, obeying the god (the priests), keeping holy days; and about relationships: punishments, the governing establishment (the church or equivalent), and the law.

Current forays by some scientists into moral questions are certain to perpetuate the centralism that takes control of morality away from the very people most affected by them, who will suffer most as a result of their inevitable wrong answers. People do not come in one size fits all packages of anything. We are individuals, not composites. We do nothing the same as everybody else. The tendency to establish power centers to control every aspect of existence was inherited from patriarchal religions and does not play at all in the moral interests of a truly free society.

Science must, instead, play an educative role by deducing all of the many links between behavior and the later damage or benefit. Much of that work may already be done, leaving science with a role it has never done well, which is to assure no person alive remains unaware of their findings, their universal importance, potential cost and savings by country and by individual. This ought to be something the church and its equivalents would deem worthy to join in on, for it would give them materials that increase or restore their social relevance, it is work they cannot and should not do, and would give them a voice backed by real, testable, evidence-heavy, constantly updated scientific data.


It’s the naked truth! Our relationships, beliefs and happiness stay inextricably intertwined. We make ourselves unhappy when we struggle to keep them separated, when we apply a disconnect while denying or pretending other than the naked truth, and especially when we force ourselves to comply with the required views of groups whose ideals we do not uphold. Feigning a belief for any reason increases stress. We suffer from that, and my Equatarian views tell me why we would all fare far better if we would dare to stand up for our natural inclinations rather than bury them for the sake of a job, argumentative family members, neighbors, peer groups, and all the other places and people we force ourselves to endure just so we can belong. But, the threat is real and we know it.

I don’t advise jumping off the wagon just because it doesn’t roll in quite the right direction. Use your fetid circumstances to quietly learn why you feel misplaced, and to discover what you really want from life. What is the naked truth about you? “Why bother with what seems so obvious?” you asked. Without that information, you will replace one undesirable set of conditions with another, and lose more than having a firm grip on your own driving forces will gain for you. The naked truth arrives not from someone’s mouth, but as flashes of insight containing informative glimpses you can recognize as meaningful to you. It comes from you as you show yourself the naked truth within your own being.

An important path to increased happiness will come with discovering where to belong. Your local library can be a big help. Pay attention to what attracts your interest and look also in related subjects. Ask questions of people you find browsing among those materials. Questions will get you farther than answers, but sincere offers to help find answers may gain friends for you. Also, the Internet has become a boon for displaced people. Writing my blogs has proved a tremendous aid to discovering the wide array of my own interests. Special interest groups flourish on sites like Yahoo and Google, hedonismNEWand at hidden places all over the Internet. Type applicable words into a search box and let yourself feel surprised. Don’t forget all the happy people blogging their tears away on sites they have put up as a creative way to share their interests with others. There, you will find an intelligent pool of people to follow and befriend.

I write fiction and nonfiction derived from my own discoveries with an aim to help others find their way across the fetid pools they suffer onto firm ground that will support a new outlook on life. You may fail to recognize many connections at first, wherever you begin. Don’t give up; don’t force it. It happens when you are ready for it. Forcing it will gain you nothing more than a new fetid pool in which you’ll feel more miserable than you are now. So, be careful. Read a lot (start right here). A book labeled ‘Fiction’ may present an important key insight to get you started. Happy, fruitful reading to you.


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