Hedonism


The modern human has embraced this concept as it would one of those adorable, goat-cuddling kittens on YouTube, but I am not sure the true meaning is well-understood. Which could have something to do with the fact that “educational centers” no longer teach philosophy as part of the general curriculum, but stock the kitchens with canned vegetables, pizza pockets, and plastic covered pastries.

You really are killing yourselves. That is not an aside. It goes to the point.

Which is, that the thrust of hedonism (the philosophical school) was not merely “pleasure is the only good”. Rather, it should be understood that if we were to find some way to measure or quantify “good”, our only yardstick would be pleasure. Any situation that maximizes the number of happy folks, and optimizes their feelings of contentment is intrinsically good. Therefore, hedonistic.

This inevitably ties the person to the material world, the substance and form of reality. You cannot feel satisfaction at eating a Big Mac, if you do not have said sandwich in hand. Therefore, belief in the hereafter or any other imaginary thing is erroneous. This is known as atomic materialism.

But it was Epicurus who typified this.

He has become irrevocably enmeshed to cuisine and the stylizing of it, but in reality, his philosophy was far more graceful. To him, life was best lived in utter simplicity, seeking knowledge for the sake of a purer understanding, and therefore enjoyment, of the universe. To call oneself an Epicurean is to align with a truly virtuous cause, and so I am often bothered when I find it so inextricably linked with gluttony.

Yes, I have said it, gentle reader. I do not like something that ties to food. You never thought you’d hear it. But it is there for all to see.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things for which you only hoped.

So do not, modern human, confuse hedonism with gluttony. All Big Macs are sandwiches, but not all sandwiches come from the unholy limbo that is the McDonalds drive-thru.

So you see, I am both a humanitarian and an epicurean, with any meaning you choose to employ for those phrases, for tonight I dine on a fraudulent restauranteur. I will put an end to his technicolor presentations of sybarite pleasure palaces designed to bankrupt yet another retiree to fund his next seafaring purchase. I do this in an effort to obtain a more perfect sense of joy, I assure you.

Cheers.

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