Hedonism is the doctrine that a person does all his deeds for his own pleasure, therefore, only it can be considered the meaning of life. Such an approach seems immoral to some, but there is no absolute truth, so conclusions have to be made independently.
Hedonism - what is it?
In translation from ancient Greek hedonism is pleasure or pleasure. The doctrine bearing this name, speaks about the naturalness of searching for pleasant sensations, therefore the person consciously or not moves along this path. And since this is inherent in human nature, it is quite logical to consciously direct your actions to receive joy. All the teaching ends on this statement, because nobody has finished this system, therefore the behavior of its adherents can be strikingly different.
Hedonism in Psychology
The doctrine was born even before our era, but hedonism in social psychology began to be considered in the 20th century. There are two behavioral concepts:
- future - actions are associated with anticipation of pleasure;
- this - actions are aimed at quickly obtaining pleasure.
The lack of psychological hedonism lies in the transfer of the central role to emotions, leaving the thinking part in the background. In fact, emotions only serve as beacons when setting up your own value system. Yet hedonism allows you to examine the accentuation of the individual for the acquisition of physiological pleasures and prestigious objects, often devoid of practical meaning. Such studies are relevant due to the increasing number of people seeking maximum enjoyment.
Hedonism in philosophy
Aristippus (435-355 BC) became the founder of the teaching, believing that the human soul experiences two states - pleasure and pain. The path to happiness lies in avoiding unpleasant sensations and striving for pleasant things. The emphasis was on physical aspects. Epicurus said that hedonism in philosophy is the complete satisfaction of one's desires. The goal is for pleasure itself, but freedom from unhappiness. In his opinion, the highest measure of such pleasure is ataraxia, peace of mind and moderation in the use of any benefits.
Enlightened hedonism spread throughout the 18th century. The aristocracy, especially in France, often understood it as the acquisition of the simplest pleasures. Jeremiah Bentham, who translated hedonism to a new level, helped to restore the concept of philosophy, taking as a basis his principle for his theory of utilitarianism. It provides for the behavior of society in which all its members can achieve the highest enjoyment.
Rules of life for hedonism
The doctrine is not fully formed, so there is no clear system of values, and no one made the rule of hedonism. There is only one postulate: the ultimate goal of man is to be happy. And for this it is necessary to reduce the number of unpleasant impressions and concentrate on things that bring joy. That is, to understand what hedonism means, it is necessary on the basis of their own sensations.
Hedonism - is it good or bad?
There is no unequivocal answer, it all depends on the personal interpretation of the concept. For someone, hedonism is the pursuit of new, increasingly powerful impressions, and some consider themselves adherents of the teachings because of the love of beautiful clothes and the adoption of baths with fragrant foam. It is clear that the desire to make your daily routine a little more pleasant, does not threaten anything. If you make the acquisition of pleasure an end in itself, you can end up with only troubles. Consider how dangerous hedonism is in its absolute form.
- Futility . Gradually the usual pleasures become boring, new steps are needed, but when they are passed, there is nothing left that could bring joy.
- A waste of time . For the search for pleasure, it's easy to miss the moment for taking the steps that decide the future life.
- Health problems . Much of what brings joy to the physical plane has a negative impact on health.
Hedonism and selfishness
The philosophical side of this teaching is often equated with selfishness, but this is not entirely true. The principles of hedonism do not prescribe concentration on oneself alone, it is not forbidden to care for and enjoyment of others. There are two forms: selfish and universal. The first is characterized by a concentration on one's own feelings, even if they are not shared by others. For connoisseurs of the second form it is important that the pleasure extended to those who are close to them.
Hedonism and Christianity
From the point of view of religion, everything that is not aimed at serving God is a vanity that is not worthy of attention. Therefore, hedonism is a sin for Christians. He not only distracts from the highest goal, but also replaces it with a desire to acquire earthly goods. If we talk about the phenomenon in general, without analyzing specific cases, the usual desire for comfort can hardly be called a crime. The universal form of hedonism, too, does not always lead to becoming a sinner, the help of other people to Christianity is welcomed.
You can not say that any hedonist is a sinner. Each case should be considered separately. If you can not figure out the situation on your own, you do not want to violate your own religious beliefs, and in comfort you can not refuse, then you can consult with the priest. He knows the sacred texts better, and he has experience in resolving such conflicts. True, he, too, may be wrong, so the final decision remains for the person himself.
In modern society, almost any celebrity can put a "hedonist" test. Even if some of them are engaged in charity, it happened only after satisfying their own thirst for pleasant impressions. This applies not only to our age, connoisseurs of a comfortable life have always been. After Epicurus, who derived his own formula of hedonism, the teaching received a new life in the Renaissance. Then his followers were Petrarch, Boccaccio and Raimondi.
Then Adrian Helvetius and Spinoza joined the teaching, correlating the pleasures of man with the public interest. Thomas Hobbes also argued for limitations, suggesting the principle of "do not do to others as you would not want to do to you." This principle was not followed by everyone, the most vivid example of the rejection of religious, moral and legal frameworks were the works of the Marquis de Sade.
Books about hedonism
The phenomenon was of interest to many, it was seriously studied by philosophers and psychologists, descriptions can also be found in fiction. Here are some books on hedonism.
- "Principles of Ethics" George Moore . The English philosopher reflects on the nature of the phenomenon and points to a mistake - a mixture of the notion of good and the means to achieve it.
- "The Brain and Pleasure" by David Linden . The book tells about the latest achievements in the field of neuroscience, which allowed a new look at the acquisition of pleasure and the formation of dependence on it.
- "Portrait of Dorian Gray" Oscar Wilde . A well-known work, which has undergone more than one screen version, demonstrates the most negative aspects and consequences of hedonism.
- "A Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley . All social life is built on the principles of pleasure. The results of such an experiment are described in the work.
- "The Last Secret" Bernard Verber . The heroes of this fantasy novel try to look into human thoughts and find the reason for doing any deeds.