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Hedonism as a "Religion" and Its Backdraws (Also, Philosocom's Directory on Hedonism)

Updated: Feb 23


A beautiful confrence room

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Hedonism: A Critique


Hedonism, the belief that the attainment of pleasure should be above all, lacks something essential for maintaining human civilization and its order: The consideration of other people's feelings, especially those who wish to either help or serve us. Hedonism is therefore problematic as a philosophy because it presents us with no other alternative to consider the existence of others, other than the fact that they can either give us pleasure, unease, or nothing at all.


In order to have compassion towards other human beings, we must be willing to participate in their suffering.


This is what I also call the "fast food attitude": We mostly disregard the conditions of those who make our food, for we just care abouthaving a good, tasty meal. So what if the delivery person almost collided with a tree on their way? So what if the workers at the fast food chain were too nervous they forgot a certain ingredient in your pizza or hamburger? In the end, for the hedonist, it is the product that counts, and not others, along with whether or not that product gives us the pleasure we seek.

The same reasoning applies in what I call the contentist approach.


This is also true, to be blunt, in online video games. It's a hobby that is filled with toxic communities that won't hesitate to tell you to kill yourself if you did not play the way they wanted you to, because if you did, you would give them fun. The reality of such experiences is that the dignity of your fellow players is far more unimportant than the hedonist's zealotry towards having a good time with the game they play.


In general, it seems that the pursuit of fun has become some sort of a "religion" for many people. Unlike our many ancestors, the value of joy has been put at a far higher priority than in any other time. Even when we work, we have many sources of pleasure that did not exist any time before the industrial and digital revolutions.


It is no surprise, therefore, that some of us have become fun-seekers rather than depth-seekers or wealth-seekers. The possible reason for that being, that there is much to enjoy from, more than ever before, and with our constant seeking of new and newer sources and content of fun, we basically feed a globally-entertaining industrial complex, that lives and prospers over our lack of satisfaction with what we already have.


That, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. But it still doesn't answer the following question: why should one care about other people, if they do not bring one the fun they so desire? This "religion" could create a future where only the most entertaining shall prosper, while those who bore most would be cast aside. I guess you can call it a Hedocracy — a regime where only the most entertaining reign supreme. And indeed, dismissing someone or something because they are boring, is a fallacy of its on.


You can also say that such "hedocracies" already exist, especially among younger audiences. As we lose patience, our attention span decreases as well, leading to the social and even financial prosperity of many content creators; people who know exactly what duration their content should be, what it should contain to keep the viewers from watching other content, and so on. This is why, logically, we could say that books are becoming more and more something that belongs to the past, as it is replaced by virtual content one can access without the need to pay or to go to the nearest library.


Anyways, I have to mention that the shorter people's attention spans will be, the less successful sites such as this would be. That is because of the sad truth that, short-term spikes of joy are for most far more desired than a long-time reading whose worth will only come at the end of the piece. Perhaps we won't need to write anymore, as the interest in reading will significantly decrease over the consumption of videos, embedded by large words and background music made to catch your attention.


Should we fail in giving the future generations a reason to enjoy extensive reading, than articles such as this, along with countless books, will be cast aside for content made to entertain more than to teach, educate, or make you contemplate.


Of course, there are still those who read a lot, but when you are to ask a person of the far future, should they watch a video or read an article, the probable reply might be the latter, for it is usually much more entertaining than mere reading. Videos, after all, have music in them, and save us the effort required for reading, for all we need to do is to listen — even when we can also do other activities while listening or watching said video.


Because of all of these reasons, the mere pursuit of pleasure is often insufficient in justifying the existence or the worth of other things in our lives, which are more often than not, important by themselves. Thanks to this shift in perspective, those who have the time and education can find jobs that they truly enjoy. The suffering can justify the rewarding end.


Furthermore, thanks to the help of liberty and secularism, some people at least don't have to fight against their families once they become adults, in the matters of profession, education, marriage, and bringing up a family. "Live and let live" is a very important saying nowadays, but it still does not answer this: If we can all live however we want, then what is the need for cooperation and caring for each other on a genuine level?


With this great apathy to other people, there could be a great danger to our own morality, as if we're becoming "tribal" again; a step backwards in our sense of identity. In many countries, theoretically, being a fellow citizen of the same nation doesn't matter as much as it used to be when many people rebelled against imperialism and colonialism in favor of forming their own national identity as one, sovereign people.


Look at your fellow countryman or countrywoman: what do you feel towards them, just for having the same nationality as you? See what I mean? We are in an age of loneliness and alienation, and many of us just don't care when we can just enjoy ourselves. Who cares about participating in the struggles of those we care about, when feeling good feels far better? That, is the immorality of hedonism.


If we wish, therefore, to preserve and improve human empathy and compassion, we must realize that fun, even if greatly rewarding, is insufficient for the preservation of a "humane" humanity. What kind of humanity do we want? One that cares for each other in distress, helps others without expecting anything in return, and asks children "what's wrong" and "why do they cry"?


Hedonism by its very nature rejects feelings of unease and discomfort, even if they are caused by the suffering of others. It ignores thhe fact that these emotions deserve legitimacy because the desire to have a better time is a poor excuse to disregard our compassionate selves. I had to develop a neuroplastic method to murder much of my emotions, just to survive in such a hedonistic world.

Conclusion


Hedonism, therefore, while it can lead to a life of good wellbeing, couldn't care less for the good wellbeing of others. It's one of the reasons I disabled commenting on Quora, where I've been writing since 2017.


At least from a personal testimony, many people would prefer to "eat you alive" than considering the fact that you are an imperfect human being, like them. The constant ignoring of my condition, led me to conclude that my wellbeing is more important than their lack of "fun" while reading my articles.


Wouldn't you do the same if you were as sensitive as I used to be? What distinguishes me and the hedonist, however, is my desire to contribute and not be totally invested in unproductive joy — hence why I resume writing.


I decided to provide a link to a video showcasing a toxic online community. I'm not responsible for whether or not you'll click it.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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