Is Hedonism selfish?
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13-02-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Is Hedonism selfish?
quick definition: Hedosim is the philosophy on life that the way to true life enlightenment is to create the most 'Net Happiness,' life happiness - others misfortune.

To any religious person, Hedonism is considered a sin as your life is not yours, but as belonging to god and so persuling self-happiness is immoral. I realised my views were Hedonist a year or so ago, and began persuing different oppotunities and experiences in order to find what made me happiest. Because of my definite Atheist beliefs, I am very aware of my self-mortality and unimportance as a species, which is another reason I am Hedonist.

Some people say that Hedonism is rather selfish, and I want to know whether it is only a religious belief or one that occurs in non-religious also.
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13-02-2011, 12:06 PM
RE: Is Hedonism selfish?
Quote:quick definition: Hedosim is the philosophy on life that the way to true life enlightenment is to create the most 'Net Happiness,' life happiness - others misfortune.
If doing selfish things makes you happy, then your Hedonism is selfish. But trying to maximize your happiness without harming others is not selfish.
I don't get the ''life happiness - others misfortune'' part. Can you clarify that?

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13-02-2011, 02:06 PM
RE: Is Hedonism selfish?
Hedonism is about bringing yourselves over others? I thought that part of Hedonism had to do with the fact that making others unhappy makes you unhappy. Hedonism is viewed as a sin because of the fact that taking all you can is often times a bad idea. Except that those same religions and most countries follow the idea of mine perfectly well on their own.

I choose not to belong to a school of thought but in my actions lead towards Utilitarianism (often enough due to the importance of non human life). I strive to be happy myself and generally will put others before me in order for there to be more happiness.

The discussion of selfishness though is a difficult discussion when you can prove how selfish being selfless is. Since everyone is in truth themselves, working for others often means interfering in their lives. And, you always have an alterior motive even though you don't see it. I still prefer that the world is not about me, and that I'm not the one stepping on other's back to get my way in life. But I damn well come to express my opinions and be noticed.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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14-02-2011, 03:04 AM
RE: Is Hedonism selfish?
hedonism (ˈhiːd ə ˌnɪzəm, ˈhɛd-) — n
1. ethics
a. See utilitarianism the doctrine that moral value can be defined in terms of pleasure
b. the doctrine that the pursuit of pleasure is the highest good
2. the pursuit of pleasure as a matter of principle
3. indulgence in sensual pleasures

This definition says nothing about using others, stepping-on others, or the misfortune of others as part of hedonism. I have never heard those terms being used in that context, either.

Religions don't want you persuing happiness. When you do they don't have control of you, or even enough infuence over you, to insure that you turn up on Sunday and reach deep into your pockets and fill the collection plate.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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14-02-2011, 04:01 PM
 
RE: Is Hedonism selfish?
You're speaking of a philosophical view of morality that uses hedonic calculus. Supposedly you can calculate people's happiness, and whatever results in the most net happiness is what you should do.

Alternatively, there is ethical egoism, which is the idea you should only do what makes you happy. Ayn Rand took a rather strong position of it in her book The Fountainhead. The passage is titled "In Defense of Ethical Egoism". It is a worthwhile read, and she attacks religion quite vigorously.

The question that's begging to be asked if a person says acting for one's own pleasure is selfish is, quite simply, "What if being altruistic brings you the most pleasure?"

It may be attacked by saying that if you're doing it for your pleasure it is selfish, but if you're doing it for the other person it is altruistic. This creates an issue because we can't be sure that we aren't altruistic to feel self-fulfilled. Would you help someone else if you wouldn't feel any different about it? Or better yet, would you help someone if you feel like it would hurt you?

If this is the case, then why help? If you have an indoctrination of morality, then you do it because you think you must. If you do it because some supreme being is telling you to (or more intelligently, because the supreme being is wise enough to know what is right), then you're doing it either because you think you must, or to avoid pain. In all of the cases it is clearcut coercion and abusive conditioning that does not help you personally feel self-fulfilled.

Another point is whether morality should be treated as an ends rather than a means. In other words, whether actions themselves are right or wrong, or the result of those actions that make doing something right or wrong?

Hard ethical egoism takes a staunch stance that you should do something only if it makes you happy. Soft ethical egoism takes a more blurred stance, that you should act in your own interest, but some things, such as manslaughter, are not morally permissible.

Thus, the answer cannot be solved so easily.
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14-02-2011, 08:39 PM
RE: Is Hedonism selfish?
I don't understand how doing things that make you happy - provided they are not harmful to others - is wrong or selfish. You're not suggesting that going on a killing spree makes you happy and it's not like there is a finite amount of happiness in the world and you're using it up at the expense of someone else.

I see nothing wrong with hedonism as Pixie defined it and think that religion objects to it because happy people who are content with themselves are much tougher to control.

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25-09-2016, 07:11 PM
RE: Is Hedonism selfish?
(13-02-2011 02:06 PM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  Hedonism is about bringing yourselves over others? I thought that part of Hedonism had to do with the fact that making others unhappy makes you unhappy. Hedonism is viewed as a sin because of the fact that taking all you can is often times a bad idea. Except that those same religions and most countries follow the idea of mine perfectly well on their own.

I choose not to belong to a school of thought but in my actions lead towards Utilitarianism (often enough due to the importance of non human life). I strive to be happy myself and generally will put others before me in order for there to be more happiness.

The discussion of selfishness though is a difficult discussion when you can prove how selfish being selfless is. Since everyone is in truth themselves, working for others often means interfering in their lives. And, you always have an alterior motive even though you don't see it. I still prefer that the world is not about me, and that I'm not the one stepping on other's back to get my way in life. But I damn well come to express my opinions and be noticed.

This is utter bigotry, and narrow mindedness. You have no understanding even what Spirituality or Religion even is. I'll bet you've never even been into a Church.

'Religions' want you to be a *good person* and to be *conscientious citizen* - and given human beings dramatic inability to control their lower impulses (lust etc.), they submit to addictions (alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling) - in pursuit of 'pleasure'.

It's 100% false to say that religions don't want you to seek pleasure, but they want you to be responsible first.

'Seeking pleasure' can mean sleeping with someone else's wife, doing nothing all day, avoiding raising your children well or paying child support, and otherwise making short-term decisions with 'not so good outcomes'.

'Seeking pleasure' as a life philosophy is almost laughable - neurologically 'pleasure' is just a dose of seratonin and dopamine. All 'pleasurable' activities produce the same thing: sex, gambling (for some), drugs (at least opiods and alcohol).

By putting the 'higher' forms of existence (spiritual, cognitive) 'in charge' of the lower, animal impulses (impulses such as 'lust', 'hunger', 'greed', and emotional impulses such as 'jealously') - we live prosperous, healthy and conscientious lives.

You want to see 'hedonism' - go to Africa. In most Sub-Saharan African states there hardly such a thing as a family unit, people have new sexual partners every week, mothers have 10 children by 10 different men, there is massive corruption, and total social dysfunction.

Without a fairly strong 'moral order' - in fact, without Victorian era and even puritanical principles imbued into Anglo-culture - we would not have the civilization we would have.

If you want to see a Western nation with fairly hedonist values, visit the South of Italy or Sicily. And then consider if that's what we want as a civilization.

Ultimately, hedonism is a 'self centered' and 'self seeking' and bad idea - which is why all religions and spiritual philosophies that have endured - are against it. Those minority who do embrace it, within the context of a majority who embrace selflessness, are effectively leeches on the rest of the group.
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25-09-2016, 08:36 PM
RE: Is Hedonism selfish?
Hey Ed, Welcome. I can see you have strong feelings about this. But you should know this thread was posted over 5 years ago. And Lilth hasn't been on here since 2013. So you probably wont see any response to her post.

However many of your points do faultier in the evidence category. But many people would like to hear your views. So please open up a new thread and you can have a constructive conversation. That way people can defend their points as they come.

See yah around.

The only thing I know, is I know nothing. ~ Socrates
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25-09-2016, 10:26 PM (This post was last modified: 25-09-2016 11:01 PM by GenesisNemesis.)
RE: Is Hedonism selfish?
Not if other people are involved too. There's no reason hedonism can't be reciprocal. But there are also different levels of selfishness, it's not always harmful to others. Obviously, admiring a view at a beach just for yourself, for example, wouldn't be harmful to others, or enjoying a glass of wine.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool." - Richard Feynman

Nothing matters, including the fact that nothing matters.
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25-09-2016, 10:50 PM
RE: Is Hedonism selfish?
(25-09-2016 07:11 PM)edblanrey Wrote:  ...
This is utter bigotry, and narrow mindedness. You have no understanding
...
Quote:You want to see 'hedonism' - go to Africa. In most Sub-Saharan African states there hardly such a thing as a family unit, people have new sexual partners every week, mothers have 10 children by 10 different men, there is massive corruption, and total social dysfunction.
...

Laugh out load

This is utter irony.

Big Grin

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