Tomorrow I’ll be diving into a conversation about being an ethical hedonist. I dug through my old notes and found a post I wrote in 2007. It’s a good start. We’ll be making a podcast out of the conversation which I’ll post a link to here once it’s ready to go. Until then take the quiz below and see if you too need to add a little hedonism to your life.
Whatever happened to good old-fashioned hedonism, you know, the doctrine that states that pleasure is good and that pursuing anything other than pleasure is absurd and irrational? The only thing we pursue these days, it seems, is work, work, and more work, so we can buy more things we don’t need or have the time to enjoy.
The things we do enjoy – sex, drugs, rock and roll, fatty food, and cigarettes, are deemed to be not good for us and will shorten our lives. The prevailing thought seems to be “If I avoid all things pleasurable, I’ll live a long happy life.” I’ve had just about enough of that. Bring back the old school hedonism like the kind practiced by some of the greats like Epicurus, Cleopatra, Louis XIV, Catherine the Great, Dumas, Flaubert, Balzac, and Timothy Leary to name a few. I want to run through the garden naked, get drunk on good beer, and chase naked girls with flowers in their hair. Sorry. I digress.
Here is a simple test, courtesy of Michael Flocker, to see if you’re in the machine too deep.
(If five or more of the following statements are true for you, then you are in serious need of hedonistic intervention.)
1. You no longer remember anyone’s phone number because they’re all programmed into your cell phone.
2. You email people at work who are seated within twenty feet of you.
3. You make itineraries for your vacations.
4. The idea of a full week without internet access fills you with terror.
5. You are bored at home if the television isn’t on.
6. You absolutely must watch the news every day to be sure the world isn’t ending.
7. You regularly watch sitcom reruns that you have seen countless times before.
8. You are unable to sit still and think in silence.
9. Your conversation regularly revolves around the lives of others instead of your own.
10. You buy shoes because they match your ipod.