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My Life as a Hedonist!

And why all humans live by the pleasure principle

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

I am a hedonist, someone who believes the most important thing in life is the pursuit of pleasure. I believe what drives people is pleasure. Everything we do from binge-watching a television series to digging graves, we do to gain pleasure.

For instance, one may believe that being a trashman is an undesirable job but I would disagree. Either that person chose the job because their life goal was to become a trashman, or it was the most desirable job they could acquire based on their education and circumstance. In other words, they either gain pleasure because it was their life goal, or they gain pleasure because they acquired the best job they could get based on their expertise. So, in the end, they made a choice that got them the maximum amount of pleasure.

In this article, I will discuss leader/follower, selflessness, and delayed gratification in relationship to the pleasure principle.

Leader

When it comes to being a leader, it often means that you are in control. I often wondered why people want control so badly. Politicians push each other almost to the point of slitting their throats for control of the country. So why is it so important that we have control. Well if you’re a Hedonist it’s quite simple, pleasure! It’s pleasurable to be in control.

For example, when I lived in Texas with my siblings there was always a struggle for control. This control even led us to blackmail each other from time to time. So why was control so important that we would blackmail each other? It was pleasurable.

When we weren’t in control, like when we wouldn’t let our little sister in our room, then we would find a way to be in control. My sister’s response to this was to bring up something we did wrong so we would fall in line.

Our biological nature.

This idea of control reaches back into our biological nature and how we are raised. If someone is raised to be a leader, much like the leader of a wolf pack, then they will possibly find it pleasurable to lead because of their past experiences. However, if they are raised to be a leader but their most pleasurable experiences comes from times when they weren’t the leader, then they will find it pleasurable to not be a leader.

Well, it’s simple as well. They take pleasure in following. When I think of pleasure in the form of following I often come to the rhetorical question that parents ask their children when they find their kids following a bad leader: “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump off?”

Now for followers, this can be a tough answer. If they say yes then their parents will think they’re stupid or that they’re apart of some suicide cult. However, if they say no then they give up their pleasure by saying they shouldn’t follow. Well, to me if I were to gain one hundred percent pleasure from following, then I’m gonna jump off that cliff because it will maximize my pleasure. But, if I value life more than following then I won’t. So when comes to following, it as well comes back to the pleasure principle.

Selflessness

If the end result is to maximize pleasure then why do people practice selflessness? Well, in this situation I would say that they gain pleasure by watching other people gain pleasure. This can be seen in a soup kitchen. The people that work there don’t work there because they’re selfless but rather that they’re selfish.

They aren’t simply sacrificing their time for the needs of others because they get something out of it. They gain pleasure by making people happy; and the definition of selflessness is a concern for others needs rather than their own. However, by putting someone else’s needs above their own, they are putting their needs above the persons they initially put above theirs — because they want to maximize their pleasure. So really selflessness is selfishness.

Delayed Gratification

Another important topic related to the pleasure principle is delayed gratification. Why do we sacrifice the experience of immediate pleasure and wait for pleasurable things to happen? The answer to this is that we gain more pleasure from the end result rather than the immediate pleasure.

Separates us from animals.

This is a very important distinction because it’s what separates us from animals. We can look into the future and wait for something that will bring us greater pleasure than the immediate pleasure. On the other hand, animals can’t delay pleasure for more pleasure later.

For instance, if we set a calf in front of a wolf, that wolf will eat the calf without a moment of hesitation. But a human will realize that if we feed this calf and wait it will be better for us. That calf will turn into a bull or cow and bring us a greater abundance of food — thus greater pleasure.

For example, if I were to set my sister down, set a marshmallow on a table, and say that she can have it, she’ll want it immediately. But if I say, “You can get two marshmellows if you can wait five minutes,” she will most likely still eat the marshmallow right away because she has an immature concept of time. However, if you were to run the same experiment when my sister turned fifteen, she would be able to wait the five minutes.

So the question then becomes:

Well, it has to with what we believe is the most pleasurable outcome. Whether it’s the immediate pleasure or delayed pleasure.

In this article, I talked about delayed gratification, selflessness, and leader/follower. When it comes to the pleasure principle, pleasure is the goal of human beings. It’s the ends that justify the means. I strongly believe that we as human beings are centered around maximum pleasure and we will do anything to obtain that. This maximum pleasure is why I live my life as a Hedonist.

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