Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Open Space: Man’s battle against hedonism

December 2, 2015 by Jayden Grieve, contributing writer

Self-interest and the pursuit of pleasure are the major driving forces behind most of humanity’s actions.

When a person is born into this world they are born a hedonist. Without influence children have no care for the wants and needs of others; they simply desire to transform any discomforts they may have into pleasure. It is not until we berate a child for their wrongdoings that they decide to share with their siblings, exercise self-control, or stop throwing tantrums.

At this point in our lives we are not so different than the other animals that we think are our inferiors. Animals may exercise some forms of self-control, but that can be chalked up to them being forced to. A younger male animal may want desperately to mate with another female of his herd but he resists because he is afraid of the alpha male. Even this in itself is his attempt to maximize his own net pleasure.

This story originally appeared in our December 2, 2015 issue.

This story originally appeared in our December 2, 2015 issue.

As we grow we are, unfortunately, forced by the basic axioms of society, not by our own wills, to become less and less primal.

Some philosophers have argued that if each person pursues their own self-interests, things will balance out overall and the greatest possible level of aggregate happiness will be achieved. This is a flawed perspective that can be disproven simply by looking at the state of western culture today and seeing how people’s selfishnessŃthis is particularly obvious in regards to big businessŃhas caused some of the world’s greatest catastrophes.

So if people’s selfishness and desperate vying to maximize their own pleasure has a negative effect on society it can be put forward that the real foundation of a just, organized society is people resisting their burning, hedonistic desires.

Humans are weak creatures by nature, so often corrupted by our carnal desires that it’s a wonder we can interact with each other at all. This is what makes society as it stands such a beautiful thing. The thought that each of us could surpass our own wants to achieve a greater happiness for us all is a glorious thought indeed. If ever we are truly able to release ourselves from hedonism completely and achieve what some would call enlightenment, then, and only then, will we find the glorious utopiaŃthe paradise on earthŃthat man has sought from the beginning.

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