Does hedonism promote happiness?

Our culture says that if it feels good just do it. Hedonism encapsulates the very concept of this saying and packages it in a consumer driven fantasy world of selling pleasure as a means to achieving success or fulfillment.

One of the means of living this compulsion driven lifestyle is through the avenue of materialism. We have a saying in America that the one who has the most toys wins. Therefore a mans value and pursuits are fixated on the accumulation of stuff and wealth.

This philosophy also pursues other realms of experiential and sensual excesses which manifests itself in every facet of daily living.

We see the trademarks of its presence in other sectors as well such as work, sex, drugs, recreation, materialism, knowledge or whatever else a person can participate in that gives them the euphoria of pleasure while minimizing or avoiding pain.

Pain to the hedonist is an enemy to avoid and yet by living in this world it is impossible to avoid suffering and therefore by striving to avoid the inevitable by maximizing pleasure this only leads into a form of escapism which has no basis in reality.

Pain may be delayed but it is never denied and sooner or latter it catches up with all of us regardless of our endeavor to stay head of this grim reaper.

One destructive component to the philosophy of hedonism is the crass demonstration of victimizing others in order to achieve its goals.

Pure selfishness is the root of this spirit which elevates ones self to the position of a god that is to be served by the whims of its lustful yearnings.

We have such sayings as look out for #1 or nice guys finish last. Its always about competing to get whatever you desire regardless of the cost to society.

Yet a cost is always lurking around the corner as it was with the proverbial forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden which was to satisfy the cravings of sinful man ,the lust of the eyes, and the boasting of what one has or does.

This cost would ultimately be defined in bringing about the death sentence to creation resulting in a separation from God.

This cost is experienced on a very real and personal basis in our society today. We have seen lottery winners gain it all then lose it all, sexual prowess develops into sexually transmitted diseases or aids, obsessed career driven people become burned out earning for themselves the title “workaholic” only to one day find themselves retired or jobless, people looking for a “high”  and becoming drug addicts of which they are mastered and controlled  by a substance which only leads them to be more dependent upon higher dosages in order to obtain the same “fix” or effect.

This is the real crux to the whole matter anyway in which a person is striving for more and more novel experiences in order to satisfy the continual hunger pangs of these addictive cravings which instead of meals these experiences become no more than  appetizers which only leaves oneself hungry for the main course of “desire.”

In reality it becomes a chasing your tale or a chasing  after the wind which either leaves a person frustrated if they do not reach their goals or bored if they do.

Happiness is only momentarily achieved and it is often dependent upon circumstances. We value its intoxicating qualities by funneling and chugging its contents hoping to obtain or achieve the ultimate Miller definition of the “high life” the ultimate “buzz” of living yet we are only left too find out that just a few short hours away lies the reality of the pain which awakens us with the sobering effects of a hangover.

Do we learn though? No, and they get back on the “wagon” because this is the only trail they know and it  has left such a deep rut that they can’t break free from its pattern or course.

Happiness is a fleeting substance though obtained intermittently it is never fully apprehended or satisfied. It will will take you for a roller coaster ride only to be abruptly halted at the end of its circuit of ups and downs . Yet this endless ride of life leaves us rushing to get back in line once again only to relive a short term experience of exhilaration through this repetitious cycle of life.

So where does this madness end in going from one joy ride to another regarding this quest for the ultimate adventure? Unfortunately for many it never ends until the ride is fully terminated. This may sound dismal but there is hope beyond the amusement park of life.

The end result of Hedonism is self defeating yet we live a life that is gullible to its deceptive hold. Our lives were never created to find its reality in pleasure seeking but in the sustainable inner qualities of peace, love, and joy which are enduring.

These sources can not be found in the world’s system and any comparison in obtaining a counterfeit lifestyle to these qualities apart from God is purely synthetic.

Joy in God’s economy is defined as an inner disposition which is tangible during moments of great difficulty, trials or pain. Peace is a calm in the midst of the storm. Love  is an overflow which can not be contained.

In Christ we can have joy unspeakable and full of glory. We can obtain the peace of God that  surpasses all understanding.

In summary to hedonism  the “Preacher” of Ecclesiastes sought to unbridle all restraints in indulging his fleshly desires in full  pursuit of overtaking human achievement and pleasure. He had all the means he needed to achieve his ends and in view of all his time and effort under the sun of humanity his final analysis became his opening line to the book which states vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

We see this ring true even in our own day and age where the likes of the rich and famous crash and burn and yet these are the very lifestyles hedonism seems to promote and like the serpent in the midst of the garden it is all a lie or at best a half truth which masquerades itself as the ideology of “Self Fulfillment.”

We are privileged as Americans to have all the benefits and luxuries that a modern society can offer and we have more in the 21st century than 99% of what others have  had over the course of human history and still we have psych wards, prisons, and our medical staff are catering to the needs of a over-medicated population. So much for the pursuit of happiness on this evolutionary scale of existence.

I am convinced that happiness cannot be achieved through the  pursuit of unadulterated  selfish gratification.

Some people fall of the wagon early in life because they have a fatalistic viewpoint to their inability of not being able to obtain their dreams of happiness and death to them seems to be a reasonable option in escaping the pain of living life.

Others fall off only to get back on singing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and thinking that the wagon will finally drive them towards the destination of their dreams.

This life within the realm of “happiness” promises so much but in the end it leaves you lonely, empty, and bankrupt and those who say otherwise are like the addict who is in denial and has developed a  codependency with the god of Hedonism.

In conclusion the writer of Ecclesiastes  after experiencing every man made indulgence took inventory of the whole matter and issued a enlightened statement  to fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment including every hidden thing whether it is good or evil.

This man through his life was by definition the embodiment of wisdom having experienced the grandeur of human existence.

Will  you heed the call of the “Preacher” in his wisdom or will you be entertained through the songs of fools who sing to the melody of eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die. Even if we succeed in achieving a degree of happiness through the expression of our transgressions the scripture finally warns us that the pleasures of sin is only for a season and yet the flip side to this equation is that when a person receives the riches of God’s grace in the “Now” they can obtain something of great worth which will last throughout all eternity.

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2 Responses to “Does hedonism promote happiness?”

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