The beauty of being a human is the freedom to make our own choices, to discover our own style, to design and engineer our own belief systems.
All these decisions mould us into the beings we are today, and who we are today effects how we are perceived and received by others around us. How do you choose to live your life? It took me a while to discover and explore my choice, I am a hedonist.
What is a hedonist some may wonder? I originally discovered the word a few years back and my initial understanding of it was vague, my first approach to the word was amusing. The usual Sunday after a weekend of clubbing and multiple “just one drink” situations, I found myself taking a risqué selfie in a well-lit room, it was of course still tasteful because I put the right choice of filter on it obviously, it just needed a short yet profound caption to justify the content of the picture. I recall a word being flung around a conversation between friends over just ‘one’ drink, as I was on my third heavy handed vodka soda and swaying a bit harder to the music, I laughed, nodded and pretended to understand the definition of the word. I was clueless but could judge from the context of the conversation that it was a word I needed to familiarise myself with.
The go to Google machine gave me a basic understanding, it is a person who believes that the pursuit of pleasure is the most important thing in life, a pleasure seeker. I instantly loved the word, I loved my understanding of the definition of it, and at the time this was the perfect scapegoat for my somewhat questionable behaviour. I have always prioritised a fun lifestyle above many essential adulthood requirements and tasks, always looking for the next fun adventure and making plans and choices around people, parties and pleasure. This was my initial grasp of hedonism and I was fully convinced that I was already a hedonist.
Over the course of two years I continued to live my life in the fun, wild-child manner, chasing parties, boys and the next metaphorical high, mostly metaphorical of course. I found myself relying more and more on my scapegoat concept of hedonism and the parties got bigger, the benders longer and the boys prettier. I often found myself at the centre of a crossroad of ‘this sounds fun but is it a good idea’ decisions. “Yes” was generally always the answer because I could justify it with my hedonism beliefs. A pattern had begun to develop in my thought process, my decisions became more selfish, more radical and more self-destructive. I needed to better understand hedonism as I was starting to think this new lifestyle belief was becoming a bad habit.
I did some research to fully understand the school of thought behind the concept, to understand that it is not a shallow theory or just a lifestyle justification. It is not solely about sex, social highs or physical pleasurable highs. The more detailed belief to hedonism is ethical hedonism which is a school of thought that argues seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering are the only components of wellbeing, that pleasure is the only good in life, and evil the only bad. Hedonism is closely associated with egoism, an individualist stance, which claims that individuals should always seek their own good in all things. It is also the idea that every person’s pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain, not only for ourselves despite it being associated with an individualist stance, but to also assist those around us in achieving this goal, to expose others to pleasure. The philosopher Aristippus, born 435 BC, was one of the disciples of Socrates. He was the founder of the Cyrenaic school of hedonism, the ethic of pleasure.
The idea of using the basic principles to bring joy to others really appealed to me, as naturally for years doing things for others has always brought an emotional pleasure to me. Provided the thought, good deed or action did not introduce any pain into my life, now among my priorities in life, I have been making a greater effort to do more for others. Helping friends move, making a loved one lunch for work, or massaging my lovers back… actually that is the best way to explain hedonism from my perspective, massaging my lovers back. It brings pleasure to him in the form of affection and physical attention, and it brings pleasure to me as well in two forms, firstly because I know it is genuinely appreciated, and secondly because I get to practice my drum solo on his usually exposed bum and it usually ends in a naked roll about on the bed. Although this example takes me back to my initial basic hedonism belief of sex equals pleasure, and as much as this was my initial intention of the massage, now with my deeper understanding of my school of thought, the act is now initiated out of my good intention of bringing him pleasure. Which brings double the pleasure to me.
Do what makes you happy, do what brings you pleasure, find the good in everything you release your energy to, and in every thought you commit your mind to. Provided these actions do not inflict pain unto you or others, or that the consequences and aftermath of your pleasurable decisions do not mature into destructive outcomes, then do it, do it with love and live in pleasure.
By Shawn Donovan Brett
Courtesy of GayPages Magazine
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