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partyrock's avatar

What is Hedonism ? What does it mean to be a "Hedonist" ?

Asked by partyrock (3870points) January 13th, 2012

What does it mean to be a hedonist nowadays? What is hedonism? Is it just someone that lives “life to the fullest” or parties a lot ? I’m confused.

Also, is it mostly considered to be a positive or negative thing (to be called a Hedonist) ?

The definition on the internet I found is : a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.

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12 Answers

Boogabooga1's avatar

‘The pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification’ with no regard of consequence nor effects their actions may inflict upon others. Reminds me of our oligarchs.

Hedonism at its extreme is evil imo.

Good fun I guess if you are terrified of reality.

bkcunningham's avatar

It is a group of resorts that are clothing optional.

thorninmud's avatar

I’d hardly call it “living life to its fullest”. It’s more like living life at its most primitive. A hedonist lives in service to her brain’s dopamine reward system, always looking for the next rush. This becomes a never-ending cycle of desire and gratification.

One thing that makes humans different from most other animals is our highly developed prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain that is capable of seeing beyond this primitive cycle and deferring or declining gratification. We also have a tremendous capacity for compassion—living for the welfare of others—that’s an indispensable aspect of “living life to its fullest”.

Ever heard of those lab experiments where rats’ brains are wired up so that their dopamine centers fire whenever they push a lever? The rats just spend all their time pushing the lever, ignoring any other activity. That’s the hedonist’s life.

marinelife's avatar

It is a negative thing. It has a connotation of self-centeredness.

Your dictionary definition is exactly the one I would have given. “Is it just someone that lives “life to the fullest” or parties a lot ?

No, it is not about living life to the fullest, which includes balance: work, charity, family.

No, it is not just partying a lot. It is about devoting your entire life to seeking pleasure.

Coloma's avatar

Hedonism, the pursuit of sensate pleasure is not bad or wrong in itself.
The fine art of living includes a goodly measure of self pampering and some indulgences, infact, more people suffer from repressed guilt and failure to enjoy themselves.
Hedonism only becomes a problem when it effects ones health or violates others.
We all have pleasure centers in our brains, and the pursuit of pleasurable experience is part of the human animals condition.

Certain personality styles are also prone to more hedonistic drives than certain others.
I test as a # 7 ” The Enthusiast/Epicure” on the Enneagram personality profiling, or the Sanguine temperment. We are among the most likely to have big appetites for everything in life and our corresponding “sin” is gluttony.
I have to work hard to not over indulge at times, I am of the mindset that if something is good, just kill me with it. lol

I do have to exercise discipline on a regular basis, however, I would rather cope with curbing my indulgences based on a gregarious and expansive personality style than to be the opposite, dull, lifeless, lacking in passion and creativity with no “appetite” for life.
As always it is about balance, but, I’ll take my hedonistic streak over listless and lifeless any day of the week.

Coloma's avatar

I’d have been the one that risked 1000 bee stings to collect the tribal honey for those that were too fearful to reach into the beehive. haha

partyrock's avatar

Would someone like Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl be considered a Hedonist ?

partyrock's avatar

Why is it considered a negative thing if someone devotes their life to pleasure ?

partyrock's avatar

The last question was for marinelife, Coloma someone else told me the same thing that it wasn’t necessarily considered good or bad.

DaphneT's avatar

@partyrock, based on the types of questions you’ve been posing on Fluther, you are exploring Hedonism. It is just one of many ideologies, and perhaps a better one than most. Not all pursuit of pleasure is about sex. Anyone who gets pleasure from making money and thinks that everyone should could be classed as a hedonist. Explore till your heart’s content.

partyrock's avatar

Isn’t someone who parties a lot devoting their life to that pleasure?

What if someone just partied their entire life, and did whatever that made them happy (sex,booze,etc.) is that hedonism?

Because their life is seeking pleasure ?

Coloma's avatar


Yes, it’s a matter of degree, as always.
Enjoying life to the fullest is what everyone should be doing, but, enjoying good food, fun, travel, whatever floats your boat is not the same as ruining your health or the lives of others through extremely hedonistic behaviors.

Again, discretion is key.
Gobbling up a half a bag of cookies once in awhile is not the same as weighing 500 lbs. and needing to be airlifted out of your house because you can no longer walk from your gluttonous over indulgence.

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