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Hedonism-ideology of consumer society

Philosophy. Everyone has their own associations with this word. Someone sees Diogenes broadcasting from his legendary barrel about the principles of the world order. Someone imagines the image of Christ, who brought to the Western world the basic human values and concepts of morality. Someone at the mention of philosophy recalls the Teachings of the Buddha and his brilliant "four Noble Truths" about suffering and the causes of suffering. Someone sees landscapes of ancient Jerusalem and the legendary king Solomon whitened with gray hair. Someone remembers imperishable wisdom of our ancestors who taught that it is necessary to live conscientiously and in harmony with nature.

Someone will remember the priceless pearls of wisdom that Shine in the work of Leo Tolstoy, who in the XIX century preached ethical nutrition and compassionate, not consumer attitude to the world. Thus, the philosophy is different. The word "philosophy" means 'love of wisdom'. But wisdom is for everyone. The truth of "moderate drinkers "is that" the degree is not lowered " — this is also a kind of wisdom, and, most interestingly, it is based solely on life experience. From this simple example we can understand that not every wisdom and philosophy leads man to development.

One such destructive philosophical concept is that of "hedonism." What is "hedonism"? This is a philosophical concept that puts pleasure at the forefront. That is, pleasure is declared the highest good, the highest value and, in General, neither more nor less the meaning of life. Strange as it may sound, hedonism is not a derivative of our century. The founder of hedonism is considered to be a certain Aristippus. What kind of enlightenment descended on him and what arguments he was guided by — history is silent, but this thinker persistently promoted to the masses the idea that all human activity is somehow aimed at obtaining pleasure and all other goals in life are only intermediate goals, that is, tools for obtaining pleasure in the future.

That is, everything that a person does: gets an education, works, learns the world and so on-all this is aimed at ultimately having fun. The same people who do not understand that the only worthy purpose is pleasure, according to Aristippus, just temporarily remain in ignorance and act on some imposed patterns-in short, like blind unreasonable kittens. But those who have already learned the true meaning of life — those, of course, reasonable people who know what they want.

Here is a few to delve into the shadows of bygone centuries, and recall about the structure of Vedic society. The Vedic society was divided into four Varnas: Sudras, Vaisyas, Kshatriyas and brahmanas. The most interesting Varna, from the point of view of hedonism, are the Sudras. Getting pleasure is just the main motivation of representatives of this stratum of society. Everything they do comes down exclusively to having fun. As a rule, these people work hard, often in low-skilled work, and then "burn" all the fruits of their labor, trying to get the maximum pleasure. Then hard work again. And so in a vicious circle. And interestingly, the representatives of this Varna in the Vedic society occupied, to put it mildly, an unenviable position and were considered the initial stage of evolution of an intelligent being.

Now back to the philosopher Aristippus. The analogy between the Sudras and the philosophy of Aristippus is obvious. But it is worth noting that in Vedic society, the Sudras were not the elite of society, but rather the opposite. Thus, we can see that in more benign times, fans of this view of life were not in the most enviable position. Hence we can conclude that the philosophy of Aristippus-completely flawed. Why so? Let's try to understand in more detail.

Hedonism - the way to nowhere

To regard enjoyment as the highest goal of life is an inherently losing position. Because the achievement of happiness by receiving pleasure is impossible for the simple reason that the lust of man simply has no end. Remember in your life a situation where you strongly wanted to buy any thing. You thought that you really need it and just the same happiness in life will not be if this thing is not purchased. Now try to remember what you experienced when you acquired it. First, a brief rapture, and then ... devastation. Complete mental desolation-that's what happens when a person receives a long-awaited object of his desire. And if we analyze how a person aspires to his goal, and what feelings he then experiences, it turns out that any achievement in the material world brings much less pleasure than it was spent on this effort.

Experience shows that no satisfied desire allows you to experience pleasure from it longer than a week, a maximum of two. A very striking example is a vacation, which in our time is very popular to spend somewhere in an expensive resort. And this is a very illustrative situation: a person works hard for six months (at best) to go on vacation for a week or two. It is obvious that the effort and the amount of pleasure received is simply unequal. And so, in fact, in everything.

Buddha Shakyamuni also said that the cause of suffering is desire. No desire — no suffering. It is not, of course, a question of giving up all desires altogether, of wrapping yourself in a sheet, of sitting under a nearby tree and breathing through your nose, "contemplating the inner world." The principle of sanity should be adhered to in everything. Buddha Shakyamuni spoke of desires as a thirst for sensual pleasures, but he did not call for the renunciation of all desires. He himself had desires: to learn, to comprehend the truth, to practice meditation, to attain Liberation. It must be said that the Buddha also went through the path of extreme austerity and realized that this is little better than the pursuit of pleasure. That's why he preached the Middle Way.

Thus, in everyday life, one can observe the truth of the Buddha's words that desires bring suffering. Getting what you want, a person experiences a short-term pleasure, and then realizes that the object of his desire is imperfect and you need to look for something even more perfect — and again begins running for mirages. So the human psyche is arranged that to any even the most mind-blowing level of pleasure the person gets used and begins again "to lift a bar" and to look for that will be able to impress him even more.

A Prime example is people who use drugs. Tolerance of the organism is quite a medical concept, and it gives a complete understanding of what "pleasure" is and what its inferiority is. For example, if a person uses a drug, increases the tolerance of his body to this drug, simply put, the body gets used to the drug and ceases to throw out the same hormone "dopamine", which gives us a sense of pleasure. And to trigger the release of dopamine again, a person needs a larger amount of the drug. And on this simple example it is possible to be convinced that receiving pleasure, the person quickly gets used to it and begins to desire even more pleasure.

What to do

It is not necessary, however, to fall into depression because of the illusory meaning of receiving pleasure. Anyway, pleasure is an important part of our life. Here Aristippus is difficult to argue. But the cunning old man kept silent about one important detail: the levels of pleasure are different. He emphasized physical pleasure, that is, obtaining purely sensual pleasure. Or it may be (not at all excluded) that his teaching was distorted by his followers, as we can often see in various religious movements.

So, what are the levels of pleasure? Remember, perhaps, in your childhood there was an episode when you picked up a kitten, fed it, warmed it and saved it from the sad fate of being torn by yard dogs. Did you enjoy it? And can we say that this is the same pleasure that a person gets from drinking alcohol? Rhetorical question.

This is the thing that is very important to understand. Yes, in part Aristippus was right: pleasure is an important motivation for human development. But for the sake of pleasure, you can drink alcohol, and you can help others and enjoy watching their lives change for the better. Can you imagine the pleasure a yoga teacher gets, for example, when he sees how the lives of those to whom he teaches yoga are changing? And life changes inevitably. Practice yoga-dramatically changes life for the better. And seeing this process, the yoga teacher inevitably gets moral satisfaction from the fact that his activity brings someone good.

And the main secret is that the pleasure of such a high level does not go to any comparison with the pleasure of alcohol, nicotine, coffee, delicious cake, holidays in Cyprus and so on. Because selfish pleasure ends very quickly. The pleasure of intoxicant — very short. As soon as the level of the drug decreases in the blood plasma, all the fun ends. As soon as the holiday ends in Cyprus, you have to return to the hated (most often) work. What can not be said about the pleasure that a person receives from activities for the benefit of others. Those who have ever experienced this high level of pleasure, is often simply not interested in those levels that are below.

As for hedonism, in addition to Aristippus, the philosophy of hedonism was preached by a certain Epicurus, and now his view is more close to the truth. He declared the goal of human activity not to receive pleasure itself, but to eliminate pain, suffering, anxiety, unhappiness, and so on. And this position is closer to the Teaching of the Buddha, who also taught his followers that suffering should be eliminated. But what is important here is the way in which this suffering is eliminated. It is widely believed that suffering, again, is leveled by receiving pleasure. That is, to eliminate suffering, you just need to get the maximum pleasure. However, as we have seen above, this will only lead to more suffering. Therefore, it is obvious that a different way of getting rid of suffering is needed. And that's what Buddha said.

So the Buddha's Teaching also teaches to some extent that the purpose of human life is to avoid suffering. Only this is achieved - by calming your mind. And the main tool for this is the practice of yoga and meditation. This is the most effective way to get rid of suffering and harmonize your life and the space around you.

Posted in Self-development on Aug 31, 2019