Why Is Hedonism Bad? – Sins of Modernity

Why is hedonism bad?

We live in a wicked age. The number of people who have morals, values, or virtues is low and decreasing daily. The number of people who make decisions by thinking is also falling.

While morals and thoughts slowly disappear, they are replaced by feelings.

People no longer think or moralize before they speak or do. Instead, they feel before they speak or do.

“I’m going to do (insert evil thing here) because I feel like it.”

Now, the rise of hedonism and the deaths of morals and thinking has revived the need to explain why the former is a pathway to hell.

So, why is hedonism bad?

Hedonism is bad because it can’t justify its own existence. A hedonic people does not produce anything of value and always destroys itself. Hedonism ruins both virtues and morals. It replaces them with feelings which disappear shortly afterward. Hedonism always leads to death.

Hedonism has been a constant problem for every civilization which has ever existed and, if it is not kept in check, then it destroys the people which permits it. The modern threat of hedonism requires that those who would stop it understand why it must be stopped at all.

It Leads to Existential Dread

“What are you doing with your life?”

When the hedonist is confronted with this question, the only answer he can honestly give is, “Trying to feel good.” However, this feels like a bad answer to give, so the hedonist, motivated solely by her desire to feel good, will lie and say something which sounds morally superior to the real answer.

Do not be deceived by the moralizing lie. The hedonic meaning of life is to feel good, and this leads hedonists to ruin.

How the Pursuit of Pleasure Destroys People

  1. The hedonist goes through life pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. So they avoid doing things which make them feel uncomfortable.
  2. Some things are difficult to do, and attempting feels uncomfortable, so hedonists do not do them. They give up on a task whenever progress becomes hard.
  3. Most tasks have hard parts which need to be completed in order for them to be finished. So hedonists do not follow through on them. They give up on most things.
  4. And the hedonist lives her life in this way. She goes about giving up on everything which presents a challenge and rarely finishes doing anything of value. Meanwhile, she’s getting older.
  5. The older hedonist proceeds to reflect on their life and what they have done with it. What they see is a wasteland of projects they’ve either given up on or never attempted in the first place.
  6. Then the hedonist considers what she sacrificed her opportunities and projects for. She realizes she sold her future for momentary pleasure, and that fun disappeared long ago.
  7. The hedonist feels empty as she realizes that she has wasted her life pursuing things which lacked lasting value. She enters a state of despair.
  8. The despair state is a type of hell. The hedonist tries to escape it by consoling herself with lies about the value of her fun and experiences. She will not believe them until she can convince others to go along with them too. In this way, she tries to infect other people with hedonism. She reproduces the hell she created for herself.
  9. So she goes about trying to escape the hell she has created for herself while sowing the seeds for others to do the same.

In this way, hedonism leads to hell for the hedonist, fails to produce anything, and infects others with its pathway to oblivion.

Love of Fun Destroys Virtues

What is a virtue?

A virtue is an admirable character trait, and hedonism destroys these.

How so?

In order for a trait to be part of your character, you must exhibit that trait consistently. If you are brave once and never again, then you are not brave; that one instant was a fluke. The consistency required for virtue does not exist by accident. It requires commitment. You have to both try to develop a virtue and be persistent with it in order to have it at all.

And hedonists do not try. Trying to develop a virtue is too inconvenient for them. Hedonists, preferring the comfortable and easy way, will abandon virtues the instant they become unpleasant.

They sacrifice all virtues for the sake of convenience.

Hedonists Destroy Morals

What is a moral?

A moral is a rule you use to regulate your behavior. It usually takes one of the following three forms:

“I will do X.”
“I will not do X.”
“If X is true, then I will Y.”

And hedonists do not have such rules. They do whatever they feel like because they feel like doing it, so they’ll break any moral the instant they feel like doing so. This is why trusting a hedonist’s word is always a mistake.

Sometimes a hedonist will be afraid to do something, and they will try to pass off their refusal to do it as proof of a moral. They’re lying. If fear of punishment is removed, then the hedonist will begin to do the thing.

Hedonism & The Will to Power

Hedonists can be motivated by many different feelings, and two in particular are often overlooked by people who discuss it. This is unfortunate because these two are among the strongest motive forces of the hedonist.

They are: (1) the feeling of moral superiority and (2) the feeling of intellectual superiority.

Hedonists are always looking for an excuse to feel morally superior to the people around them. They are also on a constant search for excuses to feel intellectually superior to the same.

Why does this matter?

Because you can use it to positively identify hedonists. Hedonists who are motivated by their feelings of superiority will constantly look for opportunities to talk about how moral and intelligent they are. In other words, they give themselves away as hedonists.

If you know someone who always takes the moral or intellectual high ground in any conversation they have, especially when doing so isn’t warranted, then you know that person is only trying to feel superior to you. That person is a hedonist and does not have morals.

This is especially true if you can predict what they’re going to say.

The Christian Approach

Hedonism is heretical in Catholicism and in Orthodoxy. It is a violation of most lines in the Nicene Creed, it rejects monasticism, it violates the First Commandment, and it ignores the acts of all the Church Fathers.

Hedonism is anti-Christian. The people who adore hedonism will always be at odds with Christ, although a deeply hedonic people may not realize their contempt for Him.

The Lie of Altruistic Hedonism

Some people pretend to follow an altruistic form of hedonism. They say it is right to try to maximize the amount of pleasure for everyone. This “hedonism for everyone” view is altruistic hedonism.

Everyone who claims to adhere to altruistic hedonism is lying. They pretend to follow it because it looks morally superior to “selfish” hedonism.

Here’s the genealogy of the lie:

  1. A person exists as a hedonist.
  2. They realize that you look bad if you call yourself a hedonist. Looking bad feels bad, so they try to stop looking bad.
  3. So the altruistic hedonists attempt to adjust their own version of hedonism so that it looks morally acceptable.
  4. They make this adjustment by looking around themselves, recognizing that altruism is commended, and then tweaking their hedonism so that it appears more socially acceptable. They now have a “moral” version of hedonism which won’t make them look bad.

    This is the reason why altruistic hedonists only appear in Protestant cultures. Protestants are nominally Christian, and Christianity exalts altruism.

    Meanwhile, Protestants lack consistent standards for determining truth, so Christianity is easily corrupted where they live. Therefore, altruistic hedonists have an easier time twisting Christian altruism for their own ends in Protestant countries than in others.
  5. The altruistic hedonists proceed to tell people about their philosophy and tweak it as necessary until it becomes socially acceptable.

Gene Botkin

Gene is the director of the Theosis Christian Project. He studied physics and military science before founding the Project. Gene is currently pursuing his doctorate in systems engineering at an engineering college in the Ozarks. The Theosis Christian Project is his attempt to expand Holy Orthodoxy in America.

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