Hedonism

Hedonism is one of the things we Satanists are most criticized for, even sometimes by other Left Hand Pathers. The idea of indulging as fully as possible in all the pleasures life has to offer, certainly seems to go against the grain of what most western traditions think is right and proper. Some would argue that hedonism places too much emphasis on physical and sensual pleasure or that it just trivializes life. I disagree. I often feel a deep spiritual connection to the universe as a result of hedonistic indulgence and as a Satanist I have come to see that fulfilling my own physical needs and desires is as important for my self development and growth as a person, as any amount of meditation or the spiritual practices of other religions.

In truth I was probably always a hedonist. The difference since I became a Satanist is that I no longer feel any guilt for my hedonistic impulses; and that makes a big difference. Moreover I have come to understand how and why hedonism is actually healthy and good. Keep in mind that according to common Satanic principles;-

1. Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence!

2. Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe-dreams!

And, 8. Satan represents all the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!

I am certainly a hedonist and I have brought my daughter up with the same values. I have asked her to write a paragraph at the end because I think her perspective on the subject may be slightly different to my own. Before coming to my own conclusions however I will, later in this post, acknowledge some of the criticisms of hedonism and place my own hedonistic lifestyle within the satanic concepts of intelligence and responsibility.

Hedonism is of course not a uniquely satanic concept. Hedonistic values can be traced back in time at least as far as Ancient Egypt where, rich and poor alike, uncertain of what would happen to them after death, often believed they should maximize pleasure in life whenever possible. At various times in their long history the Egyptians indulged themselves in every sensual pleasure available including various drugs, food, alcohol and sex. They were not shy or prudish about such things. In Ancient Greece, hedonism became an important stream of philosophy.

The following extract comes from wikipedia and there are more details on the same page

Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. It is also the idea that every person’s pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain. Ethical hedonism is said to have been started by Aris

Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. It is also the idea that every person’s pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain. Ethical hedonism is said to have been started by Aristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good.

Hedonism is a sub-philosophy of utilitarianism, which says to act in a way that maximizes utility. Hedonists equate pleasure with utility and believe that pleasure is the master of all humankind, and acts as the ultimate life goal. Hedonists believe that there are only two motivators of human action, pleasure and pain, and that decisions should only be made to further our pleasurable experiences and minimize or completely eliminate our painful ones

tippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good.

Hedonism is a sub-philosophy of utilitarianism, which says to act in a way that maximizes utility. Hedonists equate pleasure with utility and believe that pleasure is the master of all humankind, and acts as the ultimate life goal. Hedonists believe that there are only two motivators of human action, pleasure and pain, and that decisions should only be made to further our pleasurable experiences and minimize or completely eliminate our painful ones

We are so used to seeing things from a Christianized, western world view, that the truth of the above statement can take a long time to sink in; and some people are blind to it altogether. In short, pleasure is good for us, and taking decisions on the basis of what gives us pleasure is better for us as individuals and as a society than deciding in favor of what brings us sadness and pain. This might be in terms of deciding to eat that delicious cream cake rather than being hungry, but it could equally be deciding to feed somebody who is starving because ultimately their poverty makes us suffer too. Satanists always start from ourselves and work outwards but you don’t need to be a brain surgeon or rocket scientist to see the obvious logic… Enjoying the things we like makes us happy, whether it is stroking a cat or drinking a glass of wine. Experiments have shown that such things reduce stress and release endorphins which are good for our health and promote long life. Moving out from ourselves we soon realize that the suffering of others often has a negative impact on our happiness and therefore the obvious solution is to try and reduce the suffering of others. Some people don’t like this reason for being kind because it seems self centered; and indeed it actually is. But I think those who believe they are being purely altruistic are virtually always fooling themselves. In any case, just imagine how enjoyable the world could be if we made all our decisions based on what is most pleasurable for us;-and for others.

For many people who convert to Satanism, one of the biggest reliefs and psychological boosts they experience is the freedom from guilt that is often associated with the things they enjoy. Western society guilt trips everybody. I remember the first time I had sex… Even though I was above the age of consent, I came from a fairly liberal and secular family, my parents did not forbid or object to me sleeping with somebody, the sex was quite good and enjoyable, nobody got hurt, and yet, despite all that, I still had a sense of guilt and shame for not being a virgin anymore! That guilt just hangs in the air in western society! Imagine how much worse I would have felt if I had come from a stricter or more religious family. And then imagine how it feels if you happen to be gay in a society that is still uncomfortable with the idea… My first time was with a man, but when I finally got around to sleeping with a woman, despite being strong and determined, modern and proud, despite it being lovely, there was still that pang of guilt for doing something taboo. Okay, in my quiet way I was always rebellious and I went on to enjoy many forbidden pleasures long before I became a Satanist. But why should these pleasures be forbidden in the first place? Why should we feel pressured or obliged by society to forgo the things which bring us pleasure and therefore health? Satanism and hedonism argue that you don’t have to forgo those things.

I would not go so far as to say there is no place for guilt. Guilt is a normal emotion that most of us experience from time to time and in it’s proper context it serves a purpose. It is probably right and a useful part of self development to feel guilty when we have done something wrong (something which causes unnecessary harm to ourselves or others) however, is is wrong and self destructive to be surrounded by guilt just for being ourselves and enjoying ourselves.

From my point of view I think Satanic hedonism is healthy for the mind and body and if it includes confronting taboos, that also helps us to grow and come to our own conclusions about things.

Satanism does however require us to use our intelligence and warns heavily against stupidity. We are animals whose survival depends upon being kept in as good condition as possible. In order for our minds and bodies to be happy for longer we have to keep them healthy. An inconvenient truth is that some of the things which can satisfy our desire for experience and happiness, can also damage our health. Thus, we need to be intelligent and wise in our hedonistic choices. There is nearly always a compromise to be made between the gratification of the moment and the longer term consequences of any pleasure we choose to indulge in. In principle we can do anything, but not everything is ultimately good for us, and some things are very quickly harmful. Satan requires that we use our brains and our minds.

It is quite possible that if it had no negative consequences at all, I would be shooting up with heroine everyday. But it does have very serious negative consequences which I know about and some I have witnessed; so I choose not to get my pleasure that way. In fact heroine is one of the few things I would urge people never to even try. On the other hand, I do smoke cigarettes and cannabis which also cause harm to debatable degrees. We make compromises and informed choices. We cannot (and I do not) however claim to be unaware of the potential negative consequences our pleasurable choices may have. There is a good chance I will die younger than I might otherwise have done as a result of some of my hedonistic choices. (I would argue however that my lifespan may also be boosted from the positive effects of the pleasures I enjoy and the lack of guilt and resulting stress I have in comparison to others).

It is also worth noting that while the hedonistic aspect of Satanism might at first entice irresponsible people, such people never stick long at anything. For all it’s emphasis on hedonism, Satanism is often a refuge and rebuilding philosophy for people who are trying to overcome addictions of various sorts. I know of plenty of people who thank Satan and Satanism for empowering them to live a healthier life, free of addiction. For one thing, while we do not rule out chemical and substance fueled pleasures, our emphasis is on enjoying natural pleasures, including sex in all it’s forms, without stress or guilt. This often makes the use of expensive and/or illegal substances redundant.

And while it might sound a bit poetic and “New Agey” I do think some of the most profound pleasures are the simple things like a walk in the forest, admiring a view, appreciating art, reading a good book, or going to a concert. I believe we should always make time in our lives for things like that.

I will now hand over to Tina…

 

My mother and Cassie are Satanists. My father is not a Satanist but I guess he is still a hedonist in many ways. I have been a Satanist for three years, pretty much through the most important time of my adolescence, right up to now when I can hopefully think of myself as an adult even if I’m young. I suppose that in terms of how I live my life, Satanism and Hedonism is all I have ever known. You might think that would make me some crazy sort of wild child; I’m sure that is what a lot of people expect. But it is not really true at all.

I certainly am a hedonist, but I would say that Satanism has made me a sensible one. I could eat every ice cream and every cake that is put in front of me (I sure would be tempted!) but I don’t because I am not stupid and I want to keep my health and my looks. I could take every drug that was ever offered to me (which would be a lot) but I don’t because I want to stay healthy in mind and body. I could sleep with every man and woman that showed any interest in me (which would keep me busy for quite a while) but I don’t because I’d rather have good sex than cheap sex and I want to minimize the risk of catching a disease or getting pregnant. So I do enjoyable things in a fairly boring and moderate way. I’m sorry if that is not what people want to hear. (I’m not sorry really)!

My studies are important to me because I want to have an interesting career which brings in enough money to do fun things with. So I work hard. I’m kind of glad I smoke because that reduces my stress when I have a lot of reading or writing to do. And to relax after studying I sometimes have some wine or smoke some weed (which is totally legal where I live thankfully); but that is about as excessive as my drug use gets.

A good piece of advice my “Mothers” gave me is to become a connoisseur of all pleasurable things. Find out what I like and don’t like, refine my tastes, learn and increase the pleasure of all things. That works for everything from good food and wine to good sex. And now as a younger adult I am at a time of finding out about all these things, experimenting and becoming an expert in what makes me happy. In comparison to some of my friends who are still at the stage of drinking til they throw up and having sex they don’t really enjoy (because that’s what people do), I think our form of hedonism is much more healthy and wise. And unlike most of my friends I almost never feel guilty about the things I do for fun. (I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’ve obviously made some mistakes).

To finish this post I want to say something simple that sums up what Sophie and I have been trying to say. A lot of people seem to assume that hedonism and stupidity go together. They don’t. At least they don’t have to. Satanism actually calls us to be intelligent and wise in our hedonism; to do what makes us happy without feeling bad or guilty about it, but NOT be stupid.

Sensible hedonism is healthy for your mind and body.

Sophie and Tina

Advertisements

One Comment on “Hedonism”

  1. Worfil says:

    Hedonism is the purpose of our being and those who accept this are destined for fulfilment of their lives. Satan as an ethos or literal being guides us in these pleasures and endorses the living for now rather than for some promise of blessings in some future life.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.