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Discussion in 'Underwear, Clothing, and Appearance Issues' started by badboybryce, Dec 1, 2007.
I want to go so bad. I've heard so many stories about the Jamaican resort. Have you ever been?
While I have not been, newly wed, kinky friends of mine went there. They were very much looking forward to it since they are very sexual people and it was the husband's idea.
They got there and the place (hotel) was not well kept, the service was horrible, the romm was abysmal and drunk, ugly, naked people wanted them to have orgies with them. They were horrified. They checked out and went to Grand Lido.
From my friends' account, I would not suggest it.
Everybody is an hedonist. Most just don't admit to it because they imagine their own motivations to somehow be more noble.
As far as sketchy nudist resorts for old ugly naked people... I don't really see what that has to do with pleasure.
Not true, nearly all people (some of the time) consciously sacrifice their future happiness and pleasure because they think that other ends are more important than maximizing their own happiness or pleasure. Hedonist is just a name we give to people who engage in this (virtually) universal human practice less than others.
There was a series about it on tv, it looked awful, full of people who'd have a hard time getting fucked if they paraded naked in a prison ground.
Princess, I love you. What a riveting, if nauseating, analogy!
She always comes through, right? :smile:
only because it makes them feel better about themselves, or they believe they'll go to heaven for it, or improve their karma, or it satisfies some deep-seated guilt, or something else.
Hedonism is about maximizing pleasure and minimizing suffering. It is a misconception that it is only about having sex or engorging yourself with food and drink all day long. It has developed a negative connotation because of both this misconception and the other common misconception that however you spend your life is somehow morally superior to any other way or that your actions have some special significance or meaning. They don't.
The only time we act in ways that are not hedonistic is when we are acting out our genetic programming to propagate our genes and ensure the survival of the species. But that's more or less instinctual. Intellectually, when we are considering and choosing our own actions, we are all hedonists.
1) unproveable (but plausible)
2) no reason to call them hedonists
Well, there is more than one meaning. A person who holds that more limited sense to be the only proper one is, of course, mistaken.
Quite a mouthful. Elaboration?
But surely some of those moments are among the most classically hedonistic ... simply reflecting the fact that pleasure accompanies much of what we do to ensure propagation of our genes.
Maybe you're making another point.
How, then, is anhedonia possible?
(I think these are reasonable questions, but I have no deep dispute. I agree that the prospect of achieving pleasure, broadly defined, is the motor of pretty much everything.)
Hedonism isn't just about maximizing pleasure and minimizing suffering, it is specifically about maximizing your own pleasure and minimizing your own suffering. I don't have to accept any fancy religious or metaphysical conception of a 'good' that lies beyond human experience to reject hedonism. I can accept that pleasure is 'the good' of human life and still deny that it right for me to consider *my own* pleasure exclusively.
Consider a case (not of my creation) in which a person were allowed to enter into an experience machine that would simulate all of the experiences he most desired to have for the rest of his natural life and would evoke from him the most pleasureful emotions possible. Imagine this person were very confident that the machine would be safe and would sustain him. If that person's concern were really only about his maximizing pleasure/ happiness, to reject entering into this machine would mean that he simply did not fully understand what the machine really did.
I think that I understand exactly what my life in the machine would be like and yet could see myself sensibly rejecting living the rest of my life in this machine (whether I would reject the machine is another question, I make no great claims to personal virtue in this regard, I only point out that there is in fact a choice and thus that I could be blamed for not making the right one). And doing so despite the fact that I recognize that my prospects for as pleasureful a life in the real world are minuscule compared to the prospects the machine offers me. This doesn't mean that I am not doing what makes me 'happiest' in the moment that I make the decision (though i'm not sure this can be proven either), but what makes me not an utter hedonist is the fact that what makes me 'happiest' at the moment is not the prospect of greater future happiness but of a real and meaningful life, or something like that. My concern doesn't only fall on pleasure.
Just a terminological note, NIC is right to indicate that most people think of hedonists as people who have an abnormally significant preference for experiencing pleasure 'upfront' and immediately, and while I don't contest that most people are not this sort of hedonists, that wasn't what I was arguing either.
We can argue about whether I would be right or wrong to enter into the machine, but hedonism isn't just a default position, or some sort of tautological requirement of action, it has to be argued for or against.
Andrew, to you, leading a "real" and "meaningful" life might give you greater pleasure than being in a pleasure machine. Being locked in the machine, maybe you'd feel good, but you would also know that you were living a "false" and "meaningless" life and this would negatively flavor your ability to enjoy it. You would be struggling with guilt, ontological angst, etc. Your personal hangups about using such a machine would be completely defeating the purpose and sabotaging the function of said machine. I don't think you're disproving my point.
Rubi... re: moments of acting on gene-propagating instinct... I was referring more to things that we do subconsciously or the heat of the moment without thinking about them. Of course we have also evolved in a way so that certain physical features of our bodies (genitalia packed with nerve endings) and chemical functions of our brains (hormones and endorphines released during arousal and sexual activity) lead to us often choosing activities that lead to our genetic material being reproduced.
What if, upon entering the machine, i would cease to realize that I was using the machine. I would be informed, before making my decision, that when I entered the machine I would believe that I was living an 'real' and 'meaningful' life once i entered it.
A bit slippery, Andrew.
If it makes you happiest at that moment, then it governs your choice on the calculus of hedonism.
And if you are so built that that is your natural choice, then you will make that choice in the future, as well.
So the machine will never give you, as you are constituted, the "prospect of greater future happiness."
We would have to talk about a hierarchy of satisfactions and pleasures, in some way.
Eating chocolate pudding might be near the bottom.
The pleasure of sense-annihilating orgasm might be in the middle.
A weekend spent in your machine might be nudging a still higher reach.
And the delight of serving 'selflessly' your fellow creatures might be near the top.
But each could be considered a form of hedonistic payoff, very different, each of them, in kind.
Or am I getting your point?
Can you give some examples of what I've highlighted, NIC?
I think that if the machine were able to sufficiently delude me so that I would think that I *really* was having all of those experiences that would give me pleasure, this problem wouldn't come up. The choice is set up so that I would know in advance that I would be made to believe that I was having the best possible life available to me by entering in the machine, perhaps I would believe that I was a natural disaster relief worker who didn't have to choose between altruism and bedding really hot women or something like that (as most of us do). I would recognize that if I stayed in the 'real world' I would not likely be able to to square this circle, I would have to make some sort of sacrifice and thus have an overall less enjoyable life. But, prior to entering the machine I would still no less recognize that it all *would* be an illusion. Given my current values and preferences I could logically reject a choice that I understood would lead to greater total future pleasure for me.
From the prospect of the person still making the choice, one would seem to be offered a lifetime of delusion.
Most people, I think, would recoil from that.
(Though interestingly, a drug addict makes the choice to go into that machine every time he picks up that pipe or chops up that coke.)
Of the person who refused to go into the machine, you could say either:
1) he makes the higher, un-hedonistic choice in favor of a value other than pleasure, OR,
2) making that 'higher' choice gives him pleasure, so hedonism is, after all, his motivic motor.
Hedonism as a theory is slippery that way.
Hard to dismiss or get around.
It seems like we are 'moment to moment' hedonists, but that doesn't mean that we are long term hedonists, or that it is most rational to consciously shape our actions around what we think will provide us with the most pleasure possible. Making the 'higher choice' probably gives him pleasure, but he is sacrificing for that momentary pleasure greater future pleasure because the mere thought of greater future pleasure does not motivate his actions.
Arguably, because, in a sense, that less hedonistic choice actually promises more pleasure.
The assumption is that not all pleasures are equal (see my early post number 14) and that the calculus is not simple.
One could argue that Hedonism is unconscious ... as it most of the time certainly is.
Because few people would call themselves hedonists in a hard sense, i.e., the kind that NIC advocates and that I, somewhat to my surprise, find myself dabbling with.
Yet a good case can be made for it ... though what perceived 'pleasure' is, may be hard to nail down.
One could argue that it is neither rational nor irrational ... but simply the way people must behave, given their consitutions. Descriptive rather than prescriptive.
But I'm playing around here, Andrew.
I'm also going to bed. Have to be up at 5AM. Nighty-night, all.