HIGHWAY TO HEDONISM  

rm_Stevarious 56M
20 posts
12/30/2006 9:53 pm

Last Read:
1/29/2007 9:01 pm

HIGHWAY TO HEDONISM

As 2006 is about to become just another page in history, I stop to reflect, just what kind of year was this, anyway? No, not in the broader socio-political respect, or even as far as business, but for me, personally. Well, it was okay. Not great, but okay nonetheless. I did a lot of traveling, ate good food, drank wonderful wine, but still there’s a lingering dissatisfaction that not everything turned out the way I would have liked it, or maybe, the way I fantasized.
The “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” adage comes to mind, but…. Why not? What is the point of having a cake, if you’re not going to eat it? Are you just supposed to sit there and look at it while it grows old and stale? Should you hoard it so no one else gets any? Or, is it a euphemism for just being happy with what you have. Obviously I’m not speaking of “cake” literally. (I certainly don’t need any more of that!) But being happy with what I have- well, to a degree. But who is ever completely happy with what they have? Who can be completely satiated with their life and want no more?
So to the point- what’s lacking? I could sum it up with the clich├ęd “sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll” aspect of my life that turned into complacency. Before you either hand me the crying towel (“poor baby” or kick me in the ass (“get a life, punk” I can tell you that I traded the wild life of a rocker/musician for domestic stability some time back. It was voluntary. Nobody made me do it. And this isn’t some mid-life crisis ‒ I DON’T need to get an Italian sports car and a hot slinky blonde babe (although I wouldn’t mind the company for a night… in order to prove my manhood. All I want is a REALLY good time. Just for once. Kind of like a trip to the Cedar Point of the sensual.
I think to some degree, it’s what we all want. We all want a really good time. For some it’s world travel, others, a trip to Disneyland or the Superbowl, a cruise, skydiving, hang gliding, snowboarding, a dream vacation, whatever. Hey, all those things are nice, but do they ever satisfy a hedonist?
Hedonist? So what really IS a hedonist? The basic idea behind hedonistic thought is that all actions can be measured on the basis of how much pleasure and how little pain they produce. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize this 'ratio' (pleasure over pain). The nineteenth-century British philosophers John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham established the fundamental principles of hedonism through their ethical theory of Utilitarianism. Utilitarian value stands as a precursor to hedonistic values in that all action should be directed toward achieving the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Though consistent in their pursuit of happiness, Bentham and Mill’s hedonistic values are faintly divergent in relation to their exposition of the principle of utility. There are two basic schools of thought on hedonism:
One school, grouped around Jeremy Bentham, argues a quantitative approach. Bentham believed that the value of a pleasure could be quantitatively understood. Essentially, he believed the value of a pleasure to be its intensity multiplied by its duration - so it was not just the number of pleasures, but their intensity and how long they lasted that must be taken into account.
Other proponents, like John Stuart Mill argue a qualitative approach. Mill believed that there can be different levels of pleasure - higher quality pleasure is better than lower quality pleasure. Mill also argues that simpler beings (he often references pigs) have an easier access to the simpler pleasures; since they do not see other aspects of life, they can simply indulge in their pleasures. The more elaborate beings tend to spend more thought on other matters and hence lessen the time for simple pleasure. It is therefore more difficult for them to indulge in such 'simple pleasures' in the same manner.
Quite a few people equate hedonism with sexuality and having a very loose or liberal view of the morality of sex. As noted above, many (perhaps most) forms of hedonism actually concentrate on spiritual, intellectual, or otherwise non-sexual forms of pleasure. The pursuit of sexual pleasure can certainly be a form of hedonism, but it is not the mainstream one. However, this has become the mainstream use of the word.

But all this is getting away from the point- what (or where) “hedonism” is to me, and… how do I get there?

There are so-named resorts on Jamaica- Hedonism I , Hedonism II and Hedonism III. They all offer an atmosphere (more or less) where “just about anything goes”, so they say. All-inclusive dancing, dining and alcohol, with lots of “sensual Caribbean” ersatz atmosphere. Wall-to-all eyecandy. For a pretty steep price. Well, of course a truly Hedonistic experinece comes with a steep price tag. You want to play, you gotta “pay the piper”. Out of the three, I’ve been to Hedo II. Yes, it was interesting... for a while. Were there plenty of babes? You bet! Food? Too much. Alcohol? Waaaaay too much. And all that other stuff that inclusive resorts have (activities, etc.)to make you not think about how much money you’re spending. Was I satiated? No way! (In fact, I was kind of bored three days into the week.) This wasn’t MY idea of paradise, it was somebody else’s. And that’s the problem. Everyone has a different idea of what paradise really is.

You can’t really experience true hedonism with a group of people who don’t have the same desires. Some people just want to run around naked and carry on. That’s not for me. I prefer sensual attire (more on that later), and a Texas-style hot tub with a bunch of good ‘ole boys and gals just isn’t my scene either.

Personally, the sultan-in-a-harem fantasy works rather nicely (one cool thing those Middle-Easterners conjured up many a year ago), just as long as that hookah is loaded up with the best Kush, AK 47 or Malawi this side of the Atlantic. (Hey, you didn’t think I wanted this fantasy to take place IN the Middle-East, did you?) Plenty of colorful pillows, incense, exotic music, fine wine and gourmet finger-food all adds t the experience. And of course, the harem.

Why a harem? Vie-a-duck? The Romans built viaducts (acuatally aqueducts) all over Europe. But those Romans knew how to party! So what’s wrong with having sex with a lot of women attired (or semi-attired) to suit your fancy? Well, our cultural background kind of rails against it. But hey, this is a fantasy, and unless you’re some mega-celebrity or rock star (or both), it just ain’t happenin’. For that matter, what’s wrong with a woman’s fantasy of getting it on with a bunch of guys? Absolutely nothing in my book. In fact, porn is full of that particular scene known as the “gangbang”, although a female sensualist might have a different term for it.

So back to MY fantasy, or hedonistic experience. I suppose I could fabricate the conditions if I wanted to blow a LOT of money and had the right connections. Hire a bunch of gorgeous hookers, find someone who had access to the best designer weed, have a place decorated to resemble the ultimate palace of sin and sensuality, have the affair catered with the best food and wine, etc., etc.

But- you know and I know that the likelihood of all this ever coming to pass is about equal to winning the lottery. Hey, I’ve got money, but I don’t have M-O-N-E-Y, as in unlimited resources. Few do.

So where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me mostly in sharing what other people think is “a really good time” . A nite out, parties with friends, trip to Europe, a cruise, etc., etc., just what most other people do. Maybe, just maybe I might get a whiff of an element that’s a part of my hedonisitc fantasy now and then. But will I ever get the whole enchilada? Does anyone?

I asked the old-timer at the filling station on the Highway to Hedonism just where it was at. He squinted at me in the hot sun and just said, “Sonny, you passed your exit about ten years back, and you can’t get there from here”.


rm_Stevarious 56M
13 posts
1/28/2007 10:10 pm

Well, there was a Hedonism 1 back when it began, but maybe they did away with that one. And you're right... if you plan to go, you need to bring somebody. If you go solo, it might not be the time of your life. I didn't go alone, and although there were some good things about Hedo II, it wasn't the "be all" and "end all" of vacation experiences. I'm sure for some people it will do just fine.


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