Let’s think about – and even analyze – how we feel. In this post, we’ll set the record straight about what ‘hedonism’ actually means, and why it’s actually a good thing to pursue.
“Just because it feels good / Doesn’t make it right…”
So goes the chorus in “Hedonism (Just Because It Feels Good)”, the 1996 hit single by the iconic British rock band Skunk Anansie, fronted by the openly bisexual singer known as Skin. At first glance, it may seem that the song implies the pursuit and eventual attainment of hedonism might feel good, but is essentially wrong.
Looking deeper, one can see that Skin is not against hedonism per se, she just feels a sense of loss because the protagonist is off having their own fun, without her. Alas, in the end, she even sings “I hope you’re feeling happy now” – which is actually a very giving statement that embraces the very hedonism she’s singing about.
As a word alone, ‘hedonism’ comes with a lot of baggage, and could allude to a certain kind of definition. So it might be helpful to trace the word back to its source, which dates back to – what else? – ancient Greece.
What does it actually mean?
The term hedonism derives from the Greek hēdonismos, which translates into English as ‘pleasure’. Hedonism’s roots go all the way back to the ages of Plato and Socrates, but it was Epicurus that acutely articulated a brand of hedonism that emphasized moderate pleasures and respect for others, instead of untamed appetites and unhinged fulfillment of any and all desires.
In his view, rather than its most common association with consumerism or gluttony, hedonism is simply a simplistic, enjoyable approach to life. We can even define hedonism as “success”, rather than its more common connotation, of productivity at a frenetic, high-speed pace.
Now, the word ‘pleasure’ also comes with many connotations, which typically relate to the triggering of our senses. While there is truth in that, pleasure comes in all shapes and sizes: it’s sitting on your rocking chair at the front porch watching the sun go down, chatting with your friends all night long, or simply caressing your cat on a slow, quiet morning as it purrs and curls up to you.
Or, in the case of Everything To Sea, it could also mean spending time watching the marvelous sunsets… enjoying the fresh air… and making connections with other men on an all-male journey, flanked by breathtaking naturism, alongside nature!
So is hedonism actually a good thing?
Well, yes. But, of course, anything that’s too much (or too little, for that matter) may result in its very antithesis, and this is where hedonism gets its bad reputation. When hedonism is depicted with excessive consumption, overbearing dependence, or even all-gripping addiction, then essentially it’s no longer hedonism, it’s debauchery.
This is where the Epicurus school of thought – commonly known as Epicureanism – comes in handy and brings forth a simple yet pertinent message: all in moderation. If, say, during your Everything To Sea trip you indulge too much in Indonesian food (as understandable as it is, given its unique and immaculate tastes), that might result in health-related repercussions, even if it’s just feeling bloated.
In short, according to Epicurus, pleasure isn’t about the bombast; rather, it’s about the simple things. So, we advise that you should not shy away from revealing hedonism (and naturism, while we’re at it!) during your time with Everything To Sea.
Now, there’s no need to go back to the ancient Greeks for guidance on hedonism. From philosophers to psychologists to anthropologists to artists – throughout the millenia, it’s been touted as beneficial. Indeed, musicians have been reminding us about that over the last several decades in music. Check out these fun examples of people promoting hedonism: I Feel Good (James Brown), If It Feels Good, Do It (Della Reese), Feeling Good (Nina Simone), You Make Me Feel (Sylvester), Good Feeling (Flo Rida), I Feel Good (Pitbull), Feeling Good (Michael Bublé).
Feeling good is… good.
Pleasure is… good.
It’s your life, right? Enjoy it as much as you want!