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Hedonism has a rather negative connotation these days. It carries with it ideas of debauchery and wanton living. But that was not the original philosophical concept of hedonism. A hedonist has always been one whose philosophical goal and purpose is the pursuit of happiness and pleasure, which is perfectly legitimate, by any standard.
The above photo was taken on 23 June 2017. I had wanted to tan myself in the sun while reading a book and drinking an exotic Chinese plum juice. But as luck would have it, as I was setting up my camera (yes, like most East Asians, I’m a selfie addict), it started to rain. My camera and phone are waterproof but my book is not. I decided not to let the bad weather put me out of humour and so I continued basking in the very light drizzle (which was quite pleasant) while reading from my phone and drinking my exotic plum juice. A hedonist will not let the weather ruin his plan. He makes the best of everything because, really, life is very pleasurable whether you bask in the sun or lie on a mat in the light rain. Later, the rain became a bit heavier, and my happiness scales showed me quite clearly that staying indoors would be more pleasant and so into my house I went.
When I was a boy, I chanced on a book by Edward de Bono called ‘The Happiness Purpose’. As I read the book, I had this curious feeling that de Bono must have by some means of telepathy filched his ideas from me. Because everything he wrote about how to achieve maximum happiness had always been a part of the principles of my life for me since birth. He was vocalising what I had always been practising.
Many people don’t understand what is really meant by the pursuit of happiness and pleasure. They assume that if a person seeks pleasure, he will probably have multiple sex partners, will drink in excess, smoke, do drugs, etc. Nothing is further from the truth than that. Excessive anything only contributes to the destruction of happiness and pleasure. Being faithful to one’s spouse actually goes a long way in contributing to real happiness and pleasure. But of course we are all not the same and we aren’t all immersed in the same circumstances and so what works for me may not do so for others. We all have our different routes to happiness and the purpose of life is to find the best route to maximum happiness and pleasure.
One universal truth I have discovered is that if you allow anything negative into your life, it’s sure to take away your happiness and pleasure. It may seem to give you pleasure or happiness in the short term but it’s sure to be ultimately inimical to happiness and pleasure in the long term. Long term happiness is much more desirable than a fleeting one. Hatred and evil (the two most negative forces) must be firmly repudiated. You must avoid people who are out to hurt you but you must never hate them or plot their ruin. Hate and evil are self-destructive forces that must be the hedonist’s greatest enemy.
Be a hedonist - make the best of everything and always see the funny side of everything. And never allow negative forces to enter your heart.