On hedonism and presence
In this ~40-minute-long video I walk and talk about the connection of living in the here-and-now while seeking pleasurable experiences. My points in brief:
- An explanation of what “hedonism” means. It comes from the Greek word ηδονή (hedony, pronounced as “ee-thó-nee”).
- Practical example of what “presence” is using my unscripted video presentation as a case in point.
- Presence lets us break the cycle of overthinking by acting.
- Action is actual: it always happens in the here-and-now.
- Presence is about recognising our humanity’s limited resources. Our time is finite, we always face opportunity costs (we face trade-offs), and we also are not omniscient. We fathom all eventualities in all possible scenaria: we thus act under these constraints and cannot afford to reach perfection before doing so.
- Extensive commentary on these questions
- If you are always present, doesn’t that make you always react to stimuli?
- If you are always reacting to whatever comes your way, won’t you be mindlessly engaging in the pursuit of pleasures (hedonism)?
- Having presence does not mean that we lose our knowledge and sense of direction. We still carry out purposeful actions. We thus are not reacting mindlessly to phenomena.
- “Pursuing pleasure” is framed as something inherently bad: basically, you just let your body dictate all aspects of your experience. This is a misconception.
- Why is the pursuit of pleasures equated with mindlessness?
- Examples of pleasure, such as enjoying the awesomeness of the great outdoors, and blotting out all the noise and irrelevant emotions induced by social media.
- Introduction to the concepts of “Apollonian” and “Dionysian”.
- Explanation how those set up a false binary.
- Long discussion on the multifacetedness of the human condition. We are body and mind, we have emotions and spiritual needs.
- We cannot deny our reality, such as to pretend that we are purely spiritual while being embodied.
- Connecting the threads between hedonism, presence, multifacetedness, and a moderate disposition.
- Closing thoughts with a real story about an introvert who wanted to be a sportsperson in their late twenties. I published that on my website’s “commentary” section: https://protesilaos.com/commentary/2023-01-02-re-play-football-introvert/.