Tuesday, December 23, 2014


When we hear the word hedonism, we picture wild excesses in the bedroom and of booze and rich food. This was evoked again when I went to stay in a resort in Jamaica called Hedonism 2. There were mirrors over the beds and pink sofas, Bob Marley cocktails and wet T shirt competitions. We were all asked to join in with whatever skills we could. One friend offered scuba diving instruction, another tennis coaching. The original friend who had arranged the trip was doing a documentary on the whole thing. The ultimate overcoming of inhibition was to have last drinks in the nude jacuzzi. This was a small lake covering about a quarter of an acre bubbling away by candle light, but still a challenge for the Irish contingent as no clothes were allowed!

I wracked my brains for what I could offer. As usual, my vision was a little deeper than intended. I had just finished an Ethics module on Hedonism at Queen's University Belfast. I was dying to offer a philosophical discussion group on the beach. A chance to share the real and important definition of hedonism: The purpose of human life is the pursuit of happiness. Even now, I fully agree that our objective should be to seek out the good. See the beauty in ourselves and others. Perhaps this week's homework can be to cultivate our senses - appreciation of art, literature, music, touch and scent. This is different from the possible dulling of the senses that can happen when we anesthetize ourselves with drink or food - maybe its just a conscious version of that! Even as Bob Marley said 'If you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth…And now you've seen the light, Stand up for your rights!!

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