Hedonism: An Empty Path

buddha-india-mind-prayer-161170.jpegI am not necessarily opposed to hedonism, rather, I find it to be too shallow and spiritually empty. While I think that, in terms of physical enjoyment, hedonism can be quite grand, for the most part, hedonism simply encourages a form of living that is too materialistic. Hedonism attempts to be a method of escape that lacks any spiritual prowess. The goal of hedonism is to escape suffering, to try and enjoy as much of life as you can. But this enjoyment is based purely on material things, and it also fails to mention that pain and suffering are important tools in creating a stronger individual and thus are necessary for development. There is a reason why, when one thinks of a hedonist, one usually imagines an irresponsible, shallow and idiotic person. There is a reason why “hedonist” is used an insult and the word “ascetic” is not. One must understand that everything material is subject to change, and that materialism will only bring a short amount of joy but a long period of suffering. Hedonism, which is rooted in materialism, is a guaranteed way for a person to fall into spiritual oblivion, emptiness and possibly cause serious psychological or physical damage. One must live a life of adventure and pleasure, yes, but one must also have some sort of anti-materialist foundation to fall back on – otherwise all your materialistic and physical gains will quickly become meaningless and unsatisfying to you. Hedonism is therefore not “evil”, but it is shallow and misguided, and it’s philosophy is only appealing to those who lack any real sense of intellectual or spiritual character.


Seclusion in the Woods

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I recommend that every person spend time alone in nature – preferably somewhere forested and full of life; such as the woods.
However, a desert will work fine too – anywhere that is untouched by ‘man’ will do. By this, I mean an area of nature, regardless of its environment or climate, where there are no traces of man – no buildings, no homes, no roads and most importantly – no people.
When one spends time alone in the wilderness, one realizes how petty all their problems are. So many of the things that bother us, that hurt us, that cause us to stress – these things tend to be human creations. We worry about our financial situation, about our relationships, about our looks or body. We feel trapped, or alone, or worthless in the modern, industrialized world – with all its arbitrary rules, constricting social norms and unobtainable expectations.
But when one is in nature, one is truly free. Nature does not care how you look, or how much money you have, or what jobs you have or your eduction or what name you’ve made of yourself. Nature does not care about any of this. You could be a successful millionaire or a poor beggar – in nature, superficial titles and achievements mean nothing. In nature, it is the will and the character of the individual that determines ones worth. In nature, the only laws one must follow are the Laws of Nature.
Thus, I recommend that one spend time alone in nature in order to realize that they too, like everything around them, are merely parts of a larger whole. Personally, if it was not for the nature I probably would have killed myself long ago.
So go out and spend the day alone in the wilderness. Meditate, contemplate, or simply wander around – but go, leave this industrialized world and be reunited with mankind’s true environment.

On Judging People

I judge people as individuals – not as parts of a group or system. I know that I will often bash liberals or progressives or religious groups – but my target is not necessarily the individual themselves but their school of thought – the ideas themselves. I simply use the terms for the sake of convenience.

Personally, I prefer not to judge an entire group of people since each individual is different. I admit I am a misanthrope and dislike most of mankind as a whole, but on an indiviudal level I tend to make an exception. If I like a person for who they are – meaning their personality, ideas, viewpoints and so on – then I could care less about what race they are or what sexual orientation they have or what family the come from.


A Better Place?

If everything is subject to change, what use is it to make a utopia, or a ‘better society’ – when inevitably this society will someday decay, alter, or be destroyed altogether? The reason why I do not care for ‘making the world a better place’ is because it will inevitably come to an end eventually. I see no reason why I should waste my time and energy trying to improve something that will someday be subject to change. Even if you do create a better world, it will eventually be destroyed somewhere along the line.

On Consistency

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For some reason people seem to love consistency. I mean this in the sense of consistency of ideas. This is especially true in the world of philosophy/politics. People seem to prize themselves on being adamant. And yet I do not understand why.

Everything is subject to change. Change is natural, change is inevitable, and change is everywhere. Yet, whenever someone ‘changes’ their opinion they seem to get alot of backlash. In regards to politics, people who change opinions more than once are viewed as being unreliable, or a ‘flip-flop’. The idea of say, a Communist becoming a Fascist is somehow a ‘bad thing’ so to say. If a person switches from being a Communist to being a Fascist, I guarantee many people will bring this up as a negative. They will say things such as ‘oh, well that guy was a communist at one point in his life, so why should we take his opinion seriously’ or ‘well that guy switched from being a communist to a fascist, so we shouldn’t listen to his ideas, because he clearly doesn’t know what hes doing’.

Of course this is only one example. A person who switches religions will probably get hate from his previous religion, and people in his new religion may view themselves as being better than him (since they were in the religion from the beginning). Lets say a person coverts from Christianity to Buddhism. His Christian friends will view him as a traitor, and his Buddhist friends will think ‘well he may be a Buddhist, but he has not been a Buddhist as long as I have,’ or ‘he may be a Buddhist now but he was once a Christian’.

Of course these are simply allegories but still. The point is that people dont seem to like change. They want consistency. People who are adamant are prideful of this. People are always bragging about how long they’ve been this, or how long they’ve been that. How long they have been a member of X organization, or more importantly, how loyal they have been to that organization. This is especially evident in Conservative religious groups, who pride themselves on how they have ‘never strayed from tradition’. Even the liberals, who claim to be proponents of change and progress – they too like to brag about how long they’ve supported X belief. They mention how they have always supported Gay Rights since its conception, or how they have been pro-choice since the creation of birth control – or something like that. In other words, both groups use their ‘well we’ve been supporting X since so-and-so year’ which is essentially another form of saying ‘look how consistent we are’.

In my opinion everything is subject to change. Change is natural, and people should not be afraid to change. If you want to change religions then do so! If you want to change political parties then do so! You dont even have to have a radical ‘change’ so to speak, yet most people will try hard to say consistent.

For example, there are some people in the Republican Party who were once pro-life but are now secretly pro-choice, but they do not want to admit this. Why? Because this would seem inconsistent. By disagreeing with one tenet of their party, they will come off as being ‘not in line’ with the rest of the party.

Many people are afraid of researching or reading about ideas that may conflict with their own. Why? Because they are afraid that they may find something that will change their minds and opinions. They are afraid that they may like what they have read and thus must now make a decision – should they change opinions and face scrutiny or conceal their true feelings and wear a mask in order to seem consistent.

I met one man, a Catholic, who said that he was interested in Satanism (not interested as in he wanted to become a Satanist, but interested as in he was fascinated with its ideas and was curious about it; similar how a person may be interested in say, baseball. It doesn’t mean they want to become a baseball player, it just means that they want to know more about it). Anyway, this Catholic man said that he was interested in Satanism but that he did not want to read any more about it because he was afraid he might like it, or agree with. And of course I asked ‘so what if you like it? If you prefer Satanism, then become a Satanist.’ But he did not want to become a Satanist even if he liked its ideals, simply because he was afraid of changing ideas.

He was raised a Catholic, and he was afraid of anything that might turn him away from being a Catholic. Thus, subconsciously speaking, this man was afraid of being inconsistent. To go from being a Catholic to a Satanist is very inconsistent – you are essentially adopting the anti-thesis of your previous beliefs.

And why was he afraid of being inconsistent? Because our society seems to prize consistency. We do not like change, as I have mentioned above, and we do many things to try and discourage change. Sure, we tell people to ‘think for themselves’ – but people who really do ‘think for themselves’ end up like Nietzsche, or Charles Manson, or the Unabomber. Now, I am not saying all people who ‘think for themselves’ become terrorists or killers (hence Nietzsche), but what I am saying is that people who really do ‘think for themselves’ tend to become very distant from societies rules.

Society does not want too much change, because society is based off of consistency. A society functions best when everything follows a certain pattern. Change is detrimental, and thus there seems to be this unconscious fear that anything ‘inconsistent’ is somehow bad. Thus, we look down on people who are inconsistent. We view them as being unreliable or untrustworthy. We view them as being lower than those that never change their views.

A person who rarely changes views will probably hold themselves very highly. They will probably think that they are always right, and that is why they have never had to change their views. But I largely disagree. A person who remains adamant is not necessarily right, they are simply afraid of changing views because it will look inconsistent. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they refuse to admit that they may be wrong, and thus stubbornly hold on to their beliefs.

I personally do not mind inconsistency. As I have mentioned above, change is natural. Change you views! Change them as much as you want! There is no law, neither man-made nor natural, that states you must believe X all your life, or that you can only change opinions X amount of times! You are free to change your views as much as you want! So do it! If you want to change your views and admit it to the world than you should! Who cares about consistency? I dont, thats for sure.

The world is a chaotic place. I do not see why opinions should be any different. If you really want to be true to yourself then you will believe what you want to believe and will admit it proudly – regardless of how ‘inconsistent’ your ideas may appear over time.

Lost Memories

Do you ever wonder how many lost memories you have? By this, I am referring to events that you have experienced but, over time these memories have either faded (or perhaps were not properly encoded) and thus now are essentially ‘lost’ forever. It just seems strange to me. We experience many things in our lives, yet we often to seem to remember only the bad times or the really good times. This can be unfortunate, because when remembering events we often forget the little things that brought us joy, like taking a walk, or reading a good book, or just talking with friends – all of these little memories that made us happy seem to be lost in obscurity.