Sustainable Hedonism. A Thriving Life That Does Not Cost the Earth
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10
7:00 AM PST/10:00 AM EST/3:00 PM BST/4:00 PM CET
How could values that might seem distant, such as ecological balance and solidarity, override what is immediate, personal, and enjoyable? Why would anyone opt for minimalism in the world of maximizers? Ecologically responsible behaviour is often perceived as a loss of happiness and life quality, evoking resistance or even anger.
The idea of loss is unlikely to motivate for adjustment. A more viable path is to refine and fine-tune our relationship to joy. We need to find a life strategy that is both joyful and does no harm to oneself or to others. I call this ‘sustainable hedonism’.
Our simplified 21st century version of hedonism encourages radical hedonism, unrestrained egoist pleasure-seeking. In contrast, ancient hedonists were masters of pleasure, but with inner freedom, emphasizing that one should not become a slave to desires. Experiencing pleasure and pain is a matter of habit, and it can be learned, argues Aristotle. Self-mastery is far from being ascetic self-denial, but rather a ’golden mean’ or a ’middle way’ between self-indulgence and self-mortification, as argued by both Aristotle and the Buddha as well. According to Aristotle, pleasure and morality need to be connected. This approach invites us become better hedonists and more virtuous at the same time.
The presentation is based on Dr Lelkes’ recent book titled "Sustainable Hedonism. A Thriving Life that Does not Cost the Earth” (Bristol University Press, May 2021).
Presenter: Orsolya Lelkes
The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS)
P.O. Box 118
Gilbert, AZ 85299