Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Praise of Pleasure

"Mr David Samoza
International Haedonist Society

Pres: Bill Doncaster

3 Feb 2006

Dear Mr Samoza,

Thanks for writing to us. We don’t get that many letters, except official ones. But since you did write I’m going to send you a proper letter back.

Most people contact us by email. I’ve put our web address and email at the bottom of this so you can look at all the information there, and I’ve opened a mail account for you at our site. It’s in the full name you signed your letter with. Once you enter you can set your password and you’ll find this letter and the leaflets I’m putting in with it, and you can write back to us and tell us how you’re getting on in the Pursuit of Pleasure.

We always like to hear from members and with their permission we include their ideas and experiences on the site, to help other people. By members, by the way, I just mean people who are in contact with us. It doesn’t cost anything and you won’t appear on any list, except my private mailing list. So I’ll call you a member unless you ask me not to.

Why do we spell it Haedonist? Because lots of people say they are hedonists, or are called hedonists, but most of them don’t really know what it’s about. They mean they like pleasure. Well, who doesn’t? If they can afford lots of it, good luck to them. But we know that pleasure is the purpose of life, and, most importantly, we try to understand how to get the most pleasure out of everything. It may not be the reason we’re here, if there is one, but it is the only thing worth taking seriously. So we write it that way so people will realize we’re different; we really know what we’re talking about.

You asked about me: there’s a short profile on the site, but, basically, I’m an art student at the Slade (an Art School in London). It’s not like proper studying, and I enjoy painting. I can do what I want for three years and they give me a degree. Then I’ll try to be a professional artist. You see, you don’t need to be rich to be a Haedonist; you do need money, but there are good and bad ways of making it.

Why do I run this organization? Yes, it takes up some of my time, but Pleasure isn’t necessarily selfish, and laziness in itself isn’t a pleasure. None of the vices are pleasures in themselves. Haedonism sometimes means abandonment but never stupidity. It all ends too quickly otherwise. The search for pleasure can take a lot of effort and control. We do it because it’s worth it, not to destroy ourselves. We do it to make the most of our lives, not to waste them. I’ll say more about all that in a moment. I like spreading the message of Haedonsim, it’s fun, and it’s sensual hearing about other peoples’ pleasures. Why am I writing to you like this? I’m enjoying it. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it.

You have to find your pleasures, the things you like most, because we’re all different. There are the obvious things, sex, food, drink, sun, beaches, partying, but there’s music and art, talking, nature, beautiful things in general. And that’s just the physical stuff. A lot of people like ideas, poetry, philosophy, understanding things.

Then there’s power. Just having it is a Haedo-kick for a lot of people, then there are all the things you can do with it. These are just the basic things. You’ll find a lot of other ideas and details on our website. Everyone can find pleasure in a number of things. What matters then is to do them because they give you pleasure, and avoid the things that don’t because they don’t.

It’s important to learn to ignore it when people talk about things like ‘sin’ and ‘guilt’. You’ll hear these words a lot; you have to understand that they mean nothing to us. I don’t know what cultural/religious background you were brought up in, but everyone has leftover ideas about what they should and shouldn’t do from what they were told when they were young. We have to unlearn them. Sin we can forget about; it doesn’t exist. Guilt is only for people who think things matter that don’t, or who worry about their ‘responsibilities’. (The best way to deal with ‘responsibilities’ is not to have any in the first place. If you’re going to have them you need to know what you want them for, and what you’re going to do about them.)

You’ll probably want to have a lot of sex. Haedonism starts with the physical pleasures, as I said. They are the centre of it all, and the easiest to appreciate on a basic level. A lot of sex, with a lot of different women, young and attractive, though that’s a matter of taste, and in the right atmosphere as well. Big clubs, where the cocktails are just right, where you can dance and take a few pills and not have to care afterwards about who they are or what you’ve done. Enjoying the moment. I don’t mean prostitutes- some people like that, of course- I mean the sort of girls you can pick up in those places.

The escapism part of it- it’s part of the pleasure- should be more in the mind, atmospheric if you like, than physical. The drink and maybe the drugs are for the fun they can be, but getting out of it needs to be about the music and the lights and the way they whisper things in your ear. And the not caring about anything, that’s important, too. You see people who regularly get wasted on the drink and things and believe me they’re not having any fun at all. They’ve forgotten what pleasure is.

Often giving pleasure to your sexual partner can enhance your own pleasure, a lot of people find that. That’s why Haedonism isn’t selfish, it leads you to think about the pleasure of others. And it isn’t just sex. Good food can taste better if you eat it with other people and you can talk to them, or you can see how much they enjoy it and it helps you to find pleasures you might have missed..."

No comments: