Hedonism is the philosophy based on the idea that increasing pleasure and reducing suddering are of key importance. It might seem unenlightened or selfish at first to those who are taught that pleasure is bad, but think about it. Why do people do anything except to increase pleasure?

I eat when I'm hungry and drink when I'm thirsty in order to reduce my suffering and increase my pleasure, and it turns out that doing those things has kept me from dying, believe it or not. People enjoy sex because they need to reproduce to avoid extinction. People enjoy learning new skills because it empowers them.

We avoid eating rotten meat or feces because that would be an unpleasurable experience, and it turns out that avoiding the consumption of those substances is usually a good strategy for staying alive.

Sometimes we are misled by pleasure, such as when eating some modern foods that taste good but have little or no nutritional value or even harm you, but pleasure is usually a good guide.

When you do something you don't like such as an unpleasant job, you do it for the pleasure you'll get later when you receive the money or other reward for the job. When you stay up late studying, you do it for the pleasure you'll get when you've finished learning the information or when you've completed the class.

If you give a dollar to a disenfranchised bum, you do it because it makes you feel good.

Considering all of these things, how can it be said that pleasure is immoral?

Only you know how to make you happy, and the pursuit of happiness is your right.


Nihilism is the philosophy that nothing matters. In a billion years, no one will care about anything we did. Humans will probably be long extinct. In a few billion years, the Earth will be swallowed by the Sun. Our universe could be destroyed by a Big Rip at any moment. An asteroid, comet, black hole or any one of countless other things could wipe out humanity any day. Maybe the methane ice under the sea and in permafrost will create a runaway greenhouse effect and a new Permian-Triassic-style mass extinction event, i.e. the clathrate gun hypothesis. (I call it the clathrate AR-15 hypothesis.) Or maybe a modern nuclear war will be worse for the planet than some estimate and wipe out humanity. Either way, nothing we do really matters to the nihilist.

This reality might not even be real. It could be a dream or simulation, and all the people could be figments of your imagination as in a dream, or they could be non-player characters (NPCs) as in a game. In fact, it's a more likely explanation for what you experience: You're more likely to be a Boltzmann brain than a person in a huge universe. Would you feel silly for not being more bold or doing what you wanted to do if you someday realize this was all a dream or a game?


The greatest good for the greatest number.


What could we achieve if we did what was logical instead of being controlled by emotions? If emotions prevent us from doing what is logical, they're our enemies. When you're making decisions based on emotion, you're not making decisions based on logic.

©2019 Ron Spain

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