I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

157. Epicurean or Hedonist - 2

Epicurean or Hedonist - 2
In entry 131, I compared the basic differences between Epicureans and Hedonists with the focus on the different attitudes towards a relationship. 

But the differences are more fundamental. 

A Hedonist's behavior is in a simple way determined by the desire to feel physically well, to get physical pleasure and to avoid physical displeasure and pain.    His behavior is programmed by his physical sensations.     When he feels the urge of a desire, he becomes dysfunctional, until he has restored his homeostasis.  

An Epicurean evaluates situations and circumstances on a much more elaborate level.   What he feels is determined by attitudes and values, while his physical sensations are only the raw starting point.   Gratification delay, pleasant anticipation, earning, long term goals, past experiences, the knowledge of consequences upon the self and others are decisive for what he feels and how he acts.   

Therefore, the same physical sensation can trigger very different actions from a Hedonist and from an Epicurean.

According to Epicure, it is more important, with whom you eat and drink than what you eat and drink.    Therefore, feeling hungry is one of the sensations serving well as an example.  

When a Hedonist is hungry, he wants to eat immediately.  He is like a robot.   When the button of feeling hungry is pressed, he has a compulsion to eat.   If anything impedes him, he gets frustrated.   When he is hungry, he is not able to function normally as a civilized person, until he has eaten. 

When an Epicurean feels hungry, this starts a process of thinking, what to do about it.   The following are a few examples of possible scenarios:  
1.  The person has already eaten enough for that day and and decides to go hungry to bed, enjoying the thought that over night, the body will burn fat.  Thus the person can control the weight.   Not eating gives a good feeling of self-control to the Epicurean.
2.  The person burns the calories before replenishing them.   He may go on a bicycling tour and after a ride of a considerable distance he enjoys getting a special treat, that could be food like icecream or cake, that he would not normally eat.  The Epicurean enjoys the feeling of having earned a reward.   
3.  For a Hedonist, if he can afford it, going to a restaurant is a banal way of filling his stomach, and it is as unemotional as grabbing an item from the fridge.    For an Epicurean, going to a restaurant is an event, it is a special occasion of joy for all the senses.   It is important to be in good company, to enjoy the beauty of a picturesque place, maybe the sound of some music.    Filling the stomach is only a minor part in it.   Being hungry before going to the event is part of the pleasant anticipation and it is also a part of good planning. 

A Hedonist wants everything the easy way.   He wants to get everything for free or for the least price, without the efforts of earning.    Depending on his level of morals, he either takes advantage of others or he just renounces to have, what he cannot get easily.    He wants to get, whatever he can.   The Epicurean prefers tit-for-tat, he feels the need to give as much as he gets.  

A Hedonist drives up to the top of the mountain, looks at the scenery, that is nice, but he is not greatly moved.  If there is no possibility to drive up there, then he just never sees it.   The Epicurean hikes up the mountain, and feels great to have earned the view as a reward.   
A Hedonist calls AAA to make them change the flat tire for him.   The Epicurean feels proud of his achievement of doing it himself.     

In ancient Greece, Hedonism was a conscious philosophy.   Nowadays, hedonists do not think about what determines them, they are oblivious, that there is an alternative.   They just follow their innate inclinations and consider and perceive themselves as normal.  

Only Epicureans like me wonder, why hedonists are so restricted in their emotional lives.   It is another hen or egg question:   Are hedonists' brains void of the capacity for refined abstract and complex emotions like joy, bliss, elation, happiness?    Are they just not capable to feel pride from earning or self-control?    Are they void of feeling self-esteem by being more driven by morals than by greed?   Does they not attempt to get anything beyond consumption, because they cannot feel it?
Or is it a consequence of growing up in a society of affluence, of surplus, of easy consumption, that impedes children to ever experience scarcity and the value of anything?   Are they deprived of the experience of gratification delay and pleasant anticipation?  Do spoiled children never grow mature enough to experience the joy beyond consumption?    Are Hedonists so much the prisoners of their basic and primitive desires, that they have never experienced any refined abstract emotions and just do not know, what they are missing?

I have no answer to this.   But I know one thing:  A Hedonist and an Epicurean are a mismatch, that is bound to have many disruptive conflicts.    I am an Epicurean, and I am looking for an Epicurean as a partner.