Hedonism vs. Eudaimonia – part I

There is still a hype around happiness. Although it seems as if we navigate towards a more balanced approach (what I like =) ), there are many people who don’t dig deeper, what is meant by happiness, and who think that a hedonic approach is the way to go. In this entry I want to speak about the differences between Hedonism and Eudaimonia and what role they play in my life. Today I start with Hedonism and tomorrow, I will end with Eudaimonia.

Let me start with an explanation of Hedonism and Eudaimonia.

Hedonism can be defined as self-indulgence. It is about the enjoyment of pleasure.

The Greek word Eudaimonia literally means: “the state of having a good indwelling spirit, a good genius”. To simply equate it with happiness is wrong, as it is much more.

What role das Hedonism play in my life?

Especially when I am not in a good mood, my brain thinks of hedonistic remedies. I think about what I could buy. Maybe a book, maybe more tea, or what about subscribing to another streaming provider to see the latest series? Other thoughts revolve around bodily pleasures such as sex or taking a hot bath or getting a massage. Sometimes it is food. I can imagine you know your go-to-get-some-happiness items. It is nothing bad, but it is only a short-lived effect. And, as often, it is about a good balance.

I try to see it as an alarm-signal. When I browse through amazon, I try to ask myself: do I really need this and why do I actually want to buy things right now? What hole do I want to fill? When I eat although I already ate enough that day, it can be boredom and not hunger. Why am I bored?

The result is that I have things, I don’t need, I might become to ego-centric, and in extreme situations, I might even become addicted to something that is not good for my health or my relationship with others.

Again, it doesn’t mean I don’t reward myself from time to time. This is not only okay, but also an appreciation towards myself and I don’t feel bad about it. My problem is when I stop thinking and reflecting and start buying. Sometimes, it takes a while to take a step back and to ask myself why I do what I do. I also know that it can be more difficult to answer those questions. Of course, I could be proud when I realized that there was no need but rather I wanted to fill a void. At the moment, I am in such a state again, so I need to be cautious.

 

Have a wonderful day and take care!

Stephan

 

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