I’m sure there are going to be people who think this is evidence of some majorly borked-up priorities, but I’d rather go with less or without in some area or another, for myself, than to make my cat, my friends / A2/Ypsi Gothic Gatherings, my work DJing at WCBN, or my gods, go with less or without, from me.
By bettering the beings and situations around me in any way I have even a modicum of control over, I’m actively working to increase beauty, joy, and pleasure in my own life. Hedonism, by its nature, is pluralist in that the only one in a person’s life who can define and measure where pleasure derives and which smooth motions (pleasures) can outweigh any rough motions (pains), is entirely up to that person. Granted, the extant fragments on the Cyrenaic school placed “earthly” pleasures of the senses over the more ascetic pleasures of the Epicuran school (let’s put aside the ancient notion that Epicurus practically plagiarised portions of his teachings from the Cyrenaic Theorodus “the Atheist”), if only because experience is placed as the source of all knowledge; while ascetic pleasures certainly can be a knowledge of experience, it is one of those great ineffables that is practically impossible to teach, and by some arguments may be best found after a period of earthly indulgences.
There have been times where I’ve had less than I currently do (if you can imagine that), and there was a time when I basically had a millionaire’s trust-fund at my disposal. Sure, I’d be lying if I said I prefer poverty (after all, I’m not some hipster who thinks it’s a trait that makes people more interesting), but if i think about what I enjoy, what I really find most pleasurable in both experiences, it’s never been the times where I’ve had more for myself if those I hold dear can’t enjoy in it, as well. It’s always been the times when I can do what I can with what I have to share the gifts of Hedone with others; maybe it means I can buy a round for literally everyone at the bar, or maybe it means I have to pack a sandwich or tightly ration my dry goods another week so that I can pick up a new card game to play with my friends or make sure the Khairetes can have that statue I’ve had my eye on.
And if the Gods help those who help themselves, then by seeking the pleasures that matter most to me, surely They will find a way to make sure that I have what I need when I need it most.
Hedonism is only about selfishness and greed if that’s what a person is bringing to it. Such people tend to see little growth, regardless of what schools of thought they find easiest to latch onto. But when one brings to it a desire to fulfill the pursuit of sensual pleasures through shared experiences, then it’s hard to describe that as inherently selfish.