This essay addresses the theory of hedonism in regard to happiness. Hedonism was recognized in the 4th century as a theory of happiness by Aristippus ``of Cyrene” who founded cyrenaics a Socratic school. Cyrenaics adopted the teaching of Socrates ‘regarding happiness and argues that happiness was moral (Bentham, 1978). Additionally, Cyrenaics taught that happiness was good for everyone thus people should engage in activities that promoted happiness such as visiting friends’ .However, selfishness was highly condemned because it reduced happiness of other people.
Hedonism explains happiness by stating that happiness is the ultimate goodness. Hedonism theory expounds that the sole goal in life should be to seek happiness .Happiness should reduce pain and increase pleasure thus anything that inflicts ``pain” is evil and that which increases happiness ``is good” (Griffin, 1986).
Moreover, hedonism advocates for the promotion of happiness to the society as a whole. An individual should not cause harm to another person to facilitate fulfillment of his happiness because in hedonism that is `morally” wrong. Morality according to hedonism is measured by the level of happiness that is created by someone’s deeds (Kahneman, 1999).
One of the critics of hedonism is that life cannot be based on seeking happiness .Critics like Aristotle Argue that happiness is as a result of achievement that brings along satisfaction thus resulting to happiness. According to Aristotle, pursuing happiness without an aim is impracticable.
An example of hedonism practice in the current world is the offering of contributions to the poor by the rich in form of gifts and money. Contributions reduce the suffering of the needy people by enhancing the settlement of their problems thus increasing their happiness.
I will incorporate hedonism theory in my life by devoting my leisure time to helping the needy people in my society .The help does not have to be monetary. I will offer my services to ease their suffering thus promoting their happiness.
Bentham, J. (1978). The Principles of Morals and Legislation. Buffalo: Prometheus.
Griffin, J. (1986). Well-being: Its meaning, measurement, and moral importance.
Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
Kahneman, D. (1999). Objective happiness. The foundations of hedonic psychology .New
York: Russell Sage.