Announcement: Your votes are in! The January 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month is The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt.

My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
Post Reply
User avatar
Omniverse
New Trial Member
Posts: 10
Joined: September 25th, 2017, 3:40 pm

My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Post by Omniverse » September 28th, 2017, 12:24 pm

(Note: Psychologists divide emotions into a positive category and a negative category. I am firmly convinced this division is true based upon my own personal experience. The concept of inner light and inner darkness is all well too known in movies, anime, art, etc. So, that is why emotions would have to come in two categories: positive and negative. The positive emotions would be our own inner light and our negative emotions would be our own inner darkness just as how we have positive thoughts and negative thoughts).

My positive emotions are like the inner light of god in my life. Without them, then my life can only be empty regardless of what I were to think or believe otherwise. The rest of humanity needs this inner light as well. Otherwise, their lives and artistic endeavors would be empty, too. Our negative emotions would be the inner darkness and a life of no emotions would just be a blank life. Don't you hear depressed and miserable people claim their lives are a drag, not worth living, and devoid of any joy and beauty? This is a common complaint that depressed patients report.

I think this claim reflects our need for the inner light. When depressed people recover, they say it's as though they have crawled out of the darkest pit and regained the light back to them in their lives. This is my own personal created religion which is a hedonistic religion. I call my religion "New Age Hedonism." Hedonism is the philosophy of maximizing pleasure (positive emotions) and minimizing pain (negative emotions). Although, as I explain later on, I am undecided when it comes to the existence of god, the afterlife, and the paranormal. If these phenomena do not exist, then my hedonistic religion would instead take on a secular form.

As for what type of environment or artistic landscape I would use to convey my worldview, it would not be the fear mongering images of unsaved sinners being thrown into the lake of fire which is often conveyed by religions such as fundamentalist Christianity. My image would be a beautiful and tropical paradise. This symbolizes being happy, wild, free, and not having to adhere your life to any such horrible religious doctrines. It is looking forward to an afterlife of eternal bliss where you can finally be free of all depression, unhappiness, and misery. The New Age spiritual beliefs adhere to the doctrine of an all loving god who does not condemn people to an eternal hell or expect others to serve their lives to him. That is why I call my worldview/religion "New Age Hedonism."

Spectrum
Posts: 5160
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Post by Spectrum » September 28th, 2017, 9:08 pm

As I had stated in the other thread your dichotomy between positive and negative emotion is too crude for a philosophical discussion and precision.

-- Updated Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:13 pm to add the following --

If you want to introduce a new religion, its goals in term of emotions should be the modulation of all emotions to sustain optimal equanimity and well-being. That is what is Buddhism has been doing since 2500 years ago.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 2873
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Post by Burning ghost » September 29th, 2017, 12:51 am

Hedonism is basically a monopole. No matter what you do you'll never destroy the "negative" emotions. The most dangerous thing about Hedonism is for deeply unstable characters. To press deep into a Hedonistic lifestyle will inevitably cause a huge stress from which eventually the person will be flooded by negative emotions that have built up over time. Needless to say (I hope) this could literally destroy a person or leave them so broken that they'll never recover. The more emotionally robust will weather the storm and stand soaked and triumphant, scarred and bruised, but stronger in spirit. The issue is who would willing jump into the abyss? Test yourself and understand the weaknesses you possess (and you certainly do) before even considering taking on such an idealistic regard to life.

The reason religions frame the negative aspects of human existence is because they understand their importance as developmental parts of human experience.

We need the darkness as much as the light. To only look to the light for guidance is to become a monster of the darkness (a willfully blind monster who'll cause untold destruction on self and others - or simple crumble under the inevitable coming flood and reap a frenzy of maddened chaos across their lives.)

No pain, no gain. Understand the usefulness of "pain". Understand that NOT being able to understand is the first step toward understanding yourself and your ephemeral position. Basically, humility is one of the best attributes to temper and fashion into a useful tool for all paths of your life.

Thus Spake Badger! haha!! ;)

-- Updated September 29th, 2017, 12:54 am to add the following --

Ironically there is a lot in what Nietzsche says that is n line with your view. You may find it interesting to read "Beyond Good and Evil". I am making my way through "The Birth of Tragedy" at the moment, and what you're putting across here is the Dionysiac view in stark opposition to the Apolline view. One without the other will cause strain.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7433
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Post by Greta » September 29th, 2017, 2:25 am

I like hedonism, noting that the Epicurian approach would include doing kindnesses, exercising, eating light foods and minimising unhealthy habits. Hedonism can be shallow and short term or it can consider "the long game", using our useful human ability to consider future probabilities. So, as per BG's post above, one might choose short term sacrifices for the sake of longer term joys - aka work :)

Staying positive and following one's bliss seems a better attitude than many others, but such an attitude will be fragile until it is practised and becomes habit. I'm sure we have all met such people, who ostensibly ooze positivity but there's a brittleness to their public face. If, as they say, "the mask becomes the face", then they probably haven't been at it for long.

It's not always easy to be positive in a world where people increasingly bond over negativity, with Berne's "Ain't It Awful?" social game rife today.

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 2873
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Post by Burning ghost » September 29th, 2017, 2:41 am

Generally I think the idea of "happiness", as an ideal goal, to be utterly naïve, passive and contrary. It looks more like a willful path to delusion than one that is open to dynamism and necessary change. Of course, we are alive because of such a dynamic contradiction so turning the psychic schema into a "monopoly" (playing with the "monopole" there), then you'll suffer under the delusion of your own omnipotence, the tyranny of selfhood and the complete and utter pursuit of the disconnection from others and their perspectives. Again though, this COULD help you if you can weather the inevitable psychic break you'll undoubtedly suffer (unless you are in a position of supreme authority, in which case you may very well live out a life of perpetual delusion and only upon your deathbed catch glimpse of your own prison of ignorance.

Such is life! :)
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Omniverse
New Trial Member
Posts: 10
Joined: September 25th, 2017, 3:40 pm

Re: My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Post by Omniverse » September 29th, 2017, 10:37 am

There is a difference between what is and what it's like. If a person saw the color red, then he could report back to you that it was like a trip to a paradise. This would be what it's like. But what is would be a different question. Seeing the color red would be a state of visualizing a certain color. This would be what is. A blind person cannot know what it is to see the color red since he can't see it.

Now, here is where my worldview comes in. If you were in the most hopeless state of your life which would be a negative emotion and you believed that your life was still good and beautiful, then you could say that this thought is something good and beautiful since it is the words "good" and "beautiful" being spoken in your mind. From there, if you felt a positive emotion later on which would be an emotional value judgment of good value and beauty rather than a thought form of value judgment, then you could also say that this positive emotion is good and beautiful as well.

It's the same scenario with the thought form of good value and beauty, but, this time, with the positive emotion. Now, here is the question. If you were blind and you thought of the color red, then what would that be for you? Remember, this is asking the "what is" question. The answer here would be that it would just be a thought. There is no quality of red there being perceived at all. So, it's not actual red, but just the thought of red. The same idea would apply to our emotions versus our thoughts.

You could think to yourself that your life is still beautiful and good during your worst miserable moment, but there would be no quality of good value and beauty being perceived. Therefore, your life would be empty without your positive emotions. So, what it all comes down to here is what it is for you. Rather than just being the miserable soul who drags his life on believing it to be the good and beautiful life, actually focus on what it is for you and I think this will enlighten you to the truth of my worldview. Hopefully anyway. If I were to summarize my whole entire worldview in one sentence, then it would be:

"You can only acknowledge the good and bad values of things, moments, and situations in your life. But you need your positive emotions to actually see the good values and you need your negative emotions to actually see the bad values. When you feel the most profound and powerful positive emotion of your life, then that is literally the most powerful and profound beauty, good value, and joy being perceived just as how it would literally be the color red being perceived by a person who saw the color red. The same idea applies to negative emotions."

If my sight analogy is not a good analogy for emotions, then just get the idea that I was trying to convey anyway. I was simply saying that it can only be our emotions that allow us to perceive the good and bad qualities of our lives. I also talked about the idea of consciousness based values versus value judgment based values in my other packet which explains those horrible nightmare states I've had. Consciousness based values are values that focus on what is. I know I said they focus on what it's like, but that was actually a mistake I made. One last thing here.

You could either perceive the values that situations and things have or you can perceive your own created values. For example, if a mother was feeding her child vegetables, then the vegetables would be good. But the child would be perceiving them as bad since he felt a negative emotion from them. So, even though the vegetables are good, the child saw them as bad which would be his own personal perceived value. This means that things and situations hold their own value and that the only way to perceive their value or our own personal created value would be through our emotions.

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 2873
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Post by Burning ghost » September 30th, 2017, 11:12 am

It's looks like you've got something interesting to say. I guess you'll get better at clarifying what it is over time.

Analogies can be quite misleading sometimes so I would advice trying a different approach with mor subtle use of analogy maybe?

Can you compare your thoughts to any other philosophical theme? Where do your thoughts cross other well known philosophical ideas?
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Atreyu
Posts: 1737
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 3:11 am
Favorite Philosopher: P.D. Ouspensky
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Post by Atreyu » October 1st, 2017, 4:07 am

I agree that it's hard to hone in on the OP's exact point. Therefore, I can only offer the following, at this time:

The ancients taught that new knowledge and understanding always begin with emotions, not thought. This means that before a person can learn to think in a new way, he first must learn to feel in a new way. And this emotional development leads to what we call intuition. Before a man can think (know) the truth, he must first intuit it.

User avatar
Albert Tatlock
Posts: 183
Joined: October 15th, 2017, 3:23 pm

Re: My new religion: New Age Hedonism

Post by Albert Tatlock » October 17th, 2017, 4:33 am

Omniverse wrote:I am undecided when it comes to the existence of god, the afterlife, and the paranormal. If these phenomena do not exist, then my hedonistic religion would instead take on a secular form.
Sitting on the fence when it comes to believing in God is certainly a novel approach to religion. I think that the established religions would do well to to emulate you in having a contingency plan in the event that God turns out not to exist.

Post Reply