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HEDONIST

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HEDONIST

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:29 am

• hedonist •


Pronunciation: heed-ê-nist • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Someone whose life is devoted to pleasure and the avoidance of pain. 2. An adherent of the philosophy that anything pleasurable is good and anything painful, bad.

Notes: The stuff that drives a hedonist is hedonism. And it doesn't sound at all bad. However, many think that pain and suffering have an equally important place in life (the Russian novelist F. M. Dostoevsky first and foremost). The adjective here is hedonistic, but don't forget to insert the empty suffix -al when using it adverbially: hedonistically. A distant cousin of today's word is hedonic "pleasant, pleasurable", which has no philosophical implications.

In Play: A hedonist focuses his or her life on physical pleasures: "Jack Uzzi is a hedonist who ran though his inheritance in a year-long extravagance of gluttony, drinking, and other sensual indulgences." His indulgences would have broken the hedonometer—if only we had one. Those of us who find suffering difficult to escape generally consider today's Good Word pejorative: "Jessie Noff devoted his life to fighting the godless hedonism in North America."

Word History: Today's Good Word is not based on the teachings of Hedon, but on the Greek word hedone "pleasure", a word related to English sweet and German süß! It all began with the Proto-Indo-European root swad- "sweet, pleasure" with an initial S that became H in ancient Greek as S often did back then. The S remained in Latin, however, where the root appears in the verb suadere "to urge", still visible in the English borrowings persuade and dissuade. It also went into the making of suavis "pleasant", which went on to become French suave. (It is a real pleasure, indeed, to again thank Mark Bailey for contributing such a sweet word for today's Good One.)
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby maury » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:36 am

About a year ago a question occurred to me.

If a hedonist is someone who pursues pleasure, what is the best term for someone who pursues beauty?

Suggestions. No one to date has given me a satisfactory answer.
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:49 am

Philosophically, there are several forms of hedonism. The one we perhaps most often think of is to grab the quickest, most intense pleasure that lies at hand. But another ethical theory proposes what brings about the most pleasure for the most people for the longest time. And of course there are all grades in between. Some have even ranked pleasures in various scales of values.
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:52 am

PS- Maury, what about "aesthete"? And welcome to the forum.mwe always enjoy new people regardless of their aesthetics! :D
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby maury » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:30 am

Thanks for the reply. Aesthete is one that I have considered but not entirely satisfied with. My impression was that it meat someone who had a deep appreciation of beauty but not necessarily a drive to pursue it. I doubt that there is any better word so I should be satisfied with it.

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Re: HEDONIST

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:14 pm

Maury: Let me echo Perry in his suggestion of aesthete as a lover of beauty. Also, welcome to the forum. Post often.

An aesthete may pursue making him/herself beautiful, may work to make others beautiful, or look for and enjoy all the beauties of life. The late Estée Lauder, said, “ The pursuit of beauty is honorable.” She was definitely right. To build one’s life around making one’s self beautiful can lead to vanity. It can also lead to excess and negation, as when a someone puts on his/her makeup with a trowel. Anorexia may be a misguided striving for beauty. Beauty is also in the mind and spirit. Christians speak of Christ as being beautiful even though he was a root out of dry ground, (Isaiah 53:2). Isaiah says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news.” (Isaiah 52:7). I believe, coupled with a high moral goal, to be an aesthete is surely good.
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:39 pm

Welcome Maury.

How about a pulchritudinist?
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:57 pm

In philosophy, aesthetics is the study of beauty and why things are beautiful. Perhaps the Wikipedia article on aesthetics would be a good starting place, along with any cross references. "Pulchritude" to me connotes frivolity or a less serious word and is pretty much limited to females. For example, I would never call the Grand Canyon pulchritudinous, though it is awesomely beautiful.
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby MTC » Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:42 am

If no exact synonym exists, invent one. "Aesthetomania" comes to mind, and in fact, someone in the blogosphere has already coined the term. See http://mart-deblog.blogspot.com/2006/12 ... aniac.html

Otherwise, as has been pointed out "aesthete" comes closest, but still lacks the passion of "aesthetomania," which from context means the condition of one obsessively driven in the pursuit of Beauty. The person driven would then be an "aesthetomaniac." If this coinage sounds too jarring and clinical, then I suggest you keep up the neologistic efforts.
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:17 pm

Yep, lots of luck.
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:48 pm

I like neologistics as well as anyone, but we really can do quite well with aesthete. Aesthetomania seems too, well, maniacal to me.
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby Slava » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:13 pm

Could it not also be taken to mean that one has a mania for aesthetes?
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby bamaboy56 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:22 am

Welcome Maury! As far as hedonism, back in my court reporter days I was assigned to take a deposition at the law offices of a local attorney. When I went into his big and very fancy office to set up my equipment, I noticed a picture of a human torso on his credenza with a caption on the bottom that said "HEDONISM". I found out this was his philosophy and goal in life. I've long since left the court reporting field but last week found out this attorney ruined his life with addictions to various things both illegal and immoral, got disbarred, ruined his family and is now in jail in another state. Guess he couldn't handle the hedonistic lifestyle. I guess it could be addictive, I wouldn't know. As for beauty, I've found it's in the eye of the beholder. And fleeting.
Be who you are and say what you feel in your heart. Because those that matter, don't mind. And those that mind, don't matter.
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:24 pm

Similar, perhaps, to the first 'buzz' one gets from a
controlled substance. The person tries and tries over and over
to recapture that initial feeling, and the impossibility of it
ever happening hook the addict.
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Re: HEDONIST

Postby bamaboy56 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:21 pm

Sad but true.
Be who you are and say what you feel in your heart. Because those that matter, don't mind. And those that mind, don't matter.
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