Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero. ~ Horace
At some point since 8 B.C until now, Horace’s poignant advice went from a deep insight into the human soul, to a tattoo you often see on the lower backs of young nightclubbers.
“Seize The Day”, “YouOnlyLiveOnce” and “living for the moment” have all become synonymous with pleasure seeking.
The full statement as written by Horace was originally: “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” which translates to: “Seize the day putting as little trust into the future.” It is an admonition to use wisdom in the decisions you make in the present moment, being aware that the future is uncertain.
‘Carpe Diem’ was wise counsel which wasn’t originally intended to mean ‘do whatever you want’, but rather was intended to help us realize the ephemeral nature of life and choose the path that enriches our souls the most.
9 Ways You Might Be a Hedonist
Hedonism is a philosophy of living which argues that pleasure is the primary or most important source of intrinsic good. Hedonism asserts that the whole purpose of existence is to live a life of personal enjoyment without much thought about the consequences, e.g. that my idea of pleasure might clash with your idea of pleasure, or the detrimental effects it might have on our own individual growth.
To the mind that is asleep and to the soul that is young, pleasure equates to happiness. Pleasure comes to mean any sensation that is enjoyable, and life becomes an eternal chase from one sensation to the next, a superficial ride of small thrills. In such a way of life there is no poignant depth to existence or quality of meaningful experience. Within a hedonistic way of life one is sacrificing quality for quantity.
Below I have listed a few Hedonistic incentives for pleasure seeking. There is nothing wrong with any of them in and of themselves, and to deny or reject the natural sides of ourselves is to creates an inward disharmony and imbalance. The problems arise when instead of living through these elements in our lives they become our sole primary concern or pursuit instead. These hedonistic incentives are:
These pursuits are so superficial and disconnected from our true spiritual natures that they fill us with tensions that build up, and we become heavy with sickly energies that accumulate within us (we call this energy Hucha). Pleasure serves as a release and temporary relief from all of these heavy energies.
But they easily accumulate again.
Pleasure, Happiness And Joy
If by renouncing a lesser happiness one may realize a greater happiness, let the wise man renounce the lesser, having regard for the greater. ~ The Dhammapada
In my understanding of what motivates individuals in their search for purpose, there are three main incentives that correlate well with the different stages of soul age.
Pleasure is one of our most primitive incentives in order to grow and evolve. It is the most basic way of helping us survive as a species by providing our physical organisms with the incentive to reproduce, to feed, and so forth.
Pleasure is always dependent on external factors, and the lives of many people are driven solely by the most basic of urges such as over-indulgence in food, sex or drug abuse. They all make your physical body feel good, giving a false sense of happiness.
Happiness is one level above pleasure, and is a bit more mature and refined, but I still see the two as very closely interconnected. While pleasure provides superficially enjoyable sensations for the body, what most define as ‘happiness’ provides us with superficially enjoyable sensations of the mind. Pleasure is physical and animalistic, happiness is psychological and a bit more human, but they both depend on the external world.
For many people the pursuit of happiness is defined as the pursuit of their hedonistic mental ambitions, for instance: money, power, prestige, success. Instead of seeking pleasure that indulges the body, we now seek pleasure that comforts some of our mental fears.
In essence, we create desires and expectations for ourselves and then we appease them. In life, many of us get lost in the eternal pursuit of happiness: we buy bigger houses, get better jobs, and they provide a momentary glimpse of peace and happiness. But as we often find out, it isn’t long before this momentary happiness fades and we set ourselves out to accomplish our next goal-driven pursuit to taste that momentary glimpse of happiness once again.
Joy is a much deeper state than happiness or pleasure. Joy goes beyond both pleasure and happiness as it is neither dependent on the body or mind, but is instead derived from the Soul.
To experience joy is to live in a state free from the enslavement of your mental pursuits or your physical pleasures. The experience of Joy is the ultimate state of soulful maturity because you can experience all of these pleasurable aspects of life but they don’t take hold of you as you’ve developed the wisdom to be free from any attachments to them.
Joy as the Ultimate Freedom
Joy cannot be practiced, it cannot be pursued and it has nothing to do with the outside world. It is entirely an inward experience that we choose to allow.
We often perceive happiness or joy as something that we must find but in my own experience joy was always there to begin with, in other words, joy is ever-present and is ready this very moment for you to seize.
The moments when you have experienced the greatest joy in your life are most likely moments when you weren’t pursuing anything. Joy was the byproduct of something else, perhaps sitting quietly observing a sunset, or being absorbed in your creative passion, or the first time you held your beloved’s hand, or the moment you lost yourself dancing to the beautiful rhythm of a song. These are all moments where we were free of thoughts, and free of pleasurable physical sensations.
In order to experience joy we don’t have to achieve something, but instead, we must get rid of something, suffering. We were all born full of joy, but at some point during our lives we started believing in the ideals of the external world. Essentially, we ate from the tree of knowledge and lost our natural state of bliss.
It’s easy to think that joy can be found in the external world because it is the one place that provides us with the greatest stimulation and excitement. However, in doing so we forget that the place we lost that joy was inside of ourselves.
Are you living a hedonistic life of physical pleasure and mental happiness, or are you cultivating activities in your life that fill you with a sense of purpose?