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The cry for liberty may be a cry for hedonism

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A popular viewpoint in modern culture is that our lives are not leading somewhere but are instead simply a journey. We might be searching for ourselves, whatever that means, or seeking meaning, whatever that means, or seeking enlightenment. Yes, whatever that means. But there's one glaring problem with each of these approaches.

What do they mean?

The answer is, on their own accounts, not much, really.

If the point of our lives is only that life is nothing more than a journey, well, then, won't any old journey foot the bill? And as we're all surely going somewhere whether by accident or design it appears we've all accomplished that. There you go, the mystery of life solved. Sixpence, please, and tell your psychologist to shove off.

The trouble is that a journey really doesn't mean anything at all without a destination. And a destination really doesn't mean anything at all unless the destination is worth the trouble of traveling towards. Yet having a destination means judgment; it requires us to ask, should we be heading that way?

And what is judgment? It means considering the well from the ill and consciously accepting that we should travel towards the well. But ouch; that means introspection, and introspection might lead us to condemn what other folks do or, horror of horrors, condemn what we do or want to do.

That really is the major problem in today's world. We want to do whatever we want (on whatever grounds, but the grounds don't mean anything either without introspection, do they?) yet we don't want to make judgments. So we develop an opinion which tells us we can't judge the actions of others, simply and conveniently so that we may assert that they can't judge what we do. We call it freedom.

Yet at one time that attitude was called hedonism. Civilization may not be developing; it may be regressing.



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