There is nothing intrinsically wrong with gratification, fulfillment and
pleasure seeking but we are meant to be more that JUST pleasure seekers.
Hedonism versus Pleasure Seeking
Agenda natural and
Everyone has an agenda, their own agenda that is
directed toward or related to their own fulfillment; of course, even God has
one. Having a
personal agenda and seeking your own fulfillment is part of having a
self and being an individual. It is part and parcel of
soul or psychological makeup and the way we are made. We just can't legitimately construe that
there is anything wrong with this along with wanting to maximize our own
fulfillment and satisfaction. Can this be done while maximizing
fulfillment for others? Can it be done any other way?
The spiritually mature person understands that others have
an agenda and that the best possible situation is when there is an
overarching common agenda. Such a person willingly modifies or adjusts his
personal agenda to be in harmony with the greater societal agenda. This is
as good as it gets, and it can be VERY good.
Basic Physical Need Fulfillment
There are different levels of fulfillment, and for
mental, emotional, psychological health and wholeness we need
fulfillment on each of these levels, a balance if you will. Starting on
the basic level we have the "need" fulfillment of breathing air,
drinking water or fluids primarily composed of water. Eating food and being in a
benign physical environment are also basic needs. To protect ourselves and others
even on these levels we need to be responsible, getting enough fresh
air, the right fluids and foods, not getting caught in blizzards, etc.
Higher Physical Need Fulfillment
There are other physical needs that we have that are not
so immediate but nevertheless just as real. For good physical health and
vitality our bodies need stimulation. We need to touch and be touched,
we need exercise and the normal person needs sexual fulfillment. In order to maintain vitality for all of our
sensory abilities, these all need to be exercised. If this is not done,
our capability in these areas will atrophy.
Hedonism can be characterized as irresponsible pleasure
seeking, where an unrestrained or out of control yen for pleasure overrides
more important factors and issues. Of course, one hallmark of maturity is
the capability to postpone fulfillment to a more appropriate time and
The problem with hedonism is that it is at the very
least unbalanced and therefore irresponsible in that the focus is too
restricted at the expense of other concerns. Thus it becomes unhealthy
to the wholeness of being human. At worst this focus can easily cross
the line into becoming dishonorable and/or unethical, and destructive of
both the individual and others. It is then a form of devaluation of
ourselves and others.
Basic Spiritual Need Fulfillment
Social and emotional needs are among the basic spiritual
needs. We absolutely need other human beings in our life, as no
one would ultimately choose or even be able to live indefinitely without
human interaction. We need to have respect for being a citizen of the
universe, a sense of value and worth. We need to have a sense of success and accomplishment.
Higher Spiritual Need Fulfillment
Values, purpose, honor, nobility and meaning are some of
the higher spiritual needs that must be part of the mix for a well
rounded and fully developed human being.
Maximizing our overall health and morale entails having
a balanced and fully dimensional approach to our own wellbeing and
society, one that goes much further than pleasure seeking. How can any
spiritually mature person feel good about themselves if their purpose
and behavior cannot be considered ethical. helpful and contributing, if not noble?