procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

materialism vs hedonism

reflecting tonight on old friends who would work all summer, yet spend their entire wages on weed and grog (marijuana and alcohol), a friend's remark really got me thinking. he said,
"i have much more respect for a hedonist than a materialist."

i guess i had never really tried to work out which i preferred, but in essence he was saying,
rather be the perishing, who echo "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die," with those of 1 Corinthians 15 (and interestingly also Isaiah 22)
than the arrogant (who will obviously also perish), who says "I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods." (Luke 12)

indeed, in the Bible the fool who is perishing is to be pitied, rather than put down, unlike the arrogant farmer of Luke 12.
for instance the words of King Lemuel (from his mum) in Proverbs 31:6-7,
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

but what difference is there really between the perishing fool who thinks there is nothing beyond the grave but rot and decay (the hedonist), and the arrogant fool, who believes that he is in control of his own destiny (the materialist)?

i ask this because at the end of the day there is none.
in Luke 12, the purpose of his materialism is that he may say to himself, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry."

the materialist is really a hedonist, only with superannuation.

well actually,
the materialist responds to eternity by carving it up into manageable chunks (80 years or so),
whereas the hedonist faces it a day at a time, squeezing the most out of every minute.

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