Civilization and Its Discontents
  • RingDing
    February 24, 2009

    Dunno. Most people pick a delusion of some sort, and work at that for awhile, something that gives meaning to the suffering they endure. A popular one is to have children.

  • David Thomsen
    February 24, 2009

    Whenever I try to ‘live life to the fullest’ I get extremely depressed. How full does full have to be? Do I have to eat mallomars for lunch every day, or just until I get sick? What if I didn’t live today to the fullest? What if it could have been a bit more full?

    I’m happy to just live a day without getting frustrated. That’s my hedonism.

  • Nalano
    February 24, 2009

    Living a life of excess first requires that one’s life is comfortable to begin with. Most people don’t have that opportunity.

    No pleasure-cruises on the Riviera for you!

  • JakeS
    February 24, 2009

    I agree with Girl. Hedonism requires too much effort to be fun.

  • Eric
    February 24, 2009

    Part of what makes this so clever is I doubt I’m the only person who spent chunks of my late teens/early twenties trying to work out how to be hedonistic and mostly failing.

    Maybe there are more skills required than advertised, or maybe different people have different ways of covering up different kinds of pain. Like, to do one thing that hurts you have to be avoiding something you think hurts more.

    Or maybe I’m just unmotivated =-/

  • Stephen Leggatt
    February 24, 2009

    For what it may be worth, Epicurus had the only argument against hedonism that holds water; his position may be the very notion that Girl seems to be grappling with in the last panel. Namely, that the pursuit of pleasure, taken to extremes, leads first to the perversion of pleasure and finally (if ironically) to its inevitable diminution. So, runs the argument, there is nothing wrong with the goals of hedonism, but rather with its usual methods. The goal of hedonism — maximizing personal pleasure — is a worthy aim actually best achieved through electing the path of moderation.

    Crowley was likely also on this same track when he revised the Augustinian Dilige, et quod vis fac, to read, “Do what thou wilt shall be the WHOLE of the law.” It turns out to be very, very difficult to identify and act consistently with one’s own will. Once all the externalities are identified and paid for, the “Dilige” part really is probably superfluous: if what one wills does not include love, one has chosen (as Girl notes) an ultimately tawdry, hollow, worthless existence.

    I could go on, but I sense I am becoming sententious. Brilliant comic, anyway.

  • Alan Jimenez
    February 24, 2009

    The problem with hedonism is not that it’s immoderate epicureanism.
    It’s that when you actively pursue all kinds of pleasure as a goal, it means that you are pursuing more than the happiness you could already be enjoying, therefore you’re not actually content with yourself in the moment.
    On the contrary, when you’re not looking for enjoyment, but you create enjoyment from what you already possess, that just makes you feel happy, and being happy makes you feel all the happier.

  • Marcos
    February 24, 2009

    Society lives actually in a selfish way; pursuing what makes the individual happy, for me that’s a way of hedonism. We also tend to think that the pursuit of pure pleasure can be kind of silly…I mean, look at Paris Hilton. She do it well, she doesn’t have to work if she don’t want it, and she could be parting all day-afternoon-night long but is kind of moron.
    But what opther people think doesn’t have to stop another to do what they want… pardon my english

  • Reid Orsten
    February 24, 2009

    Yeah, I think proper hedonism translates to picking all the low-hanging fruit. Not wasting your life in an office when possible, sex when possible, love when possible, art when possible. And then, every once in a while, go all Dioysian.

  • Jonathan
    February 24, 2009

    Ah, yes, hedonism. One may say that it was a cultural ideal. Today, with the Internet, we have come very close to this ideal. Cat and Girl have, as it were, become kinds of prosthetic hedonisms. When we put on our auxiliary Epicureanism we are truly magnificent, but this hedonism has not grown on us and still gives us much trouble at times.

  • tg
    February 25, 2009

    I strongly disagree with the argument made by girl. In fact, I’m jerking as we speak. Two calls for vulgar mind images and hedonism! But the attainment of pleasure does not have to limit itself to the physical form of pleasure, which is what must put many people off. I get just as much pleasure, possibly even more, from helping people, knowing more, and loving someone. Is that such a big sway from hedonism? I don’t think so. My attainment of pleasure still disctates my actions; Although I recognize, much like in Epicurean thinking, that too much of a good thing will make things less pleasurable… which is a bit of a paradox that can be remedied by, you guessed it, moderation.

  • Sonny
    February 25, 2009

    Love the waves crashing.

    February 25, 2009

    You niggas is using semicolons commenting on a web comic?

    That better be some of that weird-ass ironical shit that you hipsters do.

  • David TC
    February 25, 2009

    Now there’s your problem Mr. Thomsen, you see hedonism is the doctrine or theory of ethics in which pleasure is regarded as the chief good, or proper end of action. So if you were to aspire to hedonism, the proper number of Mallomars to eat would be that which gives you, the individual, the greatest pleasure.

    Sadly no one can provide you with the answer to that question, I’m afraid it simply has to be worked out through trial and error.

    Hedonism has nothing to do with ‘living life to the fullest’, or carnal excess. For example, if what gives you the greatest pleasure is sitting at home in sweatpants playing video games whilst eating a yet to be determined number of Mallomars, and that’s in fact what you do, then you are a hedonist, plain and simple. No work required, unless of course said work happens to give you pleasure. I hope this has been helpful.

  • David Thomsen
    February 26, 2009

    I wasn’t really saying hedonism was ‘living life to the fullest’… it was more of a word association thing.

  • David TC
    February 27, 2009

    Oh I hope you didn’t think there was even a speck of criticism of your post in my comment, I was just inspired by the Mallomars bit, I find them to be an intensely amusing cookie.

  • Life's a beach.
    March 3, 2009


  • Marv
    March 6, 2009

    Objectivism if my hedonism.

  • Rory
    April 27, 2009

    Hedonism accepts pleasure as the only good. So everything else must be bad or another intensity along the morality spectrum, necessarily less than good.
    The first issue is the precise, individual definition one attributes to pleasure; primarily, one must decide whether pleasure can be indirect. Helping others is one route. Giving birth is another.
    The secondary issue arises from moral implications of one’s own pursuits and whether that should be allowed to affect that pleasure. Do you house spayed/neutered pets to make that difference in the world, while giving up children knowing that your pursuit is ultimately forgotten? On which side would you participate in the Donner party (the living, or the martyr)?

  • Sprayette
    January 19, 2010

    About that last panel, don’t ditch till you try it ;D
    Also I loved the Freud bit.

  • AbusePuppy
    March 2, 2011

    Hedonism is enjoyment only so long as you enjoy it. Do you have to eat Mallo bars every morning? Only if you want to. A “true” system of hedonism would figure the long-term effects on your happiness (discounting them appropriately), but at that point you’ve already crossed the border into several other philosophies and kept on running.

    Basically, do the things you like. If you don’t like something, stop doing it. But look at all the consequences and make your decision, not just the immediate ones.

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