by Lorenzo Piccoli
The term ‘hedonism’ has come to indicate an amoral tendency to a life of lust and sensuality. This, of course, is inaccurate. Epicurus had a skeptical understanding of pleasure, understood merely as the absence of suffering. Epicurus thus recommended pleasures to be prudent and modest. This wisdom, as put by Kundera, has a melancholy back-drop: flung into the world’s misery, man sees that the only clear and reliable value is the pleasure, however paltry, that he can feel for himself a gulp of cool water, a look at the sky, a caress. I like this definition much better. It is a shame that hedonism is so grossly misunderstood.