The Paradox of Evangelizing Hedonism


The most recent climate change report done by the UN does not bode well for us. Several of the worst effects of climate change that we originally predicted would occur at 2 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures are now being shown to be likely once we hit the 1.5 degrees Celsius mark. The report says we could be seeing major crises by 2040.

We are not fucking ready.

Actions to fight against climate change are weak at best and completely thwarted at worst. This was made abundantly clear after the midterm elections. We live in Washington state where there was a climate proposal on the ballot. It was a carbon tax—an action that many environmentalists and economists agree is a necessary step toward mitigating the worst effects of climate change.

The thought is that if we put a tax on polluting, the largest polluters will quickly innovate new production methods and move to cleaner energy solutions so that they don’t have to pay high carbon taxes. It financially disincentivizes the use of fossil fuels. This particular carbon tax would have gone a step further; the tax money collected would go toward creating jobs and funding projects in the clean energy sector. The initiative did not pass.

Here we are just one month after a truly damning, globally recognized climate report and our political system glimpses a possible path toward a cleaner future, but cannot grasp it. This is further proof to us at Real Hedonism that our current political and economic systems cannot solve the most important problems of the 21st century.

It’s clear, now more than ever, that we need a genuine cultural shift if we are to survive and thrive on planet earth.

We believe that Real Hedonism is the spearhead of that cultural shift, and that our quickest path forward is to create more Hedonists—more people who believe in paradise on earth. With more Hedonists, we will have more cultural power: the power to convince soldiers not to fight in endless wars, to convince consumers not to aimlessly buy more, and to convince entire governments to step far beyond the Paris Accords and, for the first time, do what is necessary to save our planet. Evangelizing Hedonism and creating the culture shift we dream of gives us hope for a world where we might actually want to raise children.

On the flip side, this line of thinking can quickly lead to a deep pit of anxiety. If the only way to bring about that cultural shift is via evangelizing Hedonism, and as of now we are the only ones (that we know of) doing that work, we very quickly start feeling like every moment must be spent spreading our message. (Note: There are a ton of people doing amazing work that we think is totally in-line with Hedonism, they just aren’t specifically calling it Hedonist work.)

Don’t get us wrong, we love talking about Hedonism. We love writing and editing our blogs, designing our website and illustrating our pictures (that one is all Rayla by the way).  Every time someone gets excited about our message we feel a warm and happy feeling that fills us up.

Of course, we also like meditating and walking our dogs, eating good food and watching our favorite shows. We love playing in the sunshine and reading when it rains. While evangelizing Hedonism is a fun and exciting part of our lives, it is not all that we do. If it were, we probably wouldn’t be very good at it.

This question often comes up: what is more important for devotion to pleasure, saving the world or having a good time?

If we don’t know how to enjoy ourselves, we certainly won’t know how to create paradise. However, there is a lot of work required to create paradise on earth, and work is not always fun.

We like to think of this as a paradox rather than a contradiction. When two things contradict each other, they shut each other down. They are mutually exclusive. On the other hand, when two things are a part of a paradox, they keep each other going. They may seem like opposites, but ultimately, one cannot exist without the other.

We often feel, especially when faced with a crisis like climate change, that the world may soon be coming to an end, and that we must work tirelessly to avert catastrophe. This is a feeling that many activists feel. We do not have a ‘cure’ for this feeling. As long as there is crisis, this feeling will come up, however, as Hedonists it is important to remember that the only way to save the world is to have a good time doing it.

The ends must also be the means.

. . .

If you really like talking about how to have a good time while saving the world, please, say!

Cameron DawsonComment