Pleasure is a Human Right
We have been standing on the edge of a precipice for the last little while with Real Hedonism, asking ourselves and each other (and basically everyone else we know) what our next step should be. We have this huge, amazing dream (paradise on Earth) and we even know how we think we will get there (devotion to pleasure), BUT we keep coming up against this wall where sometimes we aren’t sure exactly what to do. It can make finding the best next step a little daunting.
We have some big ideas with plans in the works, like hosting free retreats for activists who increase the pleasure of others, a podcast, becoming a legit 501(c)(3), starting a weekly devotion to pleasure “service” (you know, like a church), but we just keep running into competing priorities, like the need to secure food and shelter AND our own day to day pleasure.
We have come to a point where it seems like the only steps we can take are little tiny baby steps, and really lean into learning from and listening to our community.
Last weekend we went to, sponsored, and helped organize a heart-centered business conference run by Worth the Journey with some seriously inspiring people from multiple countries and walks of life. It was amazing and exhausting, we were there for about thirty-six hours over two days and only slept about four hours each night. We worked pretty tirelessly the week before, helping prep everything for the conference, as well as prepping some Real Hedonism swag for the Night Market on Saturday.
During said Night Market, we were placed in a beautiful room covered in mirrors and lanterns, with a shrine, a cuddle zone, a hammock and one booth (ours) for “selling our wares”. We sold stickers by donation and T-shirts for twenty dollars or for free if someone completed one of three pleasure challenges.
The idea of pleasure challenges intimidated some people at first, but they were pretty into it once they heard what they had to do: people had the options of resting in a hammock for ten minutes, giving a partner a five-minute massage or wearing a sign that said “I deserve pleasure” while walking around the market and returning with a report of five things that gave them pleasure. We left the event with 40 fewer shirts, 100 fewer stickers, and a whole lot of pleasurable experiences with amazing people.
We got a lot of great feedback about our shirt, which is super soft and says “pleasure is a human right,” but we also achieved a new feeling about Real Hedonism. This last weekend we had so many conversations about pleasure and we encouraged people, at least for a moment, to tap into their own pleasure.
For the first time, we had an overwhelming experience of seeing people really resonate with our work. So many people came to our booth and exclaimed: “YES, I AM A HEDONIST.” So many people were willing to do weird pleasure challenges and engage conversations around pleasure. It was honestly astonishing for us. We left tired beyond belief, having had philosophical dialogues, having laughed and danced with our friends, and even doing mini “sessions” with strangers who wanted to talk about how they could have more pleasure in their lives.
Overall, after sleeping off our conference hangover, we ended it with a feeling of utmost positivity about our future and the potential for Real Hedonism. To top it off, when many of the super cool presenters walked away from the conference wearing our shirts we basically died a little with happiness.
In honor of our “pleasure is a human right shirts,” we want to invite y’all, our lovely readers, to do a little research with us.
Activity time! Go to the United Nations website and read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Try and find a human right that does not represent a safeguard from pain or assurance of pleasure.
We cannot even find one, and we would love to hear if any of you can.
We think you will find two main outcomes from this exercise, the first that the whole concept of human rights and the whole field of defending them is not only a Humanist ideal but a Hedonist one. Secular Humanism became the dominant belief system in the twentieth century, and the secret at its heart is an implicit belief that everything important is based in and around pleasure. If we look at history as the evolution of ideas, it is not hard to believe that Hedonism is the obvious next step.
The second reason for doing this exercise is to notice that if every human right boils down to pleasure, then pleasure is the human right.
That means you deserve pleasure.
Never miss a chance to remind someone that they deserve pleasure.
Pleasure is a human right.