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Isn't pleasure the greatest virtue of all?

why is Christianity against most things that are pleasurable?
The Cyrenaic sect, founded by Aristippus of Cyrene (435-356? B.C.), promulgated the doctrine of hedonism. Learning of the fame of Socrates, Aristippus journeyed to Athens and applied himself to the teachings of the great Skeptic. Socrates, pained by the voluptuous and mercenary tendencies of Aristippus, vainly labored to reform the young man. Aristippus has the distinction of being consistent in principle and practice, for he lived in perfect harmony with his philosophy that the quest of pleasure was the chief purpose of life. The doctrines of the Cyrenaics may be summarized thus: All that is actually known concerning any object or condition is the feeling which it awakens in man’s own nature. In the sphere of ethics that which awakens the most pleasant feeling is consequently to be esteemed as the greatest good. Emotional reactions are classified as pleasant or gentle, harsh, and mean. The end of pleasant emotion is pleasure; the end of harsh emotion, grief; the end of mean emotion, nothing.
Through mental perversity some men do not desire pleasure. In reality, however, pleasure (especially of a physical nature) is the true end of existence and exceeds in every way mental and spiritual enjoyments. Pleasure, furthermore, is limited wholly to the moment; now is the only time. The past cannot be regarded without regret and the future cannot be faced without misgiving; therefore neither is conducive to pleasure. No man should grieve, for grief is the most serious of all diseases. Nature permits man to do anything he desires; he is limited only by his own laws and customs. A philosopher is one free from envy, love, and superstition, and whose days are one long round of pleasure. Indulgence was thus elevated by Aristippus to the chief position among the virtues.
Manly P Hall – The Secret Teachings of All Ages

4 COMMENTS

  1. I think that in religion, pleasure itself is not what is prohibited but nowadays, in the changing community, the pleasure of people change and as we all know most of the time man’s pleasure IS against the laws and customs which is God’s ten commandments and also one of the seven deadly sins

  2. Very informative. A sane, calm approach. Made me think. I did however find one flaw. You didn’t include Socrates’ argument. This would have been seen as more balanced. Now I’ll give you my view. Pleasure, and pain are like a two headed snake. Separate entities joined by a single body. If a man seeks only pain in life he is sure to find pleasure in his quest. The same for a man who seeks only pleasure. Surely he will find pain in his quest. Therefore, I don’t believe pleasure to be the greatest virtue. Truth is.

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