Monday, July 19, 2004

Disciplined Hendonism
by Skald

Hobopoet Chris Moses refers to our approach to life as "disciplined hedonism". I like the term. I also like to use the closely related term, "sustainable hedonism". Yes, we want happiness, emotional growth, ecstasy, intellectual challenges, freedom, sex, enthusiasm, good food, good drink, friends, music, peak experiences, etc... but we want a full life of them. Many an undisciplined hedonist has destroyed their life with excess and addiction: a few years of glory followed by decades of wretchedness.

That's not our way. Sustainable hedonism does require discipline. In the realm of money- it requires financial control... a constant vigilance against runaway consumerism. In the realm of psychedelic drugs- it requires a careful, measured, courageous approach. In the realm of travel- it requires alertness and, at times, wariness. This is not a path to self-destruction... it is a path to freedom, self-reliance, and a wildly enjoyable life. We don't want to burn out OR fade away.

As Hobopoets, we are not concerned with establishing an impossible utopia in the far future. We will seize our freedom now... and we will maintain it through persistence and self-discipline.

Disciplined hedonists live by the maxim: "moderation in all things-- including moderation." Sustainable hedonism requires reflection... a conscious and ongoing examination of one's life coupled with an unswerving dedication to experiential experimentation. We like good ideas-- but view them only as working hypotheses until tested by direct experience. We are explorers, first and foremost, of our own lives and minds. We embrace the zen principle of radical empiricism-- the primacy of direct experience: no sacred texts, no leaders, no gurus, no laws... no mediated truths... only the truth of our own lives... here and now.

There are many paths to disciplined hedonism... to a hobopoet life. Every life, every temperment will find its own way. We are punks, hobos, poets, spiritual seekers, philosophers, permanent students, impoverished aesthetics, part-time wanderers, full-time bums.... we are professionals (Matt Salleh.... the "young homeless professional"), we are artists. Some of us have Phds... others of us never finished High School.

What binds us together is our dedication to the central tenants of the hobopoet life:

Self-Reliance, &
Wisdom Through Experience

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