Imaginary hedonism is something that is very close to modern hedonism
defined by Colin Campbell
. Campbell divided hedonism
to traditional and modern hedonism and argues that the latter is merely about seeking
pleasures than gorging them.
An imaginary hedonist - eh? - doesn't need any concrete cause for her pleasure but she can simulate the act of hedonism in her mind. Her imagination is very strong in that sense and she finds pleasure only thinking about certain objects of her desire. However, in theory the objects should be achievable. If not so, she has to at least believe so herself. Campbell says that the rationality of emotions is needed to achieve something on the sphere of modern hedonism. Unlike traditional hedonist, a modern hedonist needs very strong self-discipline to control her emotions. This holds true even when a modern hedonist really takes a pleasure of something for real. She concentrates merely in the quality of pleasure whereas a traditional hedonist seeks for quantity.
As we can understand, an imaginary hedonist doesn't consume anything and material objects are replaced by psychological emotions. Now we should note that the source of pleasure is displaced from an object to the subject herself! Objects of pleasure are still there but only in her mind: no act of aspiration is needed; a simulated aspiration is enough.
A simulated aspiration - self-generated spectacle, may Guy Debord ask. It is of course easy to criticize imaginary hedonism from this point of view but certainly not all the people are capable for imaginary hedonism. It is very likely that some day imaginary hedonism finds its expression in reality. And furthermore, in that case we might as well criticize those trendy situationists that in the final analysis many of their acts of self-realization have already found their counterparts at the markets. And finally, isn't imaginary hedonism something you really created yourself; a situation that has a very strong personal, psychological component? A gourmet dinner tastes shit if you're not hungry.