A sensation-centric ideal
is a political ideal
that focuses primarily on the sensations
individuals in a society (sometimes including non-human animals
), as opposed to focusing
primarily on the structural organization
of a society, the ideals of which may be called 'structure-centric ideals'. A person that has a sensation-centric
ideal can also have structural ideals, but the latter are considered secondary.
Different structures of society are
conducive to different sensations, so there is substantial overlap between the 2 types of ideals.
All major political conflicts as of 2005 and before are and were those of competing structural ideals.
Sensation-centric ideals consist of 2 general types, which are general hedonism, and idealistic
sensation-association maximizing. General hedonism includes within it the ideal that can be called
'general negative hedonism', which is the state in which suffering is minimized.
To explain idealistic sensation-association maximizing, it is the state in which
certain sensations of specific intents are associated with a certain corresponding
degree of sensations of pleasure or suffering,
and such associated sensations are maximized, and the associations are
determined by the specific nature of the ideal (which may be goodwilled or malicious).
Different sensation-association maximizing ideals can be polar opposites of each other.
form of sensation-association maximizing is selective hedonism (pleasure that is associated only with specific
intent sensations), which only focuses on the pleasurable
General hedonism is an old ideal, having been originally championed by the greek thinker
Epicurus (341 - 270 BCE (in case anyone doesn't know, 'BCE' is a semi-commonly used notation that means
'before the common era', and the related CE means 'common era'; they refer to the same dates as those of 'BC' and 'AD', respectively) ).
Later, the thinker
Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1842 CE) advanced the understanding of hedonism by regarding hedonism
mathematically, in what he called 'felicific calculus',
in which the degree of hedonism of a society is measured
mostly by the duration and intensity of all pleasures minus the duration and intensity of all pains
('pain' meaning 'suffering' here). Jeremy Bentham also considered hedonism to be the basis of morality, such that
the actions that create the highest net pleasure are those that are the most moral. He also considered the creation
of pleasure and elimination of suffering to be the end goal of a society, such that the structure of society should
reflect that goal, an ideal called 'utilitarian hedonism'.
Later, an adherent of Jeremy Bentham's utilitarian hedonism,
John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873), created the first type of selective hedonism, in which he
considered bodily pleasures to be inferior to mental pleasures,
though the sensations themselves of such pleasures differ little, so that is not a truly idealistic
selective hedonism in which sensations are selected based on the nature of the sensations themselves.
More recently, John Piper (1946- ) promoted the ideal of christian hedonism, in which people
maximize the pleasure of power and spirituality of what they perceive to be an all-powerful god.
Christian hedonism was proposed in Piper's book 'Desiring God', published in 1986.
The thinker David Pearce (no birth date available) proposed, in his free online book 'The Hedonistic Imperative'
the ideal of using large-scale long-term genetic modification (called transhumanism) of
neurological genes to make humans,
as well as other conscious animals, devoid of suffering and capable of
extremely intense pleasure (it is therefore a very attractive ideal). The Hedonistic Imperative was viewable online
since 1996. That made sensation-centric ideals even more radical and fundamental then they had already been.
David Pearce has also advocated selective hedonism that is based on the pleasure that is created by the
recreational drug MDMA,
that being the malicious sensation of antagonistic aggression, the desire to disrupt definitive problem-solving
(it should not be assumed, by the way, that suffering is necessarily always a problem; it can just as easily be a
David Pearce has also
done much to spread the popular deception that MDMA creates a sensation of empathy.
The thinker Edward Smith (no birth date available) proposed an even more radical and fundamental ideal, the ideal of
justice-maximism, which is the state in which a conscious being's degree of goodwilled fine clear
perception of reality is
equal to the degree of pleasurable satisfaction of their desires, and their degree of malicious
crude blind perception of reality is equal to the degree of painful frustration of their desires, at a
and the intensity and duration of such precise states is maximized. Edward Smith has also
proposed the use of transhumanist genetic modifications as one method to serve that end.
Thus, strongly-contradicting sensation-association maximizing ideals have been established,
as justice-maximism strongly contradicts both MDMA-type hedonism and christian hedonism.
However, there do not appear to be any major political conflicts as of 2005 between
competing sensation-association idealists. It may be though that that will gradually change
if and when people recognize that the ultimate purpose of different structural political ideals
is to create the resulting sensation-associations by satisfying certain goals and frustrating others, and that if those sensation associations are
desired, then why not create them more directly, and why not maximize them?