Musings on Mormonism

More on Hedonism, new stuff on identity and anxiety

These themes popped up in my mind as I was writing a paper, and they are as follows:
1) hedonism, yet again
2) identity
3) anxiety

All three are actually recurring themes in the internal world of my mind. So, I was thinking that everyone on the planet becomes acquainted with anxiety – it’s an inescapable fact of existence in a large and unfeeling world. Neither I, nor anyone else I’m sure, considers anxiety to be an ideal state of being, and quite understandably we all seek to minimze its occurence in our lives. However, guess what: we all tend to be hedonists! What this means is that we, generally speaking, are inclined to avoid anything that makes us or could possibly make us feel anxious or insecure, even if the risk were justifiable by some greater causes e.g. expressing love, which entails a risk of rejection. This is not good! Anxiety and hedonism may also lead us to do brazenly (or even subtly) selfish or even terrible things – for instance, what do you think it is that motivates a man to rape a woman? Or for a less extreme example, what is it that motivates a bully to pick on other kids? I would submit that in the former it is an unabashed desire for pleasure and control at the expense of another, and in the latter an attempt to alleviate feelings of inferiority and anxiety.

As for identity, my thoughts are this: people, anxious as they tend to be in this insecure world, cling to ideas, cultures, property, and people (in other words, an identity) which seem to help them feel at ease. I am not anti-comfort, nor am I pro-suffering, but I do believe that people tend to seek for identity in the wrong places, and by “wrong places” I mean in things which are not stable enough to provide lasting stability or even a stability which is worthwhile in the short term. I believe there are many such people at BYU, people who doubt that the gospel and its author, Jesus Christ, can provide the stability which they desire, or who simply don’t want what He has to offer, either because it is too expensive (and I obviously don’t mean in terms of money) or because they have simply developed preferences which are dissimilar or even at complete odds with the gospel plan. I pity such people, but I do believe they can change, though not without some degree of pain and effort.


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