Hedonism is a well-known school of thought. It presents the idea that happiness and pleasure in the life of every person are the central goals and most important virtue.

An individual who follows this idea is called “a hedonist,” and he or she focuses on maximizing his or her pleasure. As soon as the pleasure is reached, it becomes possible to understand that the happiness of person will remain stationary thanks to extrinsic or intrinsic goods.

In general, people understand the pleasure in different ways. Most often, they associate it with the feelings of satisfaction, joy, ecstasy, euphoria, enjoyment, enthusiasm, triumph, gladness, praise, tranquility, joy, love, comfort, and prosperity. On the other hand, displeasure or pain is always connected with the experience of negative emotions. These feelings are anxiety, ennui, distress, angst, agony, misery, apprehensiveness, boredom, throb, nausea, remorse, resentment, embarrassment, sadness, irritation, loathing, melancholia, grief, terror, unease, terror, vexation, loneliness, hopelessness, fear, despondency, ache, discombobulation, discontentment, disgruntlement, hatred, disorientation, dread, enmity, guilt, sullenness, and so on.

The term “hedonism” originated from the ancient Greek word “pleasure.” For example, motivational or psychological types of hedonism state that only pain or pleasure can influence or encourage people. Besides, evaluative and ethical types indicate that only pleasure can have value or worth. On the other hand, displeasure or pain can be opposite to worth.

Discussion over the meaning of hedonism was popular for many centuries. The most influential authors of this research were Butler, Chisholm, Ross, Brentano, Sidgwick, Moore, Broad, Ryle, Hume, Mill, Nietzsche, Aquinas, Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus.

Democritus is the first philosopher who had explored the idea of hedonism. He claimed that sorrow and joy were the determination aspects of what was bad or good for the life of a person, stating that the primary objective of every individual is cheerfulness and comfort.

He was a pre-Socratic theorist from Abdera, Thrace. Democritus was living there around 460 and 370 B.C.E. He spent much time exploring atomism that was based on the works of Leucippus, another pre-Socratic philosopher. Democritus studied the existence of cosmos and identified the countless number of indivisible and permanent elements that had been called “atomon”.

All atoms in the world can be categorized differently in sizes, shapes, and forms. The qualitative diversity of everything that exists is determined by clear physical and quantitative characteristics. Starting from thinking and perception, both of these phenomena are spiritual and physical at the same time. They were described by mechanical materialism. Now, unfortunately, it is almost impossible to tell who was the first to categorize these aspects and whether it was Leucippus or Democritus. In any case, it became the pure materialist thought that was revolutionary in the history of philosophy in general.

Basing on the works of Leucippus or Democritus dedicated to atomism, Epicurus, another ancient Greek philosopher, became the founder of one of the popular schools of philosophy - Epicureanism. Different from the theories developed by hedonists before, Epicurus stated that the most significant good in the life of people was looking for the sustainable and modest pleasure. He was sure it should be in the form of the absence of physical pain and freedom from fear or a feeling of tranquility thought limitation of personal desires and absence of the experiences and knowledge of the world.

In other words, the mix of these states seemed the greatest happiness in the highest possible form, according to the theory of Epicurus. Now, Epicureanism is recognized as one of the forms of hedonism since it also considered pleasure as the essential good.

However, the idea of the absence of pain as the main form of happiness and its preference to the simpler life makes it diverge from the well-known idea of hedonism.