Asceticism vs. Hedonism - What's the difference?

Main Difference

The main difference between Asceticism and Hedonism is that the Asceticism is a lifestyle of frugality and abstinence of various forms, often for spiritual goals and Hedonism is a school of thought.

Wikipedia

  • Asceticism

    Asceticism (; from the Greek: ἄσκησις áskesis, "exercise, training") is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be part of their society, but typically adopt a frugal lifestyle, characterised by the renunciation of material possessions and physical pleasures, and time spent fasting while concentrating on the practice of religion or reflection upon spiritual matters.Asceticism has been historically observed in many religious traditions, including Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Judaism. Contemporary mainstream Islam practices asceticism in the form of fasting during Ramadan by abstaining from all sensual pleasures, including food and water, from sunrise until sunset. The observation of fasting during Ramadan is purely done for God and to increase one's spiritual connection with God; it is compulsory for all Muslims to fast as it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Sufi tradition has included strict asceticism throughout history.The practitioners of this philosophy abandon sensual pleasures and lead an abstinent lifestyle, in the pursuit of redemption, salvation or spirituality. Asceticism is seen in the ancient theologies as a journey towards spiritual transformation, where the simple is sufficient, the bliss is within, the frugal is plenty. Inversely, several ancient religious traditions, such as Zoroastrianism, Ancient Egyptian Religion and the Dionysian Mysteries, as well as more modern Left Hand traditions, openly reject ascetic practices and focus on various types of hedonism.

  • Hedonism

    Hedonism is a school of thought that argues that the pursuit of pleasure and intrinsic goods are the primary or most important goals of human life. A hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain). However upon finally gaining said pleasure, happiness may remain stationary. Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. It is also the idea that every person's pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain. Ethical hedonism is said to have been started by Aristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good.

Wiktionary

  • Asceticism (noun)

    The principles and practices of an ascetic; extreme self-denial and austerity.

  • Hedonism (noun)

    The belief that Epicureans, have insisted that pleasure of the entire mind, not just pleasure of the senses, is the highest good.

  • Hedonism (noun)

    A general devotion to the pursuit of pleasure.

Oxford Dictionary

  • Asceticism (noun)

    severe self-discipline and avoiding of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons

    "acts of physical asceticism"

  • Hedonism (noun)

    the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.

  • Hedonism (noun)

    the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.

Webster Dictionary

  • Asceticism (noun)

    The condition, practice, or mode of life, of ascetics.

  • Hedonism (noun)

    The doctrine of the Hedonic sect; the pursuit of pleasure as a matter of ethical principle.

  • Hedonism (noun)

    The ethical theory which finds the explanation and authority of duty in its tendency to give pleasure.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Asceticism (noun)

    the doctrine that through renunciation of worldly pleasures it is possible to achieve a high spiritual or intellectual state

  • Asceticism (noun)

    the trait of great self-denial (especially refraining from worldly pleasures)

  • Asceticism (noun)

    rigorous self-denial and active self-restraint

  • Hedonism (noun)

    the pursuit of pleasure as a matter of ethical principle

  • Hedonism (noun)

    an ethical system that evaluates the pursuit of pleasure as the highest good

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