Maxine Hellenberger's
Philosophy of "Enlightened Hedonism"

1) It is self-evident that the purpose of life is the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

Note that "pleasure", here, denotes enjoyable sensations and the fulfillment of desire at any and all levels of the consciousness - the existence of masochism does not invalidate this precept.

2) It is equally self-evident that the most powerful and effective tool possessed by human beings for the achievement of this purpose is the ability to think.

Not since the development of photosynthesis has a single biological function so radically altered the face of the planet. The power of thought has revolutionized and is revolutionizing the physical universe to facilitate the experience of pleasure, and can equally revolutionize an individual consciousness in the pursuit of pleasure. Anything that hampers curiosity, fantasy or reason handicaps the most powerful tool we have - to accept conceptual limitations is to play the sport of life with one hand tied behind your back.

3) An enlightened person seeks higher-level pleasures over lower-level ones, and long-term pleasurable lifestyles over short-term harmful thrills.

Enlightened hedonists eschew self-destructive pleasures such as narcotic abuse in favour of developing a healthy lifestyle that promises long-term contentment. Similarly, they may eschew the merely visceral pleasures in favour of higher-level metapleasures such as self-satisfaction and self-actualization.

4) The definition of "good" behaviour is the practice of empathy - the belief that one's own pleasure and pain are no more and no less important than the pleasure and pain of another.

Enlightened hedonists attempt to expand their empathy as far as possible - not only to other humans who are physically or psychologically dissimilar, but to any entity capable of experiencing sensations analogous to human pleasure and pain.

5) The enlightened hedonist embraces the alteration of her own consciousness in the pursuit of greater pleasure.

Enlightened hedonists seek out pleasure in all its forms - they embrace every taste, explore every thrill and test out every sensation available within the bounds of reason and empathy. She utilizes discipline and willpower to surmount any and all instincts, prejudices and limitations that stand between her and pleasure.

6) Enlightened hedonists accept the validity of choice in other entities in direct proportion to that entity's intelligence.

It should be noted, here, that "intelligence" means exactly that - the ability to think. It does not in any way refer to an entity's actual thinking, nor to their adherence to enlightened hedonism. Followers of other philosophies should be free to follow their philosophies.

Enlightened hedonists may advocate the benefits of their worldview, but they should in no way impose these beliefs on anyone capable of dissenting, except in such cases where their beliefs result in the causing of pain to others. While an enlightened hedonist's empathy may twinge in response to another entity's self-inflicted pain, she has no right to force decisions on that party, except in such cases where said self-inflicted pain is the result of ignorance or mental impairment.