Word of the week: Hedonic

December 7, 2020 Tim Glynne-Jones

I stumbled upon the word Hedonic this week while trying to read a scientific paper on drug abuse (well, you’ve got to kill the time between Rip Off Britain and Homes Under the Hammer somehow). I also stumbled (and I mean stumbled) upon ‘neuropharmacology’, ‘extrapyramidal, and ‘accumbens‘, at which point, I have to admit, I started skimming.

Hedonic is a great word, meaning ‘relating to pleasure’, from the Greek word ‘hedone’ (pleasure), and giving us the school of philosophy, Hedonism, which embraces the belief that life is for deriving maximum pleasure from everything you do. Well, who wouldn’t embrace a philosophy like that!

Who said Plato?

No-one likes a smartarse. OK, apart from Plato, who wouldn’t embrace a philosophy like that? As Woody Allen once said, “You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.”

The thing about drugs and pleasure, so I’ve read, is that they don’t actually give you pleasure, they only make you think they do by causing you pain and then giving you a smidgin of relief. It’s like nicking the tiles off your roof and then selling them back to you.

So they’re not really hedonic at all.

And if that’s not enough to help you quit smoking this weekend, I give up.

You’ve read the blog, now buy the book. Word of the Week: Volume One (a collection of 52 words) is available in paperback from word-of-the-week.com