The Threat of Hedonism in Young Generation

"If you give up your life for temporary pleasure in the present, it means you give up your future"


The time passes,  the era changes. Past changes into present, and traditional changes into modern. Different era means different mindset and different way of life. The modern era that is integrated with globalization brings some drastic changes in people’s behavior when they are counted as an individual or as a member of the society. The changes that happened in society can be advantageous and disadvantageous. The advantages of the globalization are the development of many things in many aspects like the easy access of information and the development of technology. The example of the product of the information and technology development are gadgets and social media. On the contrary, we can find the disadvantages of globalization in economic trade.

Economic trade becomes disadvantageous when the government of the countries in the world has legally signed the economic cooperation, like AEC or Asian Economic Community. Specifically, we can say that it’s disadvantageous when we see it from the laborers’ point of view : it means that the competition to get the job grows in a wider area and the number of the competitors also increased rapidly, not only from local competitors or from the same country, but also international competitors from foreign countries. (Schmukler : 2004). The development of information and technology as well as the application of economic trade has changed the lifestyle of the people in general, and it  affects the young generation in specific. The ease and the pressure that the young generations get from the globalization make them turn into generations who seek pleasure in order to release their lust and relieve their stress.

The seeking process of this very pleasure is what we call as hedonism. However, hedonism is bad for young generation because it causes hedonic consumption and over consumerism. Hedonism is derived from Greek word  hēdonē that in English it is translated as “pleasure”. Hedonism itself can be defined as “an understanding that prioritizes delight as the ultimate goodness, a life doctrine focused on the pursuit of, and addiction to, delight” (Kirgiz, 2014). Here, it means that one will do anything in order to gain a pleasure or delight, because the center of the doctrine is delight-seeking or pleasure-seeking. The person who applies hedonism lifestyle itself is called a hedonist. Imagine if this doctrine is applied in young generation in this globalization era, where the needs and the goods to satisfy the needs are in unbalanced condition.

As we know that as the era grows, the people’s needs also grows. And that’s also applied in goods to satisfy their needs. People’s needs are vary, and it’s the same with the goods to satisfy the needs. But sometimes the goods to satisfy the needs are not able to meet the consumers’s expectation. So what will happen if young generations are to adopt hedonism? The answer is that young generations will adopt hedonic consumption. Hedonic consumption itself is defined as dimension pertaining to the emotional, sensorial and fantasy aspects of product usage (Hirschman & Holbrook, 1982). It is a state where the consumers not only prioritize the capabilities of the products that they buy, but also the other factors like the meaning of the products for them, the quality of the place where they buy the products, and even the social status that they will get by buying the products (Levy in Hirschman & Holbrook, 1959).

It means that young generation that adopts hedonic consumption has a tendency to waste their money. It is because the young generations that adopts hedonic consumption focus on the pleasure that they will get by buying the product, to the point of how much money that they have to spend in order to get the satisfaction does not matter for them. For example, smartphone is a product that is very useful to everyone in this modern era. By having one, it can ease our access in information and it can help us to communicate with others through any kinds of social media.  The common consumers will buy the smartphone from its capabilities that match with their needs. If the common consumers need a smartphone that will ease them in communication, they will choose a smartphone that has a high specification in social media.

However, in contrast with the common consumers, hedonist consumers will buy a smartphone, not only based on its capabilities, but also from other factors like its newest trend, its selling place, and its benefits for social status. It makes sense that the cost that hedonist consumers have to pay will be more expensive than that of the common consumers. That’s what it mean by wasting the money. In fact, the hedonist consumers actually could save some money if only they bought the smartphone that is based only from what they needs.

The hedonist consumers behavior leads to the over consumersism. Over consumersism itself is a state where one continues to buy the things or the goods that exceed his/her needs. For the common consumers, of course this is an act that will only waste the money and it will affect their future life, for the wasted money is actually can be saved for future needs, if only the hedonist consumers stop ther hedonistic behavior.

Another example is in female hedonist consumers. It is not a rare thing that female is a being that loves shopping. Usually female hedonist consumers loves to buy something that can support their appearance in their social life. Female hedonist consumers collects many bags, shoes, and clothes that exceed their needs. A survey that is conducted by Sheconomics in 2009 to  British woman aged 18 to 24 shows that the biggest reason that causes the woman to shop and overspending is that they want to cheer themselves up (79%) and they want to treat others (75%). Here the terms of cheering themselves up has correlation with the feeling of satisfaction or pleasure-seeking. See, we can conclude that they mostly overspending their money. If this condition continues, they will go broke for sure.

In short, hedonism is a doctrine that can be very dangerous for young generation, especially in economical or financial terms. Young generation whose the financial needs is generally not stable should use their income wisely and not abandon their future needs only to get the present and temporal satisfaction. Young generation should learn to manage their financial needs by using the money to buy something that they need and based it on the product capabilities, not based it on other factors that can lead them to become a hedonist consumers and experience over consumersism. So young generation, let’s spend the money wisely and save our money for our future needs!





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