Previous Entry Share Next Entry
I'm hoping some of you who read this can help me...
galadrion
I'm asking for help from the people who read my Livejournal because I've managed to formulate a question which I cannot answer. I'm hoping one (or more) of you will have better success.

While at work today, I found myself tossing around various concepts, free-associating a bit, and eventually the process turned to analogies. I'm sure most of you understand the concept: A is to B as C is to D. Well, I managed to come up with one to which I either don't have the answer, or I can't bring it to mind.

? is to hedonist as sadist is to masochist.

For the life of me, I simply can't come up with a word that fits under that question mark. The closest I come is Heinlein's "water-brother", from Stranger in a Strange Land, but that concept is far too loose for what I have in mind.

By preference, I'd prefer to have the word in English; failing that, in some human language - non-fictional. Is this truly such a rare concept among human beings that a species which cannot help verbalizing any idea it can conceive doesn't have a word for it? Or have I simply not encountered such a word?

  • 1
My suggestion would be "fascist." Sounds strange, but let me explain.

This isn't a perfect analogy, because the relationship between a sadist and a masochist is one of a giver and a receiver. Hedonist doesn't imply either. Hedonism, according to Miriam-Webster (www.m-w.com) is:
1 : the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life
2 : a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism

So a hedonist is one who believe in seeking happiness and pleasure above all else - not as a giver or receiver. So I considered opposites, and my first suggestion would have been "puritan." But when I followed the link on M-W to Britannica.com, I found the following:
Some of the ugliest aspects of fascism—intolerance, repression, and violence—were fueled by what fascists saw as a morally justified struggle against “decadence.” For fascists, decadence meant a number of things: materialism, self-indulgence, hedonism, cowardice, and physical and moral softness. It was also associated with rationalism, skepticism, atheism, humanitarianism...

So that is how I arrived at "fascist."

Actually, I did have in mind the giver-reciever relationship. Consulting a different dictionary service (http://dictionary.com) gives an entry for hedonist rather than hedonism: someone motivated by desires for sensual pleasures [syn: pleasure seeker]. That particular definition implies (to me) a distinct bias towards one's own pleasure - although admittedly, it's a subtle implication, and perhaps not entirely warranted.

I guess what I'm looking for is a word for someone who feels happiness while (and specifically because of) giving another person pleasure.

Yes, this is somewhat important to me personally. *Grin*

It sounds like you're looking for the bastard twin of a Cyrenaic, with the primary motivation providing pleasure to others, while the personal pleasure received is a secondary effect drawn from the fulfillment of the primary motivation. Is this a fair assessment?

If so, a close cousin to what you seek would be Altruist.

If we consider that egoism is the hallmark of a Cyrenaic hedonist, altruism is its antithesis, focusing instead on the welfare of others, and purportedly giving a measure of satisfaction to the benefactor.

At least, that's the closest I can think of right now. Sorry. :/

That's a fair assessment of the concept I'm looking for, yes. I'm not sure how well "altruist" fits, though - it seems more than a little broad in scope. It's the right direction, though.

"Ascetic" is another possibility. Instead of gratifying his desires, the ascetic seeks to subdue them. The difference is between controlling and being controlled - which is where the connection to the other half of the analogy comes in.

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account