There is a rapid shift in today’s society with the music, literature and technology that feeds into the very aspect of a hedonistic lifestyle. The majority of young Americans are so obsessed with wringing every available pleasure out of life, and they have lost all sense of morality. The primary goal of most young Americans today is to accumulate as much money as possible using any means necessary, with absolutely no compassion for anyone less fortunate. Changing partners occurs as often as changing clothes. Traditional family life is old-fashioned and unusual in this day and age. Trust in neighbors and acquaintances is virtually unknown. Instant gratification is demanded and expected. A hedonistic lifestyle is what’s killing the American teenage subculture and society as a whole, but there are ways in which this can be fixed among young adults.
To understand the arrival at this state, it is necessary to analyze where the influences on this behavior originate. Rap music is one of the most popular genres of music. Today’s rap lyrics are angrier and feed a more hedonistic lifestyle. Songs such as “Smack That” by Akon or “Hoes and Ladies” by T-Pain portray messages that women should be treated as personal belongings and/or are only needed for a man’s sexual satisfaction. Literature as an art form is primarily concerned with mind and action and language. The written word is good at communicating a great deal of dialogue, thought and factual information rapidly and efficiently. In today’s society, literature has taken a drastic change from informing us to the point at which a main character is glorified or seeks personal pleasure. Literature used to influence people, now the television does.
Take the book “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E. L. James. The erotic novel is the first part in a trilogy tracing the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey, in which Ana loses her virginity to Christian, and he wants her to sign a nondisclosure agreement and a contract that keeps their relationship purely sexual and defines their relationship as one of “dominance and submission.” The entire book is based on a hedonistic man who demands and desires submission from a woman for his personal pleasure. In today’s society, while it is undeniable modern technology gives us many benefits such as treatments for deathly illnesses and faster and more efficient transportation, many of us don’t pause to think about the negative effects that indiscriminately turning to technology could have on future generations. With this increased access comes greater worry for parents, teachers and counselors, whose anxiety is fueled by media reports of young people engaging in “sexting.” Technology is primarily used for people’s personal betterment and enjoyment. From apps to tablets, we select and use for personal good and pleasure.
In spite of all these problems facing teenage subculture and society as a whole, there are many ways in which we can combat a hedonistic society. People rarely consider the consequences of their actions, and they have become so faithful in the phrase, “Live in the moment.” I actually agree with this statement to an extent. We shouldn’t dwell on the past or future. But society still needs to think about what might happen in the future and learn from the past. Members of our society can’t just do what makes them “feel good.” Just because it makes individuals happy doesn’t mean it’s right.