Hedonism often conjures up images of indulgence to an almost shameful degree. Think of the type of individuals who would put twinkies on their pizzas and regularly commit other similar atrocities without batting an eye. The reality is not near as harsh, as all that hedonism literally means is that one values and enjoys pleasure. Enjoying pleasure seems relatable enough for most.
All our etymology and Greek mythology enthusiasts out there might recognize the root word, ‘Hedone’, who was the child of Psyche (mind) and Eros (love). She was known as a goddess of pleasure and delight, and there is little evidence to suggest she was the twinkies on pizza type. Hedonism can be understood quite literally as a harmonious link between the mind and its desires.
While people might twist the means of acquiring pleasure into unsavory forms, the desire in itself is as natural as any other human need. It’s only once these pursuits start taking a toll on our planet that some stopped to think - how long can this go on for and is there perhaps a less destructive path forward?
A More Modern Approach
Enter the mid-20th century sustainability movement, a sort of collective human hangover from the Industrial Revolution. What exactly did we do the last millennia, and for the love of all that’s holy, how can we make the throbbing stop?
Sustainability became the counterweight to industrial capitalism, but in recent years the term has become so ubiquitous these days in modern advertising that it’s lost some punch through overuse.
At its most basic definition, sustainability means a system function to meet the needs of the present without depleting natural resources at a rate that will make them unavailable in the future. It’s a core concept for most companies these days, but most would struggle to define what that means for their supply chain aside from basics like recycling and waste reduction.
An Odd Couple for the Ages
Tying hedonism and sustainability together might seem like an odd pairing initially, but something about it starts to click upon further inspection.
The core message of Hedonistic Sustainability is that products can bring about pleasure both in the immediate physical comfort and the long-term mental assurance.
Businesses should strive to produce goods that function like an indulgence due to their function, last due to their quality, and preserve more than they consume due to a sustainable supply chain. Products that are pleasurable and sustainable remove the guilt often associated with pleasure and give both customer and company a new metric in evaluating a product’s value.
This kind of mindset highlights the connections between products and people, seeing them not just as ends and means, but a connected ecosystem of sorts that rely upon one another.
Back to Basics
A Balanced Business Model
Ok, I read all that.
So where are you clothes made? Who makes them? How much are they paid? Can they unionize?
What is the material and energy lifecycle of your product?