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Which is damnably difficult. And the only absolute he can ever really know is the absolute of perfect balance. 16 At this point we may well ask ourselves whether we have been fair to hedonistic ethics. Our conclusions in the main have been adverse. Alluring as the criterion of pleasure may be, it seems on theoretical grounds insufficient and in practice unable to produce a satisfactory life. Nevertheless one might argue that the cards have been stacked against these hedonists, in that each has been restricted in some rather serious way.
PHILOSOPHY IN LITERA TURE 34 Falstaff, however, has one great advantage over all others is not impeded by any of the restraints which of his kind: he we have seen interfering with the ordinary life of pleasure. Other hedonists abide our question; Sir John is free. This point is so important that it must be examined in some detail. Falstaff is free because nothing that worries other people is of the slightest concern to him. He has no standards. He is impervious to ridicule, moral imperatives, demands of honor, truth, social position, or personal sensitiveness.
Since the aim is to avoid trouble, we should refrain from doing anything which calls attention to ourselves. Therefore obey the laws as they exist, follow the social customs of those around you, and do not question the conventional moral code of the state. This results in the paradox that the "immoral" Epicurus is the most "moral" of philosophers, simply because to violate the code arouses opposition and risks trouble. A man should not steal or murder, not because there is anything wrong in it, but because detection would and pain.