Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
As the Diaspora surged forth from the Solar system, depositing humans everywhere they could find a world, wealthy adherents of hedonism (believing that pleasure or happiness is the highest good) decided to establish a colony centered around that ideal. Using the best in robotics, artificial wombs and psychohistorical engineering and selection techniques, they set out to create Hedonia.
The world they settled, was with minor terraforming, perfect. With only .7G, 2 beautiful moons, slightly higher atmospheric oxygen than Earth, a compatible biosphere, wonderful mild weather and perfect beaches Crowley is a beautiful world. The only drawbacks were the size of some of the indigenous life and that wild fires are dangerous. The physical realities of it means that even puddles have waves on Crowley and that there are more and larger flying life forms than on Earth. Cyrenopolis was the landing site and the first capital, today Tännsjö is the capital.
The biggest challenge of the social engineers was to build a society where pleasure was the highest goal for everyone and not have it fly apart into anarchy or devolve into something else. Keeping this in mind, they set up expert systems and recruited bonsai AI's as the experts for its government (later, Stored were also recruited). They then used a lottery system to pick the representatives and executives of the government, and recruited heavily for the judicial branch. The body of the government, was encouraged to be as efficient as possible – with financial rewards for promptness and positive customer comments, and penalties for negative comments. After some initial bumps, the comments were weighted for the customer's receiving a benefit or a penalty from the functionary. In short, Hedons take care of their bureaucrats and reward efficiency.
The biggest hurdle was the differences in what one considered pleasurable. Rock climbing for one is a wonderful exhilarating experience. Another might find it simply terrifying. And on and on. Enforcing one type of pleasure for their society is impossible, but they did make it possible for any form of pleasure that did not hurt an unwilling participant to be within reach. Thus the laws of the society are fairly loose when it comes to personal behavior, strict for harming others without permission (up to and including obstructing the view (pollution, building without permits)).
The Hedonian education system makes this possible. It is entirely centered around the idea that “Facts are stepping stones in the ford to pleasure.” Thus, Hedons are very well educated, both conventionally and hedonistically (methods of pleasure, drawbacks, minimizing drawbacks, etc.). This is a continuous educational process and surprises outsiders at the extent and depth of it.
Freedom From Morality Class - Healthy amorality doesn't happen naturally
The Hedon founders and their hired pyschohistorical engineers were firmly of the opinion that the human brain tends toward moral commandments. Early attempts using (then) advanced neurological techniques to counter it produced temporary sociopaths – they did not even attempt genetic engineering. So they contented themselves with cultural and educational modifications, and the Freedom From Morality classes are the result.
Freedom From Morality classes do not teach immorality – in the eyes of a Hedon, compulsive breaking of moral commandments is just as dysfunctional compulsively obeying them. They teach students to not associate right or wrong, with things, thus producing the (in)famous amoral Hedon attitude.
It also contributes to their ability to tell the difference between fun and love. Because of this and the attitude “Facts are stepping stones in the ford to pleasure,” no Hedon will ever make much of a romantic.
Despite its eccentricities in the eyes of the other human civilizations, Hedonia is a stable pleasant place to live. It is officially its most egalitarian culture. It is among the top places to visit for those that can afford to go. The cities are exciting because the Hedons live in their streets. Just walking through a Hedon town is joyful: sculptures and murals, interesting sounds, gardens of every kind, friendly people. The streets wind, to forestall the temptation to hurry.
Clothing is another infamous aspect of their civilization. In their mild climate, aside from sandals, clothes are for support or decoration only. Hedon utility clothing, worn for work or exercise, consists of low soft boots and pajamas with many pockets.
Their art is popular, if not critically acclaimed. It tends more towards pleasant amusement than clear statement. As a result, there is nothing there that would make a listener, viewer, participant or reader uncomfortable.
In terms of families, there is no Hedon stereotype. Families range from single parents, to group families, traditional and modern raising swarms of children. Even polyamory works because they consider jealousy a socially humiliating form of mental illness. Not as bad as pedophilia, but right up there with compulsive nose picking.
Which brings up their attitude towards morality and morals. To Hedons, “morals” is a dirty word. They sometimes say it where others would say “primitive,” or “self-defeating.” To them, all three concepts are the same. It all is considered a form of mental illness to them to be treated with kindness, concern and consideration, but not to let the holders hurt themselves or others. Because of this, Hedons are considered very accepting. One particular form of mental illness they deal with is stress. They think its caused by not enough sex, and will offer to help deal with it.
Because of their unique attitudes, benefits and environment Hedons are very unlikely to spread beyond Crowley. While they are specialized, this does not mean they are defenseless. There are individuals in the population that do derive pleasure from a military or warrior lifestyle, and the Hedon government has carefully channeled them into it for centuries. They even use cryogenics to set them aside for later if needed.
Hedonia is a popular civilization to visit among the rest of humanity. Everyone save the Logicians gets along with them, and all save the Old Worlders, some Cargo Cults and the Disciples like them.
Of the societies, all can be found here, though most Hedons wonder about the Sleepers, but understand the impulse to stick around to see what happens next.
Common Name: Hedons
Benefit: Hedons receive the Courtesan and Athlete Professions at level 4 for free and may improve them as normal professions. Hedon characters must choose a specialty for the Athlete Profession at character creation.
Inspector Status: Equivalent to local police due to potential cultural conflicts.
Core Values: Sensation and Hedonism
Sensation holds that the universe is a vast, fascinating place and there to be experienced. This CV means that the Hedons will seek out enoyable experiences and avoid boredom. It can be used to tolerate painful or unpleasant experiences. "To enjoy the flavor of life take big bites" sums up much of their belief on this.
Hedonism means that the Hedons hold that only what is pleasant or has pleasant consequences is intrinsically beneficial. Thus, they try to advance that for themselves and others. This means they work towards good government, pleasant conditions, human rights, as well as the ability to have a really good time. This means the CV can be used to help Hedons advance a good cause, as well as a party or other pleasant experience.