Hedonism, Communism, and the Holnist Philosophy


The Holnist philosophy developed in David Brin’s novel The Postman has its basis
in the ancient Greek philosophy of hedonism. Hedonism is a philosophy of the individual,
rather than a philosophy that is adopted by a society. Hedonism stresses the concept that
all humans will seek pleasure and avoid pain; an individual will therefore make decisions
that will be pleasing to themselves, regardless of the effect the act will have on society.
Holnism was a philosophy of the strong. It supported the subjection of the weak
to the powerful, and encouraged the strong to excel while the weak In the Lost Empire
by Nathan Holn, he talks “of the honor of medieval Japan, of the glorious, wild American
Indians, and of shining Europe during the period effete scholars today call its “dark age”
(Brin 252). Holn wanted modern society to place emphasis on the individual’s glories and
pleasures as the old societies had. Glory and pleasure is a the primary focus of the
philosophy of hedonism; a society similar to those acclaimed by Holn would not only
create an upper class, but would allow those upper class individuals to fully partake in the
hedonist quest for pleasure.

Holn’s work seems to cut and paste the Holnist beliefs into the Communist
Manifesto. While Karl Marx stated “A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of
communism”1, Holn describes “a widespread blindness, which keeps millions from seeing
how they have been fooled by this fabrication”. Communist is the ideological opposite of
Holnism. Holnism and communism are, however, both forms of hedonism. While
communism stresses equality and justice in the distribution of goods and pleasure,
Holnism stresses the individual and is willing to allow the masses to suffer for the
pleasures of a select few.

Holnism and communism both, however, used a common route to become a
dominant philosophy. The documents supporting the philosophy, Marx’s Communist
manifesto and Holn’s Lost empire, caused the masses to assume a conspiracy was at hand.
Only by supporting the philosophy could the masses be safe from this hidden evil.
Holnism and communism share a common belief “The history of all hitherto existing
society is the history of class struggles”1. Communism strove to break down the social
classes, while Holnism solidified their use in society. The theory of the class struggles
allowed Holnism and Communism to become recognized and influential.

Holnism and communism share many features, and it is possible to see how Holn
developed his theories. With an ideological base in hedonism, and a method of dispersing
the information similar to that used by communism, Holnism played an important role in
Brin’s novel The Postman. Humans must be wonder, however, if a philosophy such as
Holnism can exist as an idea in a book, what will prevent it from becoming a fact in