Asceticism is a philosophical doctrine that defends the abstention from physical and psychological pleasures , believing it to be the way to reach perfection and moral and spiritual balance . Asceticism definition
For ascetics – practitioners of asceticism – the physical body is a source of great evils, being useless in spiritual terms, and they deny all carnal or worldly desires. For this reason, it is common for asceticism to practice physical penances, such as floggings, strict diets and frequent fasts.
Disregards and denials of natural carnal impulses would be the only way to reach real wisdom, exercising self-control in the face of countless human temptations.
It was agreed to associate asceticism with spirituality, however, there are not all examples of ascetics who seek to reach a high divine level or spiritual conquests.
The ancient Spartans, for example, were exposed to situations of extreme physical and psychological suffering, in order to be prepared to fight wars, becoming more resistant combatants. Asceticism definition
This is a classic and more widespread model of asceticism, quite common in early Christian doctrines or in Eastern religions, such as some strands of Buddhism, for example.
Religious ascetics should live a life with the austerity of worldly pleasures, with the intention of gaining the ultimate spiritual mastery.
Carnal pleasures, that is, pleasures that are natural to human beings, would be considered sinful and should be self-sacrificing.
Laic asceticism is a set of religious representatives proposed by the intellectual and “father of sociology” Max Weber. Asceticism definition
Calvinism, Pietism, Methodism and the sects of the Baptist movement are some of the Protestant religious doctrines that make up the so-called lay asceticism.
In his studies of the “spirit” of capitalism, Weber also explained the concept of worldly asceticism , a conception of social behavior in which followers of Protestant religious doctrines devoted themselves to professional application, regardless of the pleasures that accumulating wealth could to bring.
Weber also presented in his studies the definitions of intramundane and extramundane asceticism , which consists in the acceptance of a more rational religiosity, with some secular practices, and the idea that the “things of God” are parallel and opposite to the “things of the world” , respectively. Asceticism definition
asceticism and hedonism
Asceticism and hedonism are opposite concepts. While asceticism preaches the denial of worldly and carnal pleasures, hedonism is a philosophy that says that the pursuit of pleasure is the sole purpose of life .