A phobia is a chemical reaction based on a physical negative action, which is influencing our genetic code. It's a corruption of our blood, our consciousness only comprehends this and attributes it to itself.
Hedonism is materialism.
Materialism is based on consciously attributing worth to something that hasn't had one before. It's purely selfish behavior and it's how the human species is controlled by a few who exploit these control mechanisms.
"How the few control the many"
1. Ownership - Guy has an apple, another wants it. Conflict happens.
2. Leadership - I'm the boss, gimme that apple. Conflict happens.
3. Laws - You must give me that apple for this is how it's meant to be. Conflict happens.
4. Law enforcement - Gimme that apple by law or these guys will kick your ass. Conflict happens.
At this stage the violent response towards the one seeking control of the other was forced back as far as possible, but the huge size of civilizations still created too much collateral damage of slaves defending their goods. So the question was raised "how can we make them "believe" to give us their shit for free?
5. Religion - the deity speaketh "share those riches for free and in return you get as many empty promises as you want"
This is where natural law took over and created a circle. To catch all the non believer the controllers created mantle terms like atheist or infidel, thereby making everyone defined by not being followers of a doctrine. Fast forward and thousands of years of religious indoctrination have crept into the subconscious structure of everyone, and the atheists are now naturally longing for the same natural traits of (blind)faith and morality, but unlike the believer they don't have anything to direct it towards. In comes capitalism/materialism/idolatry/ symbolism, and with that the atheists became the most fundamentalist group of worshipers of them all. Materialism/hedonism over everything.
6. Materialism - The hedonistic way of attributing worth to items aka Ownership. And the circle is back at the beginning.
Modern society places all value on "the outside world"
No. Human make up judgements about worthiness in their minds to judge the outside world. That's playing god, that's hedonism, that's against the natural laws, that's self destructive.
free divers through discipline have learned to overcome the instinct
No. They corrupted their environment so that the natural instincts cannot help them anymore. They are under water, that is not their natural habitat. They deliberately put themselves into foolish danger and once it becomes a life threatening situation the natural instincts cannot change the outcome anymore. Now going back a little and we have a diver ignoring that common sense telling him that water represents acute danger, and then selfishly put more worth in his perceived abilities, instead of listening to the moral compass nature equipped us with.