Happy Twentieth! The accompanying graphic from Edward Snowden reminds me that two thoughts have been swirling in my mind as I move forward with my Epicurean thoughts:
(1) I have always considered the heart of PD39 to be its caution that it is NOT possible to make everyone into one family; that it is NOT possible to avoid treating some people as aliens, and that it is sometimes necessary to exclude some people from one's life. It concerns me greatly that our participation at Facebook in what is essentially a surveillance system may in the long run be very negative. 39. "The man who best knows how to meet external threats makes into one family all the creatures he can; and those he can not, he at any rate does not treat as aliens; and where he finds even this impossible, he avoids all dealings, and, so far as is advantageous, excludes them from his life."
(2) I strongly believe that were Epicurus here today he would embrace what Nietzsche wrote at the end of "Antichrist" to all of the Abrahamic religions that are so dominant today: 62: "—With this I come to a conclusion and pronounce my judgment. I condemn Christianity; I bring against the Christian church the most terrible of all the accusations that an accuser has ever had in his mouth. It is, to me, the greatest of all imaginable corruptions; it seeks to work the ultimate corruption, the worst possible corruption. The Christian church has left nothing untouched by its depravity; it has turned every value into worthlessness, and every truth into a lie, and every integrity into baseness of soul. Let any one dare to speak to me of its "humanitarian" blessings! Its deepest necessities range it against any effort to abolish distress; it lives by distress; it creates distress to make itself immortal… For example, the worm of sin: it was the church that first enriched mankind with this misery!—The "equality of souls before God"—this fraud, this pretext for the rancunes of all the base-minded—this explosive concept, ending in revolution, the modern idea, and the notion of overthrowing the whole social order—this is Christian dynamite… The "humanitarian" blessings of Christianity forsooth! To breed out of humanitas a self-contradiction, an art of selfpollution, a will to lie at any price, an aversion and contempt for all good and honest instincts! All this, to me, is the "humanitarianism" of Christianity!—Parasitism as the only practice of the church; with its anaemic and "holy" ideals, sucking all the blood, all the love, all the hope out of life; the beyond as the will to deny all reality; the cross as the distinguishing mark of the most subterranean conspiracy ever heard of,—against health, beauty, well-being, intellect, kindness of soul—against life itself… This eternal accusation against Christianity I shall write upon all walls, wherever walls are to be found—I have letters that even the blind will be able to see… I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough,—I call it the one immortal blemish upon the human race…
And so on this Twentieth I am trying to absorb the implications of both.
In the meantime, Happy Twentieth!