From the point of view that new users coming to this website may not be familiar enough with the expected conversations to understand the "latest posts" listed only by date/time, let's move that feature to the DASHBOARD only and remove it from the HOME page, so that the HOME page shows the list of ten latest TOPICS from the General forum, and then the popular posts from the other forum.
After this switch New people visiting the home page see the topics at first, and can then decide whether to read the threads. So for regulars who know everyone and what's being discussed and want to bookmark and return to the list of the most recent POSTS, like I do, please use the DASHBOARD as the landing page. The only page that in my mind competes with the Dashboard as the place to visit first is the NOTIFICATIONS page (listed directly beneath the Dashboard in the Menu), but that doesn't seem optimum and has a lot of user-control-panel controls which are static and not part of an update page.
Give me some feedback on whether that's a good chance to keep - especially if there is any missing box or arrangement issue that prevents the Dashboard from being a good central place for returning users to check first every time they come to the site.
That first quote from DeWitt ("He so interpreted the significance of infinity as to extend it from matter and space to the sphere of VALUES - perfection and imperfection...") I think is purely DeWitt's suggestion, if the text is only this:
“Surely the mighty power of the Infinite Being is most worthy our great and earnest contemplation; the Nature of which we must necessarily understand to be such that everything in it is made to correspond completely to some other answering part. This is called by Epicurus ισονμία (isonomia); that is to say, an equal distribution or even disposition of things. From hence he draws this inference, that, as there is such a vast multitude of mortals, there cannot be a less number of immortals. Further, if those which perish are innumerable, those which are preserved ought also to be countless.
In talking about "values" I think DeWitt is making a reasonable guess, but as I see it the paragraph breaks down into four observations:
1 - the Nature of which we must necessarily understand to be such that everything in it is made to correspond completely to some other answering part. - everything has a corresponding answering part (?)
2 - "This is called by Epicurus ισονμία (isonomia); that is to say, an equal distribution or even disposition of things." - equal distribution
3 - From hence he draws this inference, that, as there is such a vast multitude of mortals, there cannot be a less number of immortals.
4 - Further, if those which perish are innumerable, those which are preserved ought also to be countless.
My reading of these points is that we see things here on earth exist on a scale of COMPLEXITY and/or "SUCCESS" in their achievements. For examples worms on one end and men on the other, on the scale of living beings, minnows vs dolphins, etc. This is hard evidence of a scale of progression in things like acuity of sight, acuity of hearing, physical abilities, and mental abilities.
I gather that Epicurus argued that from this scale of progression here on other it is proper to infer that that scale extends higher in other parts of the universe where life exists. Given that the universe is eternal in time and infinite in space, we should expert the scale of progression to extend these complexities and accomplishments to what we would consider an extreme degree. At the higher end of the scale of progression we should expect to find beings that are far higher in complexity and ental and physical success in humans. And as our human goal is to live as long as possible, and to live in as much pleasure/little pain as possible, it is to be expected that somewhere there are beings which have succeeded in those fields to the point where they are both deathless and painless. And that even though we might not be able to see these beings with our own eyes in the light of day, we should deduce that they exist from the things that we do see in the universe, just as we deduce (on the simple/primitive end of the scale) that atoms exist without seeing them. So in that way inferring the existence of deathless and painless beings is just the flip side of the process of inferring the existence of atoms.
DeWitt's discussion of this part seems very interesting to me: "Further, if those which perish are innumerable, those which are preserved ought also to be countless.” It's not exactly the same point, but I gather what DeWitt is also observing is that while individual local bodies which comes together always end up destroyed / disassociating in the end, that is not true from the perspective of the universe as a whole, at which level the entirety is never destroyed / disassociated. Thus the forces of creation/sustenance prevail over the forces of destruction in the end. It's hard to know if this was what Epicurus was talking about, much less whether the idea would seem valid if we had a full discussion of it. But there clearly are several very subtle arguments going on here. All this does indeed in my mind spin around with the issues of eternity and infinity which Epicurus stressed we need to study in great detail. We've only scratched the surface of all this.
I just read it again. There is a lot of speculation in there. I see DeWitt thinks "equitable apportionment" is the better phrase, and that he is talking about forces that prevail on a universal level rather than on a local level. There's just not a lot to work with here.
This is the paragraph from Cicero as translated by Yonge:
“Surely the mighty power of the Infinite Being is most worthy our great and earnest contemplation; the Nature of which we must necessarily understand to be such that everything in it is made to correspond completely to some other answering part. This is called by Epicurus ισονμία (isonomia); that is to say, an equal distribution or even disposition of things. From hence he draws this inference, that, as there is such a vast multitude of mortals, there cannot be a less number of immortals. Further, if those which perish are innumerable, those which are preserved ought also to be countless.”
Yes Hiram I too am suspecting that the Stoic link was probably just facebook, as I would be surprised if that single group was paying for advertising. But I suppose it's possible that that group is part of someone else's project with multiple layers, kind of like we are doing, so it's possible. I am just going to have to break free to find the time to do some googling on this subject.
"and in fact I think in our last conversation on the subject we proved it was an incorrect theory." < I will have to look back and see what you're referring to there, as I don't recall agreeing that it is an incorrect theory at all. To the extent that it means "equitable distribution" or "distribution along a spectrum from highest to lowest" I am perfectly fine with it and think that it makes perfect sense.
Another good catch Hiram. Dewitt explains the evidence of the gods through images and/or anticipations in his chapter on party. Also the argument from isonomia etc which I prefer is in that same chapter and in "on the nature of the gods"
Good point I did not pick up the first time. The first part of the sentence I think is good, but the word "true" doesn't fit, as you say. More applicable instead of "true" would be "what is to be pursued and avoided."
I see this pops up on the right side of my Facebook feed. Is this likely to be paid for by that group, or is it Facebook just networking its members to draw them more deeply into the net?
Excerpts from a discussion. This is highly edited so maybe some of the comments will be helpful to someone reading this thread / maybe not....
CassiusE THANK YOU! So in Epicurus himself there are two references in the letter to Menoeceus, and then in Doctrine 33? Is that a complete list from what we would consider Epicurus himself? Meaning it does not appear in the other letters, or in the other doctrines, or the Vatican sayings? I would eventually like to find the line and page numbers in this Bailey edition so I can put together a full list which shows both the English and Greek:https://archive.org/.../Epicurus-the-Extant-Remains...Manage
E: Eudeamonia is happiness which cannot be augmented.2
CassiusGood point! "Happiness" in general does not imply that it cannot be augmented.
Eudaemonia cannot be augmented, and it is the best described word than the word "happiness" or in greek "eutychia" since the word happiness depends on many outer factors, as its meaning is connected with the word " fortune" and as Epicurus explains here : "He believes that the misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool.  It is better, in short, that what is well judged in action should not owe its successful issue to the aid of chance".
Here is the description of an epicurean man and how he has achieved "eudaemonia" in his life!
 "Who, then, is superior in thy judgement to such a man ? He holds a holy belief concerning the gods, and is altogether free from the fear of death. He has diligently considered the end fixed by nature, and understands how easily the limit of good things can be reached and attained, and how either the duration or the intensity of evils is but slight. Destiny, which some introduce as sovereign over all things, he laughs to scorn, affirming rather that some things happen of necessity, others by chance, others through our own agency. For he sees that necessity destroys responsibility and that chance or fortune is inconstant ; whereas our own actions are free, and it is to them that praise and blame naturally attach.  It were better, indeed, to accept the legends of the gods than to bow beneath that yoke of destiny which the natural philosophers have imposed. The one holds out some faint hope that we may escape if we honour the gods, while the necessity of the naturalists is deaf to all entreaties. Nor does he hold chance to be a god, as the world in general does, for in the acts of a god there is no disorder ; nor to be a cause, though an uncertain one, for he believes that no good or evil is dispensed by chance to men so as to make life blessed, though it supplies the starting-point of great good and great evil. He believes that the misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool.  It is better, in short, that what is well judged in action should not owe its successful issue to the aid of chance.3
This word has been rejected, as it comes from the ancient greeks who were pagans and they worshiped those statues that were not gods but daemons.
So, this word EU+DAEMON+IA has already something evil inside and has to be rejected from the vocabulary of greeks and non greeks.
The worse DAEMON of all was the god PAN. Pan became the devil.2
AR Yes. Christians have rejected it. We have not rejected it.2
AR Now Diogenes says this:
although pleasure is the first and a natural good, for this same reason we do not choose every pleasure whatsoever, but at many times we pass over certain pleasures, when difficulty is likely to ensue from choosing them.
CassiusOK here is my comment, so E you correct me: If Eudaemonia literally means "good demon" then Epicurus and the Greeks of the time were using the word "figuratively" as you say for the "highest .... what" - because Epicurus didn't believe in demons. Above you wrote: "Eudeamonia is happiness which cannot be augmented." To some extent that is circular, if we don't know the meaning of "happiness."
We know the meaning of Pleasure without being told. I don't think we know the meaning of happiness without it being defined. That's why pleasure, and not happiness, is the guide of life.
I like the word eudaemonia and think we should use it in context, but we probably need a detailed definition of how and why it is being used and why we would not in English simply say "happiness."
I continue to think that we should translate ALL words, giving detailed definitions, so that no one is left with the idea that we have a mystical idea that cannot be translated (which is exactly the situation I think the world is in with "ataraxia")
CassiusLet me emphasize that last point. I think it is imperative that we always translate all words and state a precise definition, even if we use the Greek in shorthand. For the non-Greeks using the word in casual conversation is probably not a good idea, especially with new people who don't know the meaning and who think therefore that we are talking in secret code. I hate secret codes.
So there Torquatus is summarizing the goal in one sentence: "Let us imagine a man living in the continuous enjoyment of numerous and vivid pleasures alike of body and of mind, undisturbed either by the presence or by the prospect of pain. (What possible state of existence could we describe as being more excellent or more desirable?)
Posted At Facebook:
Tomorrow is our best calculation for Epicurus' birthday this year. On the other hand, we don't have a good calculation for how old he would be. Let's try to get a good calculation with this as an inadequate start: 341 +2018 = 2359 (but probably we have to fine tune). This isn't a major formal meeting, but if you have time to drop by on discord tomorrow at 5 eastern some of us will be there. For those around the world for whom the time is inconvenient, just drop in when you can, and you can post messages here:
Eric I think it is now possible to upload mp3 to the FILEBASE, but perhaps not as a message attachment. Given the large size of media files it might be a good idea to post links here instead of trying to upload to this server, but if you run into something you want to do and find roadblock, just let me know.
It's possible we'll need to start using a USA-based time zone for some events so people can do things after work. We'll see who's available and make a last minute call. With Discordapp on smartphones it's pretty easy to check in from anywhere - we just need to work out the best system.
Oh no! It certainly should be! Although a lot can be done with links to youtube and soundcloud etc, I will see if I can fix that and post back when checked. I will be checking your website too.
Anyone who comes across this thread, please post if you have questions or comments about how the website is organized. Currently it is set up to balance two goals: (1) People who come here for the first time need quick access to samples of information that is here so they will dig further and return, and (2) People who return regularly need quick access to updated messages without having to scroll through too much of the same static content.
So the way this is currently set up is that the Home page has the most static content highlighting the features of the website, while the Dashboard and Timeline pages focus on a balance of the message and changing content and can be used for bookmarking the site to return to in the future.
If anyone has suggestions for better implementing this please comment.
Last year we put together a playlist of "Epicurean Music" which is now on the Society of Epicurus channel. But even more than links to existing music, it's great to hear original compositions from people such as EricR and Nate Bartman who are fans of Epicurus. It would really be great to hear more from people like this so if you are a fan of Epicurus with musical talent, please consider posting about your work here.
In the meantime, here's Michael Nyman's well titled: "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" -
I am planning on doing something to mark Epicurus' birthday even if we don't have a big crowd. I'll probably post something else on Facebook about another 5 pm get-together. That make sense?