Welcome Goblin

  • Wecome Goblin !

    Note: In order to minimize spam registrations, all new registrants must respond in this thread to this welcome message within 72 hours of its posting, or their account is subject to deletion. All that is required is a "Hello!" but of course we hope you will introduce yourself -- tell us a little about yourself and what prompted your interest in Epicureanism -- and/or post a question.

    This forum is the place for students of Epicurus to coordinate their studies and work together to promote the philosophy of Epicurus. Please remember that all posting here is subject to our Community Standards / Rules of the Forum our Not Neo-Epicurean, But Epicurean and our Posting Policy statements and associated posts.

    Please understand that the leaders of this forum are well aware that many fans of Epicurus may have sincerely-held views of what Epicurus taught that are incompatible with the purposes and standards of this forum. This forum is dedicated exclusively to the study and support of people who are committed to classical Epicurean views. As a result, this forum is not for people who seek to mix and match some Epicurean views with positions that are inherently inconsistent with the core teachings of Epicurus.

    All of us who are here have arrived at our respect for Epicurus after long journeys through other philosophies, and we do not demand of others what we were not able to do ourselves. Epicurean philosophy is very different from other viewpoints, and it takes time to understand how deep those differences really are. That's why we have membership levels here at the forum which allow for new participants to discuss and develop their own learning, but it's also why we have standards that will lead in some cases to arguments being limited, and even participants being removed, when the purposes of the community require it. Epicurean philosophy is not inherently democratic, or committed to unlimited free speech, or devoted to any other form of organization other than the pursuit by our community of happy living through the principles of Epicurean philosophy.

    One way you can be most assured of your time here being productive is to tell us a little about yourself and personal your background in reading Epicurean texts. It would also be helpful if you could tell us how you found this forum, and any particular areas of interest that you have which would help us make sure that your questions and thoughts are addressed.

    In that regard we have found over the years that there are a number of key texts and references which most all serious students of Epicurus will want to read and evaluate for themselves. Those include the following.

    1. "Epicurus and His Philosophy" by Norman DeWitt
    2. The Biography of Epicurus by Diogenes Laertius. This includes the surviving letters of Epicurus, including those to Herodotus, Pythocles, and Menoeceus.
    3. "On The Nature of Things" - by Lucretius (a poetic abridgement of Epicurus' "On Nature"
    4. "Epicurus on Pleasure" - By Boris Nikolsky
    5. The chapters on Epicurus in Gosling and Taylor's "The Greeks On Pleasure."
    6. Cicero's "On Ends" - Torquatus Section
    7. Cicero's "On The Nature of the Gods" - Velleius Section
    8. The Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda - Martin Ferguson Smith translation
    9. A Few Days In Athens" - Frances Wright
    10. Lucian Core Texts on Epicurus: (1) Alexander the Oracle-Monger, (2) Hermotimus
    11. Philodemus "On Methods of Inference" (De Lacy version, including his appendix on relationship of Epicurean canon to Aristotle and other Greeks)
    12. "The Greeks on Pleasure" -Gosling & Taylor Sections on Epicurus, especially the section on katastematic and kinetic pleasure which explains why ultimately this distinction was not of great significance to Epicurus.

    It is by no means essential or required that you have read these texts before participating in the forum, but your understanding of Epicurus will be much enhanced the more of these you have read. Feel free to join in on one or more of our conversation threads under various topics found throughout the forum, where you can to ask questions or to add in any of your insights as you study the Epicurean philosophy.

    And time has also indicated to us that if you can find the time to read one book which will best explain classical Epicurean philosophy, as opposed to most modern "eclectic" interpretations of Epicurus, that book is Norman DeWitt's Epicurus And His Philosophy.

    (If you have any questions regarding the usage of the forum or finding info, please post any questions in this thread).

    Welcome to the forum!




  • In case others missed it, Goblin posted this on my wall:


    Glad to be new member. I'm 79 years old and live near Raleigh, North Carolina. Became interested in philosophy and found out Epicurus was the philo. sopher I most related to for living happily on the Earth when I took one of IDRLabs.com online tests. I try to live simply,, eat right, make sure that each day is pleasurable (because for me it leads to a strong will to live and a healthy outlook. My wife and I enjoy living on a small farm, keeping Morgan horses, keeping 2 dogs and 2 caets, and doing what we please each day. We are both retired now.

    I'm somewhat distracted right now because ew don't yet have all our tax records together and we're running out of time to get them together. Hope none of our membership has the same problem! Best regards to all. Goblin

    FWIW the "wall" is a good feature of the software, but it's not totally integrated and not everyone gets notified if someone posts there. That's why we use the "Welcome" thread to greet new people. Glad to have you!

  • Welcome, Goblin!

    Your mention of IDRlabs encouraged me to look it up online. Here's what I can up with in the philosopher test. ^^

    Here's the text below the image:

    Epicurus: Epicurus advised his followers to live simple lives. For example, their food and drink consisted mainly of bread and water, with cheese as a rare indulgence. Having been much misunderstood by posterity, Epicurus actually counseled that intense pleasures were to be avoided because they were often followed by pain – either from overindulgence or from losing access to the pleasures again. Likewise, Epicurus held that stronger and more uncommon pleasures would, at the same time, make common and less potent pleasures less pleasant, thereby robbing the man who indulges in the rarefied pleasures of the opportunity to enjoy a simple, quiet life.


    Not the best description of the philosophy, but hey at least he was in the list! Plus, I may have gamed a few questions to get the answer I wanted. ;)

  • Just for the record, there is nothing wrong with intense pleasure. Overindulgence which leads to pain is generally avoided. Epicureans do eat more than just bread and water, but if that is all there is they will be fine with it.

    The following Epicurean verses which further shed light on what is incorrect in the above text by IDRlabs:

    PD8: "No pleasure is bad in itself; but the means of paying for some pleasures bring with them disturbances many times greater than the pleasures themselves."

    VS21: "Nature must be persuaded, not forced. And we will persuade nature by fulfilling the necessary desires, and the natural desires too if they cause no harm, but sharply rejecting the harmful desires."

    VS59: "The stomach is not insatiable, as most people say; instead the opinion that the stomach needs unlimited filling is false."

    VS:71 "Ask this question of every desire: what will happen to me if the object of desire is achieved, and what if not?"

    From Letter to Menoeceus: "Fourth, we hold that self-reliance is a great good — not so that we will always have only a few things but so that if we do not have much we will rejoice in the few things we have, firmly persuaded that those who need luxury the least enjoy it the most, and that everything natural is easily obtained whereas everything groundless is hard to get. So simple flavors bring just as much pleasure as a fancy diet if all pain from true need has been removed, and bread and water give the highest pleasure when someone in need partakes of them. Training yourself to live simply and without luxury brings you complete health, gives you endless energy to face the necessities of life, better prepares you for the occasional luxury, and makes you fearless no matter your fortune in life."

    VS63: "Frugality too has a limit, and the man who disregards it is like him who errs through excess."

    For further reading visit:

  • Welcome Goblin!

    I agree with previous comments that the test is based on a "wrong" interpretation of Epicurus. I blame my rather low score with Epicurus on that. It is not completely wrong because my highest score is actually with Epicurus and my lowest with Plato. Somehow, I am glad that my score with Nietzsche is very low, too. The overlaps with Kant, Hume and Aristotle do not bother me.

  • I agree with Martin's points there - I came back on the test as mostly Aristotle, likely because I don't agree that the questions that were pretty clearly intended to imply an Epicurean viewpoint were a correct reflection of Epicurus.

    Seems to me I always come back to this question as my test of Epicurus? If you really believe that there is no life after death and for an eternity thereafter you will not exist in any way, then are you really going to spend the short time you have focused primarily on running from pain?

    That ascetic assertion doesn't pass a smell test of logical consistency, and I personally will never believe they Epicurus taught such nonsense - especially since there is no need to read the surviving material that way at all.

    To each his own in terms of the type of pleasure that he finds satisfying, but to set as your goal anything but pleasurable living makes no sense when the only faculty nature gives you for choosing is the feeling of pleasure.

  • Well, I came up with Epicurus and Hume highest. There is, by the way, a second "philosophers' test with a different set of philosophers that get ranked. But at this point, that would probably be a waste of time!

    Lots of other tests on that site that can describe all the things that are wrong with us. So enjoy!


  • I saw the following in a newsletter in my inbox this morning. Reminded me that I've been getting physical therapy for pain in my feet for the past six weeks. I was told by my podiatrist to wear cushioned shoes even in my own house . My feet have been very painful for some time. Plus to buy special shoes to cushion my steps.

    I've discovered that I've been wearing shoes that contain my natural foot flexability for so long that I foot joints have frozen in place and I couldn't even move my toes up or down. Once I got my feet out of those rigid boots and business shoes, my toes and feet could flex and move naturally. Now, they are almost back to normal. Going barefoot on the earth is definitely like going back to my childhood. My feet love to feel the earth beneath them. Seems like nature is the answer and the doctor was wrong. Anyway, here is the news piece I thought was appropriate for this Forum:

    The newest list of the world's happiest countries is out, and Finland has extended its streak at the head of the pack. Following Finland is Denmark at #2, and Iceland at #3. I was just in Iceland last week and can confirm they certainly know a thing or two about good living. At first glance, it seems like it would be a struggle -- after all, their isolated homeland is a frigid, cracking chunk of rock dotted with boiling geothermal cauldrons and looming volcanoes. All in all, a bit intimidating! But the Icelanders I met said their emphasis on simple living, and the simple pleasures therein, help them keep perspective. One man reminisced about his grandmother and grandfather, who lived in the seemingly barren wilds north of Reykjavik. In their time, a cow was a luxury, and the advent of indoor plumbing and electricity was so novel it was nearly amusing. And yet, he said, they knew what was important. Family. Nature. Community. Providing for themselves and others. Of course, there are many social and economic factors that affect happiness, many of which are far out of a single person's control. But it seems, at the heart of it, the basics of happiness are the same no matter where you go.