Kalosyni Event Coordinator
  • from South Carolina, USA
  • Member since Aug 6th 2021

Posts by Kalosyni

    Last night at our Zoom meeting I brought up the discussion question of "What makes someone an Epicurean?" and also followed that with "Would you consider yourself an Epicurean?" ...and we had lots of interesting thoughts shared on these two questions.

    Here are a few of the points (of what I can remember) which came up regarding whether someone considers themselves to be an Epicurean:

    -- a person adopts that label for themselves

    -- the study and implementation of the philosophy of Epicurus

    -- agreement with all of the philosophy of Epicurus

    -- regular attendance at 20th meetings

    -- belief in specific things, such as a materialist view of the universe (Cassius has a good list in the preceeding post in this thread).

    There isn't a strict line that would prohibit one to consider themselves as such. Epicurus isn't alive to say who is and isn't an Epicurean.

    Occasionally we notice that there are some people who "are Epicurean" without knowing about Epicurus. So that brings up the idea regarding the importance of a philosophical lineage, and the following point by Cassius:

    My own first question is "Does the person call himself an Epicurean?" Epicurean philosophers have always acknowledged a debt to the person of Epicurus himself as the founder of the school. So if the person doesn't explicitly talk about Epicurus, that is probably a bright line that would eliminate that person from being considered to be a part of the Epicurean school, no matter how many admirable personality traits or interests we can identify in them.

    Joshua, Godfrey, kochiekoch, Onenski, TauPhi, Lowri834 -- if I missed any good points, please add them to this thread, thanks.

    And also, everyone else is welcome to weigh in on this topic as well :)

    I'm sharing this song because of the lyrics, as makes me think about how Epicurean friendship is a main aspect of living the philosophy.

    "Find your people" - Drew Holcomb

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    Thanks for the invitation Kalosyni! It would be great to chat with you all in a meet but unfortunately I also have a conflict at that time

    You're welcome, and perhaps sometime in the future we may have a meeting earlier in the daytime (perhaps on a weekend...since an earlier time such as 2pm ET would also allow for some of our European members to attend). Hope your daylight savings time transition turns out okay. Looking forward to seeing your continued posts on the forum. :)

    Just a reminder that this next Monday is our First Monday Epicurean Philosophy Discussion - 8pm ET - via Zoom - meet-and-greet and discussion! If you haven't yet attended a Zoom and you are interested in attending, let us know here in this thread or private message me, and I will get the link to you.

    We'd enjoy getting to meet some of you who have been posting lately -- burninglights - Blank_Emu43 - Jo. ...and others who have been visiting Lowri834  Plantpierogi

    And European time zone members (wanted to include you though realize it may be inconvenient time) Titus  Peter Konstans  Eoghan Gardiner

    fyi - with Zoom there are some of us who choose to use voice only, so it isn't a requirement to use video.

    Will be sending a private message with Zoom link to our regulars.

    And then after reading that we can reflect upon PD32: "With regard to those animals that do not have the power of making a covenant to not harm one another or be harmed, there is neither justice nor injustice; similarly for those peoples who have neither the power nor the desire of making a covenant to not harm one another or be harmed."

    This an interesting read (link to full article follows):


    Studying chimpanzee behavior may offer insight into our own species.

    "We can better understand where we come from and what makes us human. We can better understand which kind of behaviors and adaptations were present in the last common ancestor between humans and chimpanzees, and have a better idea of the sociality and behavior of ancient hominin species," Lemoine said, referring to extinct species on the human lineage.

    "It also teaches us what we have in common with our closest living relatives, how similar we are with wild animals, and that we only differ from our cousins in degree and not in nature," Lemoine added.

    Scientists observe chimpanzees using human-like warfare tactic
    On the boundary of dangerous territory, a troop of about 30 individuals engaging in a border patrol climbs a rocky hill to conduct reconnaissance. Detecting…

    I think there are elements of "resilience" with Epicurean philosophy, but yet in the modern psychology it seems that people use resilience as a way to put up with all the nonsense of unnecessary desires (such as desires for fame and status, etc.).

    From the Letter to Menoeceus (Saint-Andre translation):


    Third, keep in mind that some desires are natural whereas others are groundless [note]; that among the natural desires some are natural and necessary whereas others are merely natural; and that among the necessary desires some are necessary for happiness, some for physical health [note], and some for life itself. The steady contemplation of these facts enables you to understand everything that you accept or reject in terms of the health of the body and the serenity of the soul — since that is the goal of a completely happy life.

    I would understand "serenity of the soul" as being the same as a healthy mind (a mind not filled with fear or anxiety), and within this healthy mind arises a feeling of ataraxia. So ataraxia is not something you do, but it is a feeling which is a result of wise living.

    Here is something that is being worked on (list by Cassius) which could jumpstart some practical application of Epicurean philosophy:

    Epicurean Lifestyle Examples And Tips

    Here is our collection of examples of those who have lived according to the philosophy of Epicurus. These real-world examples illustrate living an Epicurean lifestyle without erring either in the pursuit of luxury or in the pursuit of asceticism, but focusing instead on the pursuit of "pleasure."

    Epicurean Distinctive Lifestyle Aspects
    Epicurus Happiness through Study of nature and philosophical advocacy
    Polyaneus Proper perspectives on Happiness as more important than Geometry
    Atticus Exercising Friendship To All Sides Among Enemies
    Lucretius Epicurean Outreach through poetry and art
    Piso Supporting The Epicureans Financially and Pamphleteering
    Diogenes of Oinoanda Distributing Epicurean philosophy to the public
    Demetrius Advising Leaders In Difficult Times
    Cassius Longinus Taking actions for peace and security
    Zeno Leading the Epicurean school after Epicurus
    Philodemus Life Coaching On Anger, Property Management, Music, Logic, etc.

    These are historical examples, but then we could begin to think of how to adopt some of these for modern times.

    3 - Do any of these concepts (1) or (2) or (3) stand intrinsically or by some absolute standard as superior, hierarchically, to the other(s), such that they separately deserve to be considered to be the "ultimate pleasure" or "highest pleasure" or the "best pleasure" or "real pleasure" for all people at all times and at all places?

    Dropping into the middle of this thread (no doubt my comment will be too many cooks stirring the pot, but anyway...) ...so these questions could be applied to kinetic and katastematic. Right now as I type this, I think I am currently in the process of experiencing kinetic pleasure, which is pleasurable but there is a sense that I can't be fully satisfied and a niggling feeling of a lack of completion (ever so slight agitation...hint: it involves eating something sweet). Where as katastematic pleasure has a deeper sense of fulfilment and a sense of being at peace (and at rest). So it is an inner felt experience that will be different for everyone depending on the situation, so there is no absolute regarding this. Life is one big mix of both kinetic and katastematic and that just how it is --- so why distinguish between the two?...because you are acknowledging the truth of your own subjective feelings and this will help you make better choices.

    Within the biography of Epicurus by Diogenes Laertius, it lists some of the books that Epicurus wrote, and "Of Love" is the third on the list. Is there anyway to track down if this was about "romance" or was it about all love in general? ( Don perhaps you might be able to help?)


    Such, then, in number and character are the writings of Epicurus, the best of which are the following :

    Of Nature, thirty-seven books.

    Of Atoms and Void.

    Of Love.


    Now when it comes to another adult person, they may not have come to this way of thinking and so they may feel great anxiety regarding death. However, perhaps children have a different perpective "on life and death" - often times they have a kind of fearlessness since they aren't fully enculturated yet (I base this on a story I heard of how a young girl with cancer was not afraid at all).

    Instead of pity, it seems that the natural response that would arise, toward those we love, would be compassion and so we might want to comfort them if they feel anxiety toward the thought of dying. Also, parents who are about to lose a child (or have lost a child) might feel a lot of anguish, and there isn't much that we can do except to say "I am here for you if you need anything".

    In my mind "pity" is somewhat artificial and based on abstracted ideas/ideals. Where as compassion that is directed toward action would be PD5 -- acting according to necessity for the best life.

    I'll venture to say a few things "off-the-cuff" so to speak...

    This is a "therapuetic" element of Epicurean philosophy which helps remove unnecessary anxiety. I would say that it is to be applied to oneself -- to one's own fears regarding one's own death. You aren't tamping down any feelings of fear, but rather reasoning through "what is" and this can take time. I think it could take several years of working with this to recalibrate your internal representation of "what death is". And notice how the Letter to Menoeceus says: "Become accustomed to the belief that death is nothing to us."

    The other part of this is understanding the nature of pleasure. When we correctly understand pleasure, and we see how our own life no matter how long or how short it is, is permeated by the correct understanding of pleasure and the correct practice of the enjoyments of life, then we don't need to feel sad if we ourselves are dying at a young age.

    Now when it comes to another adult person, they may not have come to this way of thinking and so they may feel great anxiety regarding death. However, perhaps children have a different perpective "on life and death" - often times they have a kind of fearlessness since they aren't fully enculturated yet (I base this on a story I heard of how a young girl with cancer was not afraid at all).

    This next Monday is our First Monday Zoom - meet-and-greet and philosophy discussion. This is a great way to meet others who are studying the philosophy of Epicurus and bring up any questions you might have. We welcome those who are new to the forum and also long-time members as well. If you haven't yet participated in a First Monday Zoom meeting, please message me for further info.

    Agenda for the evening: We will run about an hour, and start with greetings. Then move to open discussion on Epicurean philosophy and Q&A for any who have questions.

    And a possible discussion topic: The Epicurean lifestyle - implementing core Epicurean principals.

    Hope to see you there! :)

    I am still mulling over what Epicurus might have worn. Would Epicurus have worn something that conveyed the image of status and wealth? I personally would think that he would have worn something more plain (but perhaps there were festival days in which a finer weave of cloth was worn).

    I found an article "What Did Jesus Wear" which also talks about ancient Greek clothing, and you can see a picture of a sculpture of Demosthenes, which gives some insight into possible clothing of Epicurus.

    And so of course this would have been a little later than Epicurus:

    Regarding the Mediterranean (but not specifically Athens):