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

Posts by Kalosyni

    This feels like a good overview, but it is also a modern interpretation of Epicureanism and may not fully align with the forum (DeWitt understanding). It is good to get clear about the "tranquility problem" and I we need to be able to do so in contrast to various interpretations. So feel free to make comments. We could add some links to previous discussions regarding the tranquility problem.

    Beyond that issue, there are other things that make this worthy of attention and good for contemplation.

    Here is a transcript of the English subtitles (the link to the video follows).

    "A Happy Greek" (scene from the play)

    by Christos Yapijakis

    English subtitles

    Music: Song of Seikilos

    "While you live shine,

    Have no grief at all,

    Life exists only for a short while,

    and Time demands his due."

    Early 3rd century BCE in the Garden (Kepos) of Epicurus in Athens.

    EPICURUS: My friends, this has always been my dream! A small community of friends which lives by its own rules in calmness and happiness but also in harmony with the city. I thank you, my friends, my loyal Hermarchus, my beloved Metrodorus, my sweet Leontion.

    METRODORUS: Why are you thanking us, our wise friend? It should be the other way around. We are the ones who ought to thank you for changing our lives. None of us had ever dreamed such happiness before we met you.

    HERMARCHUS: Right on Metrodorus! Why are you thanking us, my dear teacher and friend? Without you I would have never managed to find such tranquility and beauty in my life, I assure you. I would have become a lawyer like my father orating at trials. My sole aim would have been to increase my property and my social influence and that would have led me to interweave with the council chamber of Mytilini and the principal there. I am sure I would have ended up marrying one of the principal's daughters. My whole life would have been full of rhetorical sophisms, hypothetical relationships, and enormous stress. I would have lived an unhappy life like most people.

    LEONTION: Our sweet and beloved teacher, every student of yours has a story to tell like our friend from Mytilini, Hermarchus. But we as women, where would have we been without you? Each and every one of us can breathe freely only in the Garden. Regardless of being married or single, most women in the city rarely get out of their homes! Even we the courtesans, that freely circulate in the city alleys, feel like animals most of the time simply because we are treated with vulgarity by most people we meet in the streets. Only you, with your divine mind, teach that women value like men.

    EPICURUS: Thank you my friends, for your kind words. I feel very rich being surrounded by all of you. Remember that making friends is more beneficial than having the largest property. The cultivation of friendly relationships constitutes the safest treasure capable of shielding us from luck's ups and downs. It is much more important than the cultivation of fields.

    HERMARCHUS: You have said that many times, our respectful friend, Epicurus. From all the elements that prudence uses to provide us with a happy life, the most important one is friendship.

    METRODORUS: I also like your poetic phrase which says that "friendship dances around the world telling us we must wake to blessedness."

    LEONTION: We all know your teaching about friendship, our good master. And we not only know it, but experience it here. You told us that happiness means lack of physical pain and no disturbance of the soul. This is exactly what we experience here in the Garden. You taught us that happiness is the sedate state of pleasure according to which we obtain physical and mental health. Outside the Garden people struggle and exhaust themselves trying to make their dreams come true. That's why they are always unhappy.

    HERMARCHUS: They believe in the faulty definition given by Aristotle stating that happiness can only be achieved when a task is accomplished.

    LEONTION: And the poor people outside the Garden struggle and fight against one another for wealth and power. And they are continuously unhappy because they don't understand how easy it really is to acquire true happiness!

    METRODORUS: The voice of our flesh tells us that it only wants to avoid hunger, thirst and cold. If one had all this and hopes to have them in the future, he could even compete with Zeus in happiness.

    HERMARCHUS: Bread, water, some clothes and friends. These are the only things that human nature requires! And that simple fact of life is exactly what you taught us, our great master, and friend of humans! We are grateful to you for that.

    EPICURUS: Don't be grateful to me, my friends. We should all be grateful to the blessed Nature which made all the necessary things easy to obtain and all the unnecessary things hard to get.

    METRODORUS: But no one before you talked to us about Nature in such simple words. You taught us to seek and find the truth in the dark using prudence.

    EPICURUS: That's for sure. I do insist on that matter! My dear friends, the beginning and the greatest good of all, is prudence. Any man confronted with false dilemmas and impasses that cause turmoil, suffers because he does not use his prudence based on the reality of nature. For this reason, prudence is more valuable than philosophy since all other virtues are derived from it. If somebody acquires prudence, in other words practical wisdom, he never returns to his previous false beliefs. Once a man becomes wise, he will always be happy for the longest part of his life. Luck does bring some small obstacles to the wise but the bigger and more important issues that appear to wise men are easily tackled...and they will always be tackled by his wisdom throughout his life.

    METRODORUS: Indeed master, your words sooth our souls. Most of the things that upset and scare people are neither worse nor truer than the things that scare little kids in the dark of the night.

    EPICURUS: You are right, my friend. A man's fears are of three kinds: The first fear has to do with the possibility of not managing to fulfill his wishes. But if a man realizes that his natural and necessary needs and wishes can be easily fulfilled, he can surely escape from this fear.

    LEONTION: For us women that have many daily desires, this is very difficult!

    METRODORUS: Difficult but not unfeasible as it seems. Dear Leontion, I find you much more relaxed and calm now from what you used to be when I first met you.

    EPICURUS: In the proper environment, all people can be calm, my friends. Let me go back to what I was telling you concerning the kinds of fear. The second fear comes from the supposedly unexpected acts of the Gods. However, my friends, having fear for the Gods is not only great nonsense but also an act of disrespect. The immortal and blissful being that we call God, never gets involved with humans, human affairs and the governance of the universe. God never gets angry and doesn't do anyone favors. All these are characteristics of weak creatures and for that reason, it is an act of impiety to believe that the divine creatures possess them. We should worship the Gods and use them as an example, as a role model for our own happiness.

    HERMARCHUS: So, we should not be afraid of the divine. Act of nonsense and impiety, the fear towards the Gods.*

    EPICURUS: Precisely, my friend! The third fear is the biggest. The previous two are derived from it.

    METRODORUS: It is the fear of death!

    LEONTION: Do you mean the fear we all feel for the death of our beloved ones?

    EPICURUS: My dear, the fear of losing our beloved ones hides the fear we feel for our own death. Usually, people refuse to look at death face to face and choose to hide it behind other fears...fears like sickness, poverty, insecurity, loneliness, and the fear of the unknown.

    HERMARCHUS: The fear of death is what pushes people to an endless race of acquiring more wealth and power...because deep down inside, people believe that if they are powerful, death won't touch them!

    METRODORUS: This is the example of Mithres! This is exactly what happened to our friend Mithres, the officer of king Lycimachus. You had warned him many times to withdraw from politics but he ignored you, master.

    EPICURUS: I had warned our friend continuously because such behavior pushes people to misfortune. The fear of death pushes the foolish people closer to death. This is what happened to Mithres. When Lycimachus was killed, Mithres was arrested by his Macedonian opponents who would have executed him if we hadn't intervened.

    METRODORUS: I remember you sending me to the Macedonian guard of Piraeus that kept him imprisoned with money and a letter. You, Epicurus, rescued him! What your teachings didn't achieve because Mithres couldn't understand them - was accomplished by your friendship!

    HERMARCHUS: Contradictory but true! The fear of death usually pushes people closer to death.

    LEONTION: Master, isn't the fear of death somewhat justified? After all, the common end of all humans is death. Death is the end of everyone.

    EPICURUS: My sweet Leontion, our goal in life is happiness. Death doesn't concern us.

    LEONTION: Doesn't concern us?

    EPICURUS: Look at it this way. It is so simple. As long as we exist, death doesn't exist. When death does exist, we don't. Everything good or bad is experienced through our senses. Death terminates and abolishes our senses so it doesn't concern us.

    METRODORUS: My dear Leontion, the Criteria of the Truth (Canon) as well as Physics teach us all about the atomic composition of matter in nature. Planets, mountains, pine trees and humans are all composed of atoms. Everything in nature is composed of interconnected atoms. Everything that is born, lives and then dies. However, its atoms continue to exist and to compose other material bodies that are transient.

    LEONTION: And the fear of fate?

    EPICURUS: Fate is just a byproduct of the obnoxious imagination of poets and priests...A myth which unfortunately also deceived great philosophers like Democritus. However, other philosophers, like Anaxagoras, were not fooled. Others, still insist today, like the former merchant and former Cynic, Zeno the Cypriot. Zeno teaches Eastern fatalism in the Stoa Poikile of the Agora. But the observation of reality rejects all these beliefs. There is no fate, my friends.

    HERMARCHUS: If we believe in fate, every advice and every reproach is rendered useless since we are no longer responsible for our actions.

    EPICURUS: Exactly. Nevertheless, there is randomness in nature. I came to realize that after a lot of thought. The answer was maturing inside me and then, all of a sudden, it dawned on me unexpectedly! It is the random deviation of atoms from their straight vertical orbits. That swerve is the movement that started the collisions and the complex movements of the atoms that led to the creation of our world. Now I am certain. Randomness exists in Nature and that fact allows people to have free will.

    METRODORUS: This is surely observed every time we are called to make a decision. There is no fate and that means it is an act of complete foolishness to fear something that doesn't exist.

    EPICURUS: Well said. My dear friends, it is impossible for someone to get rid of his fears concerning important matters, if he doesn't know the very nature of the universe and chooses to believe in myths.

    METRODORUS: If we don't study nature, my dear Leontion, we won't be able to know the infinite number of atoms that compose infinite worlds. Some of those worlds resemble our spherical planet, our Earth, others bear no resemblance to it.

    LEONTION: Infinite worlds? How do we know that?

    METRODORUS: Since it is unlikely for only one cob to grow in a huge plain, it is unlikely that only one world will be created in the infinite universe. The fact that the universe is infinite is obvious from the infinite causes that exist. Where the causes are endless, there are endless effects as well. More specifically, since the atoms are the causes, the produced derivative bodies in which the atoms are involved are also endless.

    HERMARCHUS: All those things, dear Leontion, can be understood with the observation of nature, the methodology of the Criteris of the Truth (Canon) and the law of analogy. If we observe nature objectively, we will allow it to reveal itself to us.

    METRODORUS: On the contrary, some who pretend to be philosophers like the overestimated Plato, prefer to narrate myths instead of observing the natural phenomena. Even the intelligent Aristotle, who accepted the credibility of observation through the senses, always tried to interpret nature with the myth of teleology in which he firmly believed. The man from Stageira (Aristotle) insisted that everything happened and continues to happen for a specific purpose. That led him to some big mistakes. For example, he said that the planets are degenerate animals and that the crystals of minerals could be living organisms since they multiply.

    HERMARCHUS: As our master Epicurus often says, we shouldn't interpret nature with arbitrary myths and void axioms but according to the natural phenomena. After all, our life doesn't need irrationality and foolish theories but calmness.

    EPICURUS: You are right, my friends! Myths and whims cannot alter reality. If somebody observes nature, he will easily understand why myths are wrong.

    METRODORUS: Myths don't help us understand the universal laws and explain the natural phenomena.


    "While you live, shine!

    Have no grief at all.

    Life exists only for a short while

    and Time demands his due."

    EPICURUS: My dear friends, we should always keep in mind the nature of things so that we may be living realy* happy. I do feel that what we established together here in the Garden in very important...It is very important because it creates free people. But beware, my friends, freedom is something very personal for each and every one of us. Freedom should first take place in our mind before we spread it to society. As Pericles had righteously said, "Happy is the man who is free".

    HERMARCHUS: Exactly, my friend. All people can live a happy life. No matter how many difficulties we are confronted with, we can tackle them bravely as long as we have free thought, prudence and friendship.

    EPICURUS: That's true. The knowledge of nature along with prudence constitutes the free mind teach us*. They teach us that it is foolish to wait for the world to be perfect so that we may become calm and happy. On the contrary, if we truly live happily, we can then share our happiness with others and help the needy ones. And then our world will be better. My beloved friends, what we have established together here in the Garden is very important.

    cc creative commons -- Christos Yapijakis

    (* indicates [Sic] )

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    As I read over this, I have a mixed feelings about this. I think that many here love the beauty of words...as in Lucretius writings, and so also with "A Few Days in Athens" (which I haven't read yet) ...this display of the beauty of word choice is laudable, but with its words comes a complexity and lengthiness that some others may not necessarily enjoy as much, since the language is not like the simplicity of current times. This is a lot like how some people might enjoy a Shakespeare play, which I have at times done so myself, though my brain "hurts" afterward from the struggle of trying to fully understand everything.

    So Cassius...Do you feel that you want to maintain the integrity of the word choice and keep a kind of respect for the original work...or do you feel the message behind the words is more important? (in which something entirely new and much shorter in length could be written...a play, and credit would be given as based upon "A Few Days in Athens".

    To put it out there where I stand...is that I prefer a straightforwardness in the presentation of thoughts and ideas, and generally enjoy a simplicity of language. And I do understand everyone has their individual preferences.

    Ha I just came across another way of stating the telos of the forum:

    The goal of Epicureanfriends.com is to be a friend to the friends of Epicurus

    And this supports the Principle Doctrines 27 and 28:

    27) "Of all the things that wisdom provides for the complete happiness of one's entire life, by far the greatest is friendship."

    28) "The same judgement produces confidence that dreadful things are not everlasting, and that security amidst the limited number of dreadful things is most easily achieved through friendship."

    Epicurus taught a full worldview, in which "pleasure" is only one part, and not what is generally conveyed by "hedonism" at all. As I see it, Epicurus used "pleasure" as a catch-all term for all agreeable feelings, mental and bodily, and on that level "pleasure" is a sweeping term that corresponds to and opposes "virtue" (as that is set up by the stoics and platonists) and "piety" (as that is set up by all those religions who suggest we should worship supernatural gods).

    --human as a naturally evolved material animal, coming from pleasure and going ever onward toward pleasure


    --human as dualistic (body & spirit) created by god(s) and who must toil for perfection and to strive to please god(s)

    It would require a dedicated few to work together.

    Now, in a more sober mind (of non-alcoholic ginger-ale) I do realize that it would be wise for me to put more time into studying Epicureanism, so as to be sure that I understand it correctly. I think it would very important to understand the key differences between Epicureanism and Stoicism, as well to understand the differences of understanding between the telos of EpicureanFriends.com vs. the telos of the most common scholarly understanding.

    Another idea...(under the enjoyment of a Christmas Eve "Three Creeks - FivePine Chocolate Porter)...

    ...A once a month Zoom meeting that is not on the 20th. It would definitely be geared toward people who have very little understanding. Maybe 2, 3, or even 4 people could each give a short presentation on material and then those same people would discuss it, and then, at the very end open it up to questions. The flyers would need to be very specific as to what it is and whom would benefit (free thinkers and science-minded folks) and people would need to register through Epicurean.com

    And on a different week of the month maybe have an hour long very informal planning meeting for "core" people were we would come up with ideas for future meetings and events, and also check in to say 'hi' to each other (yet I see that some might have upcoming busy schedules).

    A weekly meeting is great idea. Yet I would suggest waiting to start it till the second week in January.

    I can see how a weekly event might be better geared toward "novices" rather than for "sages"... I myself would probably fall into the middle area of "devotee" (neither novice nor sage) but would greatly benefit from weekly meetings.

    The 20th could be always in honor of sages and contain more advanced material, which novices and devotees could learn from, but they might take more of a "listen and learn" while the sages discuss more complex philosophy. Yet perhaps the 20th would be only for devotees and sages, and novices would be referred to join the weekly meeting. But maybe this labeling is complicating things...just throwing out some ideas. After all, how does one determine if someone is a devotee? or a sage?

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    Here is a short YouTube video which evokes a feeling of ancient times and ancient festivals with music and dance:

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    I just listened to this podcast. Some thoughts...

    If you feel pain in your body from an illness...and not knowing what it is, because it is undiagnosed...and in addition if you fear death greatly, then the mental fear will make the pain much worse.

    When you feel sexual pleasure in your body, but if you feel ashamed about it, the pleasure will be muted if you fear that God will punish you for it.


    20 Minutes

    That’s the amount of time you should spend outside in nature, like a neighborhood park, three times a week. Hopman led a new study that concluded that something as painless as a 20-minute stroll through a city botanical garden can boost cognition and memory as well as improve feelings of well-being. “But,” she said, “we found that people who used their cell phone on the walk saw none of those benefits.”

    Other research discovered that 20 minutes outside three times a week is the dose of nature that had the greatest effect on reducing an urban dweller’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

    Excerpt from the above article :)

    Welcome ayraj and thanks for sharing!

    I'm also interested in any rituals or "best practices" anyone has for making Epicureanism a part of everyday life

    My own practice is when I wake up (or in the early part of the morning) I think about what I will do that day to bring in joyful, pleasant experiences...actions or activities that bring cheer, pleasure, and well-being.

    Also, I see my study of Epicureanism as an enjoyable practice. I feel that there are many layers to understanding the philosophy, and it takes time for it to develop.

    I am sure others might have more to say about personal rituals.

    I listened to this podcast last night. In response to the short discussion on torture:


    Torture is one of the most extreme forms of human violence, resulting in both physical and psychological consequences. It has been used for thousands of years and it is still occurring throughout much of the world. The right to freedom from torture is a universally recognized human right and one of the foundations of international law. Torture, as well as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, is banned in all times and cannot be justified.

    The most precise definition of torture is outlined in the UN Convention Against Torture, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), which defines it as “Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

    5 Reasons Why Torture Does Not Work and Can Never Be Justified
    Torture is one of the most extreme forms of human violence, resulting in both physical and psychological consequences. It has been used for thousands of years…

    In practice of PD3 and PD8...A blog post for how to dance with excessive sugar cravings...excerpt:


    I have tried at times to completely eliminate sugar from my diet. This may work for some people, but doesn't work for me. (Maybe my brain chemistry is permanently wired to enjoy sugar - life is just not very fun without it). It is important to realize that there is a bodily limit to the enjoyment of sugar that can be found, but just as with alcohol each person must discover this limit for themselves. This limit is what I call the "sugar yuck factor", when sugar no longer feels pleasureable. This requires one to be especially sensitive to the feelings which arise within the body while eating more sugary treats than one "should". (This excessive feeling can be felt when eating too much homemade cookie icing). This is a great way to "reset" the sugar cravings, but it must also be combined with choosing to buy healthier foods and avoiding bringing home large quantities of sugary treats. One focuses the mind on learning to desire foods which are healthy and good for the body, and which increase feelings of vigor and vitality. I still choose to eat sweet treats on occasion, but I do so in moderation. Also keeping in mind, if one eats a treat every day it isn't as pleasureable as spacing out the treats over time. It's up to every individual to determine their own sugar limit, and to do so with respect for maintaining the pleasureable feeling of health of the body.


    In Defense of Desire and How to Enjoy It
    First I should say a bit about what I came out of before studying Epicureanism. For ten years I studied Buddhism and I attended a Zen Budd...

    Rewrote the "21st Century Epicurean" poem to be in the positive. I think it is much better now.

    An Ode to Our Future Kepos

    In the garden we meet,

    Old and new faces,

    Welcome: nod, wink, or smile,

    Greetings, warm hearts and hugs,

    Gratitude and congratulations,

    Even pats on the back,

    Vocalized philosophical discourse,

    Daily practice of sublime repartee,

    Witty banter and audible laughter.

    Shared bread, wine and cheese,

    (Some days homemade macaroni and cheese)

    Apples, pears, and pomegranates,

    Fig trees to leisurely pluck as we please,
    Joyful flute, drum, and happy dancing feet.

    A real kepos for me,

    A real kepos for you,

    How I dream we will show,

    Those garden-atoms do gloriously swerve and grow,

    And rightly prove it so.

    I don't find "temperance" in Epicurus's writings. Is it mentioned anywhere other than by "Torquatus"?

    It is implied by this:

    "And Diocles, in the third book of his Overview, says that they all lived in the most simple and economical manner; "They were content," says he, "with a small cup of light wine, and all the rest of their drink was water." -- Diogenes Laertius : Life of Epicurus