Are You Epicurean Or Hieronymian?

  • I've never really met anyone who actually follows that path to its logical extreme if taken literally

    I am rather surprised to read that commentary, because in my understanding this is a key part of Epicurean philosophy. Interesting how foci tend to be different.


    I really understand your critique on focussing on desires and needs, because there are similarities to within many or most religions/philosophies. Usually, they try to minimalize their needs and dim them. Consequently, their own point of interesting seems to be more enlightened. Interestingly, many of those participants (e.g. monks) in those strategies will tell you, that they feel no lack of anykind or even better than before changing their lives. Ironically, some will report they feel more delightfull, more pleasurable.


    How can this function when, as we think, these philosophies seem to be false?


    I believe, every religion/philosophy that really produces pleasure to some degree, follwows to an uncertain degree unconciously the path of nature, as taught by Epicurus.


    I think there is an error in holding Epicurus' (key) techniques for the same as the techniques/aims of the competitors in the philosophy market. They look very similar, but they may play a totally different role.


    'Painlessness' (a term I first read in this forum and adapted ;) ) is by my own words rather focussing on the important things in life and being open for the bright impressions of life without being disturbed about unimportant things. This is what Epicurus' differenciation between natural/unnatural/necessary might be about.

  • because in my understanding this is a key part of Epicurean philosophy.

    I don't doubt that that is your understanding at all, as that is the prevailing view in the academic world at large. That's why we're very clear in our terms of service and our welcome post and in the "Not Neo Epicurean Graphic" and the "Our Posting Policy" graphic that that is not the prevailing view here, and at some point we limit the continued argument for that position.


    Now of course in saying all that I'm not intending to say that you have approached the line or in danger of that in any way, but just to acknowledge the truth that the academic world is hugely hostile to the view of Epicurus taken by Norman Dewitt and the writers listed in the "Don't be a Stoic in Disguise" Post in the right sidebar on the front page.


    Basically the main reason this forum was founded and has sustained itself to date is in opposition to that view and to provide a place for those who think differently to compare notes and arguments against that viewpoint.



    Note: I realize in this post and in what I am quoting from yours there is a danger in losing the focus on what "this" is. To summarize once again, possibly the best way of stating what I am arguing for is a "common sense" definition of the word pleasure, as ordinary people understand that word, which includes BOTH pleasures of "rest" and also "joy and delight" from the point of view that "all pleasures are desirable" and the only reason that one might choose not to pursue certain pleasures is that in the context of that person the pursuit would bring more pain than pleasure. This is the opposite of the "minimalism for the sake of minimalism" approach or any approach that embraces asceticism as the true end, rather than pleasure. But of course that's just a brief summary of the viewpoint you can find (hopefully!) permeating the great majority of posts on this forum.

  • the only reason that one might choose not to pursue certain pleasures is that in the context of that person the pursuit would bring more pain than pleasure. This is the opposite of the "minimalism for the sake of minimalism" approach or any approach that embraces asceticism as the true end, rather than pleasure.

    I fully agree with your statement. I personally consider the necessary/unnecessary/natural/unnatural model as an approach of Epicurus to elaborate how such an differentiation could work and in my experience it works out very well. I also recognize that there might be a difference in how important some pieces of the Epicurean puzzle are for some persons - or not. The corner pieces are definitely sensations, feeling, anticipations and nothing else.


    Basically the main reason this forum was founded and has sustained itself to date is in opposition to that view and to provide a place for those who think differently to compare notes and arguments against that viewpoint.


    Hence you wil be happy to hear that this is a main reason for myself for participating (mostly reading) on this forum. The consistant approach of Prof. DeWitt seems to catch und unite the central points of Epicurean philosophy, although I've missed so far reading him in his original words. Additionally, in the last years my interests have tended rather to an understanding of the universe as a whole as presented e.g. by Lucretius.

  • Thank you for your positive response to my last post ;) If I recall correctly I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote that and I knew at the time I needed to be concerned about sounding too harsh :) It's a big world and I like every point of view to have a place in the sun --- unfortunately I find that not everyone shares that view. Maybe this forum is a version of "isonomia" -- not really striving for an equal number of people who focus on the "joy and delight" approach vs those who focus on "minimizing pain" --- but at least this forum is a step toward an "equitable distribution" so that there is a place for those in the J&D camp to have a place where their viewpoints prevail.