Can you imagine any admirable figure in a Greek or Roman mythological story staking his or her position on the affirmation: "All I want in life is absence of pain!" Maybe such a character did exist, but it would almost certainly have been considered to be a pitiful one, rather than serving as a role model for something that is desirable or to be emulated.
And yet we are supposed to believe that Epicurean Philosophy swept the Greco Roman world proclaiming just that as its goal for the ideal life!
If that is what the public who were attracted to Epicurus thought he was advocating, Epicurus would have been laughed out of town, not held up as a virtual savior and "god" himself.
The sad and irritating thing is that the joke is on those who are foolish enough to believe that nonsense. All this "confusion" is not an innocent mistake.
Edit: elli This might be an argument worth re-using in the future. Are you aware if any figure in Greek or Roman mythology who is identified as pursuing "absence of pain" as their goal for existence? Did not the ancients embody their ideals in their mythology? Is the absence of enshrining such an ideal in a notable figure not evidence that they did not consider such a goal admirable, or even conceivable?
Note: This thread orginated in Charles' thread on Handel, but is being split off to avoid hijacking that topic: Epicurean-esque Music? A Quick Look at Act 1 of George Friedrich Handel's "Acis & Galatea"