Dead Reddit / The "Isms" Thread

  • And like that, I'm done with Reddit.


    I've otherwise enjoyed working with the community, but I found the moderation to be severely disenchanting.


    Given reason for deleting my meme:


    “Yes, sorry thought I’d left my reasoning. I’m generally okay with memes but this one seemed a little low effort and had the potential to spark some unfriendly arguments. Hope you understand and aren’t too put out. Hope all’s well.”


    My response:


    “This is highly disappointing.


    Honestly, I do not understand, and this convinces me that I have no business with this group.


    I’d encourage you to create an account and participate in [https://www.epicureanfriends.com]. There, you’ll find a safe community of friends who are not concerned with offending the delicate sensibilities of spiritualists who participate in supernatural religion; nor will you find any apologists for supernatural religion.


    You can find a complete collection of my ‘low effort’ memes there, as well.”


    epicureanfriends.com/wcf/index.php?attachment/741/

  • Yeah, they deleted my "Brace Yourself" meme to avoid stirring controversy among Christians.


    Apparently ... r/Epicureanism gets a lot of traffic from argumentative Christians?


    Hiram and I have discussed some of the inappropriate decisions moderators have made in the past, so this was the last straw for me. It's not a very engaged community, and it attracts a lot of attention from non-Epicureans who have no interest in studying Epicurean philosophy.

  • Nate I'm not too familiar with reddit but I've expressed my frustration at the current Epicurean subreddit, and my attempts to reach the moderators have been left in silence. I briefly mentioned it once in a Skype Discussion that the head mod on there once approvingly commented on a r/Stoicism post, of a mural of Epicurus with an attached quote from Epictetus.

    If we decided to make our own Epicurean subreddit I would suggest the forum be r/Epicurean_Philosophy and exponentially more organized and aesthetically pleasing, with proper rules and all. I haven't been too active in the past few weeks, even on my Discord, since Im packing up everything and moving this weekend. But if you made that push for a new subreddit we can call our own, I would be happy to moderate it with you.

    Quick Update: I just reserved that subreddit name. I think we should try and foster a genuine Epicurean subreddit, and I would be more than happy to add you Nate and Hiram as mods. I'll start making the necessary changes to the Discord bot that auto-posts from r/Epicureanism and make an announcement for those also interested. But I won't be too active until I get settled into my new place.

    Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.

  • Sounds good Charles. Also, did you add a new tag line to your profile / messages? Looks like you selected s light font which is unreadable in the default light theme of the forum. Would probably be best to use the "remove font color"command.

  • That's an excellent idea, @Charles! Thank you – I was thinking of doing the same thing, but I'm questioning how effective Reddit is, as a whole, in promoting genuine Epicurean discussion. I'm sure, however, that you can guide the forum in a proper direction, and I'd be happy to support you in doing so.

  • One of my first posts on r/Epicurean_Philosophy may be the 'Disapproving Drake' meme I made that disapproves of the term 'Epicureanism', and approves of 'Epicurean Philosophy'. [

    ]


    It would be an opportunity to discuss the etymological origin of '-isms' as elli has often elaborated, and explain why the '-isms' require a kind of cultish following that approves of a kind of faith-based dogma, whether that be supernatural religion or virtue ethics.

  • I was thinking of doing the same thing, but I'm questioning how effective Reddit is, as a whole, in promoting genuine Epicurean discussion.

    Given the nature of the way things are, my view is that there are lots of productive places to check in regularly, including Reddit, but with the goal of finding and moving good people to more productive places, not investing a lot of time and effort into too many platforms. But it's all a matter of time and resources, and Charles is a good example that if someone is into a particular venue, like Discord, it makes good sense to establish a beachhead there. But as long as a platform is ultimately under the control of people who would ultimately disapprove of Epicurean philosophy (and most of them are under the control of such people) it doesn't make sense to me to invest more effort than is appropriate to be sure that when new good people appear, we find them and re-channel them.

  • All -isms, imo are like a sheepfold that the owner/founder is a shepherd accompanied by his helpers, as also they have and some watchdogs. All of them the only they seek is to box inside the sheepfold as many sheep as possible, in order to shear them, to milk them, and in the end, to slaughter many of them.

    in -isms usually, the purpose is idealistic and the people inside them I doubt that are able to measure among pleasure and pain prudently for the positive purpose of pleasure, since, usually, the purpose in -isms is duty and virtue... and the absence of pain ! lol

    In -isms there are many suckers that are happy to give without getting back at least something of what they gave. In -isms there is not of what we epicureans say and be convinced of such issues if are in accordance with the study of Nature as we examine the phenomena and the causes that cause them, and as we say also that the basis of friendship is on the common benefit and the trust, our means are the virtues, and our common purpose is pleasure. :)

    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • And I would like also to add that in -isms the person loses his uniqueness, he is the unnamed and unidentified, and for himself and for the others, because as the purpose in -isms is always "higher" and also abstract there is no this unique measurement through persons' own feelings. So, this person is not person anymore is just one of the mob and nothing more.

    And also I would like to add that usually the persons that drive to -isms are not able to be real friends even with themselves, since friendship has and responsibility, and responsibility needs actions and feelings of empathy for the very known next other. Feelings of empathy, and permit me to use an Aristotelian term means friends on the basis of “sharing the peck of salt” and as we say it similar today in greek we are friends that together "we ate bread and salt" that means we've shared many common experiences to such an extent that we trust each other.


    My conclusion is that the persons that drive in -isms lack of high emotional intelligence ΕQ.isms.jpg

    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • That's an excellent idea, @Charles! Thank you – I was thinking of doing the same thing, but I'm questioning how effective Reddit is, as a whole, in promoting genuine Epicurean discussion. I'm sure, however, that you can guide the forum in a proper direction, and I'd be happy to support you in doing so.

    As for effectiveness, I put together from time to time a "State of the Garden" post looking at what has brought in the most traffic, and Reddit has consistently been a HUGE source of traffic. Perhaps the /Eism sub-reddit has not drawn as much as other ones like /atheism, but it doesn't work very well as a FORUM among friends. So it's useful, but it's best used as a source of traffic into our other content.

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • So it's useful, but it's best used as a source of traffic into our other content.

    That's the way I see it too.


    But I'll add something that continues to be a topic of my own debates with myself. "Source of traffic" is not always a good thing, when the traffic consists mostly of people who are so committed to other approaches that it becomes a waste of time to engage them.


    At the moment in my own mind the calculation comes down to "engagement is good, but at the same time up-front clarity is essential" so that we should engage where it makes sense, but as soon as possible, weed out the people who unlikely in the long term to become allies.


    For the foreseeable future, depending on the venue, we can count on - what - maybe 75% of the people who we come across - are primarily committed to religion or some other incompatible view of life. I think we should be nice and cordial but also firm in weeding them out so we can focus on people who "get" the message at a pretty deep level.


    And one of the more interesting things to me is that it appears there are pretty good "associative indicators" of where someone is going to end up. For example, someone's general disposition toward Nietzsche seems pretty indicative. He is very difficult to interpret or agree with all the time, but I attribute the association to a certain "intensity" that people see in him, regardless of whether they always agree. For example, writing a book with a title and theme like "Antichrist"!! That took a lot of courage and intensity for his time and place -- not to mention his deep understanding and distaste for Stoicism. So deep I would almost call it "instinctive."


    We may disagree with particular people in their application of "feeling," but I think that it's one of the fundamentals that we deal with is that we have an affinity for people of strong emotion more so than the aloof cerebral types. And is that not a good description of the ("British") stiff-upper-lip approach?

  • Regarding "-isms", we're produced great dialogue through the Facebook forum about the preference for "Epicurean Philosophy" to "Epicureanism"; and while it's a smaller, linguistic note, I think the points that have been brought up serve as a useful teaching tool to highlight the importance of understanding Greek etymology. I went through the last five years of posts by searching our Facebook page, and picked out the most relevant observations (I'm also putting this here as a placeholder, because I just organized it, and would like to return to this at a later time):


    July 20, 2014, Harris Demitiadis: "On the issue at hand I would prefer the term 'epicurean philosophy' to 'epicureanism' for the following reasons: The suffix -ism is of English origin and –'ισμος' is its translation into contemporary Greek. The suffix – ισμός – had no similar uses in ancient Greece, so when it is used today our mind - of the Greek speaking people - goes straight to a contemporary international idea translated into Greek. But here our purpose is to denote the opposite. Similarly, while the contemporary word, e.g. 'commun - ism', «κομμουν - ισμός», sounds familiar for both English and Greek speaking people, the word 'epicureanism', which refers to the ancient past, sounds meaningful to the English speaking people, but misleading and awkward to the Greek speaking ones. So, my opinion and my wish is to stay with the two word term 'epicurean philosophy'."


    Elli Pensa replies to this post that "'The big difference at the spiritual attitude of the Greeks and the Romans'. This difference is indicating at the type of the linguistic fossils of the two cultures that survived in the modern world. The Global Greek words like music, philosophy, theater, geometry, mathematics, physics, astronomy, political, architecture, demos-democracy, words that they declare a youth's shininess and a weight of quality towards to the conditions that the Latin language has saved. Under the conventional shape of : “ismus” the rescue to the terms of the Latin language expresses: the team, the indiscriminate, the unexceptional. But the enviable uniqueness is missing. Eg rationalism (ratio), potentialism (potentia), Imperialism (imperium), socialism (socius), Pacifism (pax), militarism (miles), Realism (res), pessimism (malus), optimism (bonus) etc [...] According to the above excerpt of Dimitris Liantinis, when we say epicurean-ism we are missing this 'enviable uniqueness of the person'. And the epicurean philosophy, first of all, is referring to that uniqueness of the PERSON and not to the impersonal of the MASSES. Thus, for our proper thinking if we use epicureanism and not epicurean philosophy in our terminology and in our reference... our view for the Epicurean Philosophy collapses...and collapses (to use one of his own Liantini's words) συγκορμοδεντρόριζη “syngormodentrorizi”(=tree trunk with its roots). :) :) Thank you "


    April 2, 2015, Elli Pensa: "Epicureanism or Epicurean Philosophy? | The Epicurean philosophy does not deal with political ideas or religions. First principle for the epicurean philosophy is the uniqueness of the person and not the masses. Because ALL these theories, as it has been proved for a million of times, are consisting of deterministic ideologies which are ending with the suffix '-ISM', are all addressed to the mob, and are in accordance to a dire necessity of a final purpose, which is opposite of the Nature of all things. | Thus, the Epicurean philosophy and an epicurean person - that studies the Nature of all things - does not deal with failed ideas of fake solutions to the problems of his life. | HIS ONE AND UNIQUE LIFE. | However, the Epicurean philosophy and an epicurean person has the ability to examine all the phenomena in Nature, in accordance with his philosophical background, whatever has to do with human’s life and his nature. As well as he has the power to do it through the CANON, just to separate and clarify the myth from reality. The Canon is his huge tool and his method to understand who is lying and who is saying the truth. The Epicurean philosophy provides solutions in human life, when trusted friends will be next to each another just to give help and solutions to any difficult situation in their life. | BECAUSE: | <<The wise man holds that friendship is first brought about due to practical need, just as we sow the earth for crops, but it is formed and maintained by means of a community of life among those who find mutual pleasure in it.>> | So simple, so human and so clear is this practical and wise solution of epicurean philosophy and it is not only a political abstract idea of a solution, BUT A REVOLUTION! | Unfortunately, an ideologically confused and non wise person cannot stand and accept this solution. Because an ideologically confused person cannot trust anyone, he cannot stand to take the responsibility of himself; he cannot stand the reality, because he lives a life full of fears. | And due to the fact of these fears, he is closed in his jail, like a corral of sheep. The ideologies are his grass to rehashing as a ruminant. In this way he acts, and he is a follower to any political ideological party to recognize a savior leader who this leader wants all the pleasure for himself. This leader, as it has been proved for a million of times, he would speak to him about a 'necessity', about a 'duty', about a 'virtue' and about a 'foggy dream' opposed of the reality. And finally, the end of the story would be that he’ll led him to a war to kill himself and the opposite enemies. | But...the wise man gather together a school, but never so as to become a leader of crowds (or to be led by other leaders). | Thus, and in conclusion, the epicurean person would never be a follower to any ideological political party because HE DOES NOT ACCEPT that the things and the matters in our life are DETERMINED or EXPLAINED from any absolute truth of a leader or a god. Since the epicurean person CAN examine, check and explain all the matters for himself and by himself. So, he would never be a follower to any political ideology or theories in general, because he doesn’t want to be closed in a jail and injure himself. | Because: <<injuries are done among men either because of hatred, envy, or contempt, all which the wise man overcomes by reason>>. | So simple are the things, I suppose."

  • (cont.)


    October 11, 2016, Cassius Amicus:
    "...it is much less likely that we will fall prey to skepticism, stoicism, religion, and the other 'isms' which call us away from reality and how to live in it."


    March 6, 2017, Elli Pensa: "But from what does the ideology qualifies? According to Theodosis Pelegrini’s dictionary of the philosophy in the corresponding entry with the word 'ideology' generally meant a set of ideas, concepts and positions, operating as a single system, which is displayed as the true picture of the reality. Those who adopt it are required to think and regulate their lives in accordance with it. All 'ISMS' are basically ideologies and are inherently dogmatic and metaphysical i.e, they are based on unproven mental schemata (patterns of thought) which perceive as a reality relegating the material reality at the level of a caricature of these mental schemata. | The ideologies are necessarily causal and teleological. This means that they admit a purpose which necessarily tends the universe, and by extension the society and the human . The purpose has been placed by a Creator or a dire necessity in the sequence of events. As owners of the absolute truth the ideologues do not tolerate and do not discuss the opinion of the others in the sense that if someone is not with us is against us . This is the logic of the black and white of good and evil that flows from the principle of the excluded third of Aristotle. So it is common that the ideologues are using in their confrontations the 'wooden' and negative language to sloganeering and give at their opponents characterizations and 'signs' that have nothing to do with reality, leading of the demonization of them. | So the frequent outcome of the ideologies and the religions which are also ideologies, is the obsession and the fanaticism, leading to the blind passion and hatred against any claims and opinions different from their own beliefs. | The ideologue simply believes in his chimeras without seeking evidence and documentation for the object of his faith. The result of this attitude of ideologues and their inability to submit events to the suffering of sober calculation and judgment, based on the reality data that are available. They are the same people who become easy victims of propaganda or interests that the ideologies exploit to gain social and political power promoting their selfish purposes. | At the level of politics, the ideologues discounted each real problem of society as an ideological resulting sterile and endless debates with their opponents, so eventually the real problem to drag on, to be forgotten and remain unresolved. (Eg the immigration issue) | Another principle by Aristotle which is also in the background of Modern politics and not just a perception, is the Golden mean or the middle way that someone should choose to resolve issues and avoid extreme judgments. This translated into politics issues, as the tendency to round the things and issues in order to gain common acceptance. Or taking vague positions on the key issues, and requiring groundbreaking solutions. The proposed solutions, usually foggy and long fruitless, to leave ostensibly at least, just to be all the people satisfied. Always follow the consensus and not to go into ruptures. Always take into account in decision making so-called political cost. Ultimately they're doing nothing! Other expressions deriving from the Golden Rule is the non-existent average person, the apolitical middle ground and so on. The decision by that politician Metaxas to dismiss the Italian ultimatum and put Greece in the throes of war was an extreme decision. But how many Greeks would argue that it was a correct decision? But it is true that it would be grossly unjust if Aristotle ascribed to him the apotheosis of mediocrity that characterizes Modern society! | And the Epicurean philosophy? This is not an ideology. There is not Epicurean-ISM. Because this philosophy is neither inspired the Modern politics but often defamed when was not ignored by the spiritual leadership. Never in the Constitution of Greece has provided as the purpose the Well-Being citizens, as it has provided in the US Constitution. It is true that the Epicurean philosophy has been characterized dogmatic because it rejects a priori divine intervention in Nature, divine providence and the immortality of the soul. But this conclusion leads after thorough research and observation of Nature. Certainly the Epicurean position is less dogmatic than the position of Plato and the idealists through the centuries of the purely mental constructs and have supported their whole philosophical edifice on unsubstantiated beliefs."


    January 18, 2018, Elli Pensa: "...Firstly I would like to start from the usage of the words and their concepts. It is right to be called as 'Epicurean Philosophy', and not as 'Epicureanism'. Since, it is a philosophy that examines all the issues that have to do with the reality of our life in the basis of the Study of Nature, and not an ideological system with the suffix -ism that examines abstract things with abstract goals. As for the word 'meditation' the first word that comes to my mind is the epilogue in the Epicurus' letter to Menoeceus that says: 'Meditate therefore on these things and things akin to them night and day by yourself; and with a companion like to yourself, and never shall you be disturbed waking or asleep, but you shall live like a god among men. For a man who lives among immortal blessings is not like unto a mortal being'. So, you have to start your reading from the letter to Menoeceus, that is his Ethics, as in the same time you connect the Ethics, with his Physics and his Canon. Thanks :)"

    Elli later elaborates, when challenged by a newer group member: "Epicurean-ISM ?? What is this ?? In my Greek language, I do not use this term for Epicurean Philosophy. Please, do not grasp this genuine Philosophy and making it as a closed system of an ideology. Epicurean philosophy is a cosmotheasis and a way of life in accordance to the whole Nature. It does not deserve to call as Epicurean-ism. Thanks."


    October 14, 2018, Elli Pensa: "I warned you, with my epicurean honesty: Run fast away and keep out from any word that has the suffix -ism. Since, it's a system, it's an obsession, and it's a dark jail!"


    November 2018, Elli Pensa: "Well, as we both use the same methodology of thinking and acting, i.e. the Canon, for examining any issue like the 'commercialism or consumerism' we do not condemn it or approving by saying that is good or not good, bad or not bad, right or not right. We examine the phenomena and the causes that caused them, in accordance with our experiences and their consequences. As we start our thoughts from the same beginning we say that the 'commercialism or consumerism' is a system that is already based on ideologies of -isms i.e. ideologies ready made for the MASSES. And any -ism, for us the epicureans, constrains our thoughts for making right conclusions in accordance with the reality. | So, if we want to examine the issues in accordance with Nature and our philosophy, we will realize that the consequences and the results of the commercialism/consumerism, as a choice in life, it becomes from such kind of persons that their thoughts and actions are already based on false philosophies and false religions that condemn the pleasure as the real goal, as they condemn the feelings / emotions of human beings. Since they want obedient and blind persons living in apathy, doing their duty, for buying any illusion without any second thought. And they buy any illusion preferring the fantastic, because they can't bear the reality, as it is."

  • (cont.)

    December 25, 2018, Elli Pensa: "...IMO it's not right to use for Epicurean Philosophy the term 'Epicurean-ism'. If we use this term that means also that we realize the Epicurean Philosophy as a closed system of an ideology that has a leader and followers. Since Epicurean Philosophy has for its first principles the uniqueness of the person, and not the masses...thus, there is the conclusion that there is no any need to proselytize the masses. Here Epicurus is clear: He says that he does not compromise with the common opinions, for reaping the frequent praise of the many."


    Hiram elaborates upon the question posed to Elli: "...you should remember that ego-ism is, after all, an ISM and like all idealisms it's ineffective to understand Epicurean philosophy. 'Ethical Egoism' also implies that to be ethical must exclude all altruism, and vice versa. These 'isms' are not good at explaining the nature of things because my advantage may not be mutually exclusive from the advantage of others, and my faculties are very good at discerning this. Pleasure, you have to understand, is a FACULTY, not an abstraction, or an ism. If I have one beer I may experience it as pleasant, but if I have another one and a third one my FACULTY of pleasure may inform me that it's no longer pleasant. It's the same object of sensation: a beer. But it's experienced differently. And so you must train yourself to philosophize with your feet on the ground and using your faculties."


    May 16, 2019, Cassius Amicus: "Epicurean philosophy is not just another 'ism' to read some ice-cold commentary and then put back on the shelf."


    May 29, 2019, Elli Pensa: "...Democracy that is a constitution which declares: 'all we have one unique life and the right to live in happiness and pleasure in this world and not in somewhere else'. | Democracy can’t be blossomed in tyranny and oligarchy by the few that press the many. But the many i.e. the mob are responsible for being pressed by the few, because due to their spiritual and bodily lethargy, and anesthesia, and due to cowardice, and due to suspicion, and due to fears, and due to misery, and due to all these that provoke great pain in the ass they go behind as blind followers, and as a donkey for a carrot, for finding saviors or spiritual food of movements/ideologies like 'Global-ism','Human-ism', 'Existensia-lism', 'Capital-ism', 'Newliberal-ism', 'Commun-ism', 'Social-ism', 'Christian-ism', 'Islam-ism', 'Juda-ism', 'Buddh-ism', 'Stoic-ism' etc etc. And all of them what they need ? MONEY, FOLLOWERS, and POWER. Ideologies, false philosophies, and religions all have one common thing for being recognizable in a minute: the suffix -ism, and are eggs of the same snake. Beware of the snake that born its eggs all over the world, without end."


    June 2, 2019, Alex Rios offers a counter-point: "The intolerance of 'Epicureanism' by Epicureans. | Some folks here insist that other folks say 'Epicurean Philosophy' instead of saying 'Epicureanism'. They say that '-isms' are closed systems, that '-isms' are ideologies. The dictionary does not seem to agree with them about the meaning of '-ism'. So why the intolerance? The whole world says Epicureanism, but the folks here should not? Meanwhile the dictionary has as a synonym for 'philosophy' the word 'ideology', so a philosophy is an ideology."


    In response, Domagoj Vaci replies: "An -ism (ideology) implies something 'problematic', pernicious like a virus, a social disease, propaganda and so on, while not labeling something an ideology implies something benign, obviously beneficial and thus nothing to be concerned about. However the French structuralist Louis Althusser argued in 'Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses' that captives of ideology are never able to recognize their own ideological convictions as ideological. The dominant ideology is as invisible to believers as the air they breathe: 'what thus seems to take place outside ideology (to be precise, in the street), in reality takes place in ideology. What really takes place in ideology seems therefore to take place outside it. That is why those who are in ideology believe themselves by definition outside ideology ... ideology never says, 'I am ideological'".



    END

  • I've yet to register an opinion on the -ism question; as Nate has put forth a comprehensive effort at surveying the field, I'll offer it here.


    To put it simply—I suppose I mean by that, To put it frankly: I haven't found the objections to this usage persuasive, and I doubt whether I can be bothered to police myself in the matter! 😁


    I will unhesitatingly grant to our Hellenic friends the etymological point. I share their concerns regarding affinities in language, and I think I can appreciate—at least in outline—their objection to the imported feel of what ought to taste (from their perspective) like a native vintage. It strikes the wrong note, so to speak. I get that. Like grafting Old World vines onto New World rootstock.


    And yet for all that, I simply cannot warm to the alternative. A few reasons come to mind.


    1. It's inelegant

    This is possibly the most bothersome quality. "Epicureanism" to a native English ear sounds very natural. "Epicurean Philosophy" sounds like it was designed by committee. Worse, it sounds like even the committee got tired of saying it, and switched to "EP" before the meeting was adjourned. Worse still, they didn't know—couldn't know—that when they were overheard speaking of EP, it sounded to the casual observer as if they were discussing, with hushed tones, an embarassing medical condition.


    2. It plays like a shell game

    When the preachers of Creationism got tired of getting laughed out of every courtroom in America, they did what we're doing; they dropped the -ism. Intelligent Design was the new PR slogan, and that too was roundly panned. But with one important difference: "creationism" had an ancient and venerable, albeit wholly misguided, philosophical pedigree. They could claim among their number no less a scientist than Isaac Newton. By contrast, "Intelligent Design" is cheap and tawdry; a sleazy rules-lawyer trick. Richard Dawkins' proposal to replace "atheists" with "Brights" was comparably silly. Creationism, atheism, and Epicureanism are perfectly serviceable words. To agitate for their replacement, rightly or wrongly, is to immediately put one's motives under suspicion.


    3. It's a colorless abstraction

    Now, there's nothing wrong with abstraction. Under certain circumstances it actually makes sense to speak in those terms. "Epicurean Philosophy", like "concussion protocol" or "Jeffersonian democracy", is a fitting term to use in an academic sense. One could write a book about "Epicurean Philosophy". One could teach a course, or chair a panel on "Epicurean Philosophy" at a Classical Antiquities conference.


    But that just isn't my relationship with the school of Epicurus! I do study Epicurean Philosophy, but that is secondary to my main interest; I am a follower of Epicureanism. We can talk about ideology and labels, but I don't see this as a weakness. I have vetted this school, approved it, found it worthy above every comparable human effort; like Lucretius—like Diogenes of Oenoanda—I have nailed my colors to the mast. On some deeper-than-intellectual level, it pleases me to think of some continuity between myself and the numberless ancient Epicureans whose dust lies scattered in forgotten tombs.


    Well, that went on rather long! I am aware of holding the minority view on the question, and I don't mean to convey the impression that I am bothered by the group preference. I certainly have no intention of forcing the point! But the argument as compiled by Nate has persisted for at least five years, and it may be of service to have this response on hand. It might aid in understanding some of the resistance, at least.