Discussion of the Society of Epicurus' 20 Tenets of 12/21/19

  • "Atoms and the void" : The dogma of the dogmas ! Look at this picture : Metrodorus solved the whole issue, as he plays with an atom! :)


    "If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis (or the atomic fact, or whatever you wish to call it) that all things are made of atoms—little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied”. - Richard Feynman.



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

  • Exactly Elli, it appears to me that they considered "nothing comes from nothing and nothings goes to nothing" to be the rock on which everything else was based, and in fact at the end of book 1 they say that what is contained there in the atomic discussion is all you need to know to figure all the rest out for yourself -- like a hunting dog!

  • 1 - I think you are correct Oscar. Epicurus held but one position; the discussion of "acceptable" means to Hiram (as I understand it) positions that he considers it acceptable for modern Epicureans to take and still be part of the Society of Epicurus. You are right to observe that those are very different things.


    2 - As to whether it is correct to say that Epicurus was an atheist, I also agree that it is wrong to label him an atheist without explaining the nature of Epicurean gods. If the definition of atheist requires that gods being rejeted are supernatural, then Epicurus was an atheist. If the definition of atheist means that the gods being atheist could be nonsupernatural, then Epicurus was clearly NOT an atheist. But it all turns on the definitions.


    3 - As to the ultimate question I think you are aware of my personal position, so I won't repeat it here unless someone asks.

  • I suppose it's really two questions, on which I'll give my personal opinion while admitting that this is just the result of my thinking/speculation applied to DeWitt's version:


    1 - What do I think Epicurus taught? In summary I believe that Norman DeWitt is correct about what Epicurus taught, as described in his chapter 13 "The True Piety." I especially think that Dewitt is correct in pointing to the description of the gods by the Epicurean Velleius in Cicero's "On the Nature of the Gods," and holding that Epicurus held that information about the gods comes from "anticipations" and through "images" and that these are not the same thing, and that this is reinforced and/or supported to the observational issues of "isonomia" and the eternal / boundless universe theory. In sum I think it boils down to Epicurus holding that in an infinite and eternal universe with nature never only a creating a single thing of a kind, and with there being an "distribution" from from "high" to "low," that Epicurus believed that there existed in the universe real beings who had achieved deathlessness and were self-sufficiently "happy" with their own existence.

    If you think as Epicurus did that life exists throughout the universe, and you observe here on Earth that life exists on a spectrum from worms to humans, then it makes sense to project those observations to the universe at large and expect that there are unlimited numbers of life beings that are lower and higher than ourselves, all of which are natural, but some of which have attained things that humans have not, including deathlessness and total self-sufficiency. And to the extent that some life forms have achieved that kind of unlimited life with total happiness, that seems like an admirable result and something that we humans can consider to hold in admiration as a kind of goal that we intuitively all would like to emulate to the extent that we can. It's clear that Epicurus did not think that these beings have any involvement or concern with human life, but it seems that he may have thought it possible that "images" of them might be sensed in some where as a result of their images floating through the universe, just like all sorts of other images seemed to him to be floating through the air all the time.


    I think all this is sort of a nexus / sum of real observations here on earth (the isonomia, no single thing of a kind, spectrum observations) combined with a logical extension of these ideas out onto the theory of the eternal / infinite universe with life throughout it. So these gods are totally NOT supernatural, totally unconcerned with us, totally NOT omnipotent or omnipresent or any of the other attributes of "gods" assigned by the general monotheistic cults. He was calling them 'gods' in the sense that we might call Michael Jordan a "god of basketball" - supremely successful at "life" but still totally natural. (And this is probably similar to how he used the phrase "gods among men" that something that sounds like a goal he considered attainable, or the way Lucretius described Epicurus himself as a god.)


    And I don't think that Epicurus thought this was all just idle speculation. I think he thought that his observations about life on earth combined with the deductive logic of atomism compels this conclusion when it is all applied to the eternal / infinite universe, with life not limited to earth and having no beginning. He seems to have thought that we should be rigorous in applying our observations to their logical conclusions, and that this is part of what you arrive at when you think about life in the rest of the universe outside earth.


    Hiram / others sometime refer to this as a "space alien" theory, but I find terms like that to be unnecessarily demeaning and dismissive to the theory. Now I wouldn't be surprised if some of the ancient Epicureans were tongue-in-cheek, such as the apparent position that they thought the gods spoke Greek, and so I am sure that some of them had fun with the theorizing and so you have to be careful interpreting the surviving fragments. But in general I think Epicurus thought the theory was very serious and logical and helpful, and it was in no way a means of protecting himself from accusations of blasphemy, a means of manipulating weaker minds, or even a type of honey to help sick minds. I think he thought that the idea that humans are the only life in the universe was very damaging, just like it would be damaging to think that the Earth was at the center of the universe (which would imply that it is somehow special / special to a supernatual god). It was therefore important to him to have a reasonable theory about how a spectrum of life exists throughout the universe, and that the top of that spectrum would be in no way supernatural. I think he fully believed it himself with the caveat that he knew that he didn't have all the evidence we'd like to have so that theories of how the gods lived in detail was just pure speculation.


    2 - What is my personal opinion of what I think Epicurus taught? I think it makes very good sense to me, and in those times when I want to think about the subject of life existing outside of earth I think this theory is very helpful for keeping perspective on where humanity stands in the nature of things. I agree with Epicurus that I think the universe as a whole has always existed, and that life is not limited to earth, and that similar natural mechanisms will proceed an unlimited number of places when under similar conditions, so when I put all that together I think humans are just one example of life and that there are huge numbers of lower forms of life in the universe elsewhere, huge numbers of "higher" forms of life, but every one of then natural. I think among the benefits of having a theory of a spectrum of beings like this is that it helps us keep perspective that we are neither at the top of the heap (and therefore we're not the special favorite of some god) but then neither are we something to be dismissive of and commit suicide because we're not something that we're not.


    Along the lines of other comments in this same thread, I don't think it's necessary for everyone today to subscribe to a theory like this. But I do think Epicurus was looking at providing for a system of thought for "the millions," and he thought that many people feel compelled to think about life in the rest of the universe and where we stand in it, and that this theory provides an answer that is both beneficial and reasonably expectable to be true. And I'm one of the people who thinks about issues like this, so I applaud him for developing the theory, and I find it helpful myself.

  • Exactly Elli, it appears to me that they considered "nothing comes from nothing and nothings goes to nothing" to be the rock on which everything else was based, and in fact at the end of book 1 they say that what is contained there in the atomic discussion is all you need to know to figure all the rest out for yourself -- like a hunting dog!

    That "nothing comes from nothing" is a powerful statement. It is coherent. It only tells us that anything that exists must not exist out of nothing. This is also consistent with the idea that atoms and void are infinite. If Epicurus really believes that God exists, this God must not exist out of nothing. Therefore, this God must have been a mortal god. And if he is a mortal god, he must have been at least a super human, but I don't know whether or not Epicurus mentioned about such super human character of the god. In fact, I also don't know whether to use the uppercase "G" or not. And if he isn't super human, why did Epicurus call him God? Is it a form of sarcasm?


    I'm just curious because it is no secret to us all what happened to Socrates. In his Apology, we can feel how fatal it was to not believe in the existence of God that some, if not many, philosophers would probably comply with the demand not to eradicate the existence of God in their teachings. I find it odd that Epicurus tells us not to harm others (so that they won't harm us, too, and inflict pain on us) while telling us not to fear the God (because he is harmless). It seems to me that this god is so useless he is close to non-existing entity.


    Can any one here enlighten me on this? Don't get me wrong. This is not a Socratic questioning. I am really curious about the matters I have just raised.

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • I was about to come back and post about this and I see Mike raises the issue:


    Quote

    . And if he is a mortal god, he must have been at least a super human

    That's the part that is not correct, if your implication by the word "super" means "supernatural" or "non-natural."


    I get the impression that 98% of the issue is that people today insist that there can be only one definition of "god." They absolutely refuse to consider a "god" to be anything less than omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent, and all those "magical" qualities that the eastern religions specialize in. It's amazing -- they can read the Epicurean material about a god being natural and not omnipotent, and when they get to the end of the sentence they just refuse to entertain it -- almost as if they had never read the words in the sentence! All the while it is patently obvious and well-known that Greek gods themselves were in no way omniscient or omnipresent or all-powerful, and yet we seem to have no problem accepting that Venus or Zeus were called "gods." It is today as if no kind of god can exist except a jesus or a mohammed or a yahweh -- how amazingly narrow minded we have become! There's no way in the world that I personally am going to let the christians and the jews and the muslims dictate to me what the word "god" MUST mean, and I feel sure that Epicurus felt the same way about the religious pushers of supernaturalism in his day.


    I don't think Epicurus admitted any of those things about true gods -- and that is why I used the Michael Jackson analogy -- I think he was using the word in a relative sense, to indicate full success in living (which means never dying) and full success in pleasure (which means never experiencing any pain) all in an absolutely natural way.


    I know that means that people today will say "Well then he should not have called them gods!"


    But we don't get to decide the meaning of terms -- whoever is living at the time gets to define things the way he wants, and I think that Epicurus thought it was perfectly appropriate to use the term "gods" in a way that accepts some attributes and discards others.


    If that's 98% of the issue, then the other 2% of the issue is "Well we've got great telescopes and we've never seen any." The limitation in that argument ought to be obvious to anyone who is willing to entertain that the size of the universe is infinite. We've never yet discovered life elsewhere in the universe either, but as for me I am 100% confident that it's just a matter of time.


    Is it a form of sarcasm?

    Absolutely not! Epicurus was not saying anything disparaging about his form of "gods" at all. He might have said something disparaging about the so-called supernatural gods, but there is nothing that I am aware of that documents that. The "Epicurus' riddle" is not really traceable back to Epicurus himself, but to the early church fathers' characterization of Epicurus' position, which I don't consider reliable in that degree of detail (the contradictions pointed out in the riddle sound Epicurean, but the "why call him god?" is probably not Epicurean, in my opinion since that conflicts with the rest of what we know about the Epicurean position).


    I find it odd that Epicurus tells us not to harm others (so that they won't harm us, too, and inflict pain on us) while telling us not to fear the God (because he is harmless). It seems to me that this god is so useless he is close to non-existing entity.

    I am not aware of any location where Epicurus tells us not to harm others. He tells us that if we do harm others we can expect retaliation, so we better be prepared and consider whether we want to harm that person or not, but he does not tell us absolutely not to harm others, and in fact it is implicit that we certainly will "harm" others if necessary and appropriate to protect our safety and happiness.


    As far as this kind of god being useless, the first response of course is that it is not necessary for something to be useful to us in order for it to exist. Secondly, there is a "use" for Epicurean gods, as discussed above and by DeWitt. The argument seems to be that it enhances our happiness to have a correct conception of the highest form of life possible, and to realize that such a being is of no threat to us, and to serve as a sort of example of what we ourselves should strive for to the extent of our ability. I think it's a reasonable analogy to suggest that lots of young people improved their basketball skills by comparing themselves in their minds to Michael Jordan and other basketball "gods," just for one example, even though Michael Jordan never saw them, never instructed them, and never cared whether they existed or not.

  • Also Mike, this is why I so strongly urge people to read DeWitt very early on. His Chapter 13 on this topic should answer most all of your questions about this. You may not agree with the answers, and you may still think that such beings don't exist, etc., but you ought to at least hear an explanation of Epicurean gods written from a sympathetic source who makes an effort to explain the subject without ridiculing it, or presuming Epicurus was a liar, a coward, etc -- which is the implication of most of the theories you will read from other writers.


    You (Mike) have been reading a lot about Epicurus and apparently you've not yet come across a sympathetic treatment of Epicurus' approach to gods. That is the kind of problem that really makes my blood boil (not at you, of course!). The world is full of commentaries on Epicurus but almost none of them are willing to write a sympathetic recreation of the Epicurean argument. And that's one reason we are talking about this in the context of a list of tenets of a "Society of Epicurus." It would certainly not be acceptable to me to be a member of a society that held that Epicurus was a liar or a coward and simply trying to avoid the fate of Socrates.


    Only Norman DeWitt seems to have been willing to treat Epicurus fairly and respectfully, and for his trouble Norman DeWitt is effectively blacklisted by every other commentator. Everyone ought to think very very seriously about the meaning of this ostracism of DeWitt and what it means about what they are reading about Epicurus in other sources.

  • Cassius, I believe I've used the term ET/extraterrestrial, but I meant it in s neutral way-- just as beings not on earth but on another planet.


    I think it's quite possible some beings like that are out there. On the other hand, I never think of them unless someone else brings it up. I have never spent any time worrying about the place of humans in the cosmos, so for me, it's just an interesting idea that doesn't change my life. I don't know how they evolved to live as they live, if they are out there, so it's hard to know how to copy them exactly.


    What inspires me more is humans who live pleasurably, including Epicurus, because that means I don't have to be a highly evolved being, a god, to have a pleasurable life! A regular human can do it. It's accessible. Whereas thinking about beings much more advanced than we are makes it seem out of reach to me.


    But if that particular thought pleases you, it will likely please others, so I will keep it in mind!

  • Oscar: As to whether Epicurus was a deist of course we again need to be sure that everyone agrees with what that means. If a Deist has to be like Thomas Paine and others of the 18th century clockmaker model - where a supernatural god created the universe and then stepped back to participate no further, I think Epicurus likely has to be ruled out from being in that category too, since he was adamant that the universe existed eternally and was never created supernaturally.


    Nor would he fit into an "agnostic" category if that means "I don't know." However there is a section in A Few Days In Athens where Frances Wright seems to me to assert that she thought Epicurus fit that category, but she might have been referring his "I don't know" to specific gods like Zeus or Venus. Maybe if you define gods in the Greek model and are referring to his view of specific Greek god personalities, then maybe it would be proper to say that he was "atheist as to Zeus" or "agnostic as to Venus or Hera."


    Elayne: I am open to the idea that times have changed and that I am a small minority, but at least in the past I used to think that the interest in life in outer space was widespread because so many people were interested in "space exploration" fiction. This might be a cultural or individual thing that ebbs and flows. It would be interesting (for me anyway) to try to get a grip on how much of a concern or interest "questions of life other than on earth" is to other people (in general, not just to us here, although that would be interesting too) and break down into age, culture, sex, education, etc.


    I suspect it's probably not a coincidence that the "earliest known work of science fiction" is Lucian's "A True Story" which wikipedia says is "the earliest known work of fiction to include travel to outer space, alien lifeforms, and interplanetary warfare." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_True_Story

  • I'm the one who may be more in the minority-- scifi is still very popular! I like Doctor Who, but it's because of the characters. I agree, it would be interesting to know.


    I'm sure I would get interested in a hurry if we got invaded-- or, you never know, visited in a pleasurable way!

  • Cassius, I believe I've used the term ET/extraterrestrial, but I meant it in s neutral way-- just as beings not on earth but on another planet.


    I think it's quite possible some beings like that are out there.

    Elayne This is also my assumption. It is much closer to what I understand Epicurus is portraying such god, a remote and disconnected god. This, so far, makes sense to me since the theory of Annunaki as the gods of the so-called "Garden of Eden"is somehow gaining attention from the mainstream Archaeology.

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • such a being is of no threat to us, and to serve as a sort of example of what we ourselves should strive for to the extent of our ability. I think it's a reasonable analogy to suggest that lots of young people improved their basketball skills by comparing themselves in their minds to Michael Jordan

    Cassius This is highly probable since the god here is at a complete state of happiness, a reasonable model for Epicureans to live as invisibly as possible the way the God lives invisibly.

    I get the impression that 98% of the issue is that people today insist that there can be only one definition of "god." They absolutely refuse to consider a "god" to be anything less than omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent, and all those "magical" qualities that the eastern religions specialize in. It's amazing -- they can read the Epicurean material about a god being natural and not omnipotent,

    This is the reason why I am curious what kind of god Epicurus is trying to tell us if such god is not super human or super natural as what the conventional meaning offers us. So far, Elayne 's reply makes more sense to me.

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • So far, Elayne 's reply makes more sense to me.

    You may mean more than what I am about to comment on, but for the moment I am presuming that you mean that it makes sense to you that he is referring to aliens on another planet.


    I think that is probably going in the right direction, but also I think it's important to note the detail that is surviving even though so much is lost. The description of the gods as sort of like flowing atoms, and living in the "intermundia" (presumably between worlds rather than on a particular world) indicates a pretty advanced level of speculation as to them having a quasi-physical nature instead of just the standard Martians that people traditionally think about.


    And consistent with a recent theme I have been pursing I think it's important not to reduce this too much to being just another speculation like about a plant or an animal living deep under the sea, or just something like that that seems strange to us but of very little relevance to our own lives. I think that Epicurus thought that a proper understanding of gods is very relevant to the lives of most people. (OK I will exclude Elayne from most people ;-) - joke!)


    Pretty clearly from Velleius in On the Nature of the Gods, we're talking about attributes that are logical deductions (such as what the gods speak), and their perfect bliss seems to be as much of a logical construction too as it is as specific scientific speculation about what they eat or drink or breath or exactly what it is that they are doing that they enjoy so much that they want to spend an endless life doing it.


    The point I am making not so well here is that if we reduce the gods to some form of aliens and put them on the shelf along with "those things we expect to see when we pursue space travel" then I do think we will miss important aspects of what Epicurus was talking about. Sort of like infinity and eternality, I think Epicurus was saying that there is much to be gained by regularly exercising the mind on subjects that help us remain attached to our place in the universe and our goals for what to do when alive.


    And of course that's probably related directly to this observation, which I probably should have made more of a highlight of my discussion about the Epicurean view of gods. I don't think that Epicurus came up with his theory of the gods because of this observation, but there's no doubt in my mind that this is a reason why he thought the theory was important:


    VS32. The veneration of the wise man is a great blessing to those who venerate him.



    .... which probably goes along with the observation (I think recorded in Seneca) that the Epicureans used the phrase:


    "Do all things as if Epicurus were watching."


    For purposes of this discussion I'll consider the christians to be plaigarists who say "What Would Jesus Do?" :-)  But likely the same principle of human psychology is involved. It helps to visualize goals if we want to achieve them. Which to repeat one more time, would not have been sufficient for Epicurus to invent the theory as some kind of "golden myth" if he didn't actually think that it made sense and was consistent with observation.

  • Shall we relate this back to another part of the discussion? I think lots of people, me included, would be willing to strap ourselves on top of what is essentially a bomb waiting to go off, knowing that we quite likely will die rather than return, so we could fly to the moon, or mars, or venus, or outside the solar system looking to see what's there, and maybe meet other life, even if they aren't gods. Exploration is a great pleasure to a certain type of people, and that type of person happily risks life for the pleasure of finding out what is there.


    And I think Epicurus would totally approve of that, even though some people will argue that Epicurus was saying that should always choose the longer pleasure over the shorter one.


    That was my problem with item 16 of this list as we originally started this thread. I would submit that Epicurus would hold that "Over the long term" is only one consideration, and it is not an overriding consideration, in making choices and avoidances:


    16. Choices and avoidances are carried out successfully (that is, producing pleasure as the final product) if we measure advantages/pleasures versus disadvantages/pains over the long term. This means that we may sometimes defer pleasure in order to avoid greater pains, or choose temporary disadvantage, but only and always for the sake of a greater advantage or pleasure later.

  • Good point! I'll have to consider this some more before categorizing Epicurus as one thing rather than another.

    It really does seem to me that his perspective on this issue is unique, much like some of his other views are unique. And that's one of many reasons I don't like lumping Epicurus in with other philosophers with labels like "he's one of the hedonists" or "he's one of the atomists."


    Those kind of labels totally obscure the depth and sweep of the philosophy, and he really deserves the name "Epicurean" and the effort to look into what that word really means.


    And I know there is a cite in Cicero where he complained about Epicurus using words in non-standard ways, so this is not a new issue, and if we are going to be clear we really have to be precise in our definitions.


    This is something that is a regular stumbling block in discussing Epicurus, but there's simply no way around dealing with it if we want to really understand what he was saying.

  • This is highly probable since the god here is at a complete state of happiness, a reasonable model for Epicureans to live as invisibly as possible the way the God lives invisibly.

    I didn't notice this earlier so I have underlined the part I want to comment on: In my personal research and opinion I think the phrase "live unknown" is vastly overblown as indicative of what Epicurus taught. Check the cite and I think you will find that the phrase apparently comes from a Herculaneum scroll with absolutely zero surrounding context to explain how it was being used in that writing.


    I know that there are other texts which can be read to indicate that Epicurus advised against careers in public fields where you are constantly at the mercy of the whims of other people, and of course the anti-Epicureans were always accusing Epicurus of not supporting public affairs as he should. But Epicurus certainly did not "live unknown" himself, nor did all of the many other Epicureans we know about, such as Lucretius, or Atticus, or many many others. If you check the opening of Lucretius you see that he is saying that his intended student, Memmius, would / could not in any way desert his public duties at the time of the Roman civil war. And obviously Cassius Longinus saw no conflict between his Epicurean views and being a leader and a general in that war. It's the nature of Epicurean philosophy to talk to other people and teach them and surround ourselves with our friends, and in no way in my view does that translate into a goal of living as invisibly as possible.


    I know that "live unknown" is one of the most popular phrases to attach to Epicurus today, but I think the meaning attached to it today is far beyond what Epicurus really meant, and certainly it is not reflective of how he himself lived. And since I don't think Epicurus was a hypocrite in any way, I think it's pretty much absurd to allege as these websites do that Epicurus was advising us essentially to live as hermits.


    So I don't think that the Epicureans gods consider that they live invisibly; they simply have no concern about how they appear to humans. Nor should living invisibly be a general high-value goal of Epicureans, except where context leads it to be of advantage. And if someone is finding that "live unknown" is a high-value tactic in their personal situation, that sounds to me like a strong indication that they need to reevaluate their living conditions to see if they can't find some place more friendly to live, as per PD39: " The man who has best ordered the element of disquiet arising from external circumstances has made those things that he could akin to himself, and the rest at least not alien; but with all to which he could not do even this, he has refrained from mixing, and has expelled from his life all which it was of advantage to treat thus."


    My strong suspicion is that many of the commentators who push "live unknown" as Epicurean doctrine are in actuality Stoics / Anti-Epicureans themselves, and they have a personal interest in seeing true Epicureans sit back, shut up, and leave the world of public affairs totally to themselves, so that they can push their own pet "virtue-ethics" projects without opposition. :-)

  • Cassius There is no argument about it because this is not also how I think of "living unknown." I know that Epicurus puts friendship as chief pleasure, and this is diametrically opposed to solitude. Moreover, Epicurus' teachings on justice and and social contract are obviously a sign of active participation in public affairs.


    What I think of living invisibly when I say it is simply to live a life free from disturbance and annoyance.

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • I know that Epicurus puts friendship as chief pleasure,

    I know I sound like a nitpicker today and I apologize, but since we're discussing for the purpose of sharpening our understanding I ought to comment on this too. Probably better put that would be "I know that Epicurus puts friendship as a chief tool for achieving pleasure."

    PD27. Of all the things which wisdom acquires to produce the blessedness of the complete life, far the greatest is the possession of friendship.

    I only point that out because it is a subject of regular discussion as to whether it is possible to rank some pleasures as more important than others. I think that Epicurus would say that it is not possible to do so as a general rule, so I doubt it is proper to speak of a "chief pleasure" -- at least not in general, apart from a particular context.


    I also say that because I frequently see comments that imply exactly that -- that friendship is somehow a special pleasure higher than any other, and I think it's important to allow "friendship" to assume a absolute conceptual superiority that is not justified by the rest of the philosophy. If anything other than pleasure itself is allowed to creep toward the status of "chief good" or "highest good" other than the feeling of pleasure itself, I think that's an invitation to confusion and an open door to the virtue-ethicists.

  • friendship is meant as the most important means to the end that is pleasure.

    Oscar Well, you're right. I guess I was wrong when choosing the right words when I mentioned "chief pleasure" while in fact what I meant was the PD 27 "Of all the means which are procured by wisdom to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends."


    I stand corrected.

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."