Mike Anyayahan's Blog: Epicureanmindset.blogspot.com

  • Thanks for sharing my blog here Cassius. Feel free to comment guys. :)

    "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 just read the article I linked and I completely agree with it -- but spurred by recent other conversations here (discussing consumerism), I would add more:

    Major Point One is -- You have focused on several of the major causes of anxiety - improper priorities for fame, money, and power.

    Depending on the audience, those are indeed common issues that need to be dealt with.

    But in addition to those, Epicurus placed fear of false religion, and fear of death, even higher on the scale of things needing to be dealt with, so it's good not to forget those, and to keep those in context.

    Also, you have said -

    "Anxiety destroys you and the people around you. It destroys your present thereby destroying your future as well. It does this by forcing you to sacrifice what exists to pursue something that does not exist."

    Yes that is absolutely true true -- misplaced priorities result in wasted time.

    I would add that the real problem with anxiety is that it is PAINFUL, and that time spent on being anxious rarely ends up reducing future pain, or leading to future pleasure. It is as you say DESTRUCTIVE because it results in more pain and reduced pleasure.

    Ultimately that result -- more pain, less pleasure, is "why you need to get rid of anxiety"

    Major point two is - You have focused on things that we have some fairly direct control over, and can fairly easily deal with, just by a change in attitude. But there are many things in life that JUSTIFIABLY create anxiety - fear of getting mugged or murdered on the street, fear of disease or accident or simply fear of wasting your life.

    Those things require affirmative work on your part (if they are preventable or reducible at all) to rearrange potentially many aspects of your life that go far beyond your attitude. They may require changing the location where you live, your occupation, the things you eat, the people you associate with -- all sorts of things that are not so easy as a simple change in attitude.

    There's nothing at all wrong with your article but recent discussions reinforce in my mind that what we're talking about here is a hierarchical process where it is very easy to get focuses on one particular rung on a "ladder," (or use whatever "path" analogy sounds good) while at the same time forgetting that we are on a ladder and that the ladder leads somewhere.

    Not only is it easy to forget that we're on a ladder and that the ladder needs to lead somewhere, the real problem is that tremendous numbers of people have never even been introduced, much less understand, what the true goal of life is, and that this life is our only chance to do whatever it is we want to do.

  • I was going to put this in a separate thread but I think I will put it here. Some of you have probably seen this exchange on facebook. I really like the guy asking the question so I will just put the exchange here without names because I don't want this to seem to be a hit on him personally. LOTS of people do this -- even people writing here on this forum with the best of intentions, because they just refuse or can't grasp the issue of how contextual Epicurean philosophy is. So we have a huge task of getting this issue front and center and dealing with it. Here's the exchange:

    Q. Epicurus argues that egoism will align with virtue, but isnt there possible scenarios where choosing pleasure will go against virtue?


    Of course there will be conflict to anyone who holds that 'virtue' is objective or absolute, but to Epicurus, virtue has no meaning or use other than being productive of pleasure, so in Epicurean terms such a conflict will not occur. This is discussed at length in Cicero's On Ends by Torquatus. As to "egoism" that has no relation to Epicurean philosophy either because the goal is pleasure, not "egoism."

    Q. what if my pleasure goes against doing the right thing?

    Cassius: What is "the right thing"? There IS no "right thing"! You'll conclude that Epicurus is wrong in the end because you're accepting the premises of those who are against him and suggest that god or Plato can tell you "the right thing." Which is fine - everyone can accept or reject what they like, but at least be sure you understand the issue, and the questions you are asking indicate that you do not understand Epicurus on a very basic level -- which is true of a *lot* of people - because they refuse to give up the idea that their own perception of "virtue" is "the correct one."


    The reason I post this is that - among the people likely to read our Epicurean posts on the internet - we can probably count the number of people for whom this lesson has sunk in on the thumbs of one foot. This is a VERY difficult point for people to understand - they have been indoctrinated all their lives to believe that there is a "right" and a "wrong" and that their own views of "virtue" align with those abstractions.

    There is no way that people will truly understand epicurean philosophy as long as they struggle with that point.

    The relationship of this point to the article is that it is VERY easy for people to skip over this essential fundamental and presume that all they need to do is "take a pill" for anxiety and they need make no further adjustments. In that respect "giving up the pursuit of power, fame, and money" is just another PILL -- adopting that strategy without understanding the wider framework of WHY and HOW you should adjust your life ends up being almost worthless, because you'll just careen like a bumper car into another error.

  • Thanks Cassius for the iinput. I'll create a separate article on fears or worries being the result of religious beliefs, notion of death, and other uncertainties of life.

    About the right and wrong thing, It's clear among us that virtues are not the end but only useful to achieve pleasure. I am ready to answer such questions depending on the context.

    Your observations will help me make my succeeding blog posts more compelling especially on the above issues you mentioned. :)

    "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."

  • Mike you're presumably reading my exchanges with Hiram in regard to Metrodorus and Philodemus on economics, which is covering some of these same issues. I do hope you will continue to write more and think "outside the box" of the kind of "make the best of a bad situation" approach that seems to be characteristic of Epicurean writers for at least the last fifty years.

    Yes, "make the best of a bad situation" makes good sense in a way, but if it turns into a British-sounding "keep a stiff up lip" where you end up working to TOLERATE pain rather than to change the circumstances and rid yourself of it, then it becomes just another brick in the wall, and part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

  • Yes Cassius. I was reading your exchanges with Hiram on Epucurean economics.

    With regards to the "Make the best out of a bad situation," I still hold on to the eliminationl of pain instead of the endurance of pain because to endure pain is useless if there is nothing pleasant to look forward to.

    "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."