Daily Interactions With The Non-Epicurean World

  • I have a long-time friend who calls me almost daily to report his latest observation of the "insanity" of the religious world around us. His specialty is pointing out the obvious contradictions and maddening trivialities we see on church signs.


    Today's call was about a public statement that a person who was killed in a senseless shooting is already now enjoying heaven so we have no need to mourn his death. Well if so why don't we all commit suicide today?


    Another of his favorites: "If god is your co-pilot your in the wrong seat."


    I suspect that people who enthusiastic enough about Epicurus to come to a forum like this probably have similar frustrations where there would like to just "blow off steam" about things like that. And I think there are plenty of things like that to discuss without veering off into the "politics" which would be destructive to our general purpose.


    Sometimes I get the impression that the title "General Discussion" and the fairly intellectual tone of the board may discourage some people from posting that kind of thing, but I think it would be helpful for us to share experiences in order to build community.


    Would it be useful to set up a separate forum (such as "Daily Interactions With the Non-Epicurean World" to emphasize that that kind of post is welcome?

  • I agree. In fact, this is what we should be preoccupied with if we want to grow and make a non-Epicurean world an Epicurean one. This is what priests and pastors do. Every Sunday, they talk about how Christians would live in a secular world. If we don't do it, we will remain a small and endangered species remote from the real world.

    "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 instead of limiting ourselves from scholarly discusdions, we can be more effective and productive if we also apply Epicureanism in the most practical context. I don't think it is wrong to talk about things like happiness at work, choosing the right products to buy, ideal home for a tranquil life, how love provides and destroys happiness, why criminals deserve punishment or second chance, how success makes one happy or misserable, when is the right time to quit a day job, how Epicureans should practice defensive driving, parenting, Epicurean life hacks, and the like.

    "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'd be keen to learn of Epicurean life hacks people have or how people apply Epicureanism in a practical way.

  • We had a thread on this a while back:

    Practical Daily Pleasure-- Creating Pleasurable Habits


    Lately, I'm finding that I don't think much about seeking particular pleasures. Instead I think about the atomic universe and its implications, and that seems to motivate me to focus on a particular task, either for a day or for multiple days. Interestingly, the tasks that I choose in this manner keep turning out to be pleasurable even if I was originally envisioning them as onerous.

  • Thanks Godfrey, just read that thread and some really useful thoughts. Thank you for pointing this out.

    I also found your suggestion about the atomic universe and its implications to be pretty interesting. Be keen to here more about that.


    I am trying to find innovative ways of teaching my 4 year old elements of Epicureanism as i figured if you teach it you can master it. (Which can only be a great thing for me). :).


    This weekend I had a good opportunity to teach my 4 year old a little bit about 'what is terrible is easy to endure'. To which I think ill have lots of lesson plans here!!

  • SamJ, regarding the atomic universe.... Since everything is material and there is no supernatural or afterlife, this should put all of our focus on our lived life. This has given me an understanding that the only meaning to my life is that which I choose, and that this choosing is a process of being open and attentive to my desires as well as to my sensations, unconscious knowledge, and pleasures and pains. This choosing is an intuitive and hard to describe process, and of course it's different for everybody so it may not even be useful to try to describe it. But my opinion is that working with this process is far more important than any life hack, unless you want to think of it as a life hack. At any rate, this is giving me more confidence in my choices and, as a natural consequence, more focus in my daily activities.


    Another implication of the atomic universe is that I find that I have a greater sense of wonder after I've been giving "the nature of things" an extended bit of thought.

  • This choosing is an intuitive and hard to describe process, and of course it's different for everybody so it may not even be useful to try to describe it. But my opinion is that working with this process is far more important than any life hack, unless you want to think of it as a life hack. At any rate, this is giving me more confidence in my choices and, as a natural consequence, more focus in my daily activities.

    At risk of going way off topic, this passage on on the issue of being able to understand yourself, reminded me of the "know thyself" phrase and issue, and that called to my mind a passage from a book I like very much and have talked about a little - "Dialogue on Innate Principles" by Jackson Barwis. I think the attitude he takes toward this issue is something with which Epicurus would agree, given Epicurus' view of the "canon of truth" and what it is it can and can not reveal to us:


    Here is the key line: " ... the knowledge we may attain of our own nature and principles is more clear and more certain, comes to us easier and with better evidence, then we can possibly acquire concerning the nature and principles of any other creatures."


    More context:




    So as Godfrey says, I think this attitude that we are capable of understanding that which is really important to us "....is giving me more confidence in my choices and, as a natural consequence, more focus in my daily activities."

  • And the Epicurean Canon gives us the tools to know ourselves, which in a nutshell is what I was describing above. It's not just about square towers and bent oars!

  • Yes that was the point of my going off on the tangent. It seems very Epicurean to me to take the position that surely off all the things we have information about, the thing we have the MOST information about is "us" -- so we need to start with understanding ourselves and not considering ourselves to be mystical black boxes that only a god or a magician could figure out.