Shana HT March 5 at 5:37pm Tell me about Epicurean self sufficiency. Something I can read that isn't too difficult to digest. I'm not a scholar by any means, just curious about different philosophies.
On Philodemus’ Art of Property Management (Part I)
Shana HT I read this and it totally confused me, where is the pleasure in this?
For the Epicurean sage, self-sufficiency is a virtue produced by prudence and by understanding that “poor is not the one who possesses little but the one who desires more”, since “nothing is enough to someone for whom enough is little”. According to the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, the virtue of self-sufficiency is the opposite of greed.
Like · Reply · March 5 at 5:41pm
Todd Gibson Shana HT The Philodemus text is dealing specifically with economic self-sufficiency, which may or may not be the kind of self-sufficiency you have in mind.
Economic self-sufficiency is not equated with pleasure - in fact the acquisition and management of wealth is more often a source of pain. Hence Epicurus' advice to avoid seeking great wealth.
On the other hand, a certain amount of wealth is beneficial in that it affords one the freedom to pursue pleasure without the constraints that would be imposed by excessive reliance on others to provide for one's basic needs.
Like · Reply · March 5 at 8:46pm · Edited
Hiram Crespo If you read all the way to the seven principles of autarchy at the conclusion of the reasonings you will see advise for balancing pleasure and wealth (delegate duties, earn rental income and other productive assets so that you do not have to work as much and have time for leisure) and also how association in labor is important. Working with close friends is ideal. Working withco workers or a boss who has a bad attitude can be disastrous to morale and happiness.
Like · Reply · March 6 at 8:09am
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Cassius Amicus Shana also this is where the model of "the gods" come in. Someone who is perfectly self-sufficient causes no one any trouble nor shows gratitude or envy or the like. The main quote there about a totally self-sufficient being is:
"The truth of the position that pleasure is the ultimate good will most readily appear from the following illustration. Let us imagine a man living in the continuous enjoyment of numerous and vivid pleasures alike of body and of mind, undisturbed either by the presence or by the prospect of pain. What possible state of existence could we describe as being more excellent or more desirable? One so situated must possess in the first place a strength of mind that is proof against all fear of death or of pain. He will know that death means complete unconsciousness, and that pain is generally light if long and short if strong, so that its intensity is compensated by brief duration and its continuance by diminishing severity. Let such a man moreover have no dread of any supernatural power; let him never suffer the pleasures of the past to fade away, but constantly renew their enjoyment in recollection, and his lot will be one which will not admit of further improvement.”
And there are other quotes......
Like · Reply · 1 · March 5 at 5:54pm
Cassius Amicus This is the model - PD1 - The blessed and immortal nature knows no trouble itself nor causes trouble to any other, so that it is never constrained by anger or favour. For all such things exist only in the weak.
Like · Reply · 1 · March 5 at 5:55pm
Cassius Amicus Then VS 44 and 45 = The wise man when he has accommodated himself to straits knows better how to give than to receive, so great is the treasure of self-sufficiency which he has discovered.
The study of nature does not make men productive of boasting or bragging nor apt to display that culture which is the object of rivalry with the many, but high-spirited and self-sufficient, taking pride in the good things of their own minds and not of their circumstances.
Like · Reply · 1 · March 5 at 5:55pm
Alexander Rios Self-sufficiency. Independence and freedom.
Freedom from an inescapable Fate, proved by showing that most events in our life are a consequence of our own choices and avoidances (decision making).
Freedom from the ravages of Fortune, by use of prudence, physics, use of future planning, saving for rainy days, reasoning about consequences.
Freedom from Death, by showing that we cannot experience our own death state.
Freedom from the gods, by demonstrating that the gods do not interact with us, need not from us, and that they are maximally happy.
Freedom from unlimited desires, by showing that the soul (nervous system) can live a happy life by satisfying those bodily desires that are both necessary and natural (avoiding cultural, or religious, or mobbish, or artificial goals actually removes constraints that limit us).
Freedom from being deceived, by pointing out that we have the faculties that we need to navigate this earth, as Nature has fine tuned our human nature to be adapted to our environment.
Freedom from poor use of imagination (and speculations over logic), by explaining how it, and dreams and "visions" work, and how they fail to be reliable.
We are free from many constraints and are tuned by Nature to find what we need. Being self sufficient is easy, as long as we do avoid falling into vanities.
See Epicurus' letters.
Unlike · Reply · 4 · March 5 at 9:01pm · Edited
Ilkka Vuoristo Self-sufficiency in the Epicurean Philosophy has the meaning that you -- the individual human -- have the power to achieve a happy life with your actions.
Like · Reply · 4 · March 5 at 7:58pm
Cassius Amicus I agree with the clear meaning of what Ilkka wrote - that we have the "power" to achieve a happy life, but I would clarify "power" in the sense of "capability" because of course not everyone, because of circumstances beyond their control, will be able to achieve the goal of happy living over a normal life span. Some will, and some won't, but at least in many situations we have the power to make choices that will effect our outcomes. A big distinction here is that the determinists give no people any ability whatsoever to effect their own course in life, and hold everything to be beyond human control.
Like · Reply · 2 · March 5 at 8:17pm
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Cassius Amicus In followup to Ilkka Vuoristo and my point that we are ABLE to live happily, but aren't guaranteed to succeed, here's my opportunity to quote Virgil! And darn if almost every cite on the internet cuts out a lot of the most important part of the quote!!! Anyway, here's my pig Latin translation of what ought to be one of the most famous lines of Virgil poetry, which the experts say was intended to refer to Lucretius, but might even refer to Epicurus himself:
"Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas, (THE INTERNET STOPS HERE!! but it continues )..... atque metus omnis et inexorable fatum subiecit pedibus strepitumque Acheronis avari"
"Happy was he who was able to know the causes of things....
and more, all terrors and inexorable fate he trampled, along with the roar of greedy Acheron!"
Like · Reply · 2 · March 5 at 8:28pm · Edited
Cassius Amicus An example of how Wikiquote (and especially John Dryden) strips Epicurean meaning from the quote ----
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