Alt-tech outreach

  • There are new green pastures out there among the social medias that are becoming an alternative to the major tech giants (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc.). What comes to mind is Gab.com, Odysee.com, Minds.com etc.


    One of the first things I do is search for Epicurus / Epicurean on these alternatives and there doesn't seem to be anything solid. This could be an opportunity to establish an Epicurean community and have a natural monopoly in the philosophy department among these sites by being the first.


    I am willing to start the groups, but my concern is that I am a novice at best within this philosophy, so am not sure how effective of an admin I would be.


    I mention those three alternatives specifically as I believe they are the front-runners.


    Let me know your thoughts on this, and if I do create a group, even if it is to be a place holder, should I name it "Epicurean Friends"?

  • Sounds a great idea to be among the first players in the market. Like investing in start-up companies ;) . However, I think here's already a great platform for discussion and the board is also mentioned in the wikipedia article on Epicurus in 'external links'. So there's already a significant advantage. I would rather promote intensifying posting on EpicureanFriends :)

  • Cassius Idk if you have a copyright on "Epicurean Friends" or if that can be done-- but I hope that name will _not_ wind up being used on gab or minds, because you have made so much effort to keep this site free of modern political controversy. Both those sites are well known as havens for a certain extreme political perspective. As we have discussed, EP does not dictate an individual's political stance-- that would be determined by individual assessment of pleasurable choices. And if groups of politically like-minded Epicureans gather and have political conversations, in every imaginable ideology, that's to be expected! But there could be disastrous consequences if this group's name became associated with one ideology. There are some people who would not want to participate in your site should it be seen as connected somehow to these others, because such participation could be socially and professionally risky as well as personally unpleasant -- factors a wise person should include in their pleasure decisions.


    TDLR: imo, any groups formed on sites known for heavy political activity need their own names and should not be associated with this group in any way.

  • I don't see Epicurean Friends listed in the USPTO database, but trademarking the name isn't a bad idea to preserve the identity. That being said, one has the responsibility to defend their own trademark. There's no trademark police.

    I'm not a lawyer (and you are Cassius !), but I think you can use TM or SM (service mark) if you want to "plant a flag". The (R) is only legal once the trademark is actually registered.

    For anyone interested, https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics and https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks#trademarks-0 .

    (I'm still curious about intellectual property as I was manager of the department that ran the Patent and Trademark Resource Center at my library)

  • OK this is a deep subject about which I have a lot to say. I am going to set this here for the moment and then compose a long post and come back. First, however, thanks to Matthaios for bringing up the topic and offering to help with publicity, and thanks to Titus for pointing out that there is a link to us on the wikipedia page. I am not sure when that was added or how, but glad to see it there. In general I agree with Elayne's comments, but I want to go into a lot more detail about my thoughts. More soon.....

  • Argh the day is pretty much gone and I only got about 1/3 of the way through what I wanted to type, going through all the platforms I have participated in and my thoughts on each. I will finish it and post it hopefully tomorrow morning.


    In the meantime another general comment: I think all of us who have been at this a while are sensitive to how difficult it is to keep together a community and keep it from fracturing over issues that really are not central to the community itself. There's probably no way to incorporate those divergent interests - it's a lot easier to say "stick to the very basics" and exclude everything else than it is to try to come up with compromise solutions. Even here on Epicureanfriends it's been tempting to set up sub-forums on topics and say "let's have those who think XXX post here" and "let's have those who think YYY post there" but that would probably create more hard feelings than would be worth it.


    And I am not even really talking about controversial political issues -- even issues like discussion of different views of the Epicurean gods can create a lot of heat.


    So I think in general the best answer to all these questions comes down to something like encouraging everyone to post where-ever they want, and where-ever they can spread the general message about Epicurus through their own local communities, but to always point back here as the place where at the very highest level we'll remain devoted explicitly to the philosophy as a philosophy, and cooperate on learning and understanding the basic doctrines, while leaving the "local application" to the individual locales


    I'll leave it at that for now but i do have a lot more to say about the latest developments in platforms and censorship issues. So far we're pretty isolated from those because very few people know who we are, but I want us to dream big and hope for lot wider impact as time goes by, and I remain convinced that even though we're off everyone's radar right now, if we ever were to break through into a wider community we too would come under the full-force scrutiny of modern censorship. Right now in the USA we face virtually no censorship issues ourselves today, but already in many places in the rest of the world we'd fall under some types of blasphemy prohibitions, and/or be at risk for our personal safety for Epicurean religious views. I want us to have a world-wide reach and also to make the core Epicurean documents available everywhere, so the issue of how to do that without becoming captive to other agendas is a huge one. And that may make for some strange bedfellows or unconventional methods.


    We're all aware of the highly-charged political issues that get labeled as fake news or historical revisionism of many types Well my view is that no matter what issue you want to name, and no matter how politically incorrect it is to take a position on something today, all of those pale in comparison to the "historical revisionism" that would result from someone making a full 2000+year review of world history from an EPICUREAN perspective. It's kind of ironic, but by sticking to the core doctrines we can seem like at the moment that we're being "safe," but in the end the core doctrines are really more explosive than any of today's charged political issue you'd care to name. I think we need to look at these issues from that perspective and plan accordingly.

  • I appreciate the responses and the concerns. I think I understand the risks involved and would not want the reputation of this group tarnished in any way. In order to create separation, let me disclose what I have in mind.


    I will start a group named "Epic Path", where I post my own spin on certain things. It won't solely be focused on Epicureanism, but I will throw it in from time to time, such as sharing some memes and videos. I won't shy away from that being a major part of the group/page, but for followers that have real interest in it, they will be referred here for further education.


    Outside of that, I will post on topics I find that could be subjectively related to Epicureanism, such as health, wealth, happiness promotion, and freedom from politics (if these sites are bastions of extremism, then maybe the Epic Path will lead some out).


    If it does get to the point where some of these alternatives become truly viable options for social media, and are becoming more diversified in their views, then I will post again here.


    Not sure how active I will be on it, but it'll be an interesting side hobby.


    Edit: I haven't had a chance to read Cassius's comment, even though I posted this after, had it up for some time. I will re-read what was posted later tonight or tomorrow.

  • Just like you've done yourself Matthaois, most people are probably going to word search for Epicurus and find any Epicurean subgroups that way. Then it also seems most of the time there are going to be group descriptions that tell when the subgroup is about. I think the truth is that in every case a local group on a particular page is going to be unique, but it can still point to resources for further reading, such as we do here in regularly mentioning the Norman DeWitt book or other core resources, and it's in that context that this Epicureanfriends forum can be listed as a place for more in-depth discussion.


    That's probably the best general guideline for proceeding in any context - just go ahead and mention Epicurus / Epicurean/ or Lucretius in the name so it's searchable, then point out that anyone not familiar with the philosophy should take the time to look up the details, and then refer to the links and reading material such as here: https://www.epicureanfriends.com/wcf/index.php?faq/#entry-24

  • With what communication platforms do you have an account for use on your computer or telephone and monitor at least occasionally? 9

    1. Facebook (6) 67%
    2. Youtube (5) 56%
    3. Twitter (3) 33%
    4. Instagram (2) 22%
    5. Others (please specify in comments) (2) 22%
    6. Telegram (2) 22%
    7. Mastodon (1) 11%
    8. Gab (1) 11%
    9. Minds (1) 11%
    10. Discord (1) 11%
    11. Snapchat (1) 11%
    12. Reddit (1) 11%
    13. Medium (1) 11%
    14. Matrix (1) 11%
    15. Whatsapp (0) 0%
    16. Pinterest (0) 0%
    17. TikTok (0) 0%
    18. MeWe (0) 0%

    Well I have managed to lose the material I typed so far so I have to begin again, but that's fine. In the meantime I would like to know if people have other ideas as to platforms that ought to be on the radar. Let me start a poll:

  • As if to show that I have a trivial thought for every occasion, I want to share this clip of a line I think is appropriate to the thread.


    We're early in the work of trying to reinvigorate an Epicurean school on the internet, but as opportunities arise I think this cliche will apply ---


    And that is: if anyone sees an appropriate place for philosophical discussion where it would be helpful to take quick action to bring up Epicurus and Epicurean philosophy, they should not wait for orders from "headquarters," and they should even say "to the devil with the orders" - they should use their best judgment and "ride to the sound of the guns." :)


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  • I was also going to suggest trademarking the name if it's a concern...


    I suggest that good ettiquette is if you start a group somewhere you can feature a link back to this site so it has a good SEO score.


    As for other sites, I use linkedin for networking, and think it'd be a good place to post Epicurean advice relative to our professions.

  • Protonus I almost listed LinkedIn in the poll but I decided against it as not really being social media. I have always had a negative impression of it as a huge spam generator - do you use it productively for more than just looking up people?

  • I found my new job with it, chat with former co-workers, and do networking with it, and follow a couple interesting people/groups. I'm inclined say it isn't a *huge* spam generator, but I'd be splitting hairs since there's certainly some spam on it.


    Sadly, like Facebook et al, there's no shortage of BS political arguing and dogma.

  • At least in my personal experience, using Reddit & Discord, the Epicurean communities I started there largely ended up as failed experiments with the latter having limited success. I've raised the question for months now about whether or not I should re-do it, and I've spent those months figuring out exactly what went wrong aside from my own quietness time to time within in.


    I still consider it an option, but more restrictions and a better system or organizing role perms would have to be instituted, especially with partnerships and self-plugs on other servers.


    As for Gab and Minds: I agree with Elayne.

    “If the joys found in nature are crimes, then man’s pleasure and happiness is to be criminal.”

  • using Reddit & Discord, the Epicurean communities I started there largely ended up as failed experiments with the latter having limited success.

    Charle's comments remind me of my own general impression about ALL our internet initiatives on the social platforms - including Facebook, which I consider to have been the most productive of all my own past investments of time. Even though I don't consider my Facebook efforts to have been a a 'success' any more than the other platforms, it is also true that the great majority of internet-based relationships that allowed us to get this EpicureanFriends forum off the ground came through Facebook.


    I think the issue in all our internet time investments is something unrelated to the platforms themselves: the platforms can provide "advertising" but they cannot provide the substance or the reason to continue to stick together.


    It seems to me that most of our efforts (I really mean "my own efforts" - I won't disparage anyone's efforts but my own) have amounted to saying "Hey, look here, look at what Epicurus said!" And while that activity definitely has its place, it's not sufficient to build a "team" or the kind of real-world relationships that are necessary in life. We almost end up being Platonists of a sort ourselves, spending 99% of our efforts manipulating words as if there will be some magic arrangement that will answer all our needs.


    I started my active phase of internetting on Epicurus in about 2010, and as I look back on that time the most satisfying part of it has been forming the relationships that have ended up being our core people here and now on Epicureanfriends, largely because I think we share a mission in which we feel that Epicurean philosophy answers correctly some of our most core questions about life and how to spend our time. We sense that the answers are here, but we have only scratched the surface of implementing them, and we aren't going to be able to move to a next phase until we are able to move from internet-only to "real-world" action in our local circles.


    The social media world will probably remain our best means of making initial contacts, but we still have to put together the structure of how to make friends and organize locally.

  • Cassius , I have started thinking my most useful online activity (in terms of pleasure) is a combination of this site and just conversing with friends and family on FB-- people I see in person when there's not a pandemic.


    I have realized that it may be an unnecessary effort to get large numbers of people interested in Epicurus and the historical details. There are multiple characteristics that would be necessary, not all of which were necessary in his time. People who want to participate in something like this are interested in history, science (at least to a degree), critical thinking, languages... interests which aren't necessarily relevant to their daily pleasures.


    Most people who have adopted Platonist or Stoic ideas are unaware of the source. They've absorbed it unconsciously through the culture. Most people who accept elements of modern physics know very little about the science involved. Non-religious people are statistically likely to be better educated... but there's a pretty high degree of doubt and metaphorical takes on religion even in those who don't know much about physics.


    I have many friends who are aware that their religious texts can't be literally true-- they like writers like Bishop Spong, who metaphorizes the whole thing. They know the mind is material if you ask, even if they also hold parallel incompatible religious beliefs. What they've retained is primarily the idealism... and that aspect, although sticky, can be argued against by appealing to real life experiences.


    I am not lacking in local friends, and I hope others on here are not either. I think I can bring the most pleasure to my friends (and thus to myself) by just spending time with them... because when we talk about life, when crises and decisions come up, I give my perspective, and I can help them see pleasurable choices and alternatives to Platonic or Stoic thinking even when they don't know where they got those ideas. To borrow a Christian framing, if they see me enjoying my life and here and there I mention what works for me, the example can attract them-- even if they never get interested in Epicurus or physics at all.


    I've thought about this in regards to the blog I started, which is way too nerdy and detailed for most people. I'm not yet sure how to revise it to have broader appeal, but I think most people might be attracted to something with far less detail. They don't care about whether the universe is infinite or had a beginning-- and it causes unnecessary confusion if that conflicts with popular articles on modern physics. Just saying "everything is material and there's no supernatural" is enough of a description of the physics aspect. If they are religious and need to be talked out of it, they can read from a plethora of atheist sources with thorough arguments, and perhaps links could be provided. But as Elli has pointed out, what most atheist sources are missing is the goal of pleasure. I don't even think it's necessary to explain that in a complicated way. But I'm still working on exactly how to state it... and it is devilishly hard for me to tame my own wordiness and tendency to get complicated. 😂


    To get most people to start putting pleasure first would be a lot easier if we aren't expecting them to also be interested in Epicurus or to need to learn the correct understanding of ataraxia in order to combat modern academics, etc.

  • I think what you've stated there Elayne is very likely the conclusion that many people will decide is best for them.


    I don't think it's what Epicurus would conclude for himself if he were alive today, and I've always thought that there is naturally going to be a lot of different perspectives on any individual will choose to pursue Epicurus' insights once they are recognized. Epicurus and the core ancient Epicureans could have reached exactly the conclusions that you state -- but they did not, and it's interesting to think through why they didn't.


    But probably near the starting point of any productive analysis is going to be recognizing that everyone isn't cut out to want to pursue a revolutionary / missionary philosophical revolution (kind of paraphrasing DeWitt there). I think we can presume that Epicurus and his core group recognized the same issue. For those who do want to pursue a separate school / movement format, we can't let the fact that "most people" aren't wired in that way stop us from pursuing that goal.


    We're jumping off here from Charles' comments about the lack of more success on Reddit, Discord, etc. I think there are clear conclusions we can draw from that experience, just like you're drawing clear conclusions from your own. Thinking through it all and making adjustments to our expectations is important no matter which path we decided to pursue. Rather than get discouraged we can learn from the experience and both clarify goals and improve methods.

  • I don't think it's what Epicurus would conclude for himself if he were alive today, and I've always thought that there is naturally going to be a lot of different perspectives on any individual will choose to pursue Epicurus' insights once they are recognized. Epicurus and the core ancient Epicureans could have reached exactly the conclusions that you state -- but they did not, and it's interesting to think through why they didn't.

    In the spirit of SFOTSE (Sic Fac Omnia Tamquam Spectet Epicurus "Do Everything As If Epicurus Were Watching"), I'm curious what you think Epicurus *would* "conclude for himself if he were alive today"? And I'm not doing this to be provocative... Just curious. Because I'm not entirely sure myself.

    Were the various "Gardens"/groups in the disparate cities in the ancient world independent? I got the impression that they looked to Athens post-Epicurus as a sort of "first among equals" but the Scholarch of the Athenian Garden didn't function like a Pope. It's that other's understanding?

  • I am firmly in the camp of what I picked up from DeWitt that Epicurus was a philosophical revolutionary, and I think that if he were alive today he would be about 100 times more offended by the state of philosophy and society as he was at hsi own time, and motivated to try to to change it


    So I think he'd pretty much do what he did then - he'd devote himself to organizing his school - this time using all the assets of modern technology, and he'd set about doing his best to educate and "save" a world that is vastly more sick today than it was in his own time.


    As to how the Athens group was looked upon I agree with your assessment. I can see the Athens looked at as perhaps first among equals, or something that went along with "tradition" but I too doubt that they would have been tightly hierarchically organized.


    Of course in the end that organization plan (or lack thereof) may have contributed to their downfall. I think at the time they were not aware of what a force Judeo-Christianity was evolving into, and had they realized it sooner, and what they were up against, I think they would have seen the necessity of closer organization in order to battle the new threat.