Welcome ResponsiblyFree!

  • Hello and welcome to the forum ResponsiblyFree

    This is the place for students of Epicurus to coordinate their studies and work together to promote the philosophy of Epicurus. Please remember that all posting here is subject to our Community Standards / Rules of the Forum our Not Neo-Epicurean, But Epicurean and our Posting Policy statements and associated posts.

    Please understand that the leaders of this forum are well aware that many fans of Epicurus may have sincerely-held views of what Epicurus taught that are incompatible with the purposes and standards of this forum. This forum is dedicated exclusively to the study and support of people who are committed to classical Epicurean views. As a result, this forum is not for people who seek to mix and match some Epicurean views with positions that are inherently inconsistent with the core teachings of Epicurus.

    All of us who are here have arrived at our respect for Epicurus after long journeys through other philosophies, and we do not demand of others what we were not able to do ourselves. Epicurean philosophy is very different from other viewpoints, and it takes time to understand how deep those differences really are. That's why we have membership levels here at the forum which allow for new participants to discuss and develop their own learning, but it's also why we have standards that will lead in some cases to arguments being limited, and even participants being removed, when the purposes of the community require it. Epicurean philosophy is not inherently democratic, or committed to unlimited free speech, or devoted to any other form of organization other than the pursuit by our community of happy living through the principles of Epicurean philosophy.

    One way you can be most assured of your time here being productive is to tell us a little about yourself and personal your background in reading Epicurean texts. It would also be helpful if you could tell us how you found this forum, and any particular areas of interest that you have which would help us make sure that your questions and thoughts are addressed.

    In that regard we have found over the years that there are a number of key texts and references which most all serious students of Epicurus will want to read and evaluate for themselves. Those include the following.

    1. "Epicurus and His Philosophy" by Norman DeWitt
    2. "A Few Days In Athens" by Frances Wright
    3. The Biography of Epicurus by Diogenes Laertius. This includes the surviving letters of Epicurus, including those to Herodotus, Pythocles, and Menoeceus.
    4. "On The Nature of Things" - by Lucretius (a poetic abridgement of Epicurus' "On Nature"
    5. "Epicurus on Pleasure" - By Boris Nikolsky
    6. The chapters on Epicurus in Gosling and Taylor's "The Greeks On Pleasure."
    7. Cicero's "On Ends" - Torquatus Section
    8. Cicero's "On The Nature of the Gods" - Velleius Section
    9. The Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda - Martin Ferguson Smith translation
    10. A Few Days In Athens" - Frances Wright
    11. Lucian Core Texts on Epicurus: (1) Alexander the Oracle-Monger, (2) Hermotimus
    12. Philodemus "On Methods of Inference" (De Lacy version, including his appendix on relationship of Epicurean canon to Aristotle and other Greeks)

    It is by no means essential or required that you have read these texts before participating in the forum, but your understanding of Epicurus will be much enhanced the more of these you have read.

    And time has also indicated to us that if you can find the time to read one book which will best explain classical Epicurean philosophy, as opposed to most modern "eclectic" interpretations of Epicurus, that book is Norman DeWitt's Epicurus And His Philosophy.

    Welcome to the forum!

  • Hello Fellow Epicurean Free Friends.

    I am grateful that I have stumbled into your Garden through a podcast.

    I have been a long time "Free Friend" of Epicurus. He has faithfully accompanied me through my many years of gain and loss keeping me linked to life through our shared Love of Wisdom through which, with Katharine my Other Half, I came into the Wisdom of Love.

    Attached is a piece I did on who Epicurus is to me as well as a photo of the cover of my well-worn pocketbook selection of Epicurus "A Guide to Happiness" I have kept close to me since I bought it in Brisbane, Australia, 1996.

    Just recently on my Facebook page I posted this photo of my pocketbook along with this comment:





    I saw this Virtual Reality Game Ad on FB and put this comment under it along with the photo of the book:

    Hey, how about turning off your virtual de-vice and take a virtuous walk with your friend or loved one watching a butterfly cast its shadow on the many petals of the red, red rose with the pocketbook of Epicurus "A Guide to Happiness" in your hand open to page 31 reading together: "Remember that you are of mortal nature and have a limited time to live and have devoted yourself to discussions on nature for all time and eternity and have seen 'things that are now and are to come and have been.'" ResponsiblyFree

    Main Websites As Responsibly Free Voluntaryist

    1. For Home-Un-Schoolers and Self-Directed Life-Long Learners:


    2. For Committed Intimate Relationships:


    3. For Parenting:


    4. For Self-Actualization Resources:



    49 Youtube Videos:

    External Content www.youtube.com
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    Podcast Interviews With Everything-Voluntary.Com:

    1.Jack’s Journey, Autarchism, & Life-Coaching (54m) – Episode 099

    December 7, 2017 Skyler J. Collins (Editor)


    2.Jack C. Returns, NZ Lockdowns, & Be Your Own Authority (1h8m) – Episode 357

    August 21, 2020 Skyler J. Collins (Editor)



    Online, Ongoing, Free Philosophy Course: Self-Actualizing Responsible Freedom

    www.responsiblyfreeschool.com/academy-of-ideas contains details and links to all videos and transcripts. The course consists of 50 videos from the Academy of Ideas www.academyofideas.com and meets Mondays and Fridays 9PM New Zealand time on my zoom.


    Free Friends, A Voluntaryist Community. Every second Wednesday, 8PM (NZ time) I host our “Free Friends” gathering on my Zoom.


    Always use this URL and ID number to enter any Zoom session:


    Meeting ID: 824 532 0024


    Email: themesofjack@gmail.com


    I look forward to connecting with any and all of you here as my new Free Friends.

    Jack Carney in Auckland, New Zealand

  • Welcome to the forum Jack! You've posted a lot of material that is going to take some time to absorb, but it certainly looks like your interests align with those of the people here, and we'll be looking to hear more from you. In the meantime, welcome aboard!

    Do you mind telling us in which podcast you heard about this forum?

  • Hi Cassius and Martin

    As I mentioned in my post, I nicely, accidentally, stumbled upon you when I was searching for podcasts on Epicurus.

    I have connected with other Epicurean groups but had not known about yours, so was pleasantly surprised to come upon you.

    As you can read in my attached piece on Epicurus, he is the ancient philosopher I most identify with, namely, what I interpret as his materialistic, voluntaryistic approach to life which is mine.

    I read your rules about not bringing up politics but I hope you will allow it to be addressed tangentially as I do in that attachment I uploaded on my version of Epicurus.

    As a lifelong Voluntaryist, I interact with other persons based on the Non-Aggression Principle and the belief all human interactions should be strictly voluntary.

    Therefore, all collectives such as governments that use first physical force, are evil and unnecessary.

    My reading of Epicurus as intentionally living outside of the politics and never seeming to approve of any collectives based on force, leads me to believe he too would be a "Voluntaryist" and a good "Free Friend" (which is what I call Voluntaryists).

    I invite discussions on the question of whether we can accurately interpret Epicurus as a Voluntaryist as I am.

    Thanks for your good work.


  • Ah, another nice serendipitous event. I just happened to pick your Lucretius Today podcast 079 which I am just listening to now that seems to be on justice, fitting nice my Voluntaryist discussion point. Will share my thoughts after listening.

  • Hello Jack ---

    I think the topics you raise are both important and not something that runs afoul of our "no politics" rule.

    The last ten or so PD's are all aimed at "justice" and living arrangements, so there's no way we could avoid discussing issues like that even if we wanted to - which we don't. I suspect most of us would agree that the main problems get involved when we start endorsing or blacklisting particular politicians or parties in ways that create more heat than light, and I suspect we can all detect when something gets close to that.

    Many of us I think have come through many philosophical and political phases in life, and libertarian views are or have been very popular among many of us I am sure. I am sorry I still have not had time to read much of your material in depth, but I suspect that going through it is going to be fun and stimulating to discuss.

    However rather than starting at such a high-level conclusion as the non-aggression principle, I bet we would all benefit from retracing the steps by which we might reach such a conclusion, and I'd be very interested to hear from you on your background in getting to where you are now (such as issues of religion and physics and epistemology). But of course take any of it at your own pace!

  • Cassius and all here, I think the best way you can get to know my perspectives as a Epicurean Voluntaryist Passionate Poet and Rational Philosopher is to listen to the two podcast interviews done by my Voluntaryist friend, Skyler, on his Everything Voluntary podcast; and then add my website page with my illustrated poem that I read on a video on my Youtube channel. Here are details and links:

    Podcast Interviews With Everything-Voluntary.Com:

    1.Jack’s Journey, Autarchism, & Life-Coaching (54m) – Episode 099

    December 7, 2017 Skyler J. Collins (Editor)

    Episode 099 welcomes Jack Carney to the podcast for a chat with Skyler. Topics include: living all over the world, Auckland, autarchism and political labels, moral principles and aggression, freedom schools and unschooling, psychedelics, early adulthood, life coaching, humanistic spiritualism, our emotional brains, his philosophical journey based on loss, and more. Listen to Episode 099 (54m, mp3, 64kbps)

    Jack's Journey, Autarchism, & Life-Coaching (54m) – Episode 099
    Episode 099 welcomes Jack Carney to the podcast for a chat with Skyler. Topics include: living all over the world, Auckland, autarchism and political labels,…

    2.Jack C. Returns, NZ Lockdowns, & Be Your Own Authority (1h8m) – Episode 357

    August 21, 2020 Skyler J. Collins (Editor)

    Episode 357 welcomes back Jack Carney to chat with Skyler on the following topics: the COVID-19 lockdown experience in Auckland, New Zealand; lockdown protests stateside, their response, and then the George Floyd protests and their opposite response; government coordination on lockdown policies and website resource design; the Milgram experiment and what it says about today’s political climate; the Plandemic documentaries; the medical mafia; the changing usefulness of the Karen meme; why there are so few libertarian types in the world; government as God; the formerly rebellious nature of Mormons; why everyone must be their own authority, their own god; the non-aggression principle and self-defense; Free Friends, voluntary community building; his draft dodging of the Vietnam War in 1967; the Academy of Ideas YouTube channel; and more. Listen to Episode 357 (1h8m, mp3, 64kbps)

    Jack C. Returns, NZ Lockdowns, & Be Your Own Authority (1h8m) – Episode 357
    Episode 357 welcomes back Jack Carney to chat with Skyler on the following topics: the COVID-19 lockdown experience in Auckland, New Zealand; lockdown protests…

    My reading:

    26.Jack Reading his Poem
    26.Jack Reading his Poem

    We are only as free as we take the responsibility to be.

    With care, your Free Friend Jack

  • Ah, another nice serendipitous event. I just happened to pick your Lucretius Today podcast 079 which I am just listening to now that seems to be on justice, fitting nice my Voluntaryist discussion point. Will share my thoughts after listening.

    I don't know how many of the past podcast episodes you have heard, but I expect even from the earliest episodes you'll detect a perspective that is friendly to your point of view.

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “Welcome Responsibly free!” to “Welcome ResponsiblyFree!”.
  • Jack - I just finished reading through your eleven page PDF you posted above, and I do indeed find it very much in tune with the purpose of this forum and the views of most all of the group members here. I don't know if you've had much success in finding like-minded friends to talk about these issues in other places, but I think you'll find more than a few here. Look forward to hearing more from you.

  • Hi Cassius

    I am pleased you find that my version of Epicurus aligns with your community’s.

    I will enjoy discussing our versions of Epicurus on your podcast. I listened to 079 and liked the respectful banter, each comfortable in bringing his ideas out. I think I can add to the discussion and look forward to that--aligning with my New Zealand time.

    I would like to discuss three themes: Friendship; Freedom/Determism; and Older Age.

    In that earlier attachment photo of the pocketbook I carried and still carry around: A Guide To Happiness (have you seen that Phoenix 60p paperback published in 1995?).

    Page 18 on Friendship:

    #17. Of all the means which are presented by wisdom to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is friendship.” I call my Voluntaryist group I started up in NZ: Free Friends (see attachment and note etymological origin of “friend” and “free” are the same and it is “love”).

    Page 8 on Freedom/Determinism:

    “He laughs at destiny which some have set up as the ruler of all things. He thinks that with us lies the chief power in determining events, some of which happened according to natural law, others by chance, others through our own agency. He sees that natural law cannot be called to account for itself, that chance is inconstant, but that our own actions are free.”

    Page 15 on Older Age:

    “It is not the young man who should be thought happy, but an old man who has lived a good life. For the young man at the height of his powers is unstable and is carried this way and that by fortune, like a headlong stream. But the old man has come to anchor in old age as though in port, and the good things for which before he hardly hoped he has brought into safe harborage in his greatful recollection.”

    Attached is my document on my Free Friends, a shot of my pocketbook I took the quotes from, an Epicurus meme as well as chapter one from

    A Harmony Within-Five Who Took Refuge-A Study in Creative Withdrawal that is on Epicurus.

    I will be giving you a link soon with hundreds of books, articles, etc. on Epicurus for the community to download for free.

    Email me if interested to meet on your podcast: themesofjack@gmail.com

    All the best, Jack

  • I would like to discuss three themes: Friendship; Freedom/Determism; and Older Age.

    Jack - It sounds like this is where we ought to branch off into detailed discussions in the Forums where these topics will be more easily found by others in the future. All of these topics probably fit under the ETHICS section probably in these subforums:

    Friendship In Epicurean Philosophy

    Agency / Free Will

    Death and Dying (We may need to split "old age" off at some point, but at least for now there are other topics in that forum which are related.)

    i suspect you will find as you look at the forum structure that we have already set up many other categories of interest to you, and it would be very helpful to the forum if you set up as many threads on different topics within them as you like.

  • Ok, Cassius, thanks. Clarify for me, please.

    The topics I am interested in discussing, you have classified these and I go to the individual categories to start a discussion with a post, yes?

    What I am interested in as well as posting is having a recorded live discussion with whomever on various topics, whether this goes on your podcast or whatever.

    So how does this live interaction take place?

    Awaiting your response.


  • Jack at this time we have no provisions for live audio interaction. Our podcast is strictly going through the Lucretius poem for now, and we have not done interviews. We've been talking about launching other podcasts but we have no immediate plans as we've been working on finishing Lucretius.

    As to posting in the forum for written discussions, yes I think you understand what I was suggesting. Posting written exchanges that others can find and read over time is the main benefit of the forum structure.

    I think many of us here are also interested in expanded live interaction, but we haven't had an immediate stimulus to get started. Maybe your appearance here will prove to be that stimulus, but i suspect that others like me will need time to download and review what you've posted already.

    I do agree with you that recorded live discussions are very very useful, so let's see if others here have comments or suggestions, and we'll continue discussing how to proceed with this.

  • Message received, Cassius, I appreciate your efforts.

    Regarding the provision of a “live audio (and I add, video) interaction” on all things Epicurean, I offer my Zoom and my Self-Actualizing Responsible Freedom, Individualist-Voluntaryist, perspective on Epicurus (whew!) to any who are interested here.

    The topics I would like to discuss (numbered for easy reference) are framed as philosophic concepts that I consider Epicurus’ Teachings and Philosophy to be inherently compatible with:

    1. Voluntaryism: Everything should be Voluntary; that is, all use of first physical force against another human being or his rightfully gained property is considered immoral; therefore, all governments of whatever description are immoral and should not be condoned or supported. I would like to convince all self-identified Epicureans that they should morally declare themselves to Voluntaryists as I am and therefore be against all governments.

    2. Self-Determining in the sense of Ryan-Deci’s Self Determination Theory (SDT) that addresses the 3 cores needs of Autonomy, Relatedness and Competency.

    3. Self-Actualizing in the sense of the Human Potential Movement as embodied in the work of Carl Rogers, Rollo May, and Abraham Maslow.

    4. My Voluntaryist Philosophy’s 4 Gold (Au) Standard Ideals, namely: AUtonomy; AUthenticity; AUthority; AUthorship.

    5. Objectivist (Ayn Rand’s philosophy) in its Metaphysics (Existence Exists; The Law of Identity; Consciousness, see http://importanceofphilosophy.com/Metaphysics_Axiom.html which means Existence is primary and Consciousness is secondary, see http://importanceofphilosophy.…cs_RealityIsAbsolute.html); and its Epistemology (“Our senses are valid, and the only way to gain information about the world. Reason is our method of gaining knowledge, and acquiring understanding. Logic is our method of maintaining consistency within our set of knowledge. Objectivity is our means of associating knowledge with reality to determine its validity. Concepts are abstracts of specific details of reality, or of other abstractions. A proper epistemology is a rational epistemology.”, see http://importanceofphilosophy.com/Epistemology_Main.html).

    We can mutually arrange the best day and time internationally (my time is Auckland, New Zealand) to meet. I can usually meet almost anytime (my NZ time) on any day from 9AM to 11PM, except for Mondays and Fridays from 9PM to 11PM and Wednesdays 8PM to 9PM. I always use the same Zoom URL and ID:

    Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8245320024

    Meeting ID: 824 532 0024

    I would like to record the meetings for myself and invite any others to use their recordings in whatever way they desire including putting them online publicly for whatever purpose as I might do. So I would like as all to be comfortable in exposing ourselves publicly.

    I have put many URLs here giving you the opportunity to know who I am and my Voluntaryist Responsible Freedom philosophy that I have integrated Epicurus into for many years on the reasoned basis his philosophy is morally consistent with, and adds to and supports, mine.

    I await your response with the understanding we are only as free as we take the responsibility to be.

    Faithful to the Evidence of our Senses, Reason the Scientific Method,

    Jack in New Zealand

  • Jack -. Anyone here at the forum who reads your posts in the immediate or distant future will be able to respond to you, and I hope they will.

    One thing you do need to keep in mind, however, is that this forum is dedicated primarily to the pursuit of Epicurean philosophy, and not primarily to any particular implementation that an individual sees as best for himself.

    I have started listening to what I think is the first of the two podcasts you linked, and you sound like a very interesting person living a very interesting life - I liked your variation on the Socrates unexamined life statement.

    Bit I do think that you're going to find that the people here don't see Epicurean philosophy as a pathway to some other organizing principle, Voluntaryianism or otherwise, but as a worldview and method of thinking that allows them to see for themselves what is best for them.

    I do agree with you that many will choose your basic approach, but I make that prediction because I am primarily dedicated to understanding Epicurus first, and only through that background do I see the benefits and limits of Voluntaryianism. And I do see the limits of it, because applying Epicurean principles I would also affirm that there is not a single method that is best for all people at all times in all places.

    I will continue to listen to the podcast and will have more to say.

    (Edited to insert an important "not" in the next to last paragraph.)

  • Cassius, thanks for your thoughtful, frank, prognostic and appreciated comments on my last post.

    It will not surprise me if your club, like every other group I have encountered, finds me a difficult fit. But like Groucho Marx, I would never join any club that would have me as a member . So if you permit me, I will probably be an outlier in your club as I am in all others.

    The Groucho quote, for the first time makes me think of something I cannot seem to find in Epicurus so far as I am aware: self-effacing humor. But I suppose a Human God like Epicurus can’t be all things as I know myself, being one (as a Naturalist, Materialist, Individualist, Voluntaryist Humantheist).

    So my invitation stands for anyone in your club to join me on my Zoom to talk about Epicurus on any topic but most especially those I listed in an earlier post. I hope a few will join with me to share our different interpretations of a philosopher we value.