2014 Article By Jonathan Williams - "Happy Violence - Bentley, Lucretius, and the Prehistory of Freethinking.

  • I have not read anything further than the first several paragraphs, and I may not agree with anything else whatsoever in it, but I do agree strongly with the part I've underlined here in red. Is there an instution in the way of our happiness? Vive la Révolution!

    And a key aspect of that is in the part I did not underline, which is that Lucretius should not be interpreted as preaching the "insignificance" of humans, as some seem to interpret Epicurus/Lucretrius as implying. Certainly any individual only occupies a tiny space in the vastness of an infinite universe, but that by no means implies that the individual should see himself or herself as "insignificant" in general.  

    From: "Happy Violence" - Bentley, Lucretius, and the PreHistory of Freethinking.

  • I don't think "preeminent to nonhuman matter is accurate" - that sounds like the Biblical setting up of Adam and Eve to rule over the animals. But I do think that from the perspective of the individual that Epicurus and Lucretius held that it was correct for us to view - through our feeling - that some things more important to us than others, and that the happiness of ourselves and our friends is at the top of that list.

    There are lots of people who have been described over the years as happy warriors. I will date myself by remembering, from when I was growing up, the first person to whom I heard that title applied. He doesn't look so happy in this magazine cover though!

    But in general I think "Happy Warrior" is a good title for any aggressive Epicurean philosopher.