Any Application of Epicurean Theology to the Christan God(s)

  • Imagine in Epicurus' time, that he was surrounded on all sides by people who believed in the myths and the power of the gods. I can see why he would continue to participate in the rituals for several reasons: 1) because there was pleasure in the festivals, and 2) he would have gotten a lot flak from everyone around him (non-Epicureans) if he hadn't participated in the rituals

    I would add a third choice: I am coming to believe that one reason Epicurus took pleasure in the rites, festivals, sacrifices, etc. was that he intellectually recontextualized (sorry, neologism there?) them to coincide with his philosophy of the gods. As Lucretius talks about saying "Dionysus" but actually meaning "wine," Mother Earth but meaning the fertile, productive powers of the natural world. *If* that is the basis for ritual, I don't see any problem. Especially since there groups like Hellenion are trying to resurrect a Greek-inspired practice:

    Hellenion

  • Kalosyni

    We are taking it more from a sense of play and community, and trying to be inclusive of what expression our Friends want to bring to the occassion. Our "magic" consisted of writing an intention on a bay leaf and tossing it in the fire. I don't think we will ever get into any serious pagan stuff, and my wife and I being the hosts are more excited about bringing folklore and norm-breaking social games to the event given that some people that attend aren't religious or in to spirituality at all. Like we want to have our take on an anglo-saxon boasting ceremony for example as well as explore the 3 skills of the poets from the celtic tradition, that kind of thing. I am at work and can't explain in depth but maybe I could start a thread some time about different ceremonial events this community thinks could be done at an Eikas.

  • Don


    Another way I can look at interaction with the Gods is from a psychological and even poetic lenses, which is sort of what I was reaching for in the other post about sensitivity. Is experiencing Pleasure framed as a sort of nihilistic tickling of the nervous system in our meatsuits in a particular way or do we take the idea of an Epicurean Soul to mean the total package of human experience; our context, emotional and sensory depth, our passions and interests, our challenges, our relationship to ideas and people, our broadening and changing understanding as we journey through life, our histories and our relationship to that history and the core memories that shaped us. These could all be interacted with in various therapeutic, artistic, religious or ritualistic ways, that brings about ataraxia (a quieted mind) in the Epicurean sense of no longer fearing the gods, superstition or death. Of course they could also be interacted with the manipulate us as well.

  • We are taking it more from a sense of play and community, and trying to be inclusive of what expression our Friends want to bring to the occassion. Our "magic" consisted of writing an intention on a bay leaf and tossing it in the fire.

    Okay thank you for clarifying, because when I saw your post # 36 above end with the word "religion" then I got a bit of a tense feeling. So now I understand a little better and sounds like it is a creation of psychological symbolism used as a tool for self-exploration and self-knowledge.


    And also I will again remember to consider how everyone has their unique and individual way of moving toward an enjoyable and pleasurable life.

  • the idea of an Epicurean Soul to mean the total package of human experience; our context, emotional and sensory depth, our passions and interests, our challenges, our relationship to ideas and people, our broadening and changing understanding as we journey through life, our histories and our relationship to that history and the core memories that shaped us.

    I'd say that one... with the caveat that "soul" does NOT imply something that can exist outside the "meatsuit". The ψυχή psykhē / psyche is inextricably part of our physical, material, atomic makeup.

  • Don


    Definitely. Just like the God of the Gaps idea, the immaterial Soul recedes off into nothing once we study the intricacies of our physical bodies and the subjective experiences involved in living.


    Haha I just use the "meatsuit" term as a sort of push back against the idea being used by Atheists and non-atheists alike to describe secular worldviews. Just kinda gross objectifying of ourselves.

  • or do we take the idea of an Epicurean Soul to mean the total package of human experience; our context, emotional and sensory depth, our passions and interests, our challenges, our relationship to ideas and people, our broadening and changing understanding as we journey through life, our histories and our relationship to that history and the core memories that shaped us.

    I think it is absolutely clear that this is what Epicurus meant, and it is logically compelled by dividing all feelings into either pleasure or pain.


    But you are right to highlight this as something that needs to be examined and repeatedly stated, because the number one attack on Epicurus IMHO is based on NOT admitting this wide definition. Those people argue that Epicurus was talking about what we might refer to as immediate bodily sensations, and that he did not mean to include mental / emotional issues at all. I think "those people" are clearly wrong, but this issue cannot be taken for granted, and it needs to be hammered home anytime there is any doubt as to whether the people in a discussion understand this point.