Not "Where Are We Going" But "Who Or What Will Be Our Guide?"

  • My reading of Epicurus suggests to me that the ultimate question we should be concerned about is not "Where are we going?" but "Who or What is going to be our guide?"

    In a world that is not set in motion and controlled by a supreme being or force, each individual is going to start at a different place and end up in a different place. In a universe of unplanned and purely natural forces it can be no other way.

    To suggest that we all start in the same place, or that we should all end up in the same place, is fantasy - wishful thinking based on false religious or Platonic idealism. At birth we start individually at a unique place, at death we wind up individually at a unique place, and at every step in between our experience is unique to ourselves.

    So the question "What is my destination?" is not nearly as important as the question "Who or What will I choose as my guide on my journey?" The choice is simple but all-important: We can choose to follow supernatural gods, which do not exist; we can choose to follow abstract ideals, which likewise do not exist except in the words fed to us by others; or we can choose to follow the only faculty given individually to us by Nature for the purpose: PLEASURE.

    And it's up to us to study and understand that the faculty of "pleasure" is not limited simply to bodily needs and stimulations, as the opponents of Epicurus like to suggest, but includes every activity of mind and body that we experience in life and feel - to ourselves - to be desirable.