"Easter Sunday 2018" - Epicurean Philosophy Doesn't Start And End With "Pleasure"

  • On this Easter Sunday (appropriately April Fool's Day, 2018) it's important to remember that Epicurean philosophy doesn't *start* with "pleasure."

    Look at the Principle Doctrines, look at the opening of the letter to Menoeceus, look at the argument presented in Book 1 of Lucretius, and you'll see in the order of discussion the REAL foundation of Epicurean philosophy. That foundation, long before we discuss pleasure and pain is this: (1) There are no supernatural gods creating universes, controlling this Earth, or meddling in human life to punish enemies and reward friends, and (2) Death is the end of our consciousness, and we have but this one life to live as best we can.

    These two premises are the antidote to the poison that is celebrated across the world today in "Passover" and "Resurrection Day." There's no need to worry about the rest of Epicurean philosophy until we accept the foundation - the declaration of war on he ideas that are the REAL enemies of our happiness.

    Thus also said Nietzsche:

    "The sneakishness of hypocrisy, the secrecy of the conventicle, concepts as black as hell, such as the sacrifice of the innocent, the unio mystica in the drinking of blood, above all, the slowly rekindled fire of revenge, of Chandala revenge–all that sort of thing became master of Rome: the same kind of religion which, in a pre-existent form, Epicurus had combatted. One has but to read Lucretius to know what Epicurus made war upon — not paganism, but “Christianity,” which is to say, the corruption of souls by means of the concepts of guilt, punishment and immortality. — He combatted the subterranean cults, the whole of latent Christianity–to deny immortality was already a form of genuine salvation.

    Epicurus had triumphed, and every respectable intellect in Rome was Epicurean–when Paul appeared. . . Paul, the Chandala hatred of Rome, of “the world,” in the flesh and inspired by genius–the Jew, the eternal Jew par excellence. . . . What he saw was how, with the aid of the small sectarian Christian movement that stood apart from Judaism, a “world conflagration” might be kindled; how, with the symbol of “God on the cross,” all secret seditions, all the fruits of anarchistic intrigues in the empire, might be amalgamated into one immense power. “Salvation is of the Jews.”–Christianity is the formula for exceeding and summing up the subterranean cults of all varieties, that of Osiris, that of the Great Mother, that of Mithras, for instance: in his discernment of this fact the genius of Paul showed itself. His instinct was here so sure that, with reckless violence to the truth, he put the ideas which lent fascination to every sort of Chandala religion into the mouth of the “Saviour” as his own inventions, and not only into the mouth–he made out of him something that even a priest of Mithras could understand. . . This was his revelation at Damascus: he grasped the fact that he needed the belief in immortality in order to rob “the world” of its value, that the concept of “hell” would master Rome–that the notion of a “beyond” is the death of life. Nihilist and Christian: they rhyme in German, and they do more than rhyme."

  • I begin to think that at various parts of my websites I am going to replace quotes that focus narrowly on pleasure with quotes that highlight the physics / canonics basis of Epicurean philosophy, not out of concern about pleasure but so not to play into the hands of those who argue that pleasure is the only subject Epicurus addressed. And then, at the same time and in parallel, pursue how "pleasure" covers much more ground than it appears.