Happy Twentieth of November, 2018!

  • Over the last month I have spent a considerable amount of time refining what I think is my most best summary of the fundamentals of Epicurean philosophy. For this 20th I’d like to recap where I am on that, with this list of five major points, each one broken down into five subpoints. I hope you find this helpful:

    1. There Are No Supernatural Gods
      1. Gods Are Never Observed to Create Something From Nothing Or Destroy Anything to Nothing
      2. The Universe Operates Through Natural Processes Based On Combinations Of Matter And Void
      3. The Universe As A Whole Is Eternal And Was Never Created From Nothing
      4. The Universe Is Infinite In Size And There Are No “Gods” Outside Of it
      5. True Gods Would Be Self-Sufficient And Would Not Meddle In the Affairs Of Men
    2. There Is No Life After Death
      1. All Things In The Universe Which Come Together Eventually Break Apart
      2. The Soul Is Born With The Body And Cannot Survive Without It
      3. Death Is The End of All Sensation, And There Is No Consciousness Without Sensation
      4. There Is After Death No Heaven or Hell For Reward or Punishment
      5. Life Is Short And Therefore Our Time Is Too Precious To Waste
    3. The Guide of Life is Pleasure
      1. Pleasure, Along With Pain, Is A Feeling, One Of The Three Standards Of Truth
      2. Pleasure and Pain Include All Types of Physical And Mental Experiences
      3. The Mental Pleasures And Pains Are Frequently More Intense Than The Physical
      4. Feelings Of Pleasure Are Desirable And Serve As The Guide of Life
      5. Pain Is To Be Avoided But Is Accepted For The Sake of Greater Pleasure Or Lesser Pain
    4. The Goal of Life Is Happiness
      1. Happiness Is a Life In Which Pleasure Predominates Over Pain
      2. If We Have Happiness We Have All We Need; If We Lack Happiness We Do Everything To Gain It
      3. There Is No Absolute Virtue, Piety, Reason, Or Justice To Serve As the Goal of Life
      4. Virtue, Piety, Reason and Justice Are Valuable Only Insofar As They Bring Happiness
      5. All Actions Are To Be Judged According To Whether They Bring Happiness
    5. The Standards of Truth Are the Senses, The Anticipations, and the Feelings, Assisted By Reason
      1. He Who Argues That Nothing Can Be Known Contradicts His Own Argument
      2. Reasoning Is Based On The Senses And Is Not Valid Without Them
      3. The Sensations Are Without Reason, Incapable of Memory, And Do Not Inject Error Through Opinion
      4. The Reality Of Separate Sensations Is the Guarantee of The Truth Of Our Senses
      5. Not Only Reason, But Life Itself, Fails Unless We Have the Courage To Trust The Senses


    Link to this post at NewEpicurean.com

  • As mentioned in an earlier related discussion on FB, I do not expect infinity and eternity of the universe to be the truth or to have any relevant meaning. Regarding the items under 5, I still need to make up my mind on some subtle differences I have with some of them and and verbalize those. Everything else is fine with me for now.

  • It has been my opinion that something is eternal about our reality. In the sense that from the Epicurean point of view the Universe has just always existed from eternity or conversely the temporal universe was manifested from another eternal principle as in the traditional theistic point of view. Or yet again this universe is somehow a runoff from a higher universe... I saw an article somewhere discussing the idea that our universe was sparked off from the remnants of a collapsed 4th dimensional star. But who knows how much is science fiction rather than fact. It's interesting to meditate on though especially on a cold clear winter night like tonight when the stars are extra bright!

  • I think that (the importance of thinking about eternity) is why the letter to Pythocles includes "And most of all give yourself up to the study of the beginnings and of infinity and of the things akin to them, and also of the criteria of truth and of the feelings, and of the purpose." Kind of like with the issue of fate it may be more important to have a view on this that assists your living happily, even if wrong, than to have a view that boxes you into despair.