λάθε βιώσας

  • What is everyone’s thoughts on λάθε βιώσας?


    Let me say that I am a huge proponent of this idea. In a world where social media and the media continue to invade our private lives, I’ve found that excusing myself from that arena and those platforms has been an incredible relief! That alone has given me great pleasure. Getting the social spotlight off of me.


    With anonymity can come peace and privacy. Something that has become increasingly rare.

  • I think we're on the verge of unprecedented censorship, with the next frontier being banned from financial transactions if you don't have "social credits" acceptable to the major banks. Very scary stuff so it will pay to be as careful as possible.

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    Godfrey this "live unknown" is a phrase that Epicurean commentators talk about a lot, but I think it needs to be considered VERY carefully. It comes to us without any context in an Epicurean text, I believe through Plutarch (?) (I will look it up after I finish this note.) People who take a very passivist/quietist view of Epicurus construe it strongly as if it were written in stone for all contexts, while I think a more balanced view is that - like most of his doctrines - how to apply it depends on the context.


    Clearly there were multiple Epicurean sayings indicating that it is a good idea to live free of too much entanglement with too many people -- to stay away from politics as a career path - and things like that. So no doubt there is a grain of important truth here, but we can see from the examples of many Roman and Greek Epicureans - including Epicurus himself - that we shouldn't take this too literally.


    However given all those caveats what LD and i are saying I think still stands that it is a good idea to be cautious with giving up too much of one's privacy.

  • Good grief, I hope that THIS is not the only source of this phrase. I am remembering Plutarch but so far this is all I can find:


    Plutarch, Is "Live Unknown" a Wise Precept? 3, p. 1129A: {Rhetorically addressing Epicurus} Don’t send books everywhere to advertise your wisdom to every man and woman ... What sense is there in so many tens of thousands of lines honoring Metrodorus, Aristobulus, and Chaeredemus, and published with so much industry that they cannot remain unknown even after they’re dead? Who are you to call for the obliteration of virtue, the uselessness of skills, silence to philosophy, and forgetfulness of good deeds?


    http://www.attalus.org/translate/epicurus.html


  • I think a good way to view this concept, as with many other Epicurean concepts, with a mind of personal prudence.


    This does not mean, in my opinion, to become an ascetic or a hermit, but rather to limit exposure to public life that may be unnecessary. Especially within the realm of social media. I’ve found it is far more peaceful to stay out of the spotlight.

  • I would say too this does not mean shirking ones civic duty to the detriment of ones self (such as avoiding ALL politics and not participating in governmental process like voting or rallying for an important cause for yourself). Such inactivity may lead to pains or regret if not prudently acted upon.


    This is really a position of avoiding unnecessary exposure to the public eye. If it’s unnecessary it probably isn’t worth the exposure.

  • Thanks for clarifying that.


    It seems like many things in EP are not absolutes but are subject to each person's contemplation with respect to the Canon and the types of desire. "Live unknown" appears to be one of those things.


    Social media is a great example of the pros and cons of the idea!

  • It seems like many things in EP are not absolutes but are subject to each person's contemplation with respect to the Canon and the types of desire

    I have come to think that that is one of the most important aspects of understanding Epicurean philosophy. In the absence of gods or of central points of reference within the universe or of "fate" which would serve as a guarantee that the same action in human affairs would always produce the same result, it doesn't seem possible that it is even possible that there could be a set of absolute rules that applies in all situations. That's a pretty disconcerting realization for those of us who (like me) were raised on absolute rules, but given the Epicurean view of the nature of the universe it really couldn't be any other way. PD10 is pretty stark in throwing this in our face, but all of the final 10 PD's essentially make the same point - that there aren't absolute rules. And that leaves as the thing that is absolute for us our sense of pleasure and pain and the "programming" which nature gives us at birth.