In Memory of Amrinder Singh

  • I just received a message from a relative of Amrinder Singh, a former member of this group who died in an airplane crash two years ago. The relative gave me Amrinder's dates of birth and death, and it would be good to remember him in the future as someone who did not let fear of pain cower him into failing to pursue pleasure.


    "When human life to view lay foully prostrate upon earth, crushed down under the weight of religion, who showed her head from the quarters of heaven with hideous aspect, lowering upon mortals, a man of Greece ventured first to lift up his mortal eyes to her face and first to withstand her to her face. Him neither story of gods nor thunderbolts nor heaven with threatening roar could quell: they only chafed the more the eager courage of his soul, filling him with desire to be the first to burst the fast bars of nature’s portals. Therefore the living force of his soul gained the day: on he passed far beyond the flaming walls of the world and traversed throughout in mind and spirit the immeasurable universe; whence he returns a conqueror to tell us what can, what cannot come into being; in short on what principle each thing has its powers defined, its deep-set boundary mark. Therefore religion is put underfoot and trampled upon in turn; us his victory brings level with heaven."


    Someone whose Latin is better than mine can hopefully correct me if I have it wrong but my intent is:


    "Amrinder Singh watches over this place,

    Thanks to the Epicurean chorus alive with joy."


    And of course:

    "I was not, I was, I am not, I do not care."














    Based on:



  • Ah, much appreciated..Amrinder Singh was my father. I grew up listening to your videos, learning the ways of Catius' cat, at the mere age of 8 years old! Words of Epicurean wisdom would come relentlessly from my father's speakers, and so philosophy is part of me now. Thank you for introducing me to this world. And of course, thank you for remembering my father for who he was.

  • How nice of you to post, Profkesarsarwara! I remember your father fondly, as do I think several of us who have been here for a while, such as elli.


    I regret that we did not get to know your father better - we were just starting this forum shortly before he died, if i recall, and most of our interactions had come previously on Facebook. I particularly remember a graphic he did of the "Epicurean canon" which was very amusing ;-)


    I also remember that he sent me a physics essay that he wrote - I should still have that somewhere too.


    Thank you very much for posting, and I hope you will drop by as frequently as you can. If there are aspects of your father that you would feel more comfortable discussing privately, please feel free to use the private message function here, but I feel like anything you would like to mention publicly, such as what you have posted already, would be of great interest to others here, so I hope you will do that too.


    I never pursued it but I was always interested myself in such things as hang gliders and ultralight aircraft, so I very much admired your father's involvement in that. And his decision to make the helmet with the leaping pig on it was amazing to me - indicating to me that he was someone who could never have been confused into thinking that life is all about avoiding risk and even the chance of pain at the cost of losing out on the pleasures of life.


    Thank you again for posting and anything you would like to discuss publicly, privately, or in combination would be most welcome.


    And I will find that graphic and post it here! ;-)

  • Wow, I can't believe it, do we have among us here, Amrinder's daughter?! Frankly I am soooo glad !

    Welcome, profkesarsarwara . Please, be always proud of your father, I' m also regret that we did not get to know your father better, but I have the intuition that he lived as a genuine epicurean and as Metrodorus had said this, with a saying:


    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • Thank you so much for the words of welcome and support, Cassius, I would indeed be quite interested in that physics paper if you could please. I also find myself very surprised, I do remember him showing me that image with the canon, me being too young to understand, quite amusing now I think about it(:. elli His daughter actually, yes of course thank you, I am certainly proud, and lately as I've begun to understand Epicureanism, I aspire to live this way also, it seems fulfilling, as it undoubtedly was for him. Ah, Metrodorus' words are only too fittingly true, if only we could all have lived this way indefinitely, not so mindlessly occupied all the time!

  • Daughter! OMG how stupid of me! I apologize for the error and have corrected the comment on the announcement list. Thank you for the additional info and the very nice profile picture too! Your other new post on death tells me you understand things very well!

  • I've changed this mistake too. And after her photo with her thoughts on the issue of death, I say now, Admrinder's beautiful and smart daughter.:)

    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • It's hard not to think of this quote in this context ;-)


    Quote

    And let Amynomachus and Timocrates take care of Epicurus, the son of Metrodorus, and of the son of Polyaenus, so long as they study and live with Hermarchus. Let them likewise provide for he maintenance of Metrodorus's daughter so long as she is well-ordered and obedient to Hermarchus; and, when she comes of age, give her in marriage to a husband selected by Hermarchus from among the members of the School; and out of the revenues accruing to me let Amynomachus and Timocrates in consultation with Hermarchus give to them as much as they think proper for their maintenance year by year.

  • profkesarsarwara I must have been distracted when I read your post above, because I did not immediately see the part about sending you the physics papers - I will do that now. I will send those via private message.


    Luckily I came back here and saw that oversight. The reason I came back however was this:


    In my mind, your father was a perfect example of someone who I believe followed what Epicurus really meant, as opposed to how people toady tend to interpret him. Meaning this:


    I presume it is safe to say that your father loved flying. I presume it is also safe to say that your father was well aware of the risks of injury or death, especially in flying "ultralights" (which I gather is what he did).


    If your father had followed the modern commentator view of Epicurus, he would have turned away from his love of flying in deference to "safety" above all or "absence of pain" above all -- but he did not. And not only did he NOT do that, but he stenciled the leaping pig on his helmet as a symbol of his decision to pursue pleasure in life as he himself experienced it.


    The fact that he died in a tragic accident takes nothing away from this story. Any of us could meet our end at any moment, but how many of us could say - up to the moment that that happened - that we had lived our lives as best we knew how, and that we had truly pursued the pleasures that were available to us?


    I don't want to over-romanticize this because I have no way of knowing all of the circumstances of your father's and your family's overall life situation. But one of the points of Epicurean philosophy - and I fully think it is correct - is that no one on the outside has a "right" to second-guess someone else's decisions as to weighing pleasure and pain. Oh yes we "can" and "do" second-guess other people all the time, but when we do we have nothing more than our own opinion, and there is no "god" or "platonic ideal" which exists as a true standard by which we can say that a person's choices are "right" or "wrong." As far as I am concerned the best that any of us can do is embrace life and make our own choices and accept the result. It is those who preach the fear of pain, and the pursuit of an "ataraxia" that amounts to anesthesia, that are the ones truly to be pitied.


    You should of course feel free to share - or not share - anything that you feel appropriate about your father's and your own experience in going through all this. All I have ever been able to do is to draw general observations about this from afar, since I regrettably did not know more about your father's hobby or much else of the story.


    But whenever I think about your father's example I think of this text:


    Quote

    47. I have anticipated thee, Fortune, and I have closed off every one of your devious entrances. And we will not give ourselves up as captives, to thee or to any other circumstance; but when it is time for us to go, spitting contempt on life and on those who cling to it maundering, we will leave from life singing aloud a glorious triumph-song on how nicely we lived.


    And I usually think of that Vatican saying in this form, with Wagner's Tannhauser playing in the background:


    (video should be cued to the right place)


  • I find myself quite agreeable with that summary, and could not have said it more astutely myself, though I admit, I'm pleasantly surprised at how well the both yourself, and the community here seems to understand his path of thought. And thank you, for the papers, I thought they had been lost.


    This idea you presented is seen in so many matters though, the dissonance between interpretation as opposed to reality, I think we can all take his example, in the matter of finding that which enriches one's life from Epicureanism. Pursuing a life absent of pain can be good, but only to an extent, not to one which restricts passion. I suppose, there we must find balance, as my father did. Though I must ask, I have always wondered, what exactly is the significance of the flying pig? I never fully gathered what it meant?

  • Profkesarsarwara, as far as I know there is no authoritative explanation for the leaping pig but I think it ultimately is a reference to the exuberance of life that little pigs show, which is something that Lactantius picked up and ridiculed as per the below quote. As far as Epicureans embracing it, I suspect it was a tongue-in-cheek / in-your-face way of rejecting conventional morality.


    You are aware, probably, that this particular statue was found in Herculaneum, and that there are other examples associating pigs with Epicurus, probably most notably the Boscoreale cup, and then the reference in Horace to being "fat and sleek, a hog of Epicurus' herd."


    i need to pull these references together - I see I posted this in 2012: https://www.facebook.com/perma…106762442&id=227256659004


    A Friday evening clip of a few mascots of Epicureanism at play! Think what it means that the favored mascots of Epicurus are demeaned by the world's religions, for reasons stated by Lanctantius: "The forbidding of the flesh of swine also has the same intention; for when God commanded them to abstain from this, He willed that this should be especially understood, that they should abstain from sins and impurities. For this animal is filthy and unclean, and never looks up to heaven, but prostrates itself to the earth with its whole body and face: it is always the slave of its appetite and food; nor during its life can it afford any other service, as the other animals do, which either afford a vehicle for riding, or aid in the cultivation of the fields, or draw waggons by their neck, or carry burthens on their back, or furnish a covering with their skins, or abound with a supply of milk, or keep watch for guarding our houses. Therefore He forbade them to use the flesh of the pig for food, that is, not to imitate the life of swine, which are nourished only for death; lest, by devoting themselves to their appetite and pleasures, they should be useless for working righteousness, and should be visited with death. Also that they should not immerse themselves in foul lusts, as the sow, which wallows in the mire; of that they do not serve earthly images, and thus defile themselves with mud: for they do bedaub themselves with mud who worship gods, that is, who worship mud and earth." (From the "Divine Institutes"


    and this: https://newepicurean.com/for-y…and-sympathy-for-animals/

  • Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • The Latin looks solid, Cassius, although I do wonder about that "thanks" in the original translation. That appears to be a liberty they've taken with the word ex. A more literal translation; "out of the Epicurean chorus alive with joy!" I seem to like out of better myself, though I couldn't clearly express why.


    And to Profkesarsarwara; please don't mistake my academic interest in the Latin for glibness! I did not have the pleasure of interacting with your father, as that was before my time here. But everything I have seen and read tells me to rejoice that the daughter of such a man should join our little community; welcome!


    For an excellent study of religion and the pig, I can recommend the chapter "Why Heaven Hates Ham" out of Christopher Hitchens' book, God is not Great.


    The association of Epicureanism with pigs is at least as old as the Late Republic period in Rome, as Cassius has noted, and has had a storied history since. St. Augustine famously remarked that it was "a philosophy fit only for swine."


    The leaping piglet to me represents the joie de vivre of our school, contrasted with the sullen Stoic, the snooty Platonist, the bewildered Pyrrhonist, the wretched Cynic, and the self-loathing monotheist.


    Quote

    A pathless country of the Pierides I traverse, where no other foot has ever trod. I love to approach virgin springs, and there to drink; I love to pluck new flowers, and to seek an illustrious chaplet for my head from fields whence before this the Muses have crowned the brows of none.

    -Lucretius