Who are your Persians?

  • Who are your Persians?

    For awhile now I’ve noticed that Epicurean adherents use the idea of Persians as the ultimate monolithic enemy. Clearly in reference to the Greco-Persian wars of antiquity.

    But what about today? Who are your Persians and why?

  • Great question. I've used that just as a general allusion to "enemies of Greece" such as in the phrase which is attributed to Epicurus by Diogenes of Laertius. But the concept of there being "enemies" who are working against our happiness is (in my view) beyond dispute, so it's great to consider who/what might fit into that category.

  • Homophobes and theocrats in government.

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • Mine would be those who attempt to impose their will or ideologies on me (and others). Authority figures and so-called leaders that are actually just absentee landlords, bankrupt of actual power except through rhetoric, coercion and physical force.

  • Yes, everyone who is seeking way more than their pound of flesh. It’s hard to escape all the vampires out there sucking the lifeblood out!

  • Turning back to being more serious for a moment, that's one of the multitude of reasons that we can't just sit back and contemplate as being the best way to live. it's just a fact of nature that unless we act to learn, to study, and to protect our own interests, bad things are going to happen to us. Lots of those bad things are pretty basic like disease, bad weather, hunger, and the like, but there *are* other people out there who are just as likely as any virus or bacteria to upset our desire and ability to live happily, and taking the position that "we're all children of god" or "we're all brothers and sisters" doesn't solve the problem.

  • What you say is true. When it comes to the invaders and adversaries, you really have 3 choices:

    1: Confront the adversary head-on.

    2: Submit and conform.

    3: Flee to where they are not.

    Obviously the last option only buys you a little time. It’s not a permanent soulution for dealing with oppressive societies and adversaries, eventually they come to you.

  • In another post I mentioned a quote from Emma Goldman in which she states her belief that the worst tyranny stems from the rule of ignorance, superstition and bigotry.

    Interestingly, my Persian ex-girlfriend did, in fact, introduce me to philosophy. I may've never discovered Epicurus if it weren't for her, so I'm forever indebted with gratitude to her for that.

    Matthaeus I find politicians and government as something worthy of copious resource investment to replace with machines. I think the near future is smaller governments and I'm hopeful that eventually we'll build a future world without it altogether.

    Are you familiar with the work of Michael Huemer, he's a philosopher in Boulder at (EDIT: University of Colorado): Colorado State University?

    He wrote a book on the problem of authority, I haven't read that book but I've read his other works and original research publications so I have some confidence in recommending/suggesting it despite not having read it myself. It's on my to-read list ;)



    p.s. also it is worth mentioning that from my limited historical understanding Persians were known to, except in a few rare instances, not be destructive of the cultures and civilizations they conquered.

    Joy to the World!

  • Hi Oscar!

    It’s a pleasure to speak with you.

    I have not heard of Michael Huemer, but I will certainly take a look at his work. Thank you for recommending it.

    I’m sure you picked up on it, but my use of the term Persian is not an ethnically centered concept within this group, but rather one used by a few Epicureans here to denote someone who is an antagonist of the Epicurean philosophy or Hellenism in general. Obviously this idealism hearkens back to the Ancient Greek and Persian conflict that no one alive today has any stake in, but it’s used as a perjorative by Epicureans who consider the ancient Persians the archetypal monolithic enemy of Hellas and can be applied to any number of modern antagonists today.

    I personally don’t use the term in this specific context outside of this group, simply because it has no particular significance to anyone other than 300 movie fans.;)


  • Hi Matt, yes I picked up on that and just extended the thought bubble because, after all, it's a rather pleasant coincidence that my Persian ex-girlfriend would be the one to encourage and facilitate my study of a Hellenistic school of philosophy :S

    I've since my book recommendation, extended a sincere invitation to Prof. Michael Huemer to share his thoughts, if any, about Epicureanism here on this forum. We've had to study his work for class here at the U of T and so I got hooked and took interest for extra material of his work. That's how I know of him. He wrote a cool paper; there's no pure empirical reasoning, which is to say that knowledge certainly can't be from solely 'pure' empirical investigations.

    That is, however, a thoroughly entertaining movie, however historically inaccurate it may be

    Joy to the World!