A Translation Point - Bailey's "Independence of Desire"

  • (This is a post byElli)

    I would like to point out something in the translation by Bailey in an excerpt from Epicurus' epistle to Meneoceus which says : "And again independence of desire we think a great good — not that we may at all times enjoy but a few things, but that, if we do not possess many, we may enjoy the few in the genuine persuasion that those have the sweetest enjoy luxury pleasure in luxury who least need it;" (translation found here.)


    Bailey in this point of "the independence of desire" is wrong. Epicurus did not mention anywhere "independence of desire as a great good".

    Epicurus in this point, he mentions the word "self-sufficiency as a great good". And "self-sufficiency" includes the desire for freedom, the desire for bravery, the desire for justice, and generosity for offering to the others in the society. Freedom, bravery, justice, and generosity produce enjoyment and pleasure of course!

    Here is how self-sufficiency is a great good:

    -ES 44. "The wise man when he has accommodated himself to straits knows better how to give than to receive, so great is the treasure of self-sufficiency which he has discovered".

    -ES 77. "The greatest fruit of self-sufficiency is freedom".

    Ah, those Bailey's black glasses of stoicism... sometimes produce to him facing problems in the translation.


    And here is the most accurate one, by Norman DeWitt : "And self-sufficiency we think to be a great good, not that we may live on little under all circumstances but that we may be content with little when we do not have plenty, being genuinely convinced that they enjoy luxury most who feel the least need of it;"

    Self-sufficiency means also : for the offering to the others of what little you have is greater than the offering to others of what plenty you have. And this is contrary to that famous religious motto : "Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none". No, the constitution of democracy declares that nobody has to have two, three or more tunics when your next door person does not have any...the good, the benefit and pleasurable is for all to have one, two or more new tunics.

    And as Dimitris Liantinis said : "For the Greeks , i.e., love does not mean to give one of your robes, according to Christian contemplation. But to not allow yourself to have three robes, when your next door person does not have any.

    The position of Christians even though to give one of the two to someone who has nothing, is the morbid reaction towards the morbid conditions. The charity does not fit in a decent and a proud man. Because it demands to solve the problem temporarily, of residing without authorization, i.e. to «cover» a social disorder.

    While the position of Greeks is healthy and means to not get three when the next person has neither one. It indicates to consider before, and do not have the need afterward for treading in a cure, inconclusively.

    Besides, this position is, otherwise, the basis of that wonderful capture in the social problem, which the Greeks told the constitution of Democracy. Do you know another word more rugged, more fertile, more rich, wiser, and more beautiful of the word Democracy? I do not know. And I know letters, as they say in the courts.

    This primitive Greek behavior catches up to guard against slippage in the moral chaos. Aristotle is formulating this marble's proposal. It looks like the equations that formulated by the great physicists: «the altruism, says Aristotle, is in the same degree wrong bias with selfishness».

    Altruism, however, of the Christians is not such a gift. But the pretext for perpetuating their selfishness. Have you ever thought how humiliating is for you the moment to be charitable to the beggar? How do you allow, and how do you show your superiority to him? Your charity spits straight on his face.

    Christians could never be uttering this word by Aristotle. Because, they come deacons of the sickness. They do not come to rim the health.

    The proposal by Aristotle is the word the natural and the whole. In contrast, "to love each other " of the Christian's position is half and unnatural. Because human not only loves, but also hates. This thing is the natural and what happens around every day. The famous "odi et amo" i.e. "love and hate", beyond the erotic domination in the poetry of Catullus and Dostoevsky, has its social validity. A man who cannot ever seem to hate is like the bitch that is not battling the wolf as it comes in the corral, but mates with the wolf. Thus, yet who is going to guard the sheep?>>.

    Thrice NO, I do not love my enemy. I despise him as I keep in mind that great epicurean PD 39. As well as that motto "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is wrong and idealistic. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Because if I would be united with the enemy of my enemy under the heavy load of a need and due to hostile feelings without to be agreed with him WHAT IS OUR COMMON GOAL ...then that "friend" easily will become my enemy too. This is evidenced from historical facts and the experiences of men, and are not just words. :P

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “A Translation Point - "Indepdence of Desire"” to “A Translation Point - Bailey's "Independence of Desire"”.