Does all fruit come "painfully"?

  • Originally posted by Elli -

    E.Π XXVII.(27) Ἐπὶ μὲν τῶν ἄλλων ἐπιτηδευμάτων μόλις τελειωθεῖσιν ὁ καρπὸς ἔρχεται, ἐπὶ δὲ φιλοσοφίας συντρέχει τῇ γνώσει τὸ τερπνὸν οὐ γὰρ μετὰ μάθησιν ἀπόλαυσις, ἀλλὰ ἅμα μάθησις καὶ ἀπόλαυσις.

    Baileys' translation : ES27. In all other occupations the fruit comes #painfully after completion, but in philosophy pleasure goes hand in hand with knowledge; for enjoyment does not follow comprehension, but comprehension and enjoyment are simultaneous.

    Warning: Bailey wears again his stoic glasses. Where in this ES 27 does Epicurus mention the word "painfully" ? And where he says that any occupation of one’s labors - the fruit - is bitter and painful? Where the creativity of any work and by any human being like us has pains? Here is, again and again, the devious trick for saying that Epicurus did not suggest to be active and creative, or to not enjoy any of your work and labor, because this is painful. Stay in "apathy", then, in your sofas, your beds, and your chairs to not doing anything at all.

    According to this translation by Bailey, it is like Epicurus remarks: When I’ll do something is painful, so I chose the “absence of pain”.

    The right translation from the ancient greek to english is : In the case of other occupations the fruit (of one's labors) comes upon completion of a task while (in the case) of philosophy pleasure is concurrent with knowledge because enjoyment does not come after learning but at the same time (with) learning.

    And below is the analysis/explanation in the above saying to this link

    "A sublime, yet also readily credible assertion regarding the benefits of philosophy: all other occupations reward their practitioner after a task is completed; the baker has bread only after it comes out of the oven, the fisherman has a day's catch only after he pulls up his nets from the sea. Yet in the singular case of philosophy, the process and pleasure of acquiring knowledge are concurrent, simultaneous.

    Thus Epicurus intertwines inextricably his teachings on the general value of philosophy, with all its salubrious effects of ridding us of false beliefs, and his teachings on pleasure. Philosophy is not just good for us; it is also a pleasure, and therefore an "oikeion agathon", a "familiar good" that we ought to happily espouse.

    This is one of the most optimistic tenets of Epicurean philosophy and stands in sharp contradistinction to the more common attitudes (of antiquity and the present age) that regard philosophy as a stern, grave, strenuous occupation".

  • I think this from Diogenes of Oinoanda is relevant to Elli's point. It shows how in some things, like philosophy - and engaging in acts that are virtuous in the Epicurean model - the pleasure of engaging in the act coincides in time with the act of participating in it. One implication is that we never experience this type of pleasure unless we engage in the act that brings it about. If we refrain from that action - if we instead seek nothing more than "absence of pain" - then that type of pleasure is never available to us:

    " I want now to get rid of the error, prevalent among you along with others, concerning the same emotion, and especially to speak against one doctrine of yours, Stoics. My argument is as follows: not all causes in things precede their effects, even if the majority do, but some of them precede their effects, others coincide with them, and others follow them.

    Examples of causes that precede are cautery and surgery saving life: in these cases extreme pain must be borne, and it is after this that pleasure quickly follows.

    Examples of coincident causes are solid and liquid nourishment and, in addition to these, sexual acts: we do not eat food and experience pleasure afterwards, nor do we drink wine and experience pleasure afterwards, nor do we emit semen and experience pleasure afterwards; rather the action brings about these pleasures for us immediately, without awaiting the future.

    As for causes that follow, an example is expecting to win praise after death: although men experience pleasure now because there will be a favourable memory of them after they have gone, nevertheless the cause of the pleasure occurs later.

    Now you, being unable to mark off these distinctions, and being unaware that the virtues have a place among the causes that coincide with their effects (for they are borne along with pleasure), go completely astray."