Posts by Cassius

    Godfrey yes as to question 5, Episode two, I can see how that one is not so easy. I think that Elayne helps stress in that episode how the issue with Agamemnon's example is not "all child sacrifice is offensive" because that would be an absolute bright line that would imply an absolute morality. The issue is much more: "child sacrifice offends our feelings at least in most cases." That focuses on feeling as the root of Epicurean morality and gives us an emotional example that no matter how strong our feelings are in a particular situation, that never crosses over into a bright line that "all killing of children at all times for all reasons by all people in all places" is intrinsically "bad" or "evil."


    And that is a huge point to be made and drilled in for a proper understanding of Epicurean ethics.


    I can see that that one is difficult, especially given the way I wrote the option regarding Agamemnon. That's an example of how I will need to weigh and balance the purpose of the quiz and how easy we want scoring to be. I'll definitely mark that one as one to consider as we move forward.

    This is a thread for general discussion of the use and revisions to the quiz function of the forum. I would appreciate over time if people would let us know comments, questions, suggestions, etc, about this function. And here's one good use of this thread: I just recently added the first two quizzes for the Lucretius review. I checked the results and see this for the BOOK ONE PART ONE Quiz result:


    pasted-from-clipboard.png Uh-oh, for Eugenios and Godfrey to get exactly the same 77.8 percent result, there must be a particular question or two that may be weirdly worded or even wrong. I am not sure that I have the ability to check individual test results to see what questions caused the issues. Can you guys let me know if I have a question or two you disagree with?


    One of these days I will move these questions into a full-blown "Moodle" or similar computerized learning format, so anytime someone sees a particular question which could be improved, let me know.

    1 - Wow that is great work on looking for appearances of the word eudaimonia. I know Elli and I have discussed this several times and I think that she largely feels the way you do about the word.


    2 - My concern, or maybe better stated as lack of commitment to emphasizing that word, stems from the first point, which is the discussion of whether everyone can reach "the goal." Yes I very much agree with you that the Epicurean "way of life" is for everyone, and is at least in some sense achievable by everyone. The reason I hesitate to describe it as "reaching the goal" is the implication that has been drummed into us that there is a single goal or a single set of achievements in life that can be met by everyone. I am of course getting into the issue of all sorts of desirable things, such as long life, many friends, large family/circle, good health, etc etc that not everyone is going to succeed in doing. I would say that poor health or many other unfortunate circumstances do not prevent them from pursuing the same goal, and from in a strong sense achieving it by living prudently in the pursuit of pleasure, but I also think it's important to stress that those who do not have the most supportive circumstances should still follow Epicurean philosophy. Perhaps this is why Jefferson's phrase "pursuit of happiness" is in fact more sound than "happiness."


    I feel sure that this understanding of "pursuit" was implicit in Epicurus and that you and he and I would agree on this.


    Ha now I remember this point - that I also have an aversion to using untranslated Greek words as if there is no adequate English translation. Maybe I sound like Cicero here, but I think everyone must internalize the philosophy in their own language and understanding in order to be able to apply it properly, so I don't like to talk about a goal using a word that is meaningless or confusing to most people, especially since there is such debate over what the word means.



    Epicurus saw eudaimonia as equivalent to leading a joyous, pleasant, and complete life


    So that's why when I discuss the Epicurean goal of life I like to describe it as "a joyous, pleasant, and complete life" rather than as "eudaimonia" or having a good demon, or a good spirit ;-)


    As usual I don't think we are very far apart at all, and I realize that my view here is just personal preference.

    Welcome to Episode Fifteen of Lucretius Today. This is a podcast dedicated to the poet Lucretius, who lived in the age of Julius Caesar and wrote "On The Nature of Things," the only complete presentation of Epicurean philosophy left to us from the ancient world.


    I am your host Cassius, and together with my panelists from the EpicureanFriends.com forum, we'll walk you through the six books of Lucretius' poem, and discuss how Epicurean philosophy can apply to you today. Be aware that none of us are professional philosophers, and everyone here is a a self-taught Epicurean. We encourage you to study Epicurus for yourself, and we suggest the best place to start is the book, "Epicurus and His Philosophy" by Canadian professor Norman DeWitt.


    Before we start with today's episode let me remind you of our three ground rules.


    First: Our aim is to bring you an accurate presentation of classical Epicurean philosophy as the ancient Epicureans understood it, which is not necessarily the same as modern commentators interpret it.


    Second: We won't be talking about modern political issues in this podcast. We call this approach "Not Neo-Epicurean, But Epicurean." Epicurean philosophy is a philosophy of its own, it's not Stoicism, Humanism, Buddhism, Taoism, Atheism, or Marxism - it is unique and must be understood on its own, not in terms of any conventional modern morality.


    Third: We will be talking about many details of Epicurean physics, but we'll always relate them to how they translate into the Epicurean conclusions about how best to live. Lucretius will show that Epicurus was not focused on luxury, like some people say, but neither did he teach minimalism, as other people say. Epicurus taught that feeling - pleasure and pain - are the guides that Nature gave us to live by, not gods, idealism, or virtue ethics. More than anything else, Epicurus taught that the universe is not supernatural in any way, and that means there's no life after death, and any happiness we'll ever have comes in THIS life, which is why it is so important not to waste time in confusion.


    Remember that our home page is LucretiusToday.com, and there you can find a free copy of the version of the poem from which we are reading, and links to where you can discuss the poem between episodes at Epicureanfriends.com.


    In previous episodes we have discussed:

    • (1) Venus / Pleasure As Guide of Life: That Pleasure, using the allegory of Venus, is the driving force of all life; That the way to rid ourselves of pain is to replace pain with pleasure, using the allegory of Venus entertaining Mars, the god of war;
    • (2) The Achievement of Epicurus: That Epicurus was the great philosophic leader who stood up to supernatural religion, opened the gates to a proper understanding of nature, and thereby showed us how we too can emulate the life of gods;
    • (3-4) So Great Is The Power of Religion To Inspire Evil Deeds! That it is not Epicurean philosophy, but supernatural religion, which is truly unholy and prompts men to commit evil deeds;
    • (5) On Resisting The Threats of Priests And Poets: That false priests and philosophers will try to scare you away from Epicurean philosophy with threats of punishment after death, which is why you must understand that those threats cannot be true; That the key to freeing yourself from false religion and false philosophy is found in the study of nature;
    • (6-7) Step One: Nothing Comes From Nothing. The first major observation which underlies all the rest of Epicurean philosophy is that we observe that nothing is ever generated from nothing.
    • (8) Step Two: Nothing Goes To Nothing. The second major observation is that nothing is ever destroyed completely to nothing.
    • (9) The Evidence That Atoms Exist, Even Though They Are Unseen. The next observation is that we know elemental particles exist, even though we cannot see them just like we know that wind and other things exist by observing their effects.
    • (10-11) The Void And Its Nature. We also know that the void exists, because things must have space in which to move, as we see they do move.
    • (12) Everything We Experience Is Composed Of A Combination of Matter And Void. Everything around us that we experience is a natural combination of atoms and void.
    • (13) The Things We Experience Are Properties and Qualities Of Atoms And Void And Cease To Exist When Their Atoms Disperse. All things we experience around us are either (1) the properties (essential conjuncts; essential and unchanging) or qualities (events; inessential and changing depending on context) of bodies. All these arise from the nature, movement, and combinations of the atoms, and cease to exist when the atoms which compose the bodies disperse. Therefore it is incorrect to think that ideas or stories such as that of the Trojan war have any permanent existence.
    • (14) Atoms Are Solid And Indestructible, And Therefore Eternal. The argument that atoms are solid and indestructible and therefore eternal.

    In Episode 15, we discuss:


    Here is the text that will be covered in Episode Fourteen. The Latin version of Book One has this as beginning at approximately line____ of the Munro Latin Edition here.


    Review the prior sections of Book 1 of Daniel Browne by clicking here.


    1743 Daniel Browne Edition (click link for English and Latin):


    But still, if nature had prefixed no bounds in breaking things to pieces, the parts of matter, broken by every passing age, had been reduced so small that nothing could of them be formed that would in any time become mature; for things we see much sooner are dissolved than are again restored; and therefore what an infinite tract of ages past has broken, and separated and dissolved, in future time can never be repaired; so that certain bounds of breaking and dividing must be set, because we see each being is repaired, and stated times are fixed to ever thing in which it feels the flower of its age.


    And yet, though the first seeds of things are solid, all beings that are compounded, such as air and water, earth and fire, may be soft, (however made, or by what power formed) and from them be produced, because there is a void still mixed with things; and, on the contrary, if these first seeds were soft, what reason can there be assigned whence hardened flints and iron could be formed, for nature would want the proper principles to work upon; and therefore these first seeds must simple solids be, by whose union close and compact all things are bound up firm, and so display their strength and hardy force.


    Again, because each being in its kind has certain bounds prefixed to its increase, and to the preservation of its life, and since by nature's laws it is ordained to each how far their powers to act or not extend; since nothing changes, and every thing goes on as it began, each kind of birds, most steady in their course, shew the same colors painted on their wings, the principles of matter whence they spring must be fixed and unchangeable; if the seeds of things could change by any means, it would be unknown what could be formed, what not; by what means every being is limited, and stops short within the bounds it cannot break; nor could the course of time in every age, the nature, motion, diet, and the manners of the old sire impress upon the young.


    Besides, because the utmost point or the extreme of every body something is the eye cannot discern, it is not made of parts, but is in nature what we call the least; which never exists of itself, divided from body, nor ever can, because it is the very first and last of something else. For 'tis by heaping up such parts as these, one by another, that complete the being of every body. Since then they can't subsist apart, and separate, they must needs stick close, nor be divided by the utmost force. These seeds therefore are in their nature solid, and simple, formed of smallest parts bound close; not tied together by united seeds of various kinds, but in themselves entire, eternally unmixed and pure, from which nature will suffer nothing to be forced or lessened, reserving them as first seeds, to form and to repair those things that die.


    Again, suppose there was no least, the smallest bodies must be composed of parts boundless and infinite; the half of every being must then contain another half, so there would be no end of still dividing; and where would be the difference between the smallest and the largest bodies? None in the least; for though the whole be entirely infinite, yet bodies that are smallest would contain infinite parts alike, which, since true reason exclaims against, nor will allow the mind to give assent, you must, convinced, profess that there are bodies which are void of parts, and are by nature least; since such there are, you must admit them solid and eternal.


    Munro:


    [552] Again if nature had set no limit to the breaking of things, by this time the bodies of matter would have been so far reduced by the breaking of past ages that nothing could within a fixed time be conceived out of them and reach its utmost growth of being. For we see that anything is more quickly destroyed than again renewed; and therefore that which the long, the infinite duration of all bygone time had broken up demolished and destroyed, could never be reproduced in all remaining time. But now sure enough a fixed limit to their breaking has been set, since we see each thing renewed, and at the same time definite periods fixed for things each after its kind to reach the flower of their age.


    [566] Moreover while the bodies of matter are most solid, it may yet be explained in what way all things which are formed soft, as air water earth fires, are so formed and by what force they severally go on, since once for all there is void mixed up in things. But on the other hand if the first-beginnings of things be soft, it cannot be explained out of what enduring basalt and iron can be produced; for their whole nature will utterly lack a first foundation to begin with. First-beginnings therefore are strong in solid singleness, and by a denser combination of these all things can be closely packed and exhibit enduring strength.


    [?] Again if no limit has been set to the breaking of bodies, nevertheless the several bodies which go to things must survive from eternity up to the present time, not yet assailed by any danger. But since they are possessed of a frail nature, it is not consistent with this that they could have continued through eternity harassed through ages by countless blows.


    [578] Again too since a limit of growing and sustaining life has been assigned to things each after its kind, and since by the laws of nature it stands decreed what they can each do and what they cannot do, and since nothing is changed, but all things are so constant that the different birds all in succession exhibit in their body the distinctive marks of their kind, they must sure enough have a body of unchangeable matter also. For if the first-beginnings of things could in any way be vanquished and changed, it would then be uncertain too what could and what could not rise into being, in short on what principle each thing has its powers defined, its deep-set boundary mark; nor could the generations reproduce so often each after its kind the nature habits, way of life and motions of the parents.


    [593] Then again since there is ever a bounding point [to bodies, which appears to us to be a least, there ought in the same way to be a bounding point the least conceivable to that first body] which already is beyond what our senses can perceive: that point sure enough is without parts and consists of a least nature and never has existed apart by itself and will not be able in future so to exist, since it is in itself a part of that other; and so a first and single part and then other and other similar parts in succession fill up in close serried mass the nature of the first body; and since these cannot exist by themselves, they must cleave to that from which they cannot in any way be torn.


    First-beginnings therefore are of solid singleness, massed together and cohering closely by means of least parts, not compounded out of a union of those parts, but, rather, strong in everlasting singleness.


    From them nature allows nothing to be torn, nothing further to be worn away, reserving them as seeds for things.


    [609] Again unless there shall be a least, the very smallest bodies will consist of infinite parts, inasmuch as the half of the half will always have a half and nothing will set bounds to the division.Therefore between the sum of things and the least of things what difference will there be? There will be no distinction at all; for how absolutely infinite soever the whole sum is, yet the things which are smallest will equally consist of infinite parts. Now since on this head true reason protests and denies that the mind can believe it, you must yield and admit that there exist such things as are possessed of no parts and are of a least nature. And since these exist, those first bodies also you must admit to be solid and everlasting.


    Bailey:


    Again, if nature had ordained no limit to the breaking of things, by now the bodies of matter would have been so far brought low by the breaking of ages past, that nothing could be conceived out of them within a fixed time, and pass on to the full measure of its life; for we see that anything you will is more easily broken up than put together again. Wherefore what the long limitless age of days, the age of all time that is gone by, had broken ere now, disordering and dissolving, could never be renewed in all time that remains. But as it is, a set limit to breaking has, we may be sure, been appointed, since we see each thing put together again, and at the same time fixed seasons ordained for all things after their kind, in the which they may be able to reach the flower of their life.


    [566] There is this too that, though the first-bodies of matter are quite solid, yet we can give account of all the soft things that come to be, air, water, earth, fires, by what means they come to being, and by what force each goes on its way, when once void has been mingled in things. But on the other hand, if the first-beginnings of things were to be soft, it will not be possible to give account whence hard flints and iron can be created; for from the first all nature will lack a first-beginning of foundation. There are then bodies that prevail in their solid singleness, by whose more close-packed union all things can be riveted and reveal their stalwart strength. Moreover, if no limit has been appointed to the breaking of things, still it must needs be that all the bodies of things survive even now from time everlasting, such that they cannot yet have been assailed by any danger. But since they exist endowed with a frail nature, it is not in harmony with this that they have been able to abide for everlasting time harried through all the ages by countless blows.


    [578] Once again, since there has been appointed for all things after their kind a limit of growing and of maintaining life, and inasmuch as it stands ordained what all things severally can do by the laws of nature, and what too they cannot, nor is anything so changed, but that all things stand so fast that the diverse birds all in their due order show that the marks of their kind are on their body, they must also, we may be sure, have a body of unchanging substance. For if the first-beginnings of things could be vanquished in any way and changed, then, too, would it be doubtful what might come to being, what might not, yea, in what way each thing has its power limited and its deepset boundary-stone, nor could the tribes each after their kind so often recall the nature, habits, manner of life and movements of the parents.


    [593] Then, further, since there are extreme points, one after another [on bodies, which are the least things we can see, likewise, too, there must be a least point] on that body, which our senses can no longer descry; that point, we may be sure, exists without parts and is endowed with the least nature, nor was it ever sundered apart by itself nor can it so be hereafter, since it is itself but a part of another and that the first single part: then other like parts and again others in order in close array make up the nature of the first body, and since they cannot exist by themselves, it must needs be that they stay fast there whence they cannot by any means be torn away. The first-beginnings then are of solid singleness; for they are a close dense mass of least parts, never put together out of a union of those parts, but rather prevailing in everlasting singleness; from them nature, keeping safe the seeds of things, suffers not anything to be torn away, nor ever to be removed.


    [609] Moreover, if there be not a least thing, all the tiniest bodies will be composed of infinite parts, since indeed the half of a half will always have a half, nor will anything set a limit. What difference then will there be between the sum of things and the least of things? There will be no difference; for however completely the whole sum be infinite, yet things that are tiniest will be composed of infinite parts just the same. And since true reasoning cries out against this, and denies that the mind can believe it, you must be vanquished and confess that there are those things which consist of no parts at all and are of the least nature. And since these exist, those first-beginnings too you must needs own are solid and everlasting.

    Welcome to Episode Fourteen of Lucretius Today. This is a podcast dedicated to the poet Lucretius, who lived in the age of Julius Caesar and wrote "On The Nature of Things," the only complete presentation of Epicurean philosophy left to us from the ancient world.


    I am your host Cassius, and together with my panelists from the EpicureanFriends.com forum, we'll walk you through the six books of Lucretius' poem, and discuss how Epicurean philosophy can apply to you today. Be aware that none of us are professional philosophers, and everyone here is a a self-taught Epicurean. We encourage you to study Epicurus for yourself, and we suggest the best place to start is the book, "Epicurus and His Philosophy" by Canadian professor Norman DeWitt.


    Before we start with today's episode let me remind you of our three ground rules.


    First: Our aim is to bring you an accurate presentation of classical Epicurean philosophy as the ancient Epicureans understood it, which is not necessarily the same as modern commentators interpret it.


    Second: We won't be talking about modern political issues in this podcast. We call this approach "Not Neo-Epicurean, But Epicurean." Epicurean philosophy is a philosophy of its own, it's not Stoicism, Humanism, Buddhism, Taoism, Atheism, or Marxism - it is unique and must be understood on its own, not in terms of any conventional modern morality.


    Third: We will be talking about many details of Epicurean physics, but we'll always relate them to how they translate into the Epicurean conclusions about how best to live. Lucretius will show that Epicurus was not focused on luxury, like some people say, but neither did he teach minimalism, as other people say. Epicurus taught that feeling - pleasure and pain - are the guides that Nature gave us to live by, not gods, idealism, or virtue ethics. More than anything else, Epicurus taught that the universe is not supernatural in any way, and that means there's no life after death, and any happiness we'll ever have comes in THIS life, which is why it is so important not to waste time in confusion.


    Remember that our home page is LucretiusToday.com, and there you can find a free copy of the version of the poem from which we are reading, and links to where you can discuss the poem between episodes at Epicureanfriends.com.


    In previous episodes we have discussed:

    • (1) Venus / Pleasure As Guide of Life: That Pleasure, using the allegory of Venus, is the driving force of all life; That the way to rid ourselves of pain is to replace pain with pleasure, using the allegory of Venus entertaining Mars, the god of war;
    • (2) The Achievement of Epicurus: That Epicurus was the great philosophic leader who stood up to supernatural religion, opened the gates to a proper understanding of nature, and thereby showed us how we too can emulate the life of gods;
    • (3-4) So Great Is The Power of Religion To Inspire Evil Deeds! That it is not Epicurean philosophy, but supernatural religion, which is truly unholy and prompts men to commit evil deeds;
    • (5) On Resisting The Threats of Priests And Poets: That false priests and philosophers will try to scare you away from Epicurean philosophy with threats of punishment after death, which is why you must understand that those threats cannot be true; That the key to freeing yourself from false religion and false philosophy is found in the study of nature;
    • (6-7) Step One: Nothing Comes From Nothing. The first major observation which underlies all the rest of Epicurean philosophy is that we observe that nothing is ever generated from nothing.
    • (8) Step Two: Nothing Goes To Nothing. The second major observation is that nothing is ever destroyed completely to nothing.
    • (9) The Evidence That Atoms Exist, Even Though They Are Unseen. The next observation is that we know elemental particles exist, even though we cannot see them just like we know that wind and other things exist by observing their effects.
    • (10-11) The Void And Its Nature. We also know that the void exists, because things must have space in which to move, as we see they do move.
    • (12) Everything We Experience Is Composed Of A Combination of Matter And Void. Everything around us that we experience is a natural combination of atoms and void.
    • (13) The Things We Experience Are Properties and Qualities Of Atoms And Void And Cease To Exist When Their Atoms Disperse. All things we experience around us are either (1) the properties (essential conjuncts; essential and unchanging) or qualities (events; inessential and changing depending on context) of bodies. All these arise from the nature, movement, and combinations of the atoms, and cease to exist when the atoms which compose the bodies disperse. Therefore it is incorrect to think that ideas or stories such as that of the Trojan war have any permanent existence.


    In Episode 14, we move to the argument that Atoms Are Solid And Indestructible, And Therefore Eternal:


    Here is the text that will be covered in Episode Fourteen. The Latin version of Book One has this as beginning at approximately line____ of the Munro Latin Edition here.


    Review the prior sections of Book 1 of Daniel Browne by clicking here.


    1743 Daniel Browne Edition (click link for English and Latin):


    Lastly, bodies are either the first seeds of things, or formed by the uniting of those seeds. The simple seeds of things no force can strain, their solid parts will never be subdued. Though it is difficult, I own, to think that any thing in nature can be found perfectly solid; for heaven's thunder passes through the walls of houses, just as sound or words; iron in the fire grows hot, and burning stones fly into pieces by the raging heat; the stiffness of the gold is loosed by fire, and made to run; the hard and solid brass, subdued by flames, dissolves; the heat and piercing cold passes through silver; both of these we find as in our hand we hold a cup, and at the top pour water hot or cold: so nothing wholly solid seems to be found in nature. But because reason and the fixed state of things oblige me, here, I beg, while in few verses we evince that there are beings that consist of solid and everlasting matter which we call the seeds, the first principles of things, from whence the whole of things begin to be.


    And, first, because we find two sorts of things unlike in nature, in themselves distinct, body and space, 'tis necessary each should be entire, and separate in itself; for where there is a space which we call void, there nothing is of body; so were body is, there nothing is of empty space: and therefore such things are as solids and first seeds, which nothing in them can admit of void.


    Besides, because in all created things there is a void, 'tis necessary some solid matter should still include this void; nor can you prove, by any rule of reason, that any thing contains within itself an empty space, unless you will allow what holds it in is perfect solid; and this is nothing else but the close union of the first seeds, which bind and do confine within themselves this void. Matter therefore composed of solid parts eternal is, when all things else must die.


    Further, if there was no such thing as we call void, every thing would be solid; then again, unless there were some things solid to fill up the space they hold, all would be empty space. Body from space therefore is in itself distinct; for all is neither full, nor is all void; and therefore there are solid seeds which make a difference between full and space.


    These solid seeds by no force from without can be dissolved, nor can they be destroyed by being pierced within, nor made to yield by any other means, as proved before. For nothing can be bruised without a void, or broken or by force be cleft in two, or receive moisture, or the piercing cold, or searching fire which all things else destroys. And the more of void the solid seeds confine, the sooner when they are struck will they dissolve and fall to pieces; therefore, if these first seeds are solid, free from void, they, as I said, must be eternal, and from death secure.


    Again, if matter had not been eternal, long before now all beings had returned to nothing, and each being we behold again had been restored from nothing; but, as before I proved, nothing from nothing can be made, and what was once in being can never to nothing be reduced; it follows, those first seeds must be composed of principles immortal, into which at last each being must dissolve, and thence supply an everlasting stock of matter to repair the things decayed. These first seeds therefore are solid and simple, else they could not last entire through ages past and infinite, to repair beings perished and dissolved.


    Munro:


    [484] Bodies again are partly first-beginnings of things, partly those which are formed of a union of first beginnings. But those which are first-beginnings of things no force can quench: they are sure to have the better by their solid body. Although it seems difficult to believe that aught can be found among things with a solid body. For the lightning of heaven passes through the walls of houses, as well as noise and voices; iron grows red-hot in the fire and stones burn with fierce heat and burst asunder the hardness of gold is broken up and dissolved by heat; the ice of brass melts vanquished by the flame; warmth and piercing cold ooze through silver, since we have felt both, as we held cups with the hand indue fashion and the water was poured down into them. So universally there is found to be nothing solid in things. But yet because true reason and the nature of things constrains, attend until we make clear in a few verses that there are such things as consist of solid and everlasting body, which we teach are seeds of things and first-beginnings, out of which the whole sum of things which now exists has been produced.


    [504] First of all then since there has been found to exist a two-fold and widely dissimilar nature of two things, that is to say of body and of place in which things severally go on, each of the two must exist for and by itself and quite unmixed. For wherever there is empty space which we call void, there body is not; wherever again body maintains itself, there empty void no wise exists. First bodies therefore are solid and without void.


    [512] Again since there is void in things begotten, solid matter must exist about this void, and no thing can be proved by true reason to conceal in its body and have within it void, unless you choose to allow that that which holds it in is solid. Again that can be nothing but a union of matter which can keep in the void of things. Matter therefore, which consists of a solid body, may be everlasting, though all things else are dissolved.


    [520] Moreover, if there were no empty void, the universe would be solid; unless on the other hand there were certain bodies to fill up whatever places they occupied, the existing universe would be empty and void space. Therefore sure enough body and void are marked off in alternate layers, since the universe is neither of a perfect fulness nor a perfect void. There are therefore certain bodies which can vary void space with full.


    [525] These can neither be broken in pieces by the stroke of blows from without nor have their texture undone by aught piercing to their core nor give way before any other kind of assault; as we have proved to you a little before. For without void nothing seems to admit of being crushed in or broken up or split in two by cutting, or of taking in wet or permeating cold or penetrating fire, by which all things are destroyed. And the more anything contains within it of void, the more thoroughly it gives way to the assault of these things. Therefore if first bodies are as I have shown solid and without void, they must be everlasting.


    [541] Again unless matter had been eternal, all things before this would have utterly returned to nothing and whatever things we see would have been born anew from nothing. But since I have proved above that nothing can be produced from nothing, and that what is begotten cannot be called to nothing, first-beginnings must be of an imperishable body, into which all things can be dissolved at their last hour, that there may be a supply of matter for the reproduction of things. Therefore first-beginnings are of solid singleness, and in no other way can they have been preserved through ages during infinite time past in order to reproduce things.


    Bailey:


    [484] Bodies, moreover, are in part the first-beginnings of things, in part those which are created by the union of first-beginnings. Now the true first-beginnings of things, no force can quench; for they by their solid body prevail in the end. Albeit it seems hard to believe that there can be found among things anything of solid body. For the thunderbolt of heaven passes through walled houses, as do shouts and cries; iron grows white hot in the flame, and stones seethe in fierce fire and leap asunder; then too the hardness of gold is relaxed and softened by heat, and the ice of brass yields beneath the flame and melts; warmth and piercing cold ooze through silver, since when we have held cups duly in our hands we have felt both alike, when the dewy moisture of water was poured in from above. So true is it that in things there is seen to be nothing solid. But yet because true reasoning and the nature of things constrain us, give heed, until in a few verses we set forth that there are things which exist with solid and everlasting body, which we show to be the seeds of things and their first-beginnings, out of which the whole sum of things now stands created.


    [504] First, since we have found existing a twofold nature of things far differing, the nature of body and of space, in which all things take place, it must needs be that each exists alone by itself and unmixed. For wherever space lies empty, which we call the void, body is not there; moreover, wherever body has its station, there is by no means empty void. Therefore the first bodies are solid and free from void.


    [512] Moreover, since there is void in things created, solid matter must needs stand all round, nor can anything by true reasoning be shown to hide void in its body and hold it within, except you grant that what keeps it in is solid. Now it can be nothing but a union of matter, which could keep in the void in things. Matter then, which exists with solid body, can be everlasting, when all else is dissolved.


    [520] Next, if there were nothing which was empty and void, the whole would be solid; unless on the other hand there were bodies determined, to fill all the places that they held, the whole universe would be but empty void space. Body, then, we may be sure, is marked off from void turn and turn about, since there is neither a world utterly full nor yet quite empty. There are therefore bodies determined, such as can mark off void space from what is full.


    [525] These cannot be broken up when hit by blows from without, nor again can they be pierced to the heart and undone, nor by any other way can they be assailed and made to totter; all of which I have above shown to you but a little while before. For it is clear that nothing could be crushed in without void, or broken or cleft in twain by cutting, nor admit moisture nor likewise spreading cold or piercing flame, whereby all things are brought to their end. And the more each thing keeps void within it, the more is it assailed to the heart by these things and begins to totter. Therefore, if the first bodies are solid and free from void, as I have shown, they must be everlasting.


    [541] Moreover, if matter had not been everlasting, ere this all things had wholly passed away to nothing, and all that we see had been born again from nothing. But since I have shown above that nothing can be created from nothing, nor can what has been begotten be summoned back to nothing, the first-beginnings must needs be of immortal body, into which at their last day all things can be dissolved, that there may be matter enough for renewing things. Therefore the first-beginnings are of solid singleness, nor in any other way can they be preserved through the ages from infinite time now gone and renew things.

    Also I should mention that in order to not get totally sidetracked on it we never read the full passage that is the source of so much discussion/argument. For the record it is this passage:



    We must consider that of desires some are natural, others vain, and of the natural some are necessary and others merely natural; and of the necessary some are necessary for happiness, others for the repose of the body, and others for very life. The right understanding of these facts enables us to refer all choice and avoidance to the health of the body and (the soul’s) freedom from disturbance, since this is the aim of the life of blessedness. For it is to obtain this end that we always act, namely, to avoid pain and fear. And when this is once secured for us, all the tempest of the soul is dispersed, since the living creature has not to wander as though in search of something that is missing, and to look for some other thing by which he can fulfil the good of the soul and the good of the body. For it is then that we have need of pleasure, when we feel pain owing to the absence of pleasure; (but when we do not feel pain), we no longer need pleasure. And for this cause we call pleasure the beginning and end of the blessed life. For we recognize pleasure as the first good innate in us, and from pleasure we begin every act of choice and avoidance, and to pleasure we return again, using the feeling as the standard by which we judge every good. And since pleasure is the first good and natural to us, for this very reason we do not choose every pleasure, but sometimes we pass over many pleasures, when greater discomfort accrues to us as the result of them: and similarly we think many pains better than pleasures, since a greater pleasure comes to us when we have endured pains for a long time. Every pleasure then because of its natural kinship to us is good, yet not every pleasure is to be chosen: even as every pain also is an evil, yet not all are always of a nature to be avoided. Yet by a scale of comparison and by the consideration of advantages and disadvantages we must form our judgment on all these matters. For the good on certain occasions we treat as bad, and conversely the bad as good.


    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, and that all that is natural is easy to be obtained, but that which is superfluous is hard. And so plain savours bring us a pleasure equal to a luxurious diet, when all the pain due to want is removed; and bread and water produce the highest pleasure, when one who needs them puts them to his lips. To grow accustomed therefore to simple and not luxurious diet gives us health to the full, and makes a man alert for the needful employments of life, and when after long intervals we approach luxuries disposes us better towards them, and fits us to be fearless of fortune. When, therefore, we maintain that pleasure is the end, we do not mean the pleasures of profligates and those that consist in sensuality, as is supposed by some who are either ignorant or disagree with us or do not understand, but freedom from pain in the body and from trouble in the mind. For it is not continuous drinkings and revelings, nor the satisfaction of lusts, nor the enjoyment of fish and other luxuries of the wealthy table, which produce a pleasant life, but sober reasoning, searching out the motives for all choice and avoidance, and banishing mere opinions, to which are due the greatest disturbance of the spirit.


    I thought Charles had a great point of analyzing the issue here as one of the temptation to "idealize" a particular form or type of pleasure over all others. That's a point that I need to add into my most lengthy post on this subject: The Full Cup / Fullness of Pleasure Model


    And really, as I think about it, Julie's emphasis on the implications of the "sober reasoning" part is really a good way of looping back the previously stated we do not choose every pleasure, but sometimes we pass over many pleasures, when greater discomfort accrues to us as the result of them: and similarly we think many pains better than pleasures, since a greater pleasure comes to us when we have endured pains for a long time.

    Yes! When I put together that clip of Elayne, the "duh" clip from Julie was next on my list to do! And there were some really good lines by Charles and Martin as well. I think rather than make more highlight clips right now I am going to sick with adding notes (like these) to each podcast, and also setting up threads for upcoming podcasts, but I can't say how much I appreciate the input from Elayne and Julie and Charles and Martin in producing these.


    Over time we need other formats where we can get others (like the two of you who commented above) involved in a more "ad hoc" way, but what I'm beginning to see is that getting a group of people to do this week after week after week builds up a - what would be the word - "style" or "consistency"? - that is really helpful.


    Over time you also get to find out things about people that you had no idea were true. I was pretty sure from the beginning that Martin had very good expertise in physics, but I was very surprised when Julie in this episode displayed her knowledge of Zeno's paradox being based on infinitely divisible lines. And of course in this episode too Elayne surprised us with the "block" universe!

    LOL I see what you mean about maybe saying things differently now!


    It looks like last October you were pretty much in a standard place where you were already sensing the contradictions between Epicurus and Stoicism without really articulating them. A true Stoic would worried about you and noted that you had a lot less to say about "virtue" than you should have from their point of view. And shockingly you seemed to be operating from the premise that the benefit of being a Stoic had something to do with the practical results of it, and that the goal of it all was to somehow be happy -- and of course that betrays your not being sold on true Stoicism!


    It's also obvious that you were digging into the sources, and that's what I think has kept you here. Lots of people who find themselves in your position of last October are going to stay there if all they come into contact with is the Catherine Wilson / Time Okeefe approach. They will mind-meld Stoic and Epicurean views in one way or the other to conclude that Epicurus is focused on "simple pleasure," and that the Stoics didn't really mean what they said about virtue, and they would decide that the two are "close enough" to modern viewpoints so that the original points of the schools, and the differences between the two, can safely be ignored.


    And there they stop, put the books back on the shelf, and move on to something else (unless they are paid by their college or university to write these superficial points of view for a living).


    There is so much to reconsider and study about even the simplest of assertions that we take for granted, including even such a basic sentence as:


    pasted-from-clipboard.png


    There are so many details of the philosophy to drill down to verify. Is the Epicurean goal properly described as "eudaimonia?" Would they have maintained that their goal, whatever the term used to describe it, was achievable by everyone?


    I am not sure either of those statements apply to either the Stoics or Epicureans....

    pasted-from-clipboard.pngI just listened to this program, and my notes are below. Most of my comments will not be surprising; I find that the program focuses on many interpretations of Epicurus that I strongly disagree with. Catherine Wilson performs as she usually does - sometimes very well, but then ultimately just digging herself deeper into the well of (1) "absence of pain" as the focus of life rather than pleasure, (2) her list of political positions that she is confident that all Epicureans would agree with.


    At one point around the 30 minute mark she starts down a very productive road of discussing how other Greek philosophers were hostile to pleasure, and she cited Plato's Phaedo beginning on that theme. That's a work I haven't checked and we need to investigate. Unfortunately she shuts herself down (or perhaps the interviewer clipped her answer) and she doesn't expand on what she is talking about or why her observation is important.


    One point that I think noteworthy that I have not seen before occurs at 11:30 when the interviewer leads David Sedley to agree that the infinite universe argument leads one to conclude that eventually enough monkey will compose the Aenid. I do NOT believe that Epicurus would have agreed with that, and I would cite the arguments in Lucretius about the LIMITS of what combinations of atoms can do. This is an important point because it is related to issues of chance and chaos and determinism and I was very surprised that David Sedley did not swat it down.


    The introduction is a mix of typical misleading superficialities about bread and water and cheese.


    7:15 - Atomism. Very good discussion by Catherine Wilson. No souls, no ghosts, no supernatural divinities; no action at a distance, no sorcery. Interviewer accuses of contradiction with emphasis on senses; Wilson defends well.


    11:30 Asks David Sedley about the swerve. He links to Heisenburg. Points out that Epicurus bases his argument on infinite universes. Problem: He agrees with interviewer on the Monkey typewriter argument!


    14:18 Sonja talks about Philodemus not being an "atheist" in the standard sense. Interviewer pushes argument that Epicurus was hiding his true beliefs on gods. Sedley says Epicurus might have considered them just concepts - he says jury is out and you must read between lines. Wilson refers to On The Nature of the Gods and common impression of mankind. Wilson argues that Lucretius is different from Epicurus and more anti-religious (I disagree that there is difference).


    19:02 - Reader reads the Iphinessa passage from Book One (not sure what translation).


    20:23 - Interviewer asks decent question about pleasure but NO! Wilson insists it is more important to focus to minimize pain than to pursue pleasure! Says also friendship is the greatest good!


    27:08: "True happiness found in friendship and simple things in life"


    27:39 - Sonya says that Epicurean pleasure is a "subdued sort of pleasure."


    28:10 - Sedley says "when all pain is gone" this is the greatest pleasure. He says that adding things through luxury is just variety, not greater quantity. Sedley's explanation is not entirely clear


    30:00 Wilson says that Epicurus had a modest view of pleasure, but she also says that the commentators have been hostile (cites Phaedo as ranting against pleasure). If she had gone further she was going in right direction!! But she stopped!


    30:52 Sedley talks about reducing needs and doesn't answer the question qbout accepting an upgrade to a nicer seat on a flight. Free upgrade would be fine but not every time. Sonja says that you would not ASK for it! Sedley agrees.


    32:00 Discussion of Stoicism starts. Wilson says stoicism is training your mind not to care about misfortune. Epicureans were "somewhat skeptical" of this - then Wilson stops!


    34:00 Sedley says appeal of Epicurus to Italy is that it is easy to get started; no lessons in logic required;


    34:30 Interviewer sees this as grass roots rather than top down philosophy. Sonya agrees; says Cicero was an elitist.


    35:30 Sedley cites 1417 rediscovery that kickstarted Epicurean revival.


    36:32 - Reading of atoms swerving from Lucretius Book 2


    39:36 discussion of why people are interested in Epicuran ethics rather than physics


    41:00 Sonya says that her students find Epicurus more interesting than most. They see it as a foil to the material world they live in because you don't need a lot to be happy (good grief).


    42:30 Catherine Wilson says No wars for ideology, no autocratic leaders, nobody would try to amass great quantities of wealth, poeple would accept science, people would choose friends by who they liked, People would be ecologists. Epicureans emphasize making do with less and focusing on books and conversations and that we should scale back expectations and ambitions.



    ------------------------


    Released On: 02 Apr 2020



    The popular view of an Epicurean is that of somebody who focuses on pleasure as our guiding principle, indulging in the finer things of life to achieve happiness. And yet what the Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus understood by pleasure was far more nuanced. In fact, Epicurus and his followers advocated a simple lifestyle, withdrawn from society, where we are content with little.

    What is perhaps less known is how Epicurean writings on physics foreshadowed some of the most significant developments in early modern science – including Darwin’s theory of evolution and even Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

    Joining Bridget Kendall is Catherine Wilson, visiting Professor at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York, and the author of various works on Epicureanism, including How to Be an Epicurean: The Ancient Art of Living Well; Dr Sonya Wurster, Honorary Fellow at La Trobe University in Australia who’s working on a book about the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus; and philosopher and historian David Sedley, Emeritus Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, and the author of numerous publications on Greek and Roman thought.

    I have been thinking again about how to prioritize time among projects.


    Charles made a comment in the most recent Lucretius Today podcast that 98% of the people who come into his Discord or Reddit groups, or the Facebook group, are essentially "NeoEpicurean" in their thinking. They have little interest in the physics or the epistemology, and they think that they have captured Epicurus fully in a couple of remarks about "absence of pain" or "tranquility." We have much better percentages here at EpicureanFriends.com, but that's because we started by actively recruiting people who we knew had read DeWitt or had otherwise shown by long-time posting that they were really motivated to dig into the details of the philosophy.


    Elayne made a comment in the same podcast that I thought was so worth emphasizing that I highlighted it in a short three minute video:



    Given that so many people who are curious about Epicurus are so far off base to start with, probably the best thing we can do for them is to highlight ways that they can consider that there might be more to Epicurus than they realize. I posted about that previously in: How To Convert A Neo-Epicurean Into A Classical Epicurean

    But beyond reading list suggestions, I think by far the best thing to do is to continue working on the Lucretius podcast, which is going to end up producing a long series of educational shows that will step people back through the basics. I may make some more short "highlight" clips like the one above, but primarily what I think needs doing is to both set up new episodes and then make more notes and extend the discussion on each one.


    With the results we will have a full step-by-step progression through the philosophy, from which we can make quizzes and use as "lectures" or background material for more organized presentations such as the as-yet-unlaunched EpicurusCollege.com website with a more extensive on-line learning system.


    So for the moment I think we're on the right track by going through Lucretius in detail and that seems to me to be the thing to focus on for a while.


    But the big holdup in making progress on these and other initiatives is "content," so if you have any extra free time here are things I would ask people to consider doing:


    1. Post comments and questions on the existing episodes of the LucretiusToday podcast. Those are organized by topic, so each episode can have here on the forum an active discussion of the topics in each show.
    2. Post comments and questions about each of the Twelve Fundamentals of Nature, the Principal Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings. Eugenios lately has been doing some of this, and I know other people have too. Rather than post in the "General Discussion" forum, if you post under the individual Doctrine or Saying then we develop a database on the particular items. I took the time to set up a separate subforum, rather than a single thread, for each of these doctrines and sayings so that we can carry on detailed discussions over time.
    3. Post comments and questions about anything that interest you in terms of Art and Literature from the past and present. There's a lot of fascinating material to be dug out of the history books like Joshua and Charles and others have been doing, and the place to post those is here.
    4. We don't have an immediate schedule but we need to open up on-line live discussion to more people. The place to post about that is here: EpicureanFriends Open DIscussion


    If you have ideas about things to be added to this list please post here. Thanks!

    Back in 2013 or so this is the website I used: https://web.archive.org/web/20…p://www.123dapp.com/Catch


    It's Autodesk (not Adobe as I said earlier) and you took a series of pictures from all angles, uploaded them, and it automatically generated the mesh.


    The website is no longer there (at least in the old form) and I am not sure what technology has replaced it. I have access to a decent 6 inch bust of Epicurus that I could re-photograph if needed, but that may not be the best way.


    As far as I am concerned most ideal would be to find a way to get scans of this one because as I understand it that is just the way it came out of the ground in Herculaneum, so there's no possibility that we are working with the interpretations of a modern reproduction (and that's what I think that mine is - a modern reproduction.


    I feel sure that Elli and some of our other friends in Greece, including maybe @Michele in Italy, probably have access to better originals from which we could work.


    Updated software info here:


    https://www.autodesk.com/solutions/123d-apps


    https://3dscanexpert.com/123d-…-mobile-android-workflow/


    Wow look at the prices: https://www.autodesk.com/products/recap/overview


    I am sure there must be free alternatives.


    michelepinto

    do you know anything about access to 3d sources for busts of the founders and/or the leaping pig, or the Boscoreale cup?

    Here is a link where the mesh I produced can be downloaded. Caveat is that I have not looked at this in six or seven years so I am no longer sure it is usable - if any tries to open it and gets any benefit out of it please post your results so that I will know whether to remove the link or leave it up.


    Hmmm -- the file in the first link is to an .obj file. I no longer recall what the file extensions mean.


    Here is a link to an "stl" file.

    Depending on the size and the material used, the result from the mesh I produced back then was decently acceptable. But the technology of the camera resolution I used, and the free adobe (I think) software to render the mesh, I am sure is vastly better now. I think I know at least one person who produced another mesh so I will see what I can find, but the best thing to do would be to start comparing notes on the current best way to do this.


    I have a friend who produced this version a few years ago. I need to ask him if he used his own mesh or the one I did


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    Here is my post about my efforts seven long years ago! The results were not very good but seemed better than nothing at the time - the technology is far advanced since then!


    I see that I still have a copy of the 20MB mesh file if anyone would like it - just email me and I will post it to a new link for download, but I don't recommend it -- we need a new one with new technology


    https://newepicurean.com/three…f-epicurus-now-available/


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