Posts by Cassius

    One more thing, as to the wiki --


    Like so many other things here I took the bull by the horns and got things started on the wiki, with the idea and hope of collaboration in the future, but not much available help at the time. Anytime anyone would like to engage further and collaborate on any aspect of the wiki or most anything else please let me know and I would be happy to extend those privileges (to people like those in the thread so far, or who come later, who've shown their good faith and interest.)

    1- pasted-from-clipboard.png One would think I could spell Epicurean by now -- apparently not!


    2 - Camotero I may be missing some of the subtlety of your question and maybe Don or Godfrey or others will answer better, but my first response is that you have to be clear what it means to label someone "bad" (or "good"). I think you're on the right track to see how relative and contextual everything is, and terms like "good" and "bad" as ordinarily viewed are often thought of as absolute, so they are outside the contextual / relative framework, and therefore I think Epicurus would say (and did say) that such absolute standards do not exist. That's pretty much the explicit message of the final ten PDs on "justice." Of course from our individual perspectives it certainly means something to us to consider someone a "Good person" or a "bad person," but if we're being rigorous we have to remember that out judgment comes from assessing that person as "good for us" or "bad for us" (or maybe for particular third persons we're concerned about) rather than "good" or "bad" in general. And then another implication of your question is that we need to realize that since there is no god enforcing any kind of divine or absolute law, judging someone to be "good" or "bad" is going to raise the question "So what?" With an important part of the answer being that since there is no god or absolute standard of right and wrong, it's up to living human beings to be the "enforcers" and to bring about whatever consequences for "bad conduct" are actually going to happen.

    elli has let me know that she is exploring wall decorations for a professional office setting, and she is investigating laser-etched wall hangings such as shown in the photos in this thread.


    Elli is looking primarily to produce an etching based on this statue of Epicurus:


    83306417_405579243664394_8007560961603267817_n.png?_nc_cat=103&_nc_sid=b96e70&_nc_ohc=CEsaX0ChHucAX8aaAVh&_nc_ht=scontent.fden3-1.fna&oh=9753a8e3cbc1d1a4b033e6da2f946757&oe=5F26821783306417_405579243664394_8007560961603267817_n.png?_nc_cat=103&_nc_sid=b96e70&_nc_ohc=CEsaX0ChHucAX8aaAVh&_nc_ht=scontent.fden3-1.fna&oh=9753a8e3cbc1d1a4b033e6da2f946757&oe=5F268217pasted-from-clipboard.png


    With the goal of producing something that looks like this:


    pasted-from-clipboard.png



    Two initial options came out like this:


    pasted-from-clipboard.png



    Elli has found this information about the process: https://www.foteinon.gr/wp-con…s/2020/06/PANTOGRAFOS.pdf


    A video about the process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Oh-1cHZNys


    And she has learned that the machine is called pantograph plasma laser and cuts metals. She is asking me if we have any ability to see what something like this would cost in the USA with dimensions of 19 inches X 35 inches.


    For anyone who can view it, here are apparently the STL files she is working with:


    EpicurusAndAsclepiosSTLfiles.zip



    Any thoughts about this will be appreciated!

    Welcome to Episode Twenty-Six of Lucretius Today.


    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 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, here are three ground rules.


    First: Our aim is to bring you an accurate presentation of classical Epicurean philosophy as the ancient Epicureans understood it, which may or may not agree with what you here about Epicurus at other places today.


    Second: We aren't talking about Lucretius with the goal of promoting any modern political perspective. Epicurus must be understood on his own, and not in terms of competitive schools which may seem similar to Epicurus, but are fundamentally different and incompatible, such as Stoicism, Humanism, Buddhism, Taoism, Atheism, and Marxism.


    Third: The essential base of Epicurean philosophy is a fundamental view of the nature of the universe. When you read the words of Lucretius you will find that Epicurus did not teach the pursuit of virtue or of luxury or of simple living as ends in themselves, but rather the pursuit of pleasure. From this perspective it is feeling which is the guide to life, and not supernatural gods, idealism, or virtue ethics. And as important as anything else, Epicurus taught that there is no life after death, and that any happiness we will ever have must come in THIS life, which is why it is so important not to waste time in confusion.


    Now let's join the discussion with today's text:


    Latin text location: Approximately line 333

    Notes on the Text: Munro Notes


    (For an Outline of where we have been so far in past discussions, click here.)


    Daniel Browne:


    Now learn at length the form of these first seeds, these principles of things, how widely different is their shape, of what variety of figure their frame consists. For though many are endowed with a form not much alike, yet all are far from being of the same figure. And no wonder, for since (as I have said) their number is so great that no end, no bound is to be set to them; they ought, for the same reason, to be all of a different contexture, and not fashioned alike of the same form.


    Besides, consider well mankind, the scaly fry of silent fish that swim the flood, the verdant trees, wild beasts, the various kinds of birds, such as flock about the banks of pleasant streams, the fountains and the lakes and those who frequent the thick covers of the woods; consider all these in their several kinds, and you will find them all consist of forms different among themselves. 'Tis by nothing else the tender young knows its own Dam, and thus the Dam distinguishes her young, thus we see each creature knows its own kind, no less than men, and so unite together. For often before the gilded temples of the gods a young heifer falls a slain victim beside the alter flaming with incense, and breathes from her heart a reeking stream of blood. The Dam, robbed of her young, beats over the fields and leaves the marks of her divided hoofs upon the pressed grass, and searches every place with careful eyes to find her the young she lost; then stops and fills the branched woods with her complaints, and often returns back to her stall, distracted with the love of her dear young - no more the tender willows, or the herbs freshened with dew, nor can the running streams within the full banks divert her mind, or turn away her care, nor can a thousand other heifers, as they play wantonly over the grass, take off her eye, or ease the pain she feels - so plain it is that she searches for her own, for what she knows full well. And thus the tender kids find by their bleat their horned Dams, and so the sporting lambs know their own flocks, and, as by Nature taught, each hastest to the full dug of its own Dam.


    Observe again the various sorts of corn, you'll find each grain, though in kind of the same, not so much alike; but there will be a difference in their figure; and so a great variety of shells, we see, paints the Earth's lap, where the Seas gentle waves feed the most sand along the winding Shore. And thus, by parity of reason, it must follow that the first seeds of things, as they are formed by Nature, not made by Art in any certain figure, must fly about in shapes various and different among themselves.


    It is easy for us now to unfold the difficulty why the flame of lightning is much more penetrating than our common fire race from fuel here below. You may give this reason, that the subtle Celestial fire of lightning consist of particles much smaller, and so passes through pores, which are fire, made from toe or wood, cannot.


    Besides, Light, we perceive, finds a way through horn, but water does not; because the principles of light are smaller than those of which water is composed. So we see wine passes swiftly through a strainer; on the contrary, heavy oil moves slowly through, either because it is made up of larger seeds, or its principles are more hooked and entangled among themselves. And thus it happens that the several particles cannot be so soon separated from one another so as to flow through the little holes with the same ease. Thus it is that honey and milk pass in the mouth with a pleasing sensation over the tongue; on the contrary, the bitter juice of wormwood and sharp Centaury torment the palate with a loathsome taste. From whence you collect easily that those things which agreeably affect the sense are composed of particles smooth and round; and such again that seem rough and bitter are bound together by parts more hooked, and closer twined; and therefore they tear the way to our senses, and wound the body as they enter through the skin. In short, such things as are agreeable to our senses, and those that are rough and unpleasant to the touch, are opposite, and formed of a figure very different from one another; lest you should think perhaps that the grating sound of the whetting of a saw was made of parts equally smooth, without the soft notes of a lute, which the musician forms upon the strings, awaked, as it were, by the gentle strokes of his fingers.


    Nor are you to suppose that the seeds are of the same form which strike upon our nerves of smell, when a filthy carcass is burning, or when the stage is fresh sprinkled with Cilician saffron, or the altar sweetens the air with the odor of Arabian incense.


    And so in colors you must not imagine such as are agreeable and delight our eyes are composed of the same fashioned seeds with those which prick our sense, and force us to weep, or seem dark or ugly, and shocking in appearance to us; for whatever pleases and delights our senses cannot be composed but of smooth particles; and, on the contrary, things that are hurtful and harsh cannot be formed without seeds that are filthy and disagreeable.


    There are other seeds, likewise, which you cannot properly call smooth, nor are altogether hooked, with their points bent, but are rather shaped with small ankles, a little jutting out, and may be sad rather to tickle than to hurt the senses; such as the acid taste of the sweet sauce made of the Lees of wine, or the sweet sauce made of the sweetish-bitter root of Elecampane. Lastly, that burning heat, or freezing cold, being formed of seeds of different figures, do affect the body with different sensation our touch is evidence sufficient to evince.


    For Touch, the Touch (blessed be the Gods above!) is a Sense of the Body, either when something from without enters through the pores, or something from within hurts us, as it forces its way out, or pleases, as the effect of venery tickles as it passes through, or when the seeds, by striking against each other, raise a tumult in the body, and in that agitation confound the Sense; and this you may soon experience, if you strike yourself in any part with a blow of your hand. It is necessary, therefore, that the Principles of Things should consist of figures very different in themselves, since they affect the Senses in so different a manner.


    Munro:


    Now mark and next in order apprehend of what kind and how widely differing in their forms are the beginnings of all things, how varied by manifold diversities of shape; not that a scanty number are possessed of a like form, but because as a rule they do not all resemble one the other. And no wonder; for since there is so great a store of them that, as I have shown, there is no end or sum, they must sure enough not one and all be marked by an equal bulk and like shape, one with another.


    Let the race of man pass before you in review, and the mute swimming shoals of the scaly tribes and the blithe herds and wild beasts and the different birds which haunt the gladdening watering spots about river-banks and springs and pools, and those which flit about and throng the pathless woods: then go and take any, one you like in any one kind, and you will yet find that they differ in their shapes, every one from every other. And in no other way could child recognize mother or mother child; and this we see that they all can do, and that they are just as well known to one another as human beings are.


    Thus often in front of the beauteous shrines of the gods a calf falls sacrificed beside the incense-burning altars, and spurts from its breast a warm stream of blood; but the bereaved mother as she ranges over the green lawns knows the footprints stamped on the ground by the cloven hoofs, scanning with her eyes every spot to see if she can anywhere behold her lost youngling: then she fills with her moanings the leafy wood each time she desists from her search and again and again goes back to the stall pierced to the heart by the loss of her calf; nor can the soft willows and grass quickened with dew and yon rivers gliding level with their banks comfort her mind and put away the care that has entered into her, nor can other forms of calves throughout the glad pastures divert her mind and ease it of its care: so persistently she seeks something special and known. Again the tender kids with their shaking voices know their horned dams and the butting lambs the flocks of bleating sheep; thus they run, as nature craves, each without fail to its own udder of milk.


    Lastly in the case of any kind of corn you like you will yet find that any one grain is not so similar to any other in the same kind, but that there runs through them some difference to distinguish the forms. On a like principle of difference we see the class of shells paint the lap of earth, when the sea with gentle waves beats on the thirsty sand of the winding shore. Therefore again and again I say it is necessary for like reasons that first-beginnings of things, since they exist by nature and are not made by hand after the exact model of one, should fly about with shapes in some cases differing one from the other.


    It is right easy for us on such a principle to explain why the fire of lightning has much more power to pierce than ours which is born of earthly pinewood: you may say that the heavenly fire of lightning subtle as it is, is formed of smaller shapes and therefore passes through openings which this our fire cannot pass, born, as it is of woods and sprung from pine. Again light passes through horn, but rain is thrown off. Why?

    But that those first bodies of light are smaller than those of which the nurturing liquid of water is made. And quickly as we see wines flow through a strainer, sluggish oil on the other hand is slow to do so, because sure enough it consists of elements either larger in size or more hooked and tangled in one another, and therefore it is that the first-beginnings of things cannot so readily be separated from each other and severally stream through the several openings of any thing.


    Moreover the liquids honey and milk excite a pleasant sensation of tongue when held in the mouth; but on the other hand the nauseous nature of wormwood and of harsh centaury writhes the mouth with a noisome flavor; so that you may easily see that the things which are able to affect the senses pleasantly consist of smooth and round elements; while all those on the other hand which are found to be bitter and harsh, are held in connection by particles that are more hooked and for this reason are wont to tear open passages into our senses and in entering in to break through the body.


    All things in short, which are agreeable to the senses and all which are unpleasant to the feeling are mutually repugnant, formed as they are out of an unlike first shape; lest haply you suppose that the harsh grating of the creaking saw consists of the elements as smooth as those of tuneful melodies which musicians wake into life with nimble fingers and give shape to on strings; or suppose that the first-beginnings are of like shape which pass into the nostrils of men, when noisome carcases are burning, and when the stage is fresh sprinkled with Cilician saffron, while the altar close by exhales Panchaean odors; or decide that the pleasant colors of things which are able to feast the eyes are formed of a seedlike to the seed of those which make the pupil smart and force it to shed tears or from their disgusting aspect look hideous and foul. For every shape which gratifies the senses has been formed not without a smoothness in its elements; but on the other hand whatever is painful and harsh has been produced not without some roughness of matter.


    There are too some elements which are with justice thought to be neither smooth nor altogether hooked with barbed points, but rather to have minute angles slightly projecting, so that they can tickle rather than hurt the senses; of which class tartar of wine is formed and the flavors of elecampane. Again that hot fires and cold frost have fangs of a dissimilar kind wherewith to pierce the senses, is proved to us by the touch of each.


    For touch, touch, ye holy divinities of the gods, the body’s feeling is, either when an extraneous thing makes its way in, or when a thing which is born in the body hurts it, or gives pleasure as it issues forth by the birth-bestowing ways of Venus, or when from some collision the seeds are disordered within the body and distract the feeling by their mutual disturbance; as if haply you were yourself to strike with the hand any part of the body you please and so make trial. Wherefore the shapes of the first-beginnings must differ widely, since they are able to give birth to different feelings.



    Bailey:


    Now come, next in order learn of what kind are the beginnings of all things and how far differing in form, and how they are made diverse with many kinds of shapes; not that but a few are endowed with a like form, but that they are not all alike the same one with another. Nor need we wonder; for since there is so great a store of them, that neither have they any limit, as I have shown, nor any sum, it must needs be, we may be sure, that they are not all of equal bulk nor possessed of the same shape. Moreover, the race of men, and the dumb shoals of scaly creatures which swim the seas, and the glad herds and wild beasts, and the diverse birds, which throng the gladdening watering-places all around the riverbanks and springs and pools, and those which flit about and people the distant forests; of these go and take any single one you will from among its kind, yet you will find that they are different in shape one from another. Nor in any other way could the offspring know its mother, or the mother her offspring; yet we see that they can, and that they are clearly not less known to one another than men. For often before the sculptured shrines of the gods a calf has fallen, slaughtered hard by the altars smoking with incense, breathing out from its breast the hot tide of blood.


    But the mother bereft wanders over the green glades and seeks on the ground for the footprints marked by those cloven hoofs, scanning every spot with her eyes, if only she might anywhere catch sight of her lost young, and stopping fills the leafy grove with her lament: again and again she comes back to the stall, stabbed to the heart with yearning for her lost calf, nor can the tender willows and the grass refreshed with dew and the loved streams, gliding level with their banks, bring gladness to her mind and turn aside the sudden pang of care, nor yet can the shapes of other calves among the glad pastures turn her mind to new thoughts or ease it of its care: so eagerly does she seek in vain for something she knows as her own. Moreover, the tender kids with their trembling cries know their horned dams and the butting lambs the flocks of bleating sheep: so surely, as their nature needs, do they run back always each to its own udder of milk. Lastly, take any kind of corn, you will not find that every grain is like its fellows, each in its several kind, but that there runs through all some difference between their forms. And in like manner we see the race of shells painting the lap of earth, where with its gentle waves the sea beats on the thirsty sand of the winding shore. Wherefore again and again in the same way it must needs be, since the first-beginnings of things are made by nature and not fashioned by hand to the fixed form of one pattern, that some of them fly about with shapes unlike one another.


    It is very easy by reasoning of the mind for us to read the riddle why the fire of lightning is far more piercing than is our fire rising from pine-torches on earth. For you might say that the heavenly fire of lightning is made more subtle and of smaller shapes, and so passes through holes which our fire rising from logs and born of the pine-torch cannot pass. Again light passes through horn-lanterns, but the rain is spewed back. Why? unless it be that those bodies of light are smaller than those of which the quickening liquid of water is made. And we see wine flow through the strainer as swiftly as you will; but, on the other hand, the sluggish olive-oil hangs back, because, we may be sure, it is composed of particles either larger or more hooked and entangled one with the other, and so it comes about that the first-beginnings cannot so quickly be drawn apart, each single one from the rest, and so ooze through the single holes of each thing.


    There is this too that the liquids of honey and milk give a pleasant sensation of the tongue, when rolled in the mouth; but on the other hand, the loathsome nature of wormwood and biting centaury set the mouth awry by their noisome taste; so that you may easily know that those things which can touch the senses pleasantly are made of smooth and round bodies, but that on the other hand all things which seem to be bitter and harsh, these are held bound together with particles more hooked, and for this cause are wont to tear a way into our senses, and at their entering in to break through the body.


    Lastly, all things good or bad to the senses in their touch fight thus with one another, because they are built up of bodies of different shape; lest by chance you may think that the harsh shuddering sound of the squeaking saw is made of particles as smooth as are the melodies of music which players awake, shaping the notes as their fingers move nimbly over the strings; nor again, must you think that first-beginnings of like shape pierce into men’s nostrils, when noisome carcasses are roasting, and when the stage is freshly sprinkled with Cilician saffron, and the altar hard by is breathing the scent of Arabian incense; nor must you suppose that the pleasant colours of things, which can feed our eyes, are made of seeds like those which prick the pupil and constrain us to tears, or look dreadful and loathly in their hideous aspect. For every shape, which ever charms the senses, has not been brought to being without some smoothness in the first-beginnings; but, on the other hand, every shape which is harsh and offensive has not been formed without some roughness of substance.

    As I wake up today on June 30, I am thinking that the word "passion" probably has the best potential as having a combination of these factors:


    1 - Derives (probably/possibly) from the original core pathe. Or at least it easily evokes the original word.

    2 - Indicates intensity and is incompatible with the common understanding of "absence of pain"

    3- Easily understandable and gripping in a way that "pleasure" does not convey today.

    4- Although I don't have any cites at the moment, "passion" is used in the way we are using it in some of the english literature.

    5 - Is guaranteed to drive the Platonists and Stoics wild, as indicated in this clip from FLOURISHsandiego (I am just attaching the picture rather than the article. The standard Socratics/Platonists/Arisotelians LOVE "flourishing" and HATE "passion." ;-)


    pasted-from-clipboard.png



    I need to make some posts on this topic but I know for myself in addition to the deep discussions we are pursuing I need to budget my time to make more graphics with pithy summaries of the core points which we can use to post different places and hopefully drive more traffic to us, which is motivational for the reasons we have been discussing (we're not just disembodied minds - that's the Platonist/Stoics).


    We have a stable of them now, but it's always motivational to produce more: https://www.epicureanfriends.c…-image-list/207-outreach/

    something sensed objectively.

    I think you are going in the right direction but the word "objectively" is probably a dead end. I think Epicurus is using pain and pleasure as totally subjective and we alone are the judge of it -- if it feels good, it is pleasurable, if it feels bad it is painful. If there were an "objective" standard then we would have something absolute higher than our own pain and pleasure and I think the physics / cosmology rules that out.


    And oh yes, "passions" is definitely another word that needs to be considered. And yes that word has been corrupted even more so than pleasure. But passions is probably most directly related to Pathe and so part of the heritage of the words.

    Epicurus believed that both aspects of his philosophy were discoverable through an epistemology of sensation, feeling, and anticipation—an epistemology that was therefore not strictly empirical.

    Joshua just posted this sentence recently in another thread. I could find countless numbers where I list the epistemology the same way.

    And yet I can't get free of the feeling that in this list - sensation, feeling, and anticipation - we are still spinning around with less precision than we should. Do not the words "sensation" and "feeling" denote almost exactly the same thing to us today in English? At least in terms of touch, we tend to say after we touch something "How does it feel?" Not so with sight, or hearing, or smell, or taste, however.


    Do the names of the categories really tell us what the difference between the "five senses" are from the "feelings" of pain and pleasure? I know at times I have deferred to a term like "natural faculties" as the catch-all name to include all three but I have no strong opinion that any formulation I've ever heard really captures the subject well.


    Maybe the standard terms of sense / sensation and feeling are indeed the best words to use, but we definitely need a very clear definition attached to them at the start as to what they are intended to convey, and what they include and what they don't.


    And of course in this discussion we haven't really touched at all on aticipations, but if indeed this list of three has any parallel at all within it, then anticipations must be a form of "sense" as well -- at least in the manner of speaking so as to reference a "faculty of contact between our minds and the world outside our minds" or a "faculty by which our minds make contact with the world outside our minds" or a "mechanism by which our minds perceive the world outside our minds."


    But even then we probably need to include more than just "the world outside our minds" since we are pretty clearly including the pleasure or pain we feel at our own thoughts/memories, which are presumably part of and within our own minds.

    Unfortunately, Latin is not my forte. I'll defer to others on that one.

    For my contribution, in poking around on the Perseus Digital Library, it seemed like *maybe* variations on sentiō were used by Lucretius and Cicero (who are cited in the definition). However, I also seemed to be seeing Cicero would just say "pleasure and pain" (voluptas et dolores?) and it gets translated as "feelings of pleasure and pain."

    That would not be surprising to me. I get the impression that sensation might be the best umbrella word after all and that the term "five senses" is more of a problem than a help. We might need to dig into how it became thought that that name came to be considered a good term for the "first leg" of the canonical tripod.


    The Romans should have had enough understanding of Epicurus to get these terms correct, and I tend to think that their word choices probably deserve more credit than we give them.

    Don or Godfrey, both of you may know the ancient languages better than me -- Do either of you know what latin word might have been used by Cicero or Lucretius in discussing pathe? My experience is that the latin words frequently have a more familiar ring to them than the Greek but I am not sure what they used rather than pathe. I know Lucretius used voluptas for pleasure which is an example of having a better (but far from perfect) ring to it in a modern english ear. You're right that "pathetic" probably makes pathe a non-starter. The point Godfrey was referencing is that I do think that using an untranslated word from a foreign language is usually a bad idea. Surely we can express the same meaning in English, even if we have to force-combine or otherwise coin a term.


    Thinking back to my original source of all philosophic inspiration, Star Treck Original Series, I remember the episode entitled "the EmPATH" which ranks near the top of my all time LEAST favorite episodes. So I start with a poor impression of the word "pathe" from many angles ;-)

    in reading the above, I kept looking for a plain and simple statement of what appears to be the fundamental premise about all this in Epicurean theory. Would this be correct?


    "Perceptions" and "sensations" are closely related terms describing different aspects of the mechanisms of experience that generate what we call "feeling." There are only two feelings, pleasure and pain, which means that everything we experience is either pleasurable or painful. All of the discussion about highest and best pleasures and their duration and evaluation revolve around the basic observation that all experience is either one or the other, which means that the presence of one means the absence of the other, and thus that the purest/most intense form of experiencing either one is when the other is totally absent. Life is all about feeling, and the state of being without feeling is nothing to us (death).

    The reason this sounds sterile is that it is a high level abstract analysis useful for framing the debate with Plato and dialecticians and defeating their arguments. The advice of Epicurus is not to live in this world of words, however, but of feeling, and if we stay in this mode for too long, longer than is necessary to see the perversity of the dialecticians, then we become trapped like flies on flypaper. The point of Epicurean philosophy is to see this dialectical trap and escape from it to the real world of feeling, not linger in the world of dialectics thinking that we've reached some height of "ataraxia" simply because we have succeeded in pointing out that the Emperor Plato and his minions have no clothes.

    OK yes it was the "angelos" that made me think of a religious connotation. That is all good to know.


    Also in this thread on collaboration / evangelization, it's of course a major issue that every step forward we have to be constantly on the lookout for a particular land mine: modern/partisan politics. It's natural that in wanting to take action with our friends that we're going to find discussions bleeding over into "politics" in which those of us from different backgrounds/locations/etc have different interests. We all want to think that our way of seeing the world is the "right" one, and that everyone who is an Epicurean will agree with us, but it seems to me that that just isn't so, and it is very disappointing to people when they realize that. We all tend to identify with respective groupings that have never been much influenced by Epicurean philosophy, and even if that we different, I think we have to confront that a shared collaboration based solely on "ideas" has serious Platonic problems in theory. We aren't disembodied sets of ideas, we are real people with real backgrounds and real personal interests.


    So as we talk about collaboration and evangelization I have come to the view that it's absolutely essential to find a way with that source of conflict. And ironically I don't think the answer lies in "live unknown" because I think that's one of the worst misinterpretations of the doctrines. Again that's what we've tried to prepare people for with the rules that we post here at Epicureanfriends.com, and I think that has to carry over into most any collaboration.


    If we didn't already have enough evidence of the stress this can cause in the community, the events of the world in the last couple of months should be sufficient for us never to doubt that again! It's no doubt going to be very tricky to navigate these waters when feelings run so hot, as they should.


    But in the end I do think there is enough commonality in the core viewpoints to sustain a "fraternity" of people collaborating on the core ideas. (It always seems right to try to list them when a discussion like this comes up; surely the list is something like (1) no supernatural realm or order, (2) no reward or punishment or life of any kind after death, (3) identification of the goal and guide of life with feeling, primarily pleasure, rather than virtue or piety; (4) the view that it is correct to be confident that we can attain knowledge that is based on"reasoning" tied tightly to the senses, the anticipations, and feelings, rather than to dialectical logic; (5) a common sense view of the universe being totally natural and effectively infinite in size, eternal in time, and in which humans on earth are neither the only life in the universe nor the highest. I was about to stop there but perhaps it must be included that humans possess a degree of agency that assures us that neither fate nor theories of hard determinism make it useless for us to exert ourselves to improve our lives.

    Anyway the basic point of this post that I think it's always essential to identify the unifying factors and also inoculate ourselves against the forces that will attempt to divide us.

    Note: "Collaboration" is such and obvious and innocent word that I re-titled the thread to include it. "Evangelization" or synonyms probably need emphasis too, but probably more discussion first. Maybe it seems to me that "evangelization" is a term that is most frequently combined with something that clearly sets out the principles being evangelized, and I am not sure the thread title is ready for that.

    Also:


    In the past we always ran into the reefs when we tried to come up with a statement of principles or other list of priorities that we could use as a point of agreement on what we are promoting. I think over the last year (almost two now) we've done a lot of work on that with the "Not NeoEpicurean" list and assorted articles elaborating on its points.


    So I think while there will certainly be lots of adjustment, we're further along now than we've ever been in the past. We don't have a huge number of people yet, but we've been more clear from the beginning that this isn't just another eclectic / neo-Stoic site.


    I'm personally another year closer to full retirement and more time to devote to this, plus with the "turmoil" going on in the world there is more opening for new thinking, even though there might also be developing more issues of censorship that could eventually be a problem.


    One thing I really think is helpful is for us to have skype conversations, and camotero (and others who are reading this and might be interested) I hope you can consider joining us on one of those.


    I think that's the area where we need more creative thought. How do we build closer bonds and get and keep motivated around a common goal, while at the same time making sure that our efforts to build numbers don't turn into a 'big tent' strategy that waters down the objective?