Thanks, Cassius my friend for your interest, I feel a little better.
The final dialogue from the work "Philebus on pleasure" by the preacher Plato.
Socrates.The claims both of pleasure and mind to be the absolute good have been entirely disproven in this argument because they are both wanting in self-sufficiency and also inadequacy and perfection.
Socrates.But, though they must both resign in favor of another, the mind is ten thousand times nearer and more akin to the nature of the conqueror than pleasure.
Socrates. Pleasure is the last and lowest of goods, and not first, even if asserted to be so by all the animals in the world. And, according to the judgment which has now been given, pleasure will rank fifth.
Socrates But not first; no, not even if all the oxen and horses and animals in the world by their pursuit of enjoyment proclaim her to be so;—although the many trusting in them, as diviners trust in birds, determine that pleasures make up the good of life, and deem the lusts of animals to be better witnesses than the inspirations of divine philosophy.
Protarchus.And now, Socrates, we tell you that the truth of what you have been saying is approved by the judgment of all of us.
Socrates.And will you let me go?
Protarchus.There is a little which yet remains, and I will remind you of it, for I am sure that you will not be the first to go away from an argument.
With the ending paragraph, and after that awful "discussion" (in which there is Plato who is the same person that is asking and the same one that is responding) in these dialogues as they proceed that are based on his awful methodology of dialectics i.e. endless definitions with words, connecting words with schemata, numbers and all that sort of abstractions, separation issues in parts and parts and parts, searching for something as absolute, perfect, objective, eternal and unmoved (for the devious purpose for proving the existence of soul and god actually)...in this ending paragraph, we realize that Protarchus did not remain pleased and satisfied. Of course, as I said Protarchus is Plato who has never been satisfied and pleased, but why ? Because he was "anerastos" (keep in mind this tiny greek word) which means he was never capable to love anyone and to be loved by anyone in the reality of life. This is the fact, and everything else is opinion.
Perhaps what you mean is a description of pleasure in relation to removal of pain. Actually, I do not see the removal of pain to be a description of pleasure as I expressed in my comments. Pain is pain. Pleasure is pleasure. Both words are straightforward.
I have the impression that Epicurus was right when he said : The removal of pain is an unsurpassed joy i.e. pleasure. if we read medical articles on molecules of bliss and happiness we realize that. So, when you have free time please read again the work that was done by Elayne who is a doctor ! On Pain, Pleasure, and Happiness (Version 2)
4. Endorphin: “The Pain-Killing Molecule”
The name endorphin comes from the words "endogenous," which means "from the body," and "morphine," which is an opioid pain reliever. The name Endorphin translates into “self-produced morphine." Endorphins resemble opiates in their chemical structure and have analgesic properties. Endorphins are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus during strenuous physical exertion, sexual intercourse, and orgasm. Make these pursuits a part of your regular life to keep the endorphins pumping.
Endorphins are linked less to "runner's high" now than endocannabinoids, but are connected to the "feeling no pain" aspect of aerobic exercise and are produced in larger quantities during high intensity "anaerobic" cardio and strength training. Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and pain. They work similarly to a class of drugs called opioids.
In the 1980s, scientists were studying how and why opioids worked. They found that the body has special receptors that bind to opioids to block pain signals.
The scientists then realized that some chemicals in the body acted similarly to natural opioid medications, binding to these same receptors. These chemicals were endorphins.
In 1999, clinical researchers reported that inserting acupuncture needles into specific body points triggers the production of endorphins. In another study, higher levels of endorphins were found in cerebrospinal fluid after patients underwent acupuncture. Acupuncture is a terrific way to stimulate the release of endorphins.
You can read more for molecules on happiness and bliss on this link :
and on this link : https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320839.php
Cassius said : These are excellent examples of citations to eudaimonia, Elli. It is interesting to think about how it is we might be able to rival Zeus in eudaimonia, which is based on pleasure, rather than saying that we might rival Zeus in pleasure itself.
What do you think about that - was Epicurus intending to make that distinction?
There is not a distinction actually but a description with the usage of such terms that are based on gradations of nuance among the feelings of pleasure and pain, as it is the grey color among black and white since there are "measurements" (with thoughts and actions) of a whole life that have to be done by us, and as long as this life lasts. And that is because in our life there are the distractions/obstacles with some painful situations, and these obstacles are NOT OUR OPINIONS, as the stoics claim for leading us to apathy, duty, fate and the goal of an abstract virtue.
For this, we also say that we do not choose a pleasure that leads to a pain, as similarly, we choοse and a pain to achieve a greater pleasure. The removal of a painful situation is an unsurpassed joy (that is a description of pleasure too) and this is the nature of the good as Epicurus responds to Aristotelians who were strolling around and about on what is good and what is bad etc etc.
The word "joy" is given in greek language with two words "γήθος ή χαρά" [pron. githos or chara]. Epicurus starts his letters to his friends with the word "χαίρειν" that means "be joyful" which also means "be pleasant". And Metrodorus used the word "joy" in one of the epicurean sayings "do not postpone your joy because you have only one and unique life". The Greek language is rich, and any person in any language, of course, grasps the meaning of words as joy, happy etc that all are synonymous with pleasure. It is not a word game, it is just the power of things whenever and whoever is speaking with words, for all things and issues that are not by themselves, but the power in them is when we bring them into the reality of our life, for making our calculations and for communicating with each other, since we have been evolved and survive as social beings and to communicate with each other with the sounds of words. Lucretius in the Latin language used many-many powerful words in his masterpiece and I think he invented and new terms for the purpose to describe the Nature of all Things.
For Epicurus, as he observed the phenomena and our nature there is not, for him, in a duration of time, an absolute, objective, and perfect pleasure or an absolute, objective and perfect pain. As, there is not for him an absolute, objective and perfect justice/beauty/honesty etc. For Epicurus there is not any moderation of any golden rule. There are only limits in a procedure for the achievement of the goal of pleasure, as also for him, there are means called as virtues that spring from prudence measured in accordance with the circumstances and consequences of the experiences of the person, as also for Epicurus , there is not a pain or pleasure meter since the limits are due to subjectivity on feelings in accordance with time and space that any human being lives. For this, is not given by him a list on any marble stone on what we should do for living our life pleasantly.
There are some persons that claim deviously accusing Epicurus of living in a cave with bread and water and they make the conclusion that in our era to have a car is unnatural and unnecessary. No, the desire for traveling and visiting other places, unknown and known persons as friends it is not unnatural and unnecessary desire. It is a must. It is the enrichment of memories and feelings. As it was the horse in the Epicurus era, now is the car and airplane for traveling. And if we are incapable yet to accumulate the power/energy from our star/sun or air, and we still are fighting each other for the oil for using the means of transportation and the means for cultivation of our food, we do not get under the economical/political orders to eliminate our desires and following the motto of "frugality" for living our life in a cave with bread and water and that's fine. No, we will try with all of our efforts to investigate Nature since the investigation is in our nature, for living like gods among gods. This is eudaemonia !
BECAUSE we have to remember and to not forget (this is the word “a+litheia” (true) in greek that means “without oblivion”) this again and again: Every explanation without the core that exists in Epicurean philosophy is something just to talk about since every issue and every term in Epicurean philosophy has a fixed bond with pleasure. For EP every of our choice and avoidance, in our life, serves the pleasure, and it has the pleasure in its foundation i.e. inside its core. If you follow false philosophies, false religions with obsessions, false ideologies with -isms, false mainstreams, false economical, sociological, psychological theories, it is sure that you will end up compromised, subordinated and manipulated, so then the pleasure is lost, as well as your study in Nature and Epicurean Philosophy loses its core and disappears too. So, when someone confuses things and issues with the study of EP that is a whole, he has not to say for himself that is an epicurean, he is something else that pretends that he is an epicurean.
ΚΔ.(1) Τὸ μακάριον καὶ ἄφθαρτον οὔτε αὐτὸ πράγματα ἔχει οὔτε ἄλλῳ παρέχει, ὥστε οὔτε ὀργαῖς οὔτε χάρισι συνέχεται· ἐν ἀσθενεῖ γὰρ πᾶν τὸ τοιοῦτον.
Doctrine 1. That which is blessed and incorruptible neither has any concerns on things nor does provide (things) to anyone else so that it has no part either in anger or in favors because all such things exist only in the weak.
XXXIII.(33) Σαρκὸς φωνῇ τὸ μὴ πεινῆν, τὸ μὴ διψῆν, τὸ μὴ ῥιγουν ταὐτὰ γὰρ ἔχων τις καὶ ἐλπίζων ἕξειν κἀν <Διὶ> ὑπὲρ εὐδαιμονίας μαχέσαιτο.
33. The flesh cries out to be saved from hunger, thirst, and cold. For if a man possesses this safety and hope to possess it, he might rival even Zeus in eudaemonia.
From Epicurus LTM : We must then meditate on the things that make our eudaemonia, seeing that when that is with us we have all, but when it is absent we do all to win it.
It is notable that, in the starting point and ending point of the LTM Epicurus remains on common ground with all eudaemonist philosophies, and then he proceeds to the first principle of his philosophy that is the goal of pleasure/hedone. The Letter to Menoeceus is very carefully structured, exhibiting a deliberate array of subtopics and subtle gradation of nuance.
Back to first principles and on the basis of observation in Nature and human nature, before is corrupted with the empty beliefs. I have a question for this well-mood i.e. the sense of feeling of contentment or fullness that is given by Epicurus with the word "eudaemonia" and affirms that that is "with us".
As I said above is already engraved/intuitive in the molecular basis of DNA/RNA in the body of human beings, because if we observe carefully the neonates of just a week we will realize that when they are clean and with a full stomach and during their sleep or awaken are smiling often. This happens every day, and many times during the day, and I am not sure if this happens when they are in the womb. And after four weeks or more they smile with the socialized smile i.e. after eye contact with their parents or hearing sounds voices/melodies.
Of course, our friend Elayne, who is a pediatrician, knows better than me, and she is able to explain to us this phenomenon with the neonates that are smiling so early in life.
What are the mental images that are connected with concepts of words that the newborn baby has accumulated already in mind for the feeling of contentment as "eudaemonia" ? In neonates of some weeks, there are no words yet, not mental images with sheep and cows. Just senses and emotions/feelings that were born with them and are in the procedure of development and enrichment through experiences as their first social contact is within their family. And then our big societies all over that inside them are some devious and really evil persons waiting to corrupt them with lies and frauds, and many of these human beings will be lucky enough if they won't get into a madhouse.
Who were Nietzsche, Gassendi and Jefferson ? They were simple men, and they knew the greek language very well as they read greek texts from the prototypes, as well as many other philosophers when they wrote or spoke for greek issues they used many greek words. I fully understand your worries, my friend, on the usage of greek words, since you do not know the greek language, and frankly I prefer your insistence to this, since for someone to have ignorance on something and pretending that he knows it, it is more dangerous than to say "I do not know this". But the passion i.e. our love for something (or someone) makes us to know and learn it to the most along with its characteristics and details. Frankly, If I was married with a foreign man and he insisted to not learn my language as I was trying to learn his language, this it could be an issue for divorce.
Epicurus is dead and does not care if anybody regards him high or low although all the past epicureans or not epicureans from all over the world knew excellent the greek language e.g. Lucian of Samosata. And I, as Hellene epicurean I say with frankness of speech that whoever fights against the word "eudaemonia" fights against Epicurus his philosophy , with the word "hedone" to be used by us now as "hedonic calculus". And that is because, IMO the word "eudaemonia" has been erased by those christian "holy fathers", the popes and all the priesthood who fought the word "eudeamonius" that meant the extremely pleasant and ingenious human being, for became after the word deamon and be transformed as an evil spirit i.e. the devil himself that is against to the abrahamic god who is goodness himself. With such devious tricks, they erased the meaning of greek words, and they turned upside down all the greek values along with all the scientific discoveries, for leading mankind to medieval ages.
No, the word eudeaemonia is an extremely pleasant and useful word, as hedone and orgasm are pleasant and usefull words too, and from now on they will survive as any greek word had survived to be used by all the scientists in the fields of all sciences and all over the world. Philosophy is the mother of all sciences and Epicurus had studied the philosophies of others cleaning all the mess that was done by them, for the purpose to give us with clarity what was the classic greek world that inspired the classic roman world.
What's happens with you my friend Cassius ? English language has more than 50.000 greek words and you've been stuck only in one greek word?
Frankly, as an Epicurean, I do not give a dime of how Aristotle used the term of "eudaemonia" in accordance with his dialectical acrobats based on an absolute and universal morality of who is the good man and who is the bad man, along with his logic of excluded middle with the dilemmas of what is good or not good etc.
The only I know and I feel is how Epicurus used the same term of "eudaemonia" in accordance with his methodology of the Canon in consistency with his Physics and Ethics. In those "anticipations" of the Canon something has been engraved intuitively as a talent in a human being, and any talent can be expressed and improved through the exercises/experiences by the driven force that is the pleasure and nothing more or less. The talented man that knows the art of how to live like god among the mob of men is the ingenious man that is spreading benefit and pleasure with his like-minded friends as he also knows who are his like-minded friends. The eudaemonious Epicurus was such an artist that knew the art of living like a god among the unknown men of the mob.
Finally, philosophy is not a production and trading with products i.e. selling books and going next to leaders for giving them pieces of advice mixed with tangle and confusing issues on how they should live for the devious purpose of earning money from them, as Plato, Aristotle and the stoics did and still are doing.
No, Philosophy is the art of life that is expressed with thoughts and proved with actions of a team that constitutes of like-minded friends that have the same goal living their life pleasantly. And those of any team that are the best artists and the best doctors among the mob of men, will be engraved into the memories of the mob of men. Because any posthumous reputation that comes after a benefit to the others it becomes without being asked as a begging from others. We epicureans are the "mega fronountes" (see ES 45) i.e. we are extremely pride of what we really are. Because the epicureans never have lived like beggars to advise other beggars of the mob on how all they get along for living like good andrapoda (slaves) with or without any god.
Eudaemonia is not an end itself. It is the feeling of the well mood that is intuitively engraved within the bodily structure of the molecular of DNA/RNA/ that exists in the inner self and springs from the inner self for being able enough to do the right measurement among pleasure and pain for leading that self along with others, like that self, to the positive goal that is pleasure. Eudaemonia is like a talent that someone is born with it and along with exercises/experiences of pleasures it is improved and improved. Thus, according to the science of evolution and natural selection, those who have eudaemonic bodily structures are those that are called the adaptable and are capable enough to be so ingenious to survive pleasantly in any environment and in any space time as they are also able to benefit others like themselves. This was the eudaemonious Epicurus which means extremely ingenious and he lived and died as such along with his eudaemonious friends.
Oscar hello ! Sorry, but you're wrong to call gods as creators. Gods are not creators, since they are created by the nature of mankind who in difficult and painful situations want something as an imitation/prototype for the purpose to be strengthened. Metaphorically this imitation sometimes is a kind of a life jacket when you see life as a vast ocean with huge waves that coming against you to drown you inside its abyss. But as Nietzsche said, it is not wise to look at the abyss, because you'll become the abyss yourself.
But anyway, except for food and drink, mankind wanted and still wants a kind of mental inspiration that is a kind of energy/power to overcome the feeling of insecurity, in other words, a feeling that humans are so tiny in front of the phenomena of Nature. Mankind felt and still feels "shock and awe" in front of the phenomena of Nature and this feeling of insecure is overcoming when we see that we belong into something that is producing in us feelings of security. That "belonging" is called "society" that includes ourselves and other similar to ourselves that is our family and then our friends and the known to our friends etc. A society's cohesion is based on social contracts with laws, customs, language, religion etc i.e. same historical past, present, and a visualization of the future experiences and with these common experiences we are united with others to overcome any painful situation.
The sadness and melancholy in front of the fact that one day definitely and irrevocably we will perish into the big Nothingness provoked and still provokes feelings of melancholy and depression to us the humans. And this is our difference from other beings/animals that as we know already, they did and still do not create images/idols of gods, since they have not the same consciousness and sense perception with us that one day they will die for going into that "Never again". This is our difference from other beings that can't visualize/imagine themselves into the future. To live and visualize yourself as a god living in a society of men that everyone has the power living as such, it is what Epicurus and epicureans proclaim with the whole of our philosophy, and imo this is our visualization as intuitive future pleasures that came from past, and present pleasurable experiences.
However, some would say this is idealism and utopia (i.e no place) for living like a god among men and no one and anything to interrupt your friendships for living pleasantly. No, I respond to them this is called "eutopia" (i.e. good place). And this "eutopia" is given in the ending paragraph of Diogenis of Oinoanda's inscription, and reveals the power of "swerve". Some would say that it is inconceivable for mankind to live as Homo-deus on this planet... humankind is going to extinct. No, I would respond to those "pessimistic personalities", the inconceivable remains as such when nobody and no one conceives/says/proclaims to the others an idea, as a probability that is pleasurable indeed, that in the future could become as another "reality". There are many pessimistic personalities who the only thing that they try to do is to maintain/preserve a "stable present reality" that has no fields of energy that is the power of motion that creates/changes all the things. Their "stable present reality" has only frames that those frames include "stable pictures" without motion. Many times, we see, that this "present reality" is maintained as such with laws that are harmful for the majority of people. There is a greek idiom that old people here say : "we found all things as such, and as such we should have to maintain them for ever and ever". These forces are the forces of convenience and apathy with such people that do not want to change anything around, since they are afraid the changing itself. But it is obvious that things by Nature are changing without end.
Thus, Epicurus and epicureans are the artists of life who were the first that conceived and with their mind/wise thoughts and with their experiences/actions the conceivable which is the Art to live like gods among men in any society/environment. And that is because Epicureans are the adaptable since they have sharp senses and feelings for observing and explaining the phenomena of Nature in any environment, and through the methodology of the Canon, are doing their measurements to change whatever is against our goal that is PLEASURE.
It's a long long long way homo-sapiens to become as homo-deus that is a hope for the future as a probability. Oscar , sorry but Epicurus's philosophy is not incomplete. We humans/homo sapiens are still incomplete for reaching the goal (that is in the photo of the inscription by Diogenis of Oinoanda) , and that means that the majority of people did not yet overcome the fear of god, the fear of death, the fear of slavery, and all those desires that are unnatural and unnecessary. Do you think so, that all the survival sources including DRN by Lucretius are incomplete to the above main critical points that are mentioned by the past and present epicureans, and where are incomplete till our days?
@Mike for speaking of myself and for saying positively that I am an Epicurean it took only some weeks of searching and studying Epicurus texts, as well as, at the same time I had and still I have interaction/communication with such persons that say for themselves that are epicureans too.. but for saying for myself that I'm positively an atheist I'm still searching and I do not how long it will take to search it, although I understand deeply what Epicurus meant that our knowledge of gods is obvious, and that is because maybe I had a similar feeling with Epicurus when I was climbing up to the hill of Acropolis/Parthenon.
I imagine Epicurus as a wise grandpa comes here for saying to all of us :
Hey, guys, it is not the synagonization (equally in terms) of gods' perceptions that trouble us but the antagonization (unequally in terms) of gods' perceptions that trouble us. Please, do not consider for yourselves either being superior to gods or lower to gods, but equally with gods, as well as please do the same for any being. Since, no one is superior or inferior on how he perceives/feels pleasure or pain accordingly since it is subjectivity of feelings, and no one has ever invented any pain/pleasure meter.
Thus, according to my philosophy, I challenge everybody IF he/she has the gusts to bring those gods' perceptions in the reality of life for synagonizing them equally in terms of pleasure!
However, this presupposes that stability of well-mood that comes from the inner-self and as I called it "eudaemonia" ! With this, I've started my letter to Menoeceus and with this, I've finished it. Since I wanted to be consistent, honest and responsible and with myself and with my like-minded friends. With this stability of well-mood, I started my whole life and I ended up with this, since I was grateful and only for the fact that I have been born (this was the first great opportunity of "happiness" to me that in the Greek language is given with the word "good luck"). And that is because living well/pleasantly and dying well/pleasantly was the same issue for me and an issue that was of my power and my own efforts. For this reason and not otherwise, I did not permit anyone and even a god to interrupt living my life - with its ups and downs - as a great festival and entertainment.
ES 29 "The flesh cries out to be saved from hunger, thirst, and cold. For if I possess this safety and hope to possess it, I would compete even Zeus in bliss".
I would compete even Zeus in bliss... And here Epicurus asserts that such a person, having reached such a level of blissfulness/eudaemonia, would gladly compete even with Zeus himself. The father of gods can hardly be more content than the common mortal who has successfully and effectively answered the call of nature, and has heeded the "cry of the flesh" with the fulfillment of his natural and necessary.
There is a greek symbol that is called “Meander” or “greek key”, and that was probably the graphic representation with the divine competition, of brave men/heroes who are fighting with Gods !
The "meander-handgrip", as rightly so we should call it, is repeatedly used by Hercules, as it is, as clearly emphasized in this masterful depiction of the struggle of Hercules with Triton in a 550 BC black figure kylix, where we see Triton struggling in vain to be released in front of his chest. The sea-god is depicted with a serpentine fish-tail in place of legs. Hercules stands with arms firmly locked, with the “meander handgrip” fingers around his chest, and legs astride his tail. The pair is surrounded by swimming fish. Seventeen Nereides dance in a circle around the pair.
@Mike you're welcome !
Epicurus was not heard in his era as other philosophers were heard, nor after his era did the people hear him. However, he conquered many countries as much as those that were conquered by Αristotle and Alexander, and then only through hearing a few of his words. In all history no one wrote Epicurus' philosophy as a whole, with the only exception that stands out being the exceptional Lucretius.
Half of the people who heard the name of Epicurus, being as naive as carpenters on the sea, took him for a loser.
The other half, as wicked as executioners with their axes, correctly detected his vigorous message of rebellion. They saw and were terrified of the harvest that might come from it. And they took their measures: The "uneducated," they called him - the "shepherd of pigs and oxen."
They quickly grabbed their axes and the other paraphernalia of gravediggers and covered the noble body of Epicurus's knowledge in mayflowers, and in the echoes of silence. The tangible moment for mankind was lost in front of their eyes.
Thus, man had been deprived of the great opportunity to enter a universe of frankness, responsibility, honesty, and beauty.
The Seljuks of the priesthood, the Academy, and the pen accused Epicurus with numerous suppositions:
That he supposedly over-simplified life, because he called it joy, lightness, and well being for he denounced the evils, the sufferings, and the sadness of life.
That he supposedly humiliated the decency of mankind because he proclaimed:
"Let us eat and drink and enjoy our life, because tomorrow we will die."
That he supposedly despised the wise and the teachers, for he praised innovative knowledge of the self, and the freshness of the deep calling of the present. That he supposedly mocked the divine and the sacred. Behind the eyelids of a man’s sleep, and as long as he lives, there are dreams, desires, beauties, truths, and delusions moving slowly, but when the man dies, it is spiders, scorpions, and lizards that creep out of man's skull.
If Epicurus's voice had not been blocked by man's fears, ignorance, and misanthropy, history would have taken another path. But the line and the course of the world is engraved with our shame: a shivering heart, a sheep's and hyena's mind, and the prominent belly that maddens by its rumblings.
The basement, the shaft, and the back door of our house conceal the façade, the studio and the roof. Once, we were of a noble generation - we the Gypsies.
If Epicurus had passed from here - alas! only the Medes are passing by from here – what would have remained in the world would be a simple kind of anti-religion. The unified consciousness, that is, the knowledge of nature, the clarity, the strength, the courage, and the positiveness. All that Epicurus described then as bravery, and Nietzsche, in the more recent past, described as "gay science" and "human, all too human."
With Epicurus, mankind had the opportunity to protect its future from an Atlantic of worthless things: miseries, lies, errors, frauds, sacred sessions, lives of saints, caps of priest and pope, crimes, and futile waste of the intellect.
And the opportunity was lost.
-An excerpt from the book entitled : “Polychronio-Stoa and Rome” by Dimitris Liantinis that was a professor of Greek Philosophy.
"Atoms and the void" : The dogma of the dogmas ! Look at this picture : Metrodorus solved the whole issue, as he plays with an atom!
"If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis (or the atomic fact, or whatever you wish to call it) that all things are made of atoms—little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied”. - Richard Feynman.
I totally agree with Elayne adding that Epicurus was so realist and pragmatist that used even the gods as means/tools for living like a god in a society that mob was, and still is thinking and acting like gorillas and chimpanzees.
The chief goods [kyriotatai] by Philodemus are the means to live a virtuous life, above all ?! The means are transferred to an end by themselves and for themselves to become a "virtuous life" as a goal ? But in reality of life whoever is preaching like this, everything else than a "virtuous" life wants to live or he lives or he had lived.
From the same source of "Φ" on "chief goods" [kyriotatai] we read a paragraph: "In relation to these chief goods, men must have a clear understanding that externalities are only secondary and firm confidence that they can not affect our happiness in the way that the eary to procure chief needs can. This is clarified in Column XV, and mentions things like beauty, marriage, wealth, luxury, and the like".
And now, I would like to say boldly to Philodemus that everything else he taught except what he really lived.
Do you want to see evidence of Philodemu's thoughts on beauty, marriage, wealth, luxury and the like? Read carefully his poems that are as follows :
"On beauty" : Philodemus the "philanderer" who was searching in his life the "perfect beauty" in women as we read in two of his poets e.g. :
1. Charito has completed sixty years,
but still black is her long wavy hair
and still upheld those white, marble cones of her bosom stand firm without encircling by a brassiere.
And her skin without a wrinkle, still ambrosia,
still fascination, still distills ten thousand graces.
But you lovers who shrink not from fierce desires,
come hither, forgetting of her decades.
2. Philaeniŏn is short and rather too dark, but her hair is more curled than parsley, and her skin is more tender than down: there is more magic in her voice than in the girdle of Aphrodite, and she never refuses me anything and often refrains from begging for a present. Such a Philaeniŏn grant me, golden Cypris, to love, until I find another more perfect.
"On marriage" : Does he mean, for cheating your husband or wife occasionally? Yes, this is what does he mean.
By midnight, eluding my husband,
and drenched by the heavy rain, I came.
And do we then sit idle, not talking and sleeping, as lovers ought to sleep ?
"On wealth and luxury":
First of all, his school was a huge luxurious villa sponsored by Piso that was the father-in-law of Julius Ceasar. Moreover, as everyone can see, there is a copy-paste building of the Villa of Papyri with the "Getty Villa" in Malibu! As for the Symposia not only a piece of bread and a glass of water the participants were enjoying, since in another poem by Philodemus we read :
Artemidorus gave us a cabbage, Aristarchus caviar, Athenagoras little onions, Philodemus a small liver, and Apollophanes two minas of pork, and there were three minas still over from yesterday. Go and buy us an egg and garlands and sandals * and scent, and I wish them to be here at four o'clock sharp.
...and "on the like":
1. The stone has place for three immortals ;
for the head clearly shows me to be goat-horned Pan,
the breast and belly tell I am Heracles,
the rest of the thighs and the legs are the portion of wing-footed Hermes.
Refuse me not a sacrifice, stranger, for your one sacrifice will earn the thanks of the three gods.
2. Seven years added to thirty are gone already like so many pages torn out of my life ;
already, Xanthippe, my head is sprinkled with grey hairs, messengers of the age of wisdom.
But still I care for the speaking music of the lyre and for revelling, and in my insatiate heart the fire is alive.
But O Muses, my mistresses, bring it to a close at once with the words " Xanthippe is the end of my madness."
Conclusion : I have no objection to Philodemus and on how he had lived, and where he had lived since, as we see clearly in his poems, he lived a pleasant life, and as he liked it.
However, I have objections to him or anyone like him giving me lists with "chief goods" or "lower goods" on how I should live for leading me so deviously to a purpose as a "virtuous life" ?!
No, Philodemus, Epicurus said the purpose is a pleasant life "hedeos zen" and not any "virtuous life".
Moreover, I subjectively and prudently, am able to judge and measuring what brings to me pleasure and what pain according to the circumstances and consequences of MY EXPERIENCES that are getting evolved in a space-time and in a society that I live or any other society I like to live with my like-minded friends, since we commonly have declared and accepted that our common goal is to live a pleasant life! So, simple !