On The Relationship of Eudaemonia And Pleasure

  • Here is an excellent post by Elli with which I completely agree. I post it here to call attention to the part that I have underlined:

    In the underlined section, note the switch from referring to pleasure to referrring to eudaemonia.

    Compare that to this part of Diogenes of Oinoanda:


    "If, gentlemen, the point at issue between these people and us involved inquiry into «what is the means of happiness?» and they
    wanted to say «the virtues» (which would actually be true), it would be unnecessary to take any other step than to agree with them about this, without more ado. But since, as I say, the issue is not «what is the means of happiness?» but «what is happiness and what is the ultimate goal of our nature?», I say both now and always, shouting out loudly to all Greeks and non-Greeks, that pleasure is the end of the best mode of life...."

    Yes I know that eudaimonia / happiness were terms used by Epicurus himself in addition to "pleasure" but the point I would make is that without clearly tying happiness to pleasure, the implication creeps in (and is fully entrenched in modern society) that "happiness" is not necessarily related to pleasure at all, and that indeed pleasure gets in the way of happiness.

    I think this is a huge communication issue that we constantly need to address. If we don't, all our discussions fall on ears that are worse than deaf -- ears that are programmed by opposing philosophies and religions to disparage pleasure. And maybe even worse, our words are used against us to infer that what we mean is that our goal is something other than / different than pleasure!

    It appears Diogenes of Oinoanda saw the same issue.