Happy Twentieth of October, 2019: What Would A Local Epicurean Organization Look Like?

  • I intend to raise this issue in later threads, but the calendar crept up and here we are at another Twentieth, so I'd like to raise the issue: What would a modern local Epicurean "club" look like? We have frequently talked about Meetup groups, and some people (Sydney Australia) have even had some success with that method.

    But as a general discussion that might help us in the future, if you could wish into being your idealized "Local Epicurean Group" in your home-town, in which you could participate, what kinds of things would you expect or like to see it doing?

    How often would it meet? What kind of activities would it pursue? Would you think it would be logical for an Epicurean group to form the kind of "church-like" organization that we see some people, like the "Unitarians" attempt to do? Would you see an Epicurean group as more of a social gathering club that does mainly lunches and dinners along the "Meetup" style of things? Would you see a local Epicurean group giving lectures at local library meeting rooms?

    Those of us reading these posts are nowhere near being able to accomplish any of these goals, but we'll never get there if we don't at least talk about what we'd like to see.

    So what would you like to see in a local "Epicurean Group?"

  • Benjamin Franklin learned to read Italian by "gamifying" his studies with a chess-playing acquaintance. The victor of that day's chess match had the 'right', mutually agreed to, to impose a linguistic task on the vanquished. You might order your opponent, for example, to translate a passage into English, or to memorize a section of Italian grammar. In that way, he writes in his autobiography, "we thus beat one another into the language".

    Since I would love to be more disciplined with language study, I would like a local Epicurean group to reinforce classical language studies somehow. Greek and Latin being the obvious choices, although it wouldn't have to end there.

    The major business, of course, would be to enjoy in fellowship all of those pleasures that conspire to make a happy life. Shared meals, pleasant walks, the study of local natural sciences, literary discussions, etc.

    The dream school would be straight out of Frances Wright; a special 'temple' and garden were there is always something happening, where you can come and go as you please, and where scholars fill the days with their own pursuits while always having time for the broader group project.

    And in THAT dream, I don't have a job 😁

  • I would see the _end point_ as a group of close, likeminded friends who agreed on the core doctrines (I don't personally consider issues like having exact agreement on the prolepses as all that critical-- makes for interesting discussion) and who are actively practicing lives of pleasure.

    I see them getting together multiple times a week because they enjoy each other's company so much that they wouldn't dream of waiting a whole week. Sometimes they'd do this in subsets according to their hobbies-- maybe some enjoy hiking and others don't. They'd want to eat together several times a week. No single person among them would wind up eating dinner alone, most likely. They bring each other casseroles and vegetables if they garden. If they crochet, they make each other hats, lol.

    And while they are doing these things, the philosophy naturally is discussed in the context of daily life and decisions. Because they enjoy it.

    I imagine once a week they'd have a more formal meeting to do a reading discussion together, like we're doing on Skype. And another public meeting once a month to give teachings. For sincere students, they would have a structured list of readings and students would meet regularly with guides to review their understanding.

    I think they would write about how to live pleasantly as well, and apply the philosophy to modern events.

    I can even see a "clinic", where members of the surrounding community could come when they needed to make decisions, and they could meet with a guide to help them figure out what the pleasurable choice would be, for them.

    To get there from here... we need 2-3 people in one place as a core. One person can't do it alone -- you'd be eating without a likeminded friend--but could start as a teacher in hopes of developing such friendships!

  • I don't personally consider issues like having exact agreement on the prolepses as all that critical

    LOL! Now THAT would be a lonely group!