The blessed and incorruptible being has no troubles itself nor causes trouble for others; therefore it does not experience feelings of anger or indebtedness, for such feelings signify weakness.
(A combination of several translations based on discussion here: Blessed and Imperishable?)
Quote from Epicurus Reader
I. What is blessed and indestructible has no troubles itself, nor does it give trouble to anyone else, so that it is not affected by feelings of anger or gratitude. For all such things are a sign of weakness.
So, after reading al the other posts on this group of threads I come to this [preliminary] conclusion for KD1 for me:
To live a mostly joyful life, strive to provide for yourself the strongest (least perishable) level of self sufficiency as possible, without dependence on the favors of others, and without creating troubles for others, as to avoid being on the receiving end of their anger.
I don't know what to make of the "sign of weakness" part.
Or am I reading too much into it? Is it just a plain and simple description of a god's nature?
Please give me your thoughts.
I don't think it is JUST "a plain and simple description of a god's nature" although I do think that is by far the most important part. If you accept this and follow it rigorously you'll never be taken in my supernatural religion, and that in itself justifies its position as doctrine one.
But I agree that it states something that we feel through anticipations -- i think it is fair to say that most humans feel naturally that strength in the ability to sustain one's own happiness is something that comes through self-sufficiency (which is not the same at all as asceticism) and that if we are dependent on sustenance from others for our necessities then we are by virtue of that "weak" and easily knocked off balance.
Personally I emphasize that point and would not be overly concerned about "being on the receiving end of their anger." Yes that is a practical part of our situation as humans, but I would not think that that consideration natural extends upward all the way that you may be taking it. I think even Epicurus' conception of godhood means that at some point the "strength' side washes away much concern about being on the receiving end of anything negative. I would think that as a god if you haven't arranged your affairs strongly enough that you are no longer concerned about the wrath of other beings, then you aren't yet at godhood. Yes a god wouldn't do naturally be doing anything to create trouble for itself, but just like in this world where we aren't surrounded by people whose wrath is not always rational, I would anticipate that a true good wouldn't be concerned about being on the receiving end of "irrational" anger either. (I hope that makes sense - the point I am suggesting is that I think an Epicurean god's status of being able to overcome all forces of destruction to itself would imply strength against ALL forces, no matter whether the gods action did something to provoke anger or not).
Yes; I don't know. I guess I don't see now the relevance to us of the nature of the gods, other than realizing - if they exist - there's no point in us worrying a bit about them (not to look for their favor, not to worry about their wrath, should we exist in a context where this belief is common). This makes sense to me. Seems relevant for my happiness (should I exist in that context). I also do see the relevance in trying to define for us what would make an ideal state of being fine, as a goal to work towards:
A. being unaffected by anger or gratitude (which seems mostly a mental endeavor, and also very idealistic, thus, only is realistic as something to aim to) and
B. having all your material affairs in such order as to reduce to zero or near zero the sources of 1. potential angering situations or 2. necessity of other's favors .
I also do see the relevance in trying to define for us what would make an ideal state of being fine, as a goal to work towards:
I think that is the key and more -- as a "goal." I think that Epicurus thought it was important not just to be negative against existing errors, but to set out a positive vision of what life "should" be like (at least in general) and for that goal it's probably helpful to visualize how life would be like if we were stronger, longerliving, etc. -- kind of like how we learn in sports from others who are more advanced than we are. In this case we can't observe them directly (apparently) but we can think about how they might be.
I'm coming round to the idea that Epicurus's intended emphasis of άφθαρτον "everlasting, incorruptible" is on the state of not being able to be corrupted, or able to decay instead of the idea of "eternal" as in existing across time forever. He could have used αθάνατος (athanatos) "undying" if he wanted to convey that. I realize it's subtle but I think it's important.
My best greetings to all the epicurean friends.
The word "weakness" , in greek is given with the word "ασθενές" [asthenes] is connected with another significant greek word that is: "μέριμνα" [merimna], in english this word is given with the words "care or providence". It is a sign of weakness to have "merimna" i.e. care or providence. So, then with this word "merimna" we go straight to the "God's providence".... and God provides... and then from this word "merimna" derives and the word "eimarmeni" and "moira" in english is "fate" and "necessity". But the epicurean ethics has nothing to do with "God's providence", "Eimarmeni", "Fate" and Necessity". These are timeless issues that come by the slavish [andrapoda] i.e. the astrologers et. al . who their only filthy job is to reinforce people fears, superstitions and conspiracy theories for the aim to control the mob.
Epicurus insists, a blessed and indestructible being is not connected with "merimna" i.e. does not care, does not provide anything, has no needs and troubles.
For this reason Epicurus in his letters to Herodotus and Pythocles gives us the General Picture how the whole Universe works and the causes of the phenomena that are explained always in the basis of his probabilistic-manifold way of the Canon. On the investigation of the phenomena of Nature his methodology is always scientific as he excludes any Myth e.g. that the Gods are weakness beings that care-provide and create the whole Universe and involve in our Cosmos and our matters. Since the epicurean first principles are always "the atoms and the void" that create everything that exist.
In Epicuru's LTH we read:
Furthermore, the motions of the heavenly bodies and their turnings and eclipses and risings and settings, and kindred phenomena to these, must not be thought to be due to any being who controls and ordains or has ordained them and at the same time enjoys perfect bliss together with immortality (for trouble and care and anger and kindness are not consistent with a life of blessedness, but these things come to pass where there is weakness and fear and dependence on neighbors).
And in his LTP we also read:
The signs of the weather which are given by certain animals result from mere coincidence of occasion. For the animals do not exert any compulsion for winter to come to an end, nor is there some divine nature which sits and watches the outgoings of these animals and then fulfills the signs they give. For not even the lowest animal, although ‘a small thing gives the greater pleasure,’ would be seized by such foolishness, much less one who was possessed of perfect happiness.
Elli it is so good to see you post again. Please drop by you as often as you can - we have a good group of very smart people who could learn a lot from your insights into the Greek language and the current state of Epicurean thought in Greece!
Hello my epicurean friend Cassius,
I've missed all of you and our pleasant discussions. As you know I'm waiting impatiently to become a grand-mother, and I have a lot of works to do for this issue that is the most important and happiest issue in my life.
I'm waiting impatiently to become a grand-mother, and I have a lot of works to do for this issue that is the most important and happiest issue in my life.
Congratulations, Elli, really. 😁
I wish you and your growing family the very best!