Planning For A Weekly EpicureanFriends Zoom Meeting in 2022

  • One project I would like to see us tackle for 2022 is to have a weekly video Zoom meeting for our regulars here at the forum. Let's use this thread to brainstorm the possibilities:

    1. Day and Time. At times in the past when this has been discussed, I think the consensus tends toward a weekday evening, probably Sunday through Thursday nights, and probably no later than about 8:30 or 9:00 East Coast USA time so that our friends on the West Coast have a reasonable late-afternoon / early-evening hour. Tentatively I would suggest Tuesdays at 8:30 for no reason in particular. Please let us know your suggestions for alternate dates and times.
    2. Participants. I think the consensus is that we would like to use this to introduce new members into the group and talk about initial questions about the philosophy, so I suggest that we make the existence of the group public, but that we require some level of participation on the forum before invitations are extended. Conversations on the forum (and on Facebook) are visible to the public, so there's plenty of opportunity for people who solely want to lurk to participate in writing, and anyone interested enough in participating in a zoom meeting ought to be willing to say so on the forum so as to be sent an invitation.
    3. Video / Sound. Unless someone has a special reason lets strongly urge each participant to use video, but not necessarily real names unless the participant prefers that on an individual basis.
    4. Agenda / topics. We want to devote some time to questions and open discussion, but we don't want every session to turn into a general "bull" session. We can use the Principal Doctrines and Vatican Sayings as an initial topic list for at least some part of each meeting. It would also be good to ask participants to bring up for discussion any Epicurean books or materials that they are currently reading for discussion. And most of all I would like to see us devote time to what we are doing online (primarily in EpicureanFriends makes sense, of course) so we can coordinate our online activity there and in other locations. So that we are always focused on Epicurean philosophy, in general it would be best for discussion of books written by non-Epicurean writers to be limited to times when it's clear we have extra time on the zoom meeting. It also probably makes sense to have a time limit for the meetings, probably not much longer than an hour.
    5. Moderators. If we go to weekly there are likely to be times when I cannot be present myself, though I hope that will be rare. For that reason we probably ought to have a moderation "panel" to lead the discussion in the event I am away (and this is a good idea even if I am present - we could rotate among panel discussion leaders from week to week but keep things on track by having a pre-planned agenda.)
    6. Name: Maybe someone has something more creative than "The Weekly EpicureanFriends Zoom Meeting."
    7. First Event: First week of January 2022.
    8. Expectations: We have to expect that for the first weeks and even months we will have only a few people, but I suspect that over time we'll find that a certain segment of people on EpicureanFriends and even from the Facebook group will become regulars who prefer Zoom to posting in written form.
  • Maybe Online Garden of Epicurean Friends pr something to that effect?

    This sounds like a good template for local in-person meetings when they eventually start popping up, so as it develops that would be good to keep in mind. I assume you're already heading in that direction, Cassius.

  • You're welcome to plan, but I'd advise against this. A weekly commitment is one of the reasons I'm taking a sabbatical from the podcast.

    One of the things that makes the 20th special is the connection it gives us to our Philosophical ancestors. It is truly an Epicurean event. Diluting that with more online meetups makes me a little sad. Even the Sunday recording sessions started to feel like church (that's not a positive association btw).

    Maybe we need a more "formal" agenda for the 20ths? Open up to more people? I like your number 4 above as a start. Plot out 20ths ahead of time? Epicurus's birthday is coming up too I believe. Jan 9 or 10 (7 Gamelion)

  • I understand your concern Don but I think it's a matter of individual preference. Those who wish to attend will do so, those who don't won't.

    I definitely agree that many of these points apply to how we do the 20th.

    But as to whether this would help or hurt a connection with the real Epicureans of the past, I think that the authentic ones of the Greco Roman period were likely immersed in each other's company most of the time.

    As for those in the intervening centuries who saw the topic as one limited to being fit for writing and thinking about the subject - I don't see them as very worthy models for emulation. I would always have advocated that the goal be full restoration of a philosophical community and continuity.

    If we find the philosophy inviting then it's something to pursue as strongly as possible, and if this helps only a few who want to invest more time in it then it's probably worthwhile for those.

  • No issues as to wet blankets! Caution is a good thing.

    I received a private comment asking if we would be able or willing to post the audio publicly for others to listen to. That question raises several issues we can include in the discussion. As it is, I spend a lot of time editing the Lucretius Podcast to cut out the silent sections and any unproductive tangents, and I doubt that I would have the time to do that fora second program. I do see the desirability of allowing others to listen, but I don't know that we can assure the kind of quality that would make that work without editing. We can discuss that as part of planning, and some of my concerns might be alleviated if we split the duties and had others besides me curate a section of time.

  • A weekly meeting is great idea. Yet I would suggest waiting to start it till the second week in January.

    I can see how a weekly event might be better geared toward "novices" rather than for "sages"... I myself would probably fall into the middle area of "devotee" (neither novice nor sage) but would greatly benefit from weekly meetings.

    The 20th could be always in honor of sages and contain more advanced material, which novices and devotees could learn from, but they might take more of a "listen and learn" while the sages discuss more complex philosophy. Yet perhaps the 20th would be only for devotees and sages, and novices would be referred to join the weekly meeting. But maybe this labeling is complicating things...just throwing out some ideas. After all, how does one determine if someone is a devotee? or a sage?

  • For my part, there is a great deal of looming uncertainty as to how much of my free time will be taken up by the online professional coursework that I'll be starting in January.

    I don't think I'll know for sure until at least the first week of January. But I like the idea on the whole!

  • After all, how does one determine if someone is a devotee? or a sage?

    Maybe that depends on how much a person likes to think of themselves as an ancient Greek! :)

    More seriously maybe we just have some kind of basic reading list "test" and trust people to rank themselves by how much they have read.

    But even more practically, we probably just need to keep something of a tight reign from the beginning using moderators, and then as we see how people actually do over time the moderators can allocate time based on subjective views of how much people are actually contributing. That might sound harsh but it's probably necessary and we can find ways to do it diplomatically and supportively.

    If we primarily use the invitation method of vetting participants we will probably be ok because we should be able to tell beforehand if we are running into any problem personalities.

  • As for the free time requirement we probably need to find ways to structure this so that for most of us we don't find it a burden or something we need to spend much time in preparation for or editing anything afterward.

  • Another idea...(under the enjoyment of a Christmas Eve "Three Creeks - FivePine Chocolate Porter)...

    ...A once a month Zoom meeting that is not on the 20th. It would definitely be geared toward people who have very little understanding. Maybe 2, 3, or even 4 people could each give a short presentation on material and then those same people would discuss it, and then, at the very end open it up to questions. The flyers would need to be very specific as to what it is and whom would benefit (free thinkers and science-minded folks) and people would need to register through

    And on a different week of the month maybe have an hour long very informal planning meeting for "core" people were we would come up with ideas for future meetings and events, and also check in to say 'hi' to each other (yet I see that some might have upcoming busy schedules).

  • oops...regarding flyers...people could put up flyers in their cities at coffeehouses or libraries, or colleges, announcing the zoom meeting...and how to sign up

  • You are being ambitious but that is the only way to grow! When we stop adding / replacing atoms we start to die......( I am pretty sure is somewhere in Lucretius! )

    But ambition is good! ( I say as I listen to Rienzi and read the book on which it is based ) :)

  • It would require a dedicated few to work together.

    Now, in a more sober mind (of non-alcoholic ginger-ale) I do realize that it would be wise for me to put more time into studying Epicureanism, so as to be sure that I understand it correctly. I think it would very important to understand the key differences between Epicureanism and Stoicism, as well to understand the differences of understanding between the telos of vs. the telos of the most common scholarly understanding.

  • Ha -- "the telos of" :)

    I would describe that as a combination of the attitude of (1) Lucian in "striking a blow for Epicurus" and pursuing the attitude exhibited in "Alexander the Oracle-Monger" and of (2) Lucretius in using smart technology (his poem, our internet) to present the full meaning of Epicurean philosophy in its most fundamental form.

    Sometimes I also think it can be expressed in thinking about how Epicurean philosophy differs as much from what is conveyed by "hedonism" as the stoics would say they differ from "stoicism." They deny that they are apathetic, and I would deny that a narrow focus on immediate physical gratification has much of anything to do with Epicurean philosophy.

    Epicurus taught a full worldview, in which "pleasure" is only one part, and not what is generally conveyed by "hedonism" at all. As I see it, Epicurus used "pleasure" as a catch-all term for all agreeable feelings, mental and bodily, and on that level "pleasure" is a sweeping term that corresponds to and opposes "virtue" (as that is set up by the stoics and platonists) and "piety" (as that is set up by all those religions who suggest we should worship supernatural gods).

    I think that's what both Lucian and Lucretius saw - a full worldview - and that really has very little to do with strategies for eating and drinking and relaxing. Those are significant but secondary to the deeper issues of where we spend eternity, whether we have free will, whether we need to worry about heaven and hell, and how to understand what knowledge is and our means of obtaining it, and how we organize our lives to attain maximum success in pursuing happiness through a proper understanding of (and action based on) those issues.

  • Epicurus taught a full worldview, in which "pleasure" is only one part, and not what is generally conveyed by "hedonism" at all. As I see it, Epicurus used "pleasure" as a catch-all term for all agreeable feelings, mental and bodily, and on that level "pleasure" is a sweeping term that corresponds to and opposes "virtue" (as that is set up by the stoics and platonists) and "piety" (as that is set up by all those religions who suggest we should worship supernatural gods).

    --human as a naturally evolved material animal, coming from pleasure and going ever onward toward pleasure


    --human as dualistic (body & spirit) created by god(s) and who must toil for perfection and to strive to please god(s)

  • The point being that the continuation and modern expansion of the Epicurean philosophy must navigate through and in the midst of the religious landscape of modern times.

  • Regarding the telos of the forum ( ^^ ), we have had a few interesting threads that might be worth looking at;

    September 2019:

    July 2020: