"Headers" in The EpicureanFriends.com " Hero Box " on Page One of the Website

  • Ended May 19, 2022:

    Moreover, unless the constitution of the world is thoroughly understood, we shall by no means be able to justify the verdicts of our senses. Further, our mental perceptions all arise from our sensations; and if these are all to be true, as the system of Epicurus proves to us, then only will cognition and perception become possible. ... [W]hen cognition and knowledge have been invalidated, every principle concerning the conduct of life and the performance of its business becomes invalidated. So from natural science we borrow courage to withstand the fear of death, and firmness to face superstitious dread, and tranquillity of mind, through the removal of ignorance concerning the mysteries of the world, and self-control, arising from the elucidation of the nature of the passions and their different classes....

    ("Torquatus" -  Cicero's "On Ends" I-XIX)

  • Started May 19, 2022:

    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, while the virtues, which are inopportunely messed about by these people (being transferred from the place of the means to that of the end), are in no way an end, but the means to the end. Let us therefore now state that this is true, making it our starting-point. (Diogenes of Oinoanda)

  • Started June 15, 2022:

    "For we must not conduct scientific investigation by means of empty assumptions and arbitrary principles, but follow the lead of phenomena: for our life has not now any place for irrational belief and groundless imaginings, but we must live free from trouble. Now all goes on without disturbance as far as regards each of those things which may be explained in several ways so as to harmonize with what we perceive, when one admits, as we are bound to do, probable theories about them. But when one accepts one theory and rejects another, which harmonizes as well with the phenomenon, it is obvious that he altogether leaves the path of scientific inquiry and has recourse to myth. Now we can obtain indications of what happens above from some of the phenomena on earth: for we can observe how they come to pass, though we cannot observe the phenomena in the sky: for they may be produced in several ways. Yet we must never desert the appearance of each of these phenomena, and further, as regards what is associated with it, we must distinguish those things whose production in several ways is not contradicted by phenomena on earth." - Letter to Pythocles [87]

  • Started June 28, 2022:

    "It was indeed excellently said by Epicurus that fortune only in a small degree crosses the wise man’s path, and that his greatest and most important undertakings are executed in accordance with his own design and his own principles, and that no greater pleasure can be reaped from a life which is without end in time, than is reaped from this which we know to have its allotted end." Cicero, On Ends, Book 1. [63]

  • Started July 26, 2022:

    "If then even the glory of the Virtues, on which all the other philosophers love to expatiate so eloquently, has in the last resort no meaning unless it be based on pleasure, whereas pleasure is the only thing that is intrinsically attractive and alluring, it cannot be doubted that pleasure is the one supreme and final Good and that a life of happiness is nothing else than a life of pleasure." Cicero's "Torquatus," from On Ends, Book 1. [54]

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “Past "Headers" in The EpicureanFriends.com "Hero Box" on Page One of the Website” to “"Headers" in The EpicureanFriends.com "Hero Box" on Page One of the Website”.
  • Started 9/17/22:

    But unless the mind be purged, what wars within, what dangers wretched mortals must endure? What piercing cares of fierce desire must tear the minds of men? And then, what anxious fears? What ruin flows from pride, from villany, from petulance? What from luxury and sloth? The man therefore that has subdued these monsters, and drove them from the mind by precept, not by force; should not this man be worthy to be numbered with the gods? Especially since of these immortal deities he has spoken nobly and at large, and by his writings has explained to us the laws of universal nature? Lucretius Book 3, line 43 (Brown)

  • Started 10/13/22:

    "And since pleasure is the first good and natural to us, for this very reason we do not choose every pleasure, but sometimes we pass over many pleasures, when greater discomfort accrues to us as the result of them: and similarly we think many pains better than pleasures, since a greater pleasure comes to us when we have endured pains for a long time. Every pleasure then because of its natural kinship to us is good, yet not every pleasure is to be chosen: even as every pain also is an evil, yet not all are always of a nature to be avoided." Epicurus - Letter to Menoeceus

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “"Headers" in The EpicureanFriends.com "Hero Box" on Page One of the Website” to “"Headers" in The EpicureanFriends.com " Hero Box " on Page One of the Website”.
  • Started 11/10/22:

    Having made these points clear, we must now consider things imperceptible to the senses. First of all, that nothing is created out of that which does not exist: for if it were, everything would be created out of everything with no need of seeds. Epicurus' Letter to Herodotus * * * These terrors of the mind, this darkness then, not the Sun’s beams, nor the bright rays of day, can ever dispel, but Nature’s light and reason, whose first of principles shall be my guide: Nothing was by the Gods of nothing made. Lucretius Book One (Brown)

  • Started December 15, 2022

    “That which produces a jubilation unsurpassed is the nature of good, if you apply your mind rightly and then stand firm and do not stroll about, prating meaninglessly about the good.” - Epicurus, as cited in Usener Fragment U423

    From Anderson's collection of Usener material:


    Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 7, p. 1091A: Not only is the basis that they assume for the pleasurable life untrustworthy and insecure, it is quite trivial and paltry as well, inasmuch as their “thing delighted” – their good – is an escape from ills, and they say that they can conceive of no other, and indeed that our nature has no place at all in which to put its good except the place left when its evil is expelled. … Epicurus too makes a similar statement to the effect that the good is a thing that arises out of your very escape from evil and from your memory and reflection and gratitude that this has happened to you. His words are these: “That which produces a jubilation unsurpassed is the nature of good, if you apply your mind rightly and then stand firm and do not stroll about {a jibe at the Peripatetics}, prating meaninglessly about the good.”

    Ibid., 8, p. 1091E: Thus Epicurus, and Metrodorus too, suppose {that the middle is the summit and the end} when they take the position that escape from ill is the reality and upper limit of the good.

  • Started 12/24/22, on the eve of our beginning the discussion of the Canon in the Lucretius Today Podcast:

    “We have our senses to tell us matter exists. Denying this, we cannot, searching after hidden things, find any base of reason whatsoever.” Lucretius, Book One (Humphries)

    To be followed at some point by:

    I could mention many things, Pile up a heap of argument-building proof, But why? You have some sense, and these few hints Ought to suffice. You can find out for yourself. As mountain-ranging hounds smell out a lair, And animals covert, hidden under brush, Once they are certain of its track, so you, All by yourself, in matters such as these, Can see one thing from another, find your way To the dark burrows and bring truth to light. Lucretius Book One Humphries

  • Humphries does a good job with the meaning, I think, but it strikes me that the Bailey version is actually a little more clear, so I substituted it for the same text posted earlier from Humphries:

    For that body exists is declared by the feeling which all share alike; and unless faith in this feeling be firmly grounded at once and prevail, there will be naught to which we can make appeal about things hidden, so as to prove aught by the reasoning of the mind.” Lucretius, Book One Line 418 (Bailey)

    For completeness here is Munro:

    For that body exists by itself the general feeling of man kind declares; and unless at the very first belief in this be firmly grounded, there will be nothing to which we can appeal on hidden things in order to prove anything by reasoning of mind.

    And Brown 1743:

    That there is body common sense will show; this as a fundamental truth must be allowed, or there is nothing we can fix as certain in our pursuit of hidden things, by which to find the Truth, or prove it when 'tis found.

  • Started January 10, 2023

    "And if there were not that which we term void and place and intangible existence, bodies would have nowhere to exist and nothing through which to move, as they are seen to move. And besides these two, nothing can even be thought of either by conception or on the analogy of things conceivable such as could be grasped as whole existences and not spoken of as the events or properties of such existences." Epicurus' Letter to Herodotus at 40.


    This is the Bailey version with the exception that I have replaced Bailey's "accidents" with "events" as used in the Brown translation of the analogous passage in Lucretius. For purposes of this header it seems to me that "event" is less distracting and does not carry the baggage of "accidental" which is a very deep topic in and of itself. It seems to me that questions of random vs. determinist causation (an issue implied in "accidental") is beyond the major point to be made here in this header, which is that no ideal forms or other types of eternal existences exist other than bodies and space which arise / emerge from "atoms and void."

    Humphries' term "by-products" is also good and maybe even the most faithful and clear of all, but the Latin of Lucretius is "eventa / eventum" so I am going with "events" that rather than "by-products" for the moment.

    Lucretius Book one at 450: Nam quae cumque cluent, aut his coniuncta duabus rebus ea invenies aut horum eventa videbis.

    Munro: For whatever things are named, you will either find to be properties linked to these two things or you will see to be accidents of these things.

    Brown: All other things you'll find essential conjuncts, or else the events or accidents of these. I call essential conjunct what's so joined to a thing that it cannot, without fatal violence, be forced or parted from it; is weight to stones, to fire heat, moisture to the Sea, touch to all bodies, and not to be touched essential is to void. But, on the contrary, Bondage, Liberty, Riches, Poverty, War, Concord, or the like, which not affect the nature of the thing, but when they come or go, the thing remains entire; these, as it is fit we should, we call events.

    Humphries: Whatever exists you will always find connected To these two things, or as by-products of them;

  • Started January 28, 2023:

    VS63. Frugality too has a limit, and the man who disregards it is like him who errs through excess.

    Simple, but so important. This one may need to stay at the top of the page for the whole of 2023 - or longer! ;)