Another mainstream article claiming ataraxia is the goal

  • To clarify, I don’t mean that Epicureanism isn’t a one size fits all philosophy (although it may not be, I think it has vast utility for the vast majority) but that the way to approach different kinds of people about the philosophy depends on their own background.


    I never needed to be told that pleasure is good. That was obvious to me. I needed to be told that just having calm undisturbed peace of mind was ALSO good. And I definitely define it the same as Don does. Having this kind of mindset actually helps me get more pleasure from my active pleasures because I’m not constantly looking to the next one. So it’s not only for moments of meditation in my dark cave (although I do like me a dark cave lol)


    Edit: essentially, I needed it explained to me how to make pleasure continuous, and Epicurus did that.

  • So then this "working towards having a calm baseline" would require therapeutics?


    And if so, then we need to list all of them -- sourced from PD's, Vatican Sayings, Letter to Menoeceus, Diogenes Laertius wise man sayings, and Cicero's Torquatus -- so we see what specifically leads to this calm baseline.

  • So then this "working towards having a calm baseline" would require therapeutics?


    And if so, then we need to list all of them -- sourced from PD's, Vatican Sayings, Letter to Menoeceus, Diogenes Laertius wise man sayings, and Cicero's Torquatus -- so we see what specifically leads to this calm baseline.

    I'm not sure of "therapeutics" but maybe techniques? Exercises? Suggested activities? Epicurus did make the direct comparison between medicine and philosophy, so there's something there.

    I'd have to review all those texts, but I can say that I doubt we'll find specific instructions. Our textual treasury is just not deep enough ;( However, I'm going to offer that his "maza (bread) and water" comment in Menoikeus is an instruction - a declaration - to pay attention to the daily, ordinary pleasures in the moment. To take pleasure in the ordinary. That's a powerful instruction!

    I recently had someone recommend The Mindfulness Solution by Dr Ronald Siegel, PsyD. I just started listening to the audiobook, but it's mindfulness sans woo. And it says exactly what I'm saying: mindfulness makes us better at paying attention to - and enjoying! - the everyday experiences we have, makes us less anxious about the future, and less stressed about the past. That sounds exactly like what Epicurus was advocating to me! I'll have to listen to more, but what I'm hearing is encouraging and I think directly applicable to Epicurean practice.

  • Random Internet sites I found sort of on this topic I now submit for consideration, neither endorsing nor disapproving at this point:

    (Edit: I'm slowly going back and pulling out quotes and commenting. I hope that doesn't change anyone's reactions :) )

    Living Like an Epicurean - Pondering with Pete
    My biggest takeaway from this exercise is that living with intent improves your happiness. Regardless of if you live like an Epicurean, a Stoic, a Taoist, or…
    ponderingwithpete.com


    Quote

    My biggest problem with Epicureanism is their belief in absolute goodness and absolute badness. I think life is much less stressful and more enjoyable when we consider everything’s goodness or badness to be relative. Some things seem bad in the moment but end up being good; I think an Epicurean mindset of absolute good and badness precludes one (at least practically) from having faith that some bad things may turn out to be good things.

    I found some interesting comments from this college student, but the excerpt above made me sad. I'm not sure where he got the "absolute" idea from, but I suspect it was "all pleasure is good .." But he overgeneralized to "all pleasure should be chosen" I think.


    Epicurean Spiritual Exercises | Counter-Currents
    1,291 words Trans. Guillaume Durocher Translator’s Note: The following is drawn from Pierre Hadot, Qu’est-ce que la philosophie antique ? (Paris: Gallimard,…
    counter-currents.com


    I think some on this forum flinch at the term "spiritual exercises" but I chalk that up to Hadot's idiosyncracies. This excerpt of his work seems mostly uncontroversial to me, except for bringing up "asceticism". It seems to me primarily a bringing together of some of the practices scattered in Epicurean texts which *could* be a helpful start.


    Philosophy As a Way of Life
    Philosophy, as it is practiced today, is abstract, theoretical, and detached from life. In the Greco-Roman world, it was something quite di…
    www.nypl.org


    Quote

    He (Epicurus) was in fact an ascetic. Pleasure, for him, is not sensuality and luxury but freedom from pain and tranquility. If we live a simple life, restrict our desires, free ourselves from the fear of death, and learn to accept our mortal condition, we can have a tranquil life, and recover the simple joy of existing, with a feeling of profound gratitude for life.

    AND there it is! In their defense, they're summarizing Hadot who said the same thing above in those excerpts. There's some other interesting items in here comparing the various schools, but the old ascetic trope lives on.


    Why Epicurean ideas suit the challenges of modern secular life
    Sure, Epicureans focused on seeking pleasure – but they also did so much more.
    bigthink.com


    Finally read this one in its entirety and probably my favorite one of the bunch. This author seems to get it. :thumbup: :thumbup: Not a mention of asceticism!