Being content in your situation or taking a risk for greater pleasure.

  • Ultimately this philosophy doesn't prescribe anything we do, yet we must act in order to live pleasurably we are radically free from destiny to see happiness in pleasure. Epicureanism is unfortunately but less so lately marked by an idea of being ascetic and perhaps not taking risks I think Epicurus and his philosophy and Dr Emily's new book challenge that view.

    Then the tension arrives, I am generally happy right now my friends but I know I could take a big risk which could bring massive pleasure. Let's say it was entering a relationship well I am guessing we have all known the absolute joy of intimacy, sex but the heart break of the breakup is very painful.

    We certainly shouldn't take risks that are likely going to be a failure (put all life savings on red) but also we can't just try live like cowards who allow life happen to them instead of act using our faculties, what do you think?

  • I think that one of the worst things that can happen to someone is to arrive at the end of life and have to look back and regret that they did not use their best efforts to try to achieve the pleasures that could likely have been obtained at reasonable cost and with reasonable expectation of success. Lot's of good poetic lines that reinforce that sentiment.

    You want to be able to say along with Vatican Saying 47 Bailey: “I have anticipated thee, Fortune, and entrenched myself against all thy secret attacks. And I will not give myself up as captive to thee or to any other circumstance; but when it is time for me to go, spitting contempt on life and on those who vainly cling to it, I will leave life crying aloud a glorious triumph-song that I have lived well.”

    There aren't any guarantees of success when you try something, but 100% of the attempts you never make are going to fail.

  • The biggest risk I ever took in my working life was to leave a very stable job, in which I was miserable, for a life with zero prospects. I was married, with two small children at the time. It took me two years to take action and leave, and after a few months of scraping by I came into an opportunity which forever changed my life, and my family's lives, for the better.

    Relationships are an interesting example. Even in a perfect relationship you'll get your heart broken. It's morbid, but you're both going to die and probably not at the same time. But think of the potential for joy in the relationship compared to the grief. Another illustration is to imagine getting a pet: odds are that you'll outlive the pet, and it will break your heart. But would you trade all of the joy, comfort and love to avoid the pain of loss?

    This hints at "hedonic calculus", a phrase with which I'm very uncomfortable. Any choice or avoidance is, in the end, based on the faculty of the Feelings and not on any sort of mathematics. So the work is to really search your feelings (and your preconceptions), both positive (pleasure) and negative (pain). Then remind yourself that there's no neutral state, and continue to experience your feelings.