June 28, 2023 - Wednesday Night Zoom - VS 8 & 9

  • Tonight we are dividing time between:

    1 - The Vatican Sayings:

    VS08. The wealth required by Nature is limited and is easy to procure; but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity.

    VS09. Necessity is an evil, but there is no necessity to live under the control of necessity.

    2 - Our Special Topic

    Tonight I suggest we think about and discuss a continuing question: Is there anything in Epicurean philosophy that tells a particular person what particular pleasure to choose (or pain to avoid) at any particular time. In other words, this is a variation of the old question: "Is one pleasure better than another?" And the goal should be to come up with some kind of coherent analysis of how we would recommend a particular person at a particular time to proceed. Is all we can say is "It's contextual and up to you!" Or is there more for which we can find justification in the Epicurean texts?

    I am starting this thread after a couple of comments have come in already:

    Godfrey wrote: " Lucretius writes in Book 3 about the fear of death. The desires and behaviors that he lists, to me, fall into the unnatural/vain/toxic desires category, which would apply to VS08. Things such as wanting statues of yourself, pursuing political fame and the like." (Primarily lines 59-93.)

    Attendees should also plan to be sure they are on Kalosyni's conversation list, and if you are not already on that and want the Zoom link so you can attend, please message Kalosyni or any other moderator.

  • For those who may be interested in a comparison of Vedanta and Epicurus, here is a Facebook thread where the "CosmicDancer" podcast episode interviewing Tim Okeefe is being discussed;

    Epicurean Philosophy | A Dialogue Between Vedanta and Epicureanism
    A Dialogue Between Vedanta and Epicureanism. Uncovering Commonalities Between Two Ancient Philosophies. #Podcast with Dr Jayashankar Krishnamurthy, Director…

    And here is a thread where Cristiano introduced his book:

    Epicurean Philosophy | Epicureanism, one of the most important philosophical currents of antiquity, spread to Rome during the first century B.C., thanks to the work of maste...
    Epicureanism, one of the most important philosophical currents of antiquity, spread to Rome during the first century B.C., thanks to the work of masters such…

    The Posillipo Enigma: Virgil's investigation on a mysterious murder. by Cristiano Luchini - Books on Google Play
    The Posillipo Enigma: Virgil's investigation on a mysterious murder. - Ebook written by Cristiano Luchini. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your…

  • I want say thank you, to everyone who showed up tonight. It was a very good discussion, with a total of eight members attending.

    A further thought regarding VS 9, perhaps this is something of a "remedy" that you say to yourself over and over.

    I particularly like this translation by Saint-Andre:

    "Compulsion is a bad thing, but there is no compulsion to live under compulsion."

    The only way to find out if it works or not is to try it. For example, I want to stop drinking coffee, so I could try for a few days repeating this to myself and see if it somehow actually helps me become more aware and able to choose. But realistically I need to have other options lined up, so that I know what to drink instead of coffee (I have several kinds of tea that I can drink instead).

    PD5: It is not possible to live joyously without also living wisely and beautifully and rightly, nor to live wisely and beautifully and rightly without living joyously; and whoever lacks this cannot live joyously.

  • Here are some notes of mine I had on VS9

    This is a clever bit of writing from Epicurus. The original Greek reads "κακὸν ἀνάγκη, ἀλλʼ οὐδεμία ἀνάγκη ζῆν μετὰ ἀνάγκης." Note those three occurrences of ἀνάγκη/ἀνάγκης. The word itself means force, constraint, or necessity; so a literal translation would be something like "An evil, necessity (is); but (there is) no necessity to live in the midst of necessity." This retains the clever wordplay but is honestly a little clunky in English. To get the import of the statement, a paraphrase may be better. Consider what he is saying. Being constrained in your choices is an evil. If you have only one choice - or feel you only have one choice - that is an evil. However, we have free will, so we are not required to live having our choices curtailed and constrained. Even if we make choices we don't want to make, we are exercising our free will. "I don't want to go to work today, but I have to." No, you don't. You could quit. But are you ready to face the consequences of quitting your job? You can consciously decide today is not the day I quit. I make the decision to get up and do the work. Likewise, maybe getting a new job is the right decision. Weigh your options. Exercise your faculty of choice and rejection. You are not forced to be forced to do something. Make your choices and rejections. Practice well!