Thanks for the birthday greeting. Very kind of you.
Episode 214 of the Lucretius Today Podcast is now available. In this episode we take up Cicero's allegation that true friendship and true happiness are impossible for Epicureans.
Thanks for the birthday wishes. Much appreciated.
Thanks, Nate. I'm personally somewhat averse to conflict. I don't like arguing although I usually enjoy clarifying new information.
Also, I've made the mistake of arguing with strangers online. It has never, ever gone well.
And sadly, I've done it more than once. Slow learner!
I left Facebook a while back but rejoined it for business reasons. For businesses, it is virtually unavoidable so it requires some skillful application of one's participation. I also joined some less well-known platforms to see how they work and whether the experiences on them differ. (MeWe, Gab, Minds). They do differ, but that is a separate topic.
For Facebook, here are a couple of suggestions. First, apply the "live unknown" idea by creating a separate page for yourself with a chosen name. I did this recently using the name "Mindmuser". It has 0 followers at the moment, but its purpose is to be able to interact in groups anonymously.
With comments, arguments, etc. always be positive and constructive. Never engage in pointless arguments. A guideline I use is a response limit. This means if I initiate a post and someone comments with an argument, I will respond once. If they come back with more arguing, I don't continue. It is not easy to do this as it will feel like resigning. But if I've made my point twice, once in the post and again in that first reply, there's no more to say.
Here is the most important point. You are not writing, replying, commenting, etc. for the individual who is engaging you. You are writing for all the silent readers who are quietly interested in what you are saying.
Words evoke specific reactions in people. The word "pleasure", while having a wide interpretation in Epicurean Philosophy, it seems to have a much narrower one in general. Specifically, immediate transitory pleasures.
So I was wondering if the focus was a "pleasant life" as the goal might be more immediately evocative of that wider interpretation.
I'm just thinking out loud here. So perhaps I'm way off base on this.
I believe the UK is 5 hours ahead at the moment. Germany is 6 hours. Of course, daylight savings time is up in the air at the moment, so those times may change by an hour longer.
My schedule changes constantly, especially in the summer. The winter is much better for consistency. I know that is not very helpful, but it's all I can suggest at the moment.
I will think on it.
I completely understand. It was merely a thought for those whose schedules are incompatible. Also, the ability to review a conversation for its participants can be valuable.
For me, evenings are out of the question.
Some weekends are occasionally possible, but it will always be occasional.
Thanks for considering the idea.
I was only able to participate in one Zoom call here. It was held on a Saturday, and I was available that particular day. For me, and I suspect for others, evenings are not feasible.
So I was wondering what you think about recording your session and sharing them here. Of course, privacy issues must be handled and the recording should only be available to members here.
Ok thanks. I was wondering if I was not quite reading it correctly.
I am not familiar with the Areopagus. I recall something about a legal council? Man, I need to brush up on my ancient Greek culture. Old brain!
Great discussion, folks!
Perhaps I am too simple-minded in these matters. The sentence, "All is permitted" seems to have taken us into the well-known religious phrase, "Without God, all is permitted". This has been debated, disputed, dissected, etc. by bigger brains than mine.
Yet I did not interpret the use of that phrase in de Casseres' mention of it that way at all.
As it came on the heels of rejecting all the philosophies prior to Epicurus, and specifically the restriction on what is true inherent in each, I thought the phrase meant something like, "all ideas about truth are permitted."
Further, I thought that because the context was Epicurus, the implication of this was that the ideas are permitted because none are complete yet all bring some pleasure and affirmation of life itself.
Maybe I missed something, but that was how I took it.
Most welcome, Joshua.
It's a literary take rather than purely philosophical. And I found that last line captures something about Epicurus that I had not read before. A simplicity that contains something essential.
I am reading a book by an obscure author named Benjamin de Casseres about Spinoza. I came across this passage below and thought of you folks. I love the writing so wanted to share it with you.
The first chapter is a lightning quick tour of ancient philosophy up to 1632 (Spinoza's birth). de Casseres uses a literary device of making "The Philosophical Mind" an actual entity that enters the heads of various thinkers. I thought you'd find his paragraph on Epicurus interesting:
Trapped between the contradictions of Plato and Aristotle, Mind fell into the pits of self-mockery - the autumnal beauty of Scepticism and the winter of grim Stoicism. Aristotle bred Pyrrho and Sextus Empiricus, who said there were not only no trails to Truth but there was no Truth. "How shall ye know her?" All speculation is nightmare. All "facts" are phantasmal. There is no Great Detective or Great Director. There is only sensation.
"But I can live!", shouted Mind. "Truth may not exist but Pleasure does!" And Mind entered the skull of Epicurus, the Goethe of antiquity - "the meaning of life is life itself"!
Mind sprawled in the colossal inn of the visible universe and took its pleasure. To hell with Truth! To hell with the Veiled Mystery! To hell with Nirvana! To hell with Plato and Aristotle! Knowledge for knowledge's sake! Art for beauty's sake! Thought for thought's sake! The flesh for the flesh's sake! There is no Truth. All is permitted.
The mind of Epicurus had made a tremendous discovery, the greatest that had ever been made - that the will-to-live and the will-to-pleasure are one!
Interesting. I cannot say for sure that I have the same experience.
So did you experience the world differently prior to reading Epicurean ideas?
I was talking with Cassius about some of my readings in religion. I have a fascination with religious philosophies, in particular the "philosophical proofs" of the existence of God. There are several and when I've read them I've found them compelling. (Aristotle's prime mover for example). I know some here will think that is silly.
The difficulty I had is that even if I accept the arguments and decide "yes, God exists", my experience of being is unchanged. I am still just me living life and motivated to make it as pleasant as possible.
So I thought I recalled a quote from Epicurus that addressed this. Something about one's experience of life is not being improved by a philosophy, rendering it useless.
Thoughts? I don't want to debate Aristotle, religion, God, etc. That was merely the context for my question. Does the philosophy change you? Or perhaps it is better posed as "does the philosophy change your experience of being"?
Thanks. I will mark my calendar.
Depending on my schedule, I would be interested in trying a Saturday Zoom meeting.
Keep me posted. Thanks
At the risk of seeming frivolous, (comes with age ) here's a moment with Woody Allen that may add something to this topic.
Thank you so much for the BD greetings. Very kind of you especially considering my...umm...lack of participation here!
I also heard from another online friend who I hadn't connected with for quite some time. I've actually been somewhat out of the online picture generally for the past 2 years. I've just finally uploaded some music videos to an otherwise dormant youtube channel. There are only 2 pieces there, uploaded last week. More are coming.EricRWelcome to my youtube channel. I offer original music and videos that I hope offer a momentary respite from the challenges of daily life. We are more than…www.youtube.com
I'm also updating my old mindmuser.com website and am starting to post there. I'm really not sure what I'm going to do there, but it seems that I am drawn to offer some information I've picked up over my 67 years.
As I've said to Cassius privately in the past, I find the kindness in this group quite alluring since I am a terrible Epicurean .
I've pretty much tossed all philosophies out in favour of sorting out my own approach to life. That does not mean I don't consider various ideas, but some people are very attached to theirs. So you can imagine the kind of reaction I can expect from being so independent and declaring the value of a free mind.
Anyway, thank you so much for thinking of me.
As I said, I'm comfortable with the idea. That does not mean I believe it. Only that I can understand its appeal and am comfortable with believers as long as they can be comfortable with me.
Also, the word "God" has to be clarified since the Abrahamic version is only one way. It is one of the reasons I generally stay away from the topic other than asserting my ignorance.
I have found that a genuine feeling of gratitude does not depend on knowing its source. Gratefulness is its own reward as it can neutralize poisons like resentment, envy, jealousy, etc. It has to be genuine though and only the individual can ever know whether it is or not.
Thanks for the respect. If I wasn't being me, I'd be...?