Titus Level 01
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Posts by Titus

    Thank you Titus for your feedback. I decided not to use "natural but unnecessary" category to see if I could create something very direct and usable.

    Due to my short-reading ^^ , I just even recognized you 've introduced your own categorization (necessary for happiness and health of the mind) and skipped the "natural but unnecessary" category.

    My anew reading leads me to new points. I remember Epicurus distinguises the "natural and necessary" desires in another three categories, saying in Menoiceus

    "and of the necessary some are necessary for happiness, others for the repose of the body, and others for very life."

    Propably, one could asume your two categories as part of this triad.

    There's also the way of reading them related to aponia and ataraxia as your categories sum up many of material features of them.

    I agree with that but especially in the context that it is always a matter of comparing the resulting pleasure to the resulting pain and never a strict out-of-context analysis

    I think this is one of the reasons, Epicurus is arguing in abstract terms rather than presenting a list made of concrete. But I also recognize these abstract terms being related to an idea of basic principles of the nature of man. While this may set a focus (e.g. keeping your body healthy, care for your personal relations) I agree it's a matter of ongoing comparing and evaluating pleasures and pains.

    There's a fun fact story I would like to share. Aproximately 10 years ago I read an academic article critizing the pleasure calculus of Epicurus. The author argued, in the search for happiness one would have to constantly evaluate, which he condemned as quite unrealistic. How else would a costumer visiting a supermarket make his choices?! :D

    It's interesting how others perceive the famous approach of Epicurus how to categorize desires.

    I would have categorized the natural and necessary desires in the way you do.

    Generally speaking, the natural and not necessary desires are according to my perception extensions to the necessary desires, but still natural. Because they are based on our innate human condition, they just have to be avoided in the case of causing pain and damage.

    The unnatural desires relate to everthing else. Since almost everything can be related to a natural source, I would suggest this category is something more about abstract ideas and wants, as Diogenes Laertios relates them to the search for power and fame.

    Power and fame are not bad themselves, but one usually looses focus on what is the well of our wellbeing. This is the reason why we should usually avoid them and be very critical to these conditions.

    Original intented for a commentary on the Lucretius Today podcast, episode 140. I think this suits better here. As always, this is my personal interpretation, even while I think in ultimate terms.

    It's a pleasure to me, that the discourse on the letter to Menoikeus in episode 140 of Lucretius Today is leading to the acknowledgement of the "blessed life" or "eudaimonia", as this has always been close to my understanding of Epicurean philosophy. There is even more to say about the differentiation of pleasures. This has also been of quite importance to me but has also evolved over time. In my opinion, a common misunderstanding is interpreting the natural and necessary desires as simply "bread and water" or frugality. This might be the yogi's or monk's interpretation, but they dismiss the context as the modern reader doesn't grasp the meaning of "Peace and Safety!" in the bible. There's also the implied message of being focused on your body, which also means being focused on your senses, your perceptions. This is what is in the centre of life. You're a corporal being, so prioritizing on the very voices of your body satisfies best. Arguing in a short run, having satisfied the needs of the body (aponia) and having accomplished a state of resilience against fear and bad influences (ataraxia) opens the path for the realizing of maximum pleasure (hedone) and accomplishing the good live (eudaimonia) all folks on Earth are seeking for.

    The yogi and the monk may think they have gained inner calm, strength and happiness through focusing on whatever teaching they follow. But in reality, they just have entered the sphere nature is calling everyone for. Their philosophies work, albeit their proper message is only a side effect. The real forces working might never reach their recognition.

    But this is just the starting point. Reconnected with my senses and perceptions, I skip the world of ideas, as one could call the neither natural nor necessary desires. What is of importance to me is feeling. Recognizing my stomach's fullness, the warmth of the sun on my skin. Breathing fresh air. Enjoying a tasteful and varied meal. All these pleasures poured into my cup to its fullness! I do enjoy this while my body is freed from pain and my mind is freed from fear and anxieties. I try to build up friendships and have my life organized, according to the rules and customs of the area I live in. Finally, I end up living the life of a blessed being, men calls a god.

    Excursus: If the Stoics feel truly happy, they do so because they are "Epicureans in disguise". What's finally in their power are their senses, their natural needs. They conclude these via second hand abstractions, not realizing which realm they are entering. They are endangered to distract-thinking, focussing to much on the mind and being the mastermind, while nature holds all the cards in the game.

    Quality talk. I still have about 130 episodes to hear. ^^ I especially enjoyed the discussion on chance and the jump to Epicurus' classification of desires. I also recently read Lucian's "Alexander the Oracle Monger" (or did Charles mention Alexander the Great or both? But I definitely remember the mentioning of false and ambigious oracles) and I can tell you, it's a quite immersive experience listening to people talking about and interconnect all these issues as if they were grown up with. Living in the Epicurusphere. Brilliant. :thumbup:

    Personally, I would interpret PD19 in the sense that we should not worry about the idea of infinitive ages but focus on a good standing in our nowadays condition and be happy about it. The only characters enjoying constant and infinitive pleasure are the unshakenable "gods" but our consistency is bound on the atomic variability of the universe. Therefore we should enjoy and not disturb ourselves with unrealistic ideas of perfect and infinitive forms.

    There was a guy in Austria who reopened one of the biggest belle epoque hotels in the world in the 1980s. He had a personal connection to Epicurean philosophy and set up a yearly award for a person living the best of an Epicurean life (according to his personal interpretation). After a few years the hotel had to close again due to financial issues, but he went more spiritual and started publishing two or three volumes, now stating a more frugal version of Epicureanism than in the luxury palace. Reminds me to revisit one of his books I own (though I remember them being spiced with esotericism).

    It's amazing to read a first hand analysis of an Epicurean, actively propagating the philosophy. For myself it feels "in motion", like reading a living voice. Reminds me of the importance to keep the philosophy breathing. There's a lot of space for interpretation, but I'd only like to emphasize on the practical issues Philodemus is concerning. I can draw direct connections to my personal experiences from Philodemus' advices. He tells us to keep our health in a good condition, to stay connected with our friends etc. Personally, I too often forget to stay on the grounds of Epicurean philosophy, disturbed by the impressions of my surroundings and driven by unreflected emotions. That is why it is good to read this kind of devotional literature.

    Philodemus is an example to others and it would be great just to become a fraction of his brilliance.

    How should we go about determining how widespread Epicureanism was in Antiquity?

    The proper question is: How should we go about determining that there was any philosophy more widespread than Epicureanism?

    Is there any inscription larger than that of Oinoanda? Or was there any Roman library found other than focusing on Epicurean philosophy? Historians hoped to find traces of early Christianity in Pompeii. What did they find nearby? "I will be faithful to Epicurus, according to whom it has been my choice to live." Inside of a magnificent building, inhabited by the rich and influent.

    I got the book through interlibrary loan some months ago. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to read its contents sufficiently to get a complete picture before returning. I definitely agree with most of Nate's commentary.

    It's rather of the kind of books suggesting Jesus was a Yoga adherent who visited India than presenting facts like the appearance of Epicurean vocabulary in the letters of Paul.

    What I still find quite interesting is Hannah's suggestion that the Gospel of Thomas shall be a reliable and unaltered source while the other gospels are said to be compiled fiction. But this is off topic.

    Just what appeared in my mind spontaneously.

    (1) The nature of the universe

    There is nothing foreign to me in the universe.

    Everything takes part in the process of becoming and perishing.

    (2) The nature of knowledge

    There are limits and boundaries set, within we are able to discover all knowledge we need for living a life full of pleasure.

    There is no need of special knowledge. Just trust your senses and realize that there's a deep connection between your natural faculties and the universe. Everything you know is sufficient.

    (3) The nature of how to live.

    The good is easy to get, the bad is easy to endure.

    Everything one needs is within reach.

    There is nothing to fear.

    Friendship dances around the world, bidding us all to awaken to the recognition of happiness.

    8:30 or 9:00 East Coast USA time so that our friends on the West Coast have a reasonable late-afternoon / early-evening hour. Tentatively I would suggest Tuesdays at 8:30 for no reason in particular. Please let us know your suggestions for alternate dates and times.

    That's around 3am in Central Europe! For our participants staying in Europe and Africa it would be worth thinking of a second panel (and theoretically a third for the Far East and Australia).

    If someone were looking for "fat and sleek...." then the wreathed figure does fit that description, but would that not refer to "a hog in Epicurus' herd" rather than to Epicurus himself?

    I was also irritated by professor Erler's words but he writes as follows: " 'Epicurus with unwrinkled skin': This reminds us of one of Horace's famous dictums about Epicurus, the fat and sleek man with good keeping." (He refers to "Hor. Epist. 1.4.15." . Perhaps this quotation might be clarifying.)

    Let's consider professor Erler's arguments as he points out in his book"Epicurus: An introduction to his practical ethics and politics".

    He identifies the man wearing the wreath of ivy as Epicurus. He refers to the letter to Menoeceus. The ivy man is surrounded by four people of every age. This shall represent Epicurus' call for philosophing being a young guy as well as being an old men.

    He also argues that Epicurus is characterized by words by Sidonius Apollinaris:

    "You do not burn with envy at the thought of those paintings all over the gymnasia of the Areopagus and in the prytanea showing Speusippus with his head bowed forward, Aratus with his head bent back, Epicurus with unwrinkled skin, Diogenes with long beard, Socrates with trailing hair, Aristotle with out-thrust arm."

    Finally, Erler refers to Horace. Erler writes "the fat and sleek man with good keeping."

    Personally, I'd also add the fact that one of the guys is lying on the shoulder of the suggested Epicurus, searching for philosophy as help and guidance.

    I found no information on whether Sabine is a relative of Malte or whether she knows about him.

    A map overview of Germany based on phone book entries lists the name Hossenfelder 34 times.


    It seems the name originates from the state of Hessen (where Sabine is from). Nearly all other entries are from urban areas, so I think some Hossenfelder's moved there in the past. So there is very possibly a connection, the other question is how close they were.