Titus Level 03
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Posts by Titus

    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.

    By luck I've found another new book - and it's available in my local library! I've checked the table of contents and it seems to be quite valueable, especially for the sake of expanding one's knowledge on how the ancient Epicureans practised their philosophy.

    I hope the links work:

    General Information

    Table of Contents

    Please let me know if you are interested in the content of several chapters, I can look them up for you.

    By luck I have found a reference to a book on Epicureanism and early Christianity (it's quite interesting to myself because I am currently reading DeWitt's "St. Paul and Epicurus". It's titeled "You will not taste death: Jesus and Epicureanism" by Jack W. Hannah. Does anyone know more about the book or the author or already know something on the connection between the Gospel of Thomas and Epicureanism?

    Let me say, I translated the document last night and it was quite funny to do so, but it seems not to be very fruitful. The method was exchanging every given specific reference e.g. "drinker", "alcohol" etc. through an equivalent, e.g. "stoic", "supernaturalist", "ideas" etc. and it ended up quite amusing. In contrast, the orginal topic was written to an real obstacle for some people, so it had some aftertaste for myself. Additionally, I think their approach (and they also relate to people with other problems, there are also Anonymous groups corresponding to mental, drugs etc. issues) belongs to people with really hard problems. Nevertheless, at least a varierty of page one from chapter two sounds inspiring (the other pages sound quite repetetive):

    It would be quite interesting hearing a lecture from Elli on the contents discussed within the Gardens in Hellas and the behaving beween the participants there.

    With this final comment I end spamming in this thread. 8)

    (b) Isn't here a member from Hellas (Elli)? I've always thought she is participating to some extend in one of the local groups there. My research this evening reveals, that there is a virtual meeting every week which is launched by the Garden of Athens. The Garden of Thessaloniki seems to be currently inactive but on their website is a wide range of materials (ironically, the website looks technically much more modern than the Athens equivalent). Unfortunately it's hard to come to any conclusion on their concrete understanding of Epicurean philosophy.

    (c) I will try to make some change in the text I have linked and look forward to present first results during the next days.

    (a) I agree, we probably have to do refine the tetrapharmcos and cannot only copy concepts from the past. On the other hand, I believe the tetrapharmacos still to be a good fundament, but it needs additional explanations. For modern readers it might sound too inconcrete and it has a strong "healing" attitude (which I personally like while others may not). This might be also the advantage and disadvantage in comparison to the four principal statements formulated by you. They emphasize on presenting facts but include no further solutions.

    (b) Have you ever contacted the Hellenic Gardens or the Sydney Group for further materials or interviewed on their experiences?

    (c) I'm generally interested in philosophies/religions/movements, for this reason I read the "Big Book" of the Alcoholics Anonymous some years ago. The introductory words sound quite inspirative. By exchanging some words it could use as an inspiration for our own writing ;) - though with an immense emphasis on healing.

    Due to my Lucretius Today podcast listening marathon (next episode is the opening session of book two) I' ve come to recognize, that for some reasons there is not necessarily a need for physical interaction. The conversations I've listened to sounded very natural and I suggest they had been very satisfiying for the participants. The only thing probably missing might be the atmosphere of sitting together in a restaurant, also enjoying some good drinks and food together. So there's the question, for what reasons there is a need of meeting locally. In my experience, this is exactly the point many people are questioning themselves. Do I just want to expand my knowledge about philosophy? Or do I want to find new friends/contacts? Do I want do deepen my connection between philosophical ideas and the real life? I agree that we need a concrete outline of how to approach to this issue and how to define a possible common destiny a group could agree to work for.

    I want to get back to developing a completely free and open set of core texts that will always be easily findable and downloadable.

    Reminds me of the mentioning of "maps" by DeWitt, progressing from the little epitome to the big epitome. Is it this that comes to your mind or rather a general digital library project without organized suggestions for reading?

    So my specific goal here is to at least make a start at an organizational document that can provide a structure for local teamwork, probably also basing it totally openly and public domain as with the github link above.

    Do you rather think of the approach how to start any kind of group generally or do you also refer to which could be the content and focus of such an group?

    I have been interested in the classification of desires by Epicurus from my very beginning in reading on Epicureanism. Mainly perhaps his distinction is presented very prominently in the Letter to Menoeceos and it also catches attraction due to Epicurus' various sayings concerning needs and desires. I think the question how to handle one's life is of great importance. It has meaning that Epicurus addresses this questions. Even Norman DeWitt mentions Epicurus' classification (St. Paul and Epicurus) as of being important and widely know in the ancient world (perhaps of the quotation in Cicero?).

    Personally, I refer to the classification of desires rather as a "focus on" distinction than an enumeration of "do's and don'ts". There is no simple list which leads to a simple living of happiness (I already know the critique on understanding Epicurus as a yogi master, sitting in the garden meditating on why there are holes in his piece of cheese ;) ). We just can approach more and more closer as we ask and train ourselves on this field practically.

    I would like to summarize my personal understanding:

    Necessary and natural are all those desires rooted in our natural condition. Epicurus further distinguishes between simply "being", "health" and "happiness". This means we have to secure the very conditions of our "being" and to take care for our "health". I would suggest, searching for "happiness" could mean being active in philosphing, because this frees from fear and is a precondition of recognizing that everything you have to focus on is closely to your hands and easy to achieve.

    Just natural but not necessary are those things, which are related to natural stimuli but do only increase the quality of an natural impulse. I do not agree with Hegel who also commented on this, saying in one sentence that Epicurus means sexual desire. In its beginning, I would suggest sexuality is rather a stimulus you also have to face necessarily. What Epicurus could really mean is how to decide and to apply in respect of the proportionality of a topic. It is like in law, you cannot say this is right and this is wrong. It always depends on.

    Not natural is anything else. I think this topic addresses us to invest some thinking about, because what should not be necessary or derived from a necessity in our lives? This could be everything that is not rooted in nature and sensual feeling, but in abstract ideas. Sometimes these may be corruptions of natural stimuli, e.g. searching for fame, power and superiority. Usually, you don't need them if you have everything else achieved in the natural and necessary category rightfully.

    Epicurus presents a theory grounded in our sensation and perception in respect of the physical nature of things. Nevertheless, this theory is also open to some kind of reasoned variative appliability, as I would understood the category of natural but not necessary desires. It is capable of opposing other ideas alike, e.g. the Stoic idea of abstract controlling, which lacks a real grounding.

    While writing on another commentary, I tried to check for online boards focused on Stoicism. 10 years before they seemded to be much more elaborated as a community than the lone standing Epicureans. I think the degree of organisation and connecting has improved a lot since then and the content production has risen dramatically in Epicureanism. The website "NeoStoa" respectively "the stoic registry" is declining (though offering online courses with tuition). Nevertheless, people on facebook are still more adorned to Stoicism than to Epicurean philosophy. At first glance, they enjoy intensive discussions there.

    Do you have any idea, why the Stoics are still more popular than the Epicurean system of thought? My personal thesis is, that one point may be an easier applicability of Stoicism in the way of being a more abstract philosophy. You don't need to learn about the world as a whole and make your conclusions like in Epicureanism. There are lone standing "techniques", mutually intelligible with other popularized systems of thought like Zen Buddhism etc.

    I don't think there is necessarily a need for more audience - sometimes it may feel even more exclusive 8)

    What are your hypothesises and ideas? Did they start earlier spreading the internet or fit better in already existing structures? What are your observations?

    It would be quite interesting how Stoics who describe themselves as not neo-stoic but stoic reply to your collection ;)

    I read a book on Stoic philosophy 10 years ago. Your list sounds predominantly unpleasurable, but the author who really advocated for Stoicism mentioned all points of your list except for number 4. Additionally, he also gave detailed instructions how to apply them by introducing daily routines and practices.

    I think personally, that such a list, refering to Epicurean philosophy, could be helpful. There's already the tetrapharmacos, but it lacks somekind of practical centration when it comes to ask for techniques. This might also be because Stoicism is more the like an abstract and theoretical approach to the world. On the contrary, Epicurean thought as based on the tripod is of holistic intrinication. Every action is derived from this system. On the other hand, the "ideas" of Stoic philosophy could also fit in a trainee program for zen buddhists. They are easier to apply in the way you don't need to introduce a completely new view of the world necessarily (figuratively, the Stoicism App works still when your storage on the phone is running out ;) ).

    the only reason that one might choose not to pursue certain pleasures is that in the context of that person the pursuit would bring more pain than pleasure. This is the opposite of the "minimalism for the sake of minimalism" approach or any approach that embraces asceticism as the true end, rather than pleasure.

    I fully agree with your statement. I personally consider the necessary/unnecessary/natural/unnatural model as an approach of Epicurus to elaborate how such an differentiation could work and in my experience it works out very well. I also recognize that there might be a difference in how important some pieces of the Epicurean puzzle are for some persons - or not. The corner pieces are definitely sensations, feeling, anticipations and nothing else.

    Basically the main reason this forum was founded and has sustained itself to date is in opposition to that view and to provide a place for those who think differently to compare notes and arguments against that viewpoint.

    Hence you wil be happy to hear that this is a main reason for myself for participating (mostly reading) on this forum. The consistant approach of Prof. DeWitt seems to catch und unite the central points of Epicurean philosophy, although I've missed so far reading him in his original words. Additionally, in the last years my interests have tended rather to an understanding of the universe as a whole as presented e.g. by Lucretius.