melkor Level 01
  • Member since Mar 23rd 2020
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Posts by melkor

    I may not have been clear before when I stated that we should not discuss politics openly, I meant specifically on this website we shouldn't discuss much of it because this is more of an educational website of a community learning about it and discussing politics could be actively determinal to that goal. But I am aware that Epicureans may be politically aware and not apolitical, rather, they typically advise against pursuing a career in politics. I wasn't trying to say that you were saying we should avoid being openly political in any sense.

    I appreciate the responses, it's made my perspective more clear. I am political, and they are in part guided by my pursuit of pleasure, but I don't believe Epicurus would necessarily agree or follow my own personal views, more likely he would tell me to continue to pursue pleasure and reject ridiculous superstitions.

    Thanks for the reference material. I understand more so that the largest issue is trying to use Epicurus as a justification for modern political opinions, but we are allowed to be political in our own way but not usually discuss it or be very open about it. I am personally very staunchly political and have been for a number of years and have only grown more strongly so in recent events and appreciate discussing politics with people but for the sake of this forum I will avoid it as to not bring down this site. So I will not bring specific politics here.

    My highest ideal in life is still pleasured, and I want to pursue pleasure in life and believe it is the end of life. My political views reflect that, but I don't necessarily need to use Epicureanism for advocating it, I suppose. However, an Epicurean could still be a libertarian or a liberal or a conservative or a Marxist or anything else of that nature?

    Thanks for the clarification. I think then the only issue with me is that I would consider myself a follower of certain political ideologies that are grounded in my wanting for more humans to achieve pleasure. What is the classical Epicurean stance on political positions? Is it simply left to the individual, and we are not to discuss or change society? I do not believe in the "higher and lower" pleasures idea, but I do welcome legislation that seems to favor more pleasure and reject those that advocate pain of sort to humans or animals.

    If you don't mind me asking, what is the ultimate difference between a classical Epicurean and a Neo-Epicurean? I almost sometimes feared that I might have made some Neo-Epicurean remarks but then again I am not entirely sure. I know that I try to stay as close to what Epicurus said as much as possible but I can't accept every single thing since we've made advancements in modern physics and cosmology that put his original cosmological models into question (for example, whether the universe is infinitely old or whether something equivalent to "The Swerve" happened).

    Thank you for the link! I had never before linked the principles of Epicureanism to Tolkien's works before, mainly because I knew he was so devout in Catholicism, not to mention (apparently) explicitly rejecting materialism for idealism and his works reflected that.

    Thank you! Yes sometimes I write very fast and I struggle to properly complete the sentence in my mind before it is written through my fingers and onto the screen. To (hopefully) clarify, I believe that the senses are reliable sources of information, and when they appear wrong it is because we are misinterpreting them through reason. Therefor, we must learn to interpret the senses correctly if we are to distinguish between what is real and what is an illusion. It is reasoning that allows us also to think more precisely about existence and philosophy, and also what allows us to develop mathematics and logic - tools for understanding reality. But the ultimate purpose for reason and tools of reason like mathematics is to live a pleasurable life. If that makes sense!

    This is a very interesting project - I feel like I could add on more and more for a while but here are the more broad overviews of my personal Epicurean philosophy

    1. The God(s) do not exist but if they did, they do not interfere with human affairs and thus we don't have to worry about them at all. I do not personally believe that humans were created by any supernatural forces or designers, we are in fact products of nature, experiments over billions of years of development and evolutions as Lucretius correctly pointed out. We are fundamentally made up of matter, and matter fills the universe in the void. The entire universe from how I see it is essentially made up of matter and energy (two sides of the same coin according to Relativity) and the laws of physics dictate the movement and arrangements of matter. It may create stars, planets, asteroids, and much more, including human beings. We are simply a configuration of matter as dictated by the laws of physics and chemistry. Whether the universe or matter has a beginning is still a mystery, but we know the universe evolves from different states, as the Big Bang Theory predicts, the universe was at one point very condensed and hot but has become wide and cold.

    On a more atomic level, we see that in quantum mechanics the movements of some subatomic particles appear to move and behave indeterministically, and there are several interpretations of quantum mechanics that result in an indeterministic universe and it is currently not known how this affects the nature of free will. I choose to believe in free will personally but I will leave the physicists to their work.

    2. There is no life after death. I do not believe in souls because there is no evidence or reason to believe in it. If something were to exist that is impenetrable to decomposition in the human body, it would be unable to sense or reason, since the nerve endings left behind in the body responsible for sensation are decomposing away, as well as the brain - which is responsible for reasoning, and therefor even if souls did exist and go someplace else, it would never be able to feel, nor reason, therefor there is not life after death we can experience. It is the same experience as before our birth, and I hear not the cries of pain from the before born, therefor, there is no pain before or after existence.

    3. The senses are a reliable way of telling truth, and indeed many times the mind misinterprets them to have wrong conclusions. The trick is to train the mind using tools like mathematics and logic to have correct conclusions about existence and specifically how to life a pleasurable life. This is what makes science reliable, as well as mathematics.

    4. The purpose of existence is to achieve pleasure. Life on Earth exists to achieve positive stimuli or get rid of negative stimuli both in a sensual way and psychological. Non-human animals even try to achieve as pleasurable an existence as they can. This is because pleasure correlates with survival instincts of our evolutionary past - humans needed relationships and connections to survive, and thus it is healthy to make friends, as well as eat food, drink water, and even sexual intercourse is pleasurable because of survival of our genes. I mean, for species that did not find sex to be pleasurable, they likely died out due to not reproducing, hence most species enjoy having sex because it's pleasurable. Therefor, there is nothing wrong with achieving pleasure based on natural and necessary needs, and it is ultimately up to the individual to determine what is pleasurable to them and to rationally plan on how to pursue that pleasure, even if it involves a little pain along the way.

    5. I choose to believe that pleasure is ethically good and pain is ethically bad. However, I am not a moral objectivist in the strictest sense. I do not believe there is a basis for objective morality and believe that our morals are more feelings driven than anything else, since we tend to associate with ideas and beliefs that make us feel good to support or fight against, and form logic and reason as an afterthought to justify it. The 20th century philosophers have laid waste to moral objectivism, in part because I do believe that nature is indifferent to our moral systems, it simply wants to ensure its own survival (and since we are a part of nature, we want to survive), but this gives us as humans with the ability to reason to choose our own path to pursue what is pleasurable to us.

    So to summarize the response, essentially an Epicurean ought not plug oneself into this machine that promises pleasure, in part because our understanding of pleasure extends beyond the physical and sensual, into mental and emotional pleasure, as well as the fact that we find pleasure from nature, and an experience machine would deny us this, and therefor not bring us to pleasure as we would want. The experience machine therefor does not refute hedonism because hedonism indicates that pleasure is the ultimate end of existence, so rejecting the experience machine would also be on a matter of seeking pleasure for oneself outside such a machine. Even if we value wisdom, it's really because it leads us to pleasure. Not because wisdom is intrinsically valuable or virtuous.

    Hello everyone! I apologize for the delay in response. Yes Joshua and Nate my name is in reference to Melkor from The Silmarillion :) I am a very big fan of Tolkien and his works and have made the effort to learn Quenya.