Mathitis Kipouros Level 03
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Posts by Mathitis Kipouros

    Updating this old thread.

    I happen to have just read the passage where Lucretius explains about the soul and it being composed of both the spirit anima and the mind animus.

    Spirit, encompassing sensation, as feedback from the world, obtained (having its seat) through the whole body and Mind, encompassing reason and emotion, being felt (the seat, again) in the chest.

    I don't know and can't remember whether he (Lucretius) stated that the soul is the thing that inextricably correlates with animals being alive, that is interacting, and reasoning and feeling about this interaction, with the world (as opposed to plants that interact by means of sensation only, or rocks that don't do either), but that's the way I understand it, at this point in my journey anyway.

    Putting it less poetically, it seems to me that the soul is, among other things, but possibly primarily, our nervous system.

    Would love to read other's take on this.


    Admin Edit - This thread refers to the article here:

    Epicurus: Father of the Enlightenment - Free Life
    Epicurus: Father of the Enlightenment Sean Gabb (This is the text of a lecture given on the 6th September 2007 to the 6/20 Club in London) Abstract Epicurus…

    The comments originally started here. What follows are comments started by Camotero)


    I just read this article and I think is very comprehensive. I wonder if more people in the forums have read it and what their opinion is. As to the points you make Cassius I think it's clear that Epicurus was a scientist albeit without the resemblance to the modern methodology, and perhaps also without the education that would let him see math as a tool rather than as a means to manipulate people (like he thought of rhetoric, poetry too, no?), so it wouldn't surprise me if there's a quote somewhere stating "he had derided math", but it wouldn't worry me either, as it would be related more the the way the tool was being used by its contemporaries, than to the tool itself.

    From this, I think there's an analogy to be made about his concern for politics. I agree with you that such an active individual wouldn't shy away from action with the potential to shape their world/experience/pleasure (he even advocated against passiveness), but perhaps what he rejected was the falling in the trap of the useless politics game, which I can only assume was less effective than it is today.

    I debated whether to weigh in here, but, in the end, I'll err on the side of friendly, respectful, frank speech.

    Thanks. I'm happy and grateful you did. I loved your suggestion on how to approach this matter. Really helpful.

    Set sail in your own little boat, free of indoctrination!

    This I'm feeling hopeful about. Coming back to port is the issue. I guess that's why Epicurus suggested to follow the rites. Less painful at times, for sure. The problem is doing this without at the same time inadvertently teaching someone to live by double standards. A bit of a hard concept to wrap you're head around at a young age, where you naturally tend towards simple, back and white, blanket rules.

    However, thanks to the very insightful comments of all of you I have decided to remove the link to the ten commandments, but rather, our own list of rules to live by; that way we could review them, an update them, analyze whether they work or not and why, etc.

    Do we have around somewhere in the forums or in the web a simpler, children's-level-adapted, list of Epicurean teachings?

    Thanks for the Carlin video Cassius - so funny.

    Being concerned by their rules, their traditions, their playing field is not required.

    I agree. But we have to acknowledge that in some cases we're navigating "their" waters, most often than not. So I would argue in favor of trying to find common grounds for some of the most important/recurrent rites/teachings/practices. Many times there will be no common ground, like in the case of these commandments, but that's a great realization.

    You've picked a particular context and within that context we can work toward something that's helpful, but at the same time we have to realize that out of its context it could actually be harmful.

    I appreciate this. I agree. I think in the particular case of the commandments is clear now that they aren't as useful and they indeed can be harmful.

    Like always, great stuff comes to those who ask something in this forum 😁 thanks for your responses 🙏🏻

    I didn't know that Kohlberg scale Kalosyni thanks. I agree and it is sort of the point that this exercise is to arrive at a basic level moral code, and also with the constraint of being framed around the 10 commandments not for lack of better options of summarizing the philosophy of Epicurus, but because it's the actual problem I'm looking to tackle.

    Thanks for the video Joshua - I hadn't seen it and I liked it, despite of Hitchens.

    In the list I made, I feel like I'm covering all the 10 commandments (whether they ended up in the final list or not), but, are there any doctrines of Epicurus you'd think I'm missing and that would be worth including explicitly as an entry in this basic level code; which of the entries I arrived to would you remove and why?

    By the way, not that this is my intention with this exercise, but this basic level/stage introduction to Epicurean Philosophy Ethics is very needed in my opinion. As brief as they are, and as great as they are at summarizing the philosophy: the tetrapharmakos, the 40 doctrines and the other such condensed EP material is not at all digestible without much more study and guidance. Let alone if one has some unlearning to do.

    Like I said before: using elements already part of a people's culture (including religion), can be very effective, if your concern is, like mine in this case, to help certain ones learn this useful stuff as early as possible, avoiding learning the useless stuff, and being able to navigate unavoidable social situations where talking in terms of EP would be not feasible, impractical, undesirable. Since the time of Epicurus we know some people, even able to, won't see if they don't want to.


    Edit: Removed references to Kohlberg's scale as I don't think they truly applied.

    Well, the motivation behind this is teaching a kid (who's not going to be raised in a religious context, but lives in a religious immediate-society, and that is expected to hear about the commandments sooner or later), that there is something called the commandments, but that they are not as relevant now as they were before, thus, instead of learning those, learn these equivalents. Like I said before, bridging a gap.

    Trying to bridge a gap between EP and modern organized religion. It seems that the 10 commandments or some sort of simple list of rules to follow with the aim of achieving well-being is something ubiquitous in the major religions. I see the convience to know them, as they can serve as guidelines to teach from a young age, in a very simple manner, what things are most likely to produce painful results if you do them, but some of them clearly are disaligned with Epicurean teachings, and could be more harmful than not; additionally, one way to make Epicurean Philosophy more known and accepted is to meet people half way. So I wished for a list that was in line with Epicurean teachings, brdiges said gap, allows for a quick address whenever the traditional commandments arise, and keeps the characteristic of being simple enough to aid younger ones towards the objective of living a pleasurable life in society, without getting lost niether in the woods of superstition nor in the whole extent of EP, that can be learnt in time. I found two versions of the traditional ten commandments in wikipedia that I used as basis for a third one, as a draft of a list that could achieve these objectives. Please share what you think and whatever improvements can be made to it:

    First CommandmentDo not associate others with GodDo not put other gods before me1. Be self-sufficient.1
    Second CommandmentHonour your parentsHonour thy father and thy mother2. Honour your parents.5, 6, 17, 27, 39, 40.
    Third CommandmentDo not kill your children for fear of povertyDo not murder3. Don't kill.5, 14, 16, 17, 21, 25, 27, 28, 31-39.
    Fourth CommandmentDo not come near indecencies, openly or secretly.Do not covet thy neighbour's wife, Do not commit adultery4. Fulfill the natural and necessary desires of life, that are within the natural limit of pleasure.
    5. Indulge in natural and unnecessary desires when they don't produce painful consequences.
    6. Avoid unnatural and unnecessary desires.
    3, 5, 7-10, 17, 18, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30, 39.
    Fifth CommandmentDo not take a life except justlyDo not murderRepeated, see the third. Repeated, see the third.
    Sixth CommandmentDo not come near the property of the orphan except to enhance itDo not covet his slaves, or his animals, or anything of thy neighbour7. Respect the things of others. 5, 7, 15-17, 25-27, 31, 32, 35, 36.
    Seventh CommandmentGive full measure and weigh with justiceDoesn't exist, instead there is Remember the sabbath day8. Treat others as you'd want to be treated yourself.5, 16-17, 21-25, 27, 28, 31-38.
    Eighth CommandmentWhenever you testify, maintain justice even regarding a close relativeDo not bear false witness against thy neighbourRepeated, see 8 above.Repeated, see the seventh.
    Ninth CommandmentFulfil your covenant with GodDo not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain9. Cultivate real friendship. 14, 21, 27, 28, 39, 40.
    Tenth CommandmentFollow God's path and not any otherDo not make unto thee any graven image or idols neither kneel before them nor worship them10. Learn to live by your senses, feelings and anticipations. 1, 2, 6, 10-13, 16, 19, 22-25, 39.

    it's a good opportunity to clarify the definitions and ramifications of the terms knowledge and belief.

    Also, it's kind of contradictory to have a "non-belief creed" just from the definition of the word creed itself:

    From Middle English crede, from Old English crēda, crēdo, from Latin crēdō (I believe)

    I think "creed" should stay there though, what I don't think is appropriate is the "non-belief" part. Perhaps just calling it "Epicurean creed" and instead of starting with "I don't believe in anything", starting with "I believe in what I believe because...".

    The "object of perception" are the atoms impacting the eyes, and thus are not the object itself. Thus, they are different than the object itself, and are relayed to our minds as they are, so the vision is relaying to the mind what it perceives, which is indeed different from the actual object far away.

    It seems to me it says that the actual object changes; or the "object of perception" is not the object itself?

    Epicurus Reader

    TEXT 68: Sextus M 7.203-16 (247 Usener)

    But rather [I would say] that [the vision] tells the

    truth, since when the object of perception appears to it [as] small and

    of such a shape it is genuinely small and of such a shape (for the edges of

    the images are broken off by the movement through the air), and when it

    again appears big and of a different shape, again it is in a similar manner

    big and has that different shape-

    the object being, however, now not the

    same in the two cases. For it remains for distorted opinion to think that

    the same object of presentation was observed from close up and from a


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    An update on the engineer who "thinks" the AI Lamda has feelings.

    It seems he could just be using that argument as means to promote another agenda.

    Hey Matteng

    Just my two cents with what I wish I had learned earlier in my journey into Epicurean Philosophy, in which I'm still a beginner:

    1.- There is a hedonic calculus, hedonistic calculus, hedonistic calculation, whatever you want to call it, that you can see as actually excercising your free will and choosing pleasures now instead of later, or pains now for pleasure later; you'll be doing this, consiously or unconsciously once you recognize that pleasure is the end/goal of our beings; this last sentence is key, and was the hardest part for me to see, as I put many filters from other philosophies before it, before realizing how simple it is; I find Epicirus philosophy is quite simple, regardless of how complicated it may seem, or may be made to seem. Incidentally, this hedonistic calculus, in my interpertation, is the swerve in action. The little tiny place where we at every moment can excercise free will, in a universe that is otherwise highly deterministic (I'm not say everything is deteremined, but Epicurus himself recognized that the atoms behave "mechanically", but for the little tiny swerve).

    2. For the nature of the soul, and understanding how everything comes down to the body as it's been said before in this thread, and to arm yourself a bit better against superstition and mirages usually proposed by religious organizations, look for Thomas Cooper. There's this post about him: Thomas Cooper MD

    3. Understanding the natural limit of pleasure. This is for the sake of dispelling any concerns or stresses or pains you may encounter about having to EXPERIENCE THE MOST PLEASURABLE LIFE ALL THE TIME, and producing pain for yourself by creating tension against the moments where the deterministic part of our existence will put us in painful positions that we will have to endure regardless; this mis understanding can put us in a track farther away from pleasure, because we would not be actually seeking pleasure, but an ideal thus non-existing accumulation of pleasure. The natural limit of pleasure is the elmination of pain, and this is important because of the following (that I can see at least but, again, I'm a beginner):

    A.When in doubt, focus on eliminating pains, this IS OK, and it's the first type of pleasure. When you eliminate pain, you ARE EXPERIENCING PLEASURE. For most of us, our senses have been attuned to not even sense this, because of how good things are that we're able to spend time philosophizing in the internet. But this is the first pleasure available, and we can use reason to realize it. As I understand it, this is the katastematic pleasure of Epicurus, the one that "only those who are willing will exerience", and the one that offended Cicero as he didn't think there were things humbler people could learn that he couldn't, but then again, he didn't seem to want to.

    B. After eliminating pain, all pleasures beyond this limit, are embellishments. Embellishment pleasures are great! Try to experience as most as you can (carefully calculating not to produce more pain for you down the line). Let these guide your life if you want even, but keep in mind the following point.

    C. The limit of pleasure has been met. All of these embellishments don't add up more pleasure to your life. You won't experience them after you're dead, and you certainly won't take any memories of them to an afterlife. The maximum natural quanitity of pleasure has been obtained when you eliminated all the pain, so if you want to stay at that, IT'S OK! If you want to go for more embellishments, IT'S OK! Just be weary of the slippery slope of wanting more of something that won't add more pleasure and may become a source of much pain.

    I post this with modesty.

    I came to this thread some days ago and found out that the link above is broken, but I found this other one looking for info about Thomas Cooper and I loved his reasoning about the soul, for one; haven't been able to look into it more.

    A View of the Metaphysical and Physiological Arguments In Favor of Materialism

    Very interesting talk, unfortunately (I guess) in Spanish:

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    If you don't understand look the speaker up, I'm sure there must be something in English, as it seems this is her main topic of research and also that she's keen on making her research very digestible.

    Hope you enjoy.

    Hey beasain I failed to see the connection to technology, but would love to, can you please elaborate?

    Root304 i feel very much identified with your journey, being a dad myself, and for a period of time similar to what you've said; also, was very involved in Christianity, being lightly brought up in it by family, in Catholicism actually, and having gone to school pre university to only Catholic schools.

    I had been on the fence for a while but Epicurean Philosophy has helped me to completely ditch it, for myself, but I do struggle with the thoughts of my children missing some of the good things that were thrown away "like the child with the bathwater", but time and again I fail to be able to pin point what these are.

    I do find that my older child is benefitting from me trying to help him understand the world rather than thinking magically, but also I worry it will make him an odd child in a very religious society like the one my family lives in. He's definitely not going to catholic school, and I found a school that is more in line with humanism values, so there's hope there.

    I have hopes of someday being able to reconcile some Christian stuff with epicureanism, having been experienced in the former and trying to learn as much ad I can from the latter, in a wat I could help others like us navigate more easily out of that unpleasantness of they are feeling it. I sort of think some of the teachings of Jesus have been stolen and changed to fit the magical and idealist thinking of religion, but that there may be teachings of his in line with Epicurean Philosophy.

    Anyway, wanted to chime in to let you know I feel you, and would love to know more about your journey too. :)

    It could come to a point where they (the scientists behind the robots) are going to be able to make one that could fool all your senses, making you think they (the robots) could be human. But it's OK 'cause we know how to process that.

    There are gonna be fools arguing for the rights of the machines, but it's OK, 'cause we know how to process that too.

    This brings me joy, makes me feel grateful. Reminds me of that hard to digest passage, and possibly often misunderstood, of DRN where Lucretius writes about the joy of seeing others navigating dire straits AND not finding yourself amongst them.

    I was browsing through reddit and came upon this thread:

    It links to a blocked Washington Post article, but someone posted another one in the comments which took me to the original post of the "scientist" who "believed his computer became sentient", which is this one:

    What is LaMDA and What Does it Want?
    Today a story came out in the Washington Post written by Nitasha Tiku. It’s a good article for what it is but in my opinion it was focused…

    I just want to say, Epicurean Philosophy would be so beneficial to these people. So much potential unpleasantness is there for people who go down that rabbit hole without a good philosophy to help them navigate it.

    First, they are equating a vert sophisticated algorithmic response to reasoning; a matter of false opinions they're not even bothering to explore, just accepting.

    Second, they are reducing humans to only thinking/reasoning beings, totally dismissing the feelings, or confusing them for a rational (???) process that could happen without a body or senses, by comparing this software to humans, or attaching to it "humanity".

    They are saying the software feels stuff 🤦🏻‍♂️ because an algorithm, trained yo say that, is saying that.

    They're even talking about it having a soul, just because it can "reason properly", as if a soul could be downloaded from ether when one starts to think, opening so many dangerous (painful) implications, and making the statement that the soul is material and part of the body, coterminous with it, so important.

    Sadly don't have much time to put my thoughts more in order to make a better post, but would love to read what others have to think about this "paradox".

    I would say Cassius a list that has songs that pass a criteria of having in its lyrics an explicit or implicit (but clearly identifiable) message that is in alignment with Epicurean Philosophy. Just the debate about which song does or does not could be very clarifying. Something like that. I'm sure Most of Nate's will. It'll have to be very varied style-wise, but it'll be enjoyable to listen because you'd be expecting to catch the message, if the style is not in line with what you enjoy. I've had Nates in the background today while working trying to do just that 🤓

    As an example: "Do the evolution" from Pearl Jam is a favorite of mine that I hadn't thought of as Epicurean and would love to have someone else's take on why it is. I bet is regarding "herd behavior" and religion.

    Also there are a few there that seem to be there aligning Epicureanism with common misconceptions of it, or just because they include some catchword like "hooked on a feeling"; not saying they shouldn't be there, just would love to hear why.

    I was gonna say Nate that it would be awesome to have the songs listed and the reason why they made the cut, as some of them weren't as obvious to me.

    Epicurean Philosophy is not easy to digest, so communicating some of its values thru music is a great idea, while making sure it's not being cartooned down.

    Not trying to impose anything onto your private list, just some thoughts.

    As it happens I had been looking for an Epicurean list in spotify before and I was disappointed. Also, as an Epicurean, I'd love know the criteria of acceptance of any of these lists.