Scott Level 03
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  • from Arizona
  • Member since Dec 3rd 2021
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Posts by Scott

    I don't know about the percentages, but I think you bring up an important point, Kalosyni. I personally plan to put a good deal of effort into understanding EP, and I've only begun. I can already see how incredibly much value there is in this philosophy, but with my brief introduction so far, it is obvious there is a LOT to figure out and understand. And there are those who will put in the time, and who have the ability to digest and work with this complex material. But those are few.

    I doubt this philosophy was so wildly successful for 7 centuries without being able to be presented in simpler form, easy to understand and remember (of course from there, individuals could continue to learn more as they were motivated, but most folks then and now would only dive in if initial content made sense and drew one in to learn more).

    If only we had more of the original content! Some of this must surely have existed. Since we don't have that (and even any we might have already or will yet find would have been prepared for presentation to ancient cultures, not to people in our modern world), I agree it would seem worthwhile today to develop basic materials that make this philosophy engaging and accessible to as wide an audience as reasonably possible.

    (How are our finances? Do we have enough to engage a top tier marketing/promotions firm to develop and deploy the content? :/ :D )

    I can accept the basic argument that the hypothetically "perfect" can want (i.e. lack) nothing.

    Does everyone accept this? I'm not convinced of it yet. One could for instance argue that something hypothetically perfect must have NO limits, NO limitations. Having a limit means lacking the capacity to be infinite. The argument that the "best" means there is nothing beyond could therefore be "incorrect". A Christian might say that God is infinite. That He has no limits or limitations. He does not lack anything precisely because he is unlimited

    If you are feeling as much pleasure as possible with no hint of pain, there's no way that could be increased.

    I don't understand: using the expression "as much pleasure as possible" sounds like begging the question, but even if allowed, it seems to me one could have for example just completed a great meal and feel pleasantly full and have no bodily or mental pains, and be comfortable in a Lazy Boy chair and yada yada, IOW be just as content and full of pleasure as one could be - yet - if a favorite song comes on, or one's best friend whom was away for several months surprises and walks in, or any myriad of other pleasant things would suddenly occur, one's pleasure would increase, no? If those things happened to me, I feel certain I would experience an increase of pleasure. What am I missing here?

    Yesterday I was a bit frustrated by this topic/thread but I wasn't clear exactly why, though. Today I am happily relieved to see the new posts from Joshua, Cassius and Don.

    In my head, I'm summarizing a few points/takeaways (about which I welcome comment):

    1. Socrates (and Stoics and many other thinkers/philosophers - to varying degrees in fact, ALL of us) become entangled in language and logic, often using it sort of like math, and come up with rather impossible ideas and relationships (e.g. "the ultimate" "infinite" "perfection" "god"). These concepts have a disconnect with the "real" world we live in.
    2. As a practical matter, Epicurus probably needed to give pleasure a "limit" in order to stave off Socratic type attacks. But at the end of the day, giving pleasure a limit probably creates as much trouble as saying it doesn't have one.
    3. To me the claim "The ability to increase is proof that a thing is imperfect" seems like a classic example of an essentially meaningless statement. And you could easily argue forever with someone who claimed that was true, saying the exact opposite statement is true.

    :!:FYI to all - I had my name "wrong" in this forum. I had the first part of my email address being my moniker when I signed up. Cassius helped me get that fixed. Scott is my actual name.

    Completely agree, Cassius. I've led various groups and I'm aware of the issues you bring up. An appropriate amount and type of structure and content is important to keep the group from just wandering off in all different directions chasing butterflies. It is to everyone's benefit to avoid that

    ...not that there isn't ever a time to chase butterflies :)

    As recently mentioned, I am what I would call an "Epinoob" - I don't know much yet! I'm just reading and listening. But in that vein, I'd be interested in a recurring meeting for newer peeps. I have a small amount of hesitation like Don expressed, with having another "meeting" to attend. Life is busy and many of us have other commitments. OTOH, I am won over by Cassius's point that if the goal of this Epicurean Garden is to be taken seriously, meeting frequently is the really the only way to go, and posting in Facebook is NOT ideal. IMO the best tool for a remote group to learn and share - and even further, to develop relationships - is through web meetings, with video strongly encouraged, if not required. Without doing the best we can to get to know each other as people, the exercise remains academic. Not what Epicurus was talking about, unless I completely misunderstand.

    Cassius, I totally agree on bringing up Buddhism and other philosophy in here only when and as needed in order to clarify ideas or questions about Epicureanism. I'm certainly not planning on dragging in all my personal baggage just so everyone can wade through it. My plan in fact will be to not say much at all in here at first, but instead focus on digesting the content in this site and significant items referenced from this site, giving reasonable diligence to learning what I can from that existing material before firing off questions or thoughts! I want to avoid unhelpful duplication of concepts already clarified in the discussions and provided documents. This site has a clear focus and I like that. Now I must get busy reading! :)

    Thank you, Cassius, and Charles! I'm looking forward to learning more from the materials listed above, and from the other members. I am a newcomer to Epicureanism. Call me an Epinoob - cause I've only read Dewitt's "Epicurus and His Philosophy", the Wikipedia article on Epicurus, and a few related tidbits. BUT... I'm verrrrry interested! Short story on me is I have a long relationship with Asian religion, and Buddhism specifically I have studied and practiced for over 40 years. I started with Zen in the late 70s. During the 80s I took 2 years of undergrad study in Philosophy. I discovered Tibetan Buddhism around 15 years ago and dove into that with zeal. Along came Stephen Bachelor and Secular Buddhism just a few years back which helped me with my ever increasing dissatisfaction with the modern reworkings of all the Buddhist mystical magical stuff like karma and rebirth, etc. I heard a Batchelor talk about some of the similarities between Hellenistic philosophy and early Buddhism and I started reading (rereading some) Stoics and other Greek philosophers. Somehow I managed to not gloss over Epicurus this time, as I had done in the past. In short order I was fascinated with him. And now... here I am. :)