Root304 Level 03
  • Member since May 22nd 2022
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Posts by Root304

    Thank you all for your supportive responses! It means an enormous amount to me. The forum regulars and the regulars on Lucretius Today are like rock stars to me. :) ;)

    I would be interested to hear more about what you think of your group's interests. If they are into "lifestyle improvement" then definitely Living for Pleasure. If they are into technicals of philosophy and the decline and fall of western civilization, then that is another approach where we can make other recommendations.

    From what they have expressed and from what I intuit, most folks are more interested in discussing practicable things like how to live a more pleasurable life, some are interested in studying hedonistic thought more generally and others are just quite new to philosophy but whom I have gotten interested in Epicurus. I don't think I'm going to have to contend with a pronounced Stoic influence with this group. These are more culturally Left folks. I think my goal is to balance getting into the weeds on philosophy and Epicurean history, with philosophizing about practices to live a more pleasurable life. In terms of studying philosophy, I want to start with studying Epicurus as in-depth as we need to go, and then if the group lasts beyond that, move into Cyrenaic, Utilitarian and other sensual philosophies and authors. Establishing that base Epicurean lens would be appropriate as I want to make the very best case for "hedonistic" and "sensual" philosophy first.

    Mulling over these replies today, I think I'm pretty adamant about keeping everything free at least in the beginning. So with this access to DeWitt, I think I'm going to start out with some selections from "Epicurus and his Philosophy" that would give a good historical and philosophical context. I won't "assign" the entire book chapter by chapter right out of the gate unless people are really into it. I know when I read the first chapter or two, naïve as it is, I had to just stop for awhile and ponder what this meant for my entire view of history. It really got me excited about Epicurus.

    Then, as Kalosyni suggests, perhaps we could move into reading some Epicurus, and some other ancient source material that may be of interest to Epicurean "practices" to start the discussion on what some folks came for. I realize that studying and contemplating the philosophy is the major way one practices Epicureanism, and I think people would come to appreciate that idea once they have a bit of a longer look at it. Yet there are also ways we can talk about branching out from that as well.

    Going over some of the Principal Doctrines with my partner who doesn't have a philosophical background, I felt confident enough to provide some decent contextual clues and cues drawn from the many hours of listening to Lucretius Today that I could help her draw more from the rather dense text, pointing to the various philosophical moves Epicurus was making. Along the way, I could point to the DeWitt text for further reading, as well as, Lucretius Today podcasts for listening. As the group assembles a direction of inquiry, we could chart a course on where to go next in terms of texts we read together, whether that's Dr. Austin's book if we need more of a refresher, or Dr. Rucker's book as Don shared or something like it to keep things in the realm of practices, or deeper down the Epicurean rabbit hole with Lucretius. I've only read parts of Lucretius so I personally would like to get to that sooner rather than later. :)

    Let me know what you think of this path if you like, and thanks again for the replies!

    This feels like a mix of "Activism" and "Epicurean Practice", but it seems right to put this here in Activism.

    I decided I wanted to set aside time with some interested folks I know to read Epicurean texts and engage in discussion. Most if not all of the folks interested consider themselves Epicureans, are sympathetic to Epicurus or are sympathetic to Naturalistic worldviews. Some are already familiar with each other so I'm expecting it will be pretty laid back. It's more of a private group with friends, family, mutual acquaintances; rather than an open, public group.

    Anyway, I had questions and concerns:

    - I'm wanting to make it pretty leisurely for people new to philosophical discussion (like myself). I'm also not trying to set myself up as an authority on Epicureanism or represent myself as some authority from . However, I will likely promote the philosophy more or less as it's presented here, as that is how I generally came to an understanding of it. So, I would like to encourage participants who seem very interested in the details of the philosophy to check out this forum. Would it be welcome and appropriate to send people from the group here, or make mention of this site? Also, would using any memes or graphics from this site be welcome?

    - I'd like to get to DeWitt's Epicurus and his Philosophy with a group one day. However, I think starting with a shorter text might be welcome with this group, and using free resources would be best so as not to exclude or dissuade anyone from participating. I'd also like to utilize audiobooks, video if quality content exists, or even suggested Lucretius Today podcasts if that would be welcome; as I know some would much prefer those ways of engaging. Where would be a good place to start, that might be shorter as well as having audio or video support? Should I just stick with the tried and true, with DeWitt?

    Any other thoughts, concerns, considerations or tips are welcome. Thanks!

    I find the Chat GPT to be a useful tool in filling in obvious holes in my own questioning, and even some rudimentary reasoning and giving me a pretty good story to start a search for information with. That story-crafting can save an enormous amount of time. I think of it as a next generation search engine. It also generally reaches the limits of what sorts of information is readily available through online sources, and when I actually get into deeper questions and minutiae, Chat GPT tends to dry up. It's also great to ask it for book titles for further research. Give it a few rounds of Socratic questioning and you will likely find some jumping off points into academic research. It's going to change academia in some big ways that could actually be positive in a more optimistic view. Sure there's a lot of disconcerting elements about it. We live under a regime of information tech "progress", creative destruction and disruption without a lot of social progress happening, so deep concern is a reasonable response.

    As for Epicurean studies, communities like this will always be a great place to really explore beyond the readily available knowledge, and actually get to philosophizing ourselves. Especially since the goal is to reconstruct an understanding of the original philosophy.

    It's a lovely piece and I see a lot of Epicurean ideas expressed in it as well!

    I think one thing that comes up for me in the closing of the piece is the hurriedness that he evokes, and the idea of scarcity of his pleasures, or "sweets". I feel like I slip into this state from time to time since studying Epicurus. It seems indicative of a yearning and eagerness to revelry and to generate those good times which make good memories that comes with putting Pleasure first. Still though, I try to calm the hurriedness and realize the true good in life isn't hard to obtain, and usually in that turn of thought, even my fear of death begins to fade. I don't need to wait until some distant (or near) End to be satisfied. Perhaps I can be satisfied now.

    Still though, I like that his use of '[life's] essence' is followed by a description of the people he'd like to be around. Perhaps I am thinking too ascetically in the last paragraph, and a chief practice of an Epicurean is adeptly arranging and engaging in one's inter-personal and social life.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Welcome! I can relate to your story of Epicurus accompanying big life changes. The philosophy has been an illuminating companion for me over the past 2 years or so of study.

    For me, an "Epicurean Friendship" is someone to which I share a said or unsaid mutalistic relationship with. By mutualistic I mean we will literally help one another survive, literally in the struggle of economy, or likewise in correcting our moral character to better survive and thrive in the social arena. It's largely about security. My nuclear family, therefore, is the arena of deepest Epicurean Friendship for me as that is were the deepest solidarity and the deepest work of my soul goes on. With other extended family or friends depending on whether we share that deep sense, or actuality, of solidarity. Not all my good Friendships are Epicurean Friendships, and not all my Epicurean Friendships are of notable quality of pleasure as some other forms of Friendships, and that's all ok.

    But perhaps I am mistaken in my understanding of Epicurus. putting such an emphasis on security and the lack of fear that comes from having that safety net.

    I am interested! If there are any threads on where the group discourse is on the topic of Epicurean therapeutics, I'd like to try to read and prepare more for it! I don't often get around to reading all the wonderful threads and posts here. I've been exploring Narrative Psychology in the context of therapeutic work with Gods, with the idea of using evocation to achieve a pious (in the Epicurean sense) view of the Gods. But I don't want to keep bringing in ideas from left field as I've been tending to do.

    I want to say the difference between Epicureanism as an intellectual pursuit and Epicureanism as potentially a faith or religion is when you get intentional with ritual technology; votive offerings, olfactory activation, meditation techniques, prayer-like recitation of the texts, communal singing. That sort of thing.

    My kids are still quite young, but I just try to live an Epicurean life, talk about it whenever they bring up what I believe like it were any other belief system and trust they will pick it up through our house culture. When they start asking more directly about religion and philosophy later, it will be more understood why we used phrases like, "how do we ask more pleasantly?" when teaching etiquette growing up, whose that bust is that on the bookcase and when we make decisions during house meeting why we planned ways to have "the most pleaurable time" as we go about living and working.

    As to the Holidays, I have them fairly often as they are fun to plan some kooky social game and/or group building ritual, and makes time stretch out longer. Doing something for Eikas which roughly falls near the Wheel of the Year holidays is a good way to celebrate with friends or to celebrate with just your family. The Atheopagan community has a few calendars built around the Wheel of the Year (solstices and equinoxes) on how to take these holidays and do something non-theist, non-supernatural with them if you can't get people to convene around Epicurean Philosophy every month, which was a problem I ran into. As I said I have fun coming up with, and allowing others to come up with, fun ceremonies or games to do, and sometimes they can be quite moving and brings our friend and family group together - almost like a religion.

    Hello Ben! Welcome.

    I have some interest in intentional communities and have lived in housing co-ops in the past. Most of that interest is spent on my household culture with close family and friends these days. We celebrate Eikas together from time to time.

    Intentional community is quite an endeavor to embark on, and requires building a lot of different skill sets and cultural frameworks that are pretty foreign to run of the mill, Western nuclear families. And to multiply the complexity, you have to bring the group along with you. I am open to discussion, perhaps in DM as it would probably involve a lot of non-Epicurean sources of info.

    The subject of "what is reality" to Epicureans would be a great topic to return to. I feel I often make this Democritean turn of thinking that matter/energy and void are what exist; but our sensation/experiences of, sociability with, and our reasoning about the emergent properties of biological entities and otherwise, generate convention, or existing in our minds as transmittable ideas. And we ought to be skeptical about ideas far more than about our sensations. Always a joy listening to this podcast!

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    Though not exactly metal, it's a song about a soldier during World War 1 talking to a priest before he is executed for cowardice. I feel it's Epicurean in that he faces his death not through religion's demand for repentance or the promises of a world beyond, but in the memories of sensuality with his lover and drinking cider with his friends.

    Loved the episode. In my experiences, I've come to understand that myths of the afterlife and many creation myths are psychological tools to initiate the process of group exclusion, (the "spiritual death" as it were) which are more pronounced in social stratified cultures, and inclusion which are attached to fears of our actual death. Epicurean philosophy is wonderful medicine to cure these fundamental fears because it eliminates both the "good" and "evil" versions of eternity. It undoes that unnatural craving for and fears of immortality and puts pleasure and pain and our other senses back in the driver's seat.

    Sorry about the copying and pasting. I'll refrain from that in the future. And sorry that this thread ultimately was "Root realizes he needs to look at better translations."

    Just found and read through Kungi's Welcome thread. Lots off good stuff there. Hadn't realized there already was active discussion on the topic of virtues to look at.

    Cassius Thanks so much for this more holistic goal to work towards. I can see the constraint in thinking in terms of just problems to solve, as you wouldn't ever see the forest for the trees and just have a collection of answers without actually inhabiting an Epicurean worldview. I suppose I framed it that way as that sort of framing constituted a "switch" in my mind between still thinking in terms of the old Judeo-Christian God and Neo-Platonic ideas, and the usual questions, towards getting me thinking in terms of Epicurean philosophy and trying to conceive of new questions. Epicurus is literally the first philosopher I was ready and absolutely compelled to spend some time studying in depth, so it was kind of a "moment" I had. So much of Epicurean philosophy is so alien to how my unsystematic mind grew to think. I happened upon a wonderful starting point to start philosophizing. Cheers!

    Don Thanks so much for this explanation. Of course! I forgot the big question of whether to fear the God's.

    I think I've combined the idealist and the realist views before in my conceptions due some of the memes out there floating around and started thinking, "am I getting into a Ancient Aliens cult?" ;)

    "Now, the beginning and the greatest good of all these things is prudence, on which account prudence is something more valuable than even philosophy, inasmuch as all the other virtues spring from it, teaching us that it is not possible to live pleasantly unless one also lives prudently, and honourably, and justly; and that one cannot live prudently, and honestly, and justly, without living pleasantly; for the virtues are allied to living agreeably, and living agreeably is inseparable from the virtues."- Letter to Menoceus

    Not sure on the "honourably" versus "honestly" switch. A lot of sites I looked at for this passage had that discrepancy.

    Anyway, in following the recent discussions on epistemology in the podcast and in the forums, this passage brought up some thoughts for me. Is this talk of prudence being more valuable than philosophy a way of using the language of virtue ethics (which I gather he didn't think much of), to bring it back to the notion of anticipations being a core feature of his epistemology? Am I conflating the concepts of foresight and shrewd judgement in the idea of "Prudence", with notions of predictability associated with "anticipations"? I also need to look more into other discussions here on the forums for what Epicurus actually thought of the Virtues, as my current thinking is to include them in his "vain ideals."

    Also I found it interesting in knowing a bit more about Epicurean philosophy, to try to unpack the use of the words prudently, honourably/honestly and justly in the passage rather than just seeing a bunch of "yay!" words strung together. Prudently potentially being a reference to his epistemology rather than to the virtues per se. Justice in Epicureanism being based on convention and contract, and the material conditions that bring about those conventions. Honourably/honestly being central to issues of reputation, and the potential for friendship and the security for living pleasantly that it brings.

    The final part about "agreeabley" and virtue is beyond my capability of analyzing. :) Cheers!

    Would it be fair to say that Epicurean theology is meant to resolve a completely different set of problems than the prevailing supernatural theology? If the universe has no beginning or end, and there is no supernatural dimension, ideals or essences, then we aren't trying to solve with Gods the problems of prime mover, problems of evil or theories of supernatural magic, etc. So is Epicurus trying to explain the sensations, feelings and anticipations of, or associated with, Gods with his theology? I am not particularly well read on all the material, but I remember some pieces on explaining the Gods in dreams. Also Epicurus or an Epicurean talking about prevailing attitudes about Gods being morally good, as if he is trying to speak to the social conventions about Gods being their chief concern. If my line of question has any merit, what other empirical (or otherwise) problems might the ancient Epicureans be trying to resolve with their Theology?