The podcast version and discussion is here:
Episode 166 - The Lucretius Today Podcast…
So, the one who exhorts, on the one hand, for the one who is young to live nobly; and, on the other hand, the one who is old to come to an end nobly is a good-hearted simpleton not only because life is to be welcomed but also because the practice of living well, nobly, and beautifully and the practice of dying well, nobly, and beautifully are the same. But far worse is the one who says, on the one hand, it is well not to be born; or, on the other hand, "failing this, to pass through the gates of Hades as soon as possible." On the one hand, if what they say is persuasive, how does one not depart from life? For this is readily at hand, if indeed one was to resolve oneself steadfastly to this. If, on the other hand, this is in jest, one is foolish for making fun of things which do not admit of this. Epicurus to Menoeceus - Translation by Don Boozer.
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Welcome to our Online Community of Epicureans: the home of Classical Epicurean Philosophy, uncorrupted by Platonism and Stoicism. Here you will do well to tarry. Here our highest good is pleasure!
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Our website is both a discussion forum and a resource hub for the study of Epicurean philosophy. Here you will find help and guidance in the study of important ancient texts, as well as links and discussions on articles and documents crucial to the understanding of the teachings of Epicurus. All are welcome to read the forums, but posting privileges are reserved for registered users.
Not Neo-Epicurean, but Epicurean:
There are many places on the internet where other philosophies can be studied, but few if any which are dedicated exclusively to Epicurus. We work hard to keep the forum both friendly to all but also firmly Epicurean, so if you are looking for a truly supportive community of Epicurean Friends, you've come to the right place.
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We recommend our New Visitor Page for a brief introduction to Epicurus and the purpose of our forum. You can view our brief video Major Characteristics of Epicurean Philosophy. The Forum section is where the deeper philosophic discussions take place, and these pages are organized around specific topics. Be sure to check out our sections on Ethics and Epicurean Lifestyle and Self-Improvement, and our page on Epicurean philosophy FAQ's. There is also a Gallery of our recent graphics, an Articles section for longer presentations, and a Documents section of our recommended files. As you continue to scroll down this page you'll see a sampling of some of our major sections.
For an audio sample of the friendly and supportive atmosphere we try to cultivate, check out our recent weekly Lucretius Today podcasts. Some good episodes to try:
The Canon, Reason, and Nature / Letter to Menoeceus
/ Lucretius Today Interviews Dr. Emily Austin.
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Join us as we study Epicurus, apply Epicurean philosophy to our own lives, and "strike a blow for Epicurus, that great man whose holiness and divinity of nature were not shams, who alone had and imparted true insight into the good, and who brought deliverance to all that consorted with him." (Lucian - "Alexander the Oracle-Monger")
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This is the place to study and discuss Epicurus with people who support and promote classical Epicurean philosophy.
Epicurus advised the use of outlines to organize our thoughts on what is important in philosophy, because we frequently have need of the general principles, but only rarely do we need to recall every small detail. Here's a sample outline of several of the key principles in each section of Epicurean philosophy:
There's nothing magic about the precise formulations you see above, and over time we regularly revise them in ways we think make Epicurus' views more clear and understandable.
One of the most helpful ways that you can enhance your own understanding of Epicurus is to follow his advice to Herodotus and prepare your own outline of the philosophy. Don't be surprised to find yourself regularly revising it and shifting the items up and down in order of importance. That is to be expected as your comprehension of the importance of the various issues matures. It will take considerable time to realize the many implications of the fundamental principles. EpicureanFriends.com has an entire section of our forum devoted to helping you draw up your own outline. Check out those resources here.
Most people who come our way have a correct understanding that Epicurus held the experience of mental pleasure to be as much or more important to us than purely bodily pleasure. Unfortunately, many such people also get the impression that this means that Epicurus advocated a withdrawn or ascetic or passive lifestyle.
Metrodorus Despite Epicurus' emphatic focus on Pleasure as the goal of life, the argument that Epicurus was essentially an ascetic asserts that Epicurus held a counterintuitive definition of pleasure by elevating absence of disturbance (ataraxia) or absence of pain (aponia) as something separate from and more desirable than Pleasure (hedone) itself. Those who maintain this generally argue that Epicurus taught that "resting" (katastematic) pleasures are far more important than the normal "active" (kinetic) pleasures, such as joy and delight, that most people normally cherish.
This argument tends to demoralize and turn off healthy people of active disposition, so if the suggestion that Epicurus was passive, shy, and retiring bothers you (and it should, because it's not true!) EpicureanFriends.com can help show you the error of the ascetic interpretation of Epicurus.
For a grounding on the history of the dispute, start with Boris Nikolsky's article "Epicurus on Pleasure." As Nikolsky explains, the distinction between katastematic and kinetic pleasure was very likely not taught by Epicurus at all, but instead derives from a later Stoic-influenced overlay on Epicurus' teachings. For more detail on what Epicurus really taught about pleasure, consult the chapters on Epicurus in Gosling and Taylor's "The Greeks on Pleasure," especially chapter 19 "Katastematic and Kinetic Pleasure," which shows how Epicurus embraced a normal and regular definition of pleasure as most of us commonly understand it. For further evidence that the ascetic interpretation of Epicurean philosophy contradicts core premises of the philosophy (and therefore cannot be correct!) see the Wentham article "Cicero's Interpretation of Katastematic Pleasure."
If you are concerned that you've heard that Epicurus was passive and retiring, and you know that attitude is not right for you, these articles should dispel any lingering concerns.
When you are ready for more, the best way to reboot your understanding of the philosophy is to consult the most thorough general book on Epicurus, Norman DeWitt's "Epicurus and His Philosophy." DeWitt provides the sweeping overview of Epicurean philosophy that every new student of Epicurus needs to read. In the process of starting from scratch, you'll see that DeWitt presents a comprehensive and coherent overview in which the katastematic - kinetic distinction rates little more than a brief mention. You'll then see why the best record we have of Epicurus' philosophy - the biography by Diogenes Laertius - raises the issue only by stating explicitly that Epicurus endorsed both types of pleasure.
For additional assistance in these and other issues, please check out our table of Major Issues In Understanding Epicurean Philosophy. And of course, ask questions in the Forum! There's much more to explain and discuss, but for now, thank you for dropping by, and please let us hear from you! Start now by reading and posting in our General Forum, or in any of the sections devoted to special topics.
Materialism: Atoms and Void - Properties and Qualities and Emergence
||Epicurean Methods of Reasoning And Determining Truth
||Pleasure As the Highest Good|
Epicurean Gods And Life Elsewhere In The Universe
||(1) The Five Senses
||Virtue As Instrumental To Pleasure|
The Impossibility of Life After Death
||(2) The Feelings of Pleasure and Pain
||The Relationship of Pleasure To Absence of Pain And Disturbance|
The Existence of "the Swerve"
||(3) The Anticipations / Preconceptions
||Emotion In Epicurean Philosophy|
The Universe As Eternal In Time
||The Trustworthiness of the Senses
||Engagement With The Non-Epicurean World|
The Universe As Infinite In Space
||The Significance of "Images"
||Agency / Free Will|
The Universe As Having No Center
||Friendship in Epicurean Philosophy|
The Impossibility of Infinite Divisibility
||Justice in Epicurean Philosophy|
|Epicurean Lifestyle and Self-Improvement|
Not only golden words, but also fists
Epicurus Breaking the Chains of Religion - By David Baldoni
Not Neo-Epicurean, But Epicurean
Autun mosaic from The House of the Greek Authors, Musée Rolin
On Living Unknown While Locating Your School In A High Traffic Area
Epicurus Greece Stamp 2019
Plato's Metaphysical Contradiction
Plato's Distracted Boyfriend
Concepts As Black As Hell
PD9 - Just As All Colors Are Colorful
Principal Doctrine Six
PD3 - The Fullness of Pleasure Model
For one of the best and quickest ways to orient yourself to Epicurean Ethics, especially as to the central role of "Pleasure" (and not "tranquility") as the goal and guide of life, be sure to check out our recording of the longest and most detailed presentation of Epicurean Ethics left to us from the ancient world: the "Torquatus" presentation from Book One of Cicero's "On Ends." One of our regular participants here (Joshua) has graciously recorded this for us, and we think you'll see why this is a great introduction to the big picture of Epicurean Ethics. See the following thread for the latest version and discussion:
In January of 2023 Dr. Emily Austin allowed the LucretiusToday podcast team to interview her about her new book "Living For Pleasure - An Epicurean Guide For Life." This interview is a great introduction to the non-ascetic interpretation of Epicurean Philosophy which we promote here at Epicureanfriends.com. For more detail on the interview check here.
For a detailed summary of Epicurean Philosophy assembled from the passages of the ancient texts, see the video below. For discussion of this video please go here.
(Another version of the text is available here.)
Read about Nate's "Allegory of the Oasis" graphic and make suggestions or comments here.