The good man is a good financier. That evil man is also a bad financier, just as Metrodorus has demonstrated. - Philodemus of Gadara
The default forum theme is set to ColorPlay Blue, which is a "dark" theme. Some people prefer a lighter theme, and at the bottom of each page in the footer there is a "change style" link that lets you select others. Each of the "Nexus" themes is lighter and should work well.
Unfortunately it appears that links in the Announcement box can be hard to see on some color variations. If that presents an issue for you, choose the "Nexus Gray" theme and those should be very readable in that color variation.
If others have tips and/or suggestions for fine-tuning of the forum, please post in this thread.
Feelings cannot be reduced to numbers, and there are important limitations in the use of a "worksheet" as an aid in evaluating choices and avoidances. However it may be helpful to some people to visualize an illustration of the weighing process that some term the "hedonic calculus." Here is a draft example for your consideration and comment. Scores included here are of course fictional and for example only. A version of the spreadsheet in xlsx format is attached for downloading.
Edward Abbey was an iconoclast, a contrarian, a gadfly, and a radical. He was a desert ranger, a poet, a novelist, a student of philosophy, and a keen observer of nature and human life. He was an aesthetic, a sensualist, an atheist, a materialist, and in general terms an antagonist. A provocateur.
In a list of his favorite poets, he names first Anacreon and then Lucretius . He is, after Thoreau, my second favorite essayist.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes:Quote
My loyalties will not be bound by national borders, or confined in time by one nation's history, or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language and culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time. from his journal; (cf. Diogenes of Oenoanda)Quote
Timocrates of Lampsachus was both the brother of Metrodorus (one of the founders of Epicureanism), as well as an apostate of the first Epicurean community–although not a lethal enemy like the archetypal Judas. Because of their ties of blood, Timocrates was quoted as saying “that he both loved his brother as no one else did and hated him as no one else.”
Their differences were made public in epistles that they addressed to each other, which later circulated among many who either followed the teachings of the school, or were opponents interested in the gossip and the controversy. Metrodorus also wrote one work against his brother, and Timocrates a polemic against Epicurus entitled Delights.
Only fragments from third parties citing these sources survive. Here, I will cite passages from Metrodorus’ Epistle to his brother Timocrates, and will try to interpret the meager–yet essential and useful–content that is available.
What would an Epicurean use in their toolkit for the hedonistic calculus? I mean like the quotes you'd go by and nature and unnecessary desires, the virtues, etc. I am looking for ideas on making hedonistic calculus therapy worksheets.
Call Me By Your Name
André Aciman, 2007
I wasn't sure whether to do this here, but the novel is too beautiful and heart-breaking to put out of my mind, and too pleasant and relevant not to share.
Call Me By Your Name is a more-than-bi-curious coming-of-age tale set in a lovely Italian villa on the coast of the Mediterranean. A precocious and literary 17-year-old boy named Elio spends his summer days in the back garden, transcribing Bach as he strums the guitar or fingers the piano; or else dips in the pool in the noonday sun, or in the sea just beyond. Or on the tennis court, with friends and cousins. By evenings he dines alfresco with his cultivated and scholarly family--the conversation sliding between English, French, and Italian as it suits--while the sun sets, the wine flows and the apricots ripen in the garden orchard.
His father, a professor, hosts one American graduate student each year in a summer residency at the villa. The student this summer, a 24-year old named…
The more you benefit your friend, the more you serve your own self-interest. In fact, the kindness provoked by these benefits will come back to us.
Habit is born of small things, but gains vigor through neglect.
Polyaenus of Lampsacus
P 205 of Les Epicuriens
I saw Ilium gleam
As her walls, in a dream,
Watched her sons return home on their shields--
Saw the marching Greek host
In the corn, and the coast
Of Asia in
The philosophers spoke
In the shade of the oak
As the willows and cottonwoods reeled
In an October gale
Blowing hearty and hale,
Pages flipping in
And I wrote out your name
On the face of the stream,
Writ in water but never repealed--
Made your garden to bloom
Like the yucca, festooned;
Flowering lonely in
And your precepts I pressed
Like a stamp to my chest--
And a ring on my finger revealed
Where your likeness was cast
And a voice from the past
Rose up godlike in
I hoped to see thee again
By the feld or the fen
When the bells of the Twentieth pealed.
But--alas! lies my ring
At the end of all things
In a grave beneath
P 189 of Les Epicuriens
Back then you were not a sage but now you are making efforts to become one. Replay in your spirit the life you led previously and the one you live presently, and ask yourself if back then you bore being sick like you do now, and if you mastered wealth like you master it now. - Epicurus, in an Epistle to Idomeneus
“The wise man alone will know true gratitude and in respect of his friends, whether present or absent, will be the same throughout the journey of life.” Epicurus, DL, trans. Hicks, 10.118.
Sometimes a post from The Daily Stoic shows up in my newsfeed, and usually I ignore it... but every so often, I check to see what the Stoics are up to. Today’s bit of unwise advice is to distrust your friends, because everybody lies. If they say they are enjoying life, they are probably lying, so no need to ask them how they have accomplished their joy—you can be safe knowing they are just as miserable as you. https://dailystoic.com/assume-everyone-is-lying/
What a miserable way to live! Of course, sometimes people lie—but that does not mean everyone lies all the time, or that there are no deeply honest people—people who say the same thing whether they are with friends or alone in the room. Sometimes people do not broadcast their unhappiness online, but this also does not mean the pleasures…
It has been called to my attention that in many circles the term "free will" carries some kind of supernatural or religious implications, and that in those circles the terms generally used are "hard determinism" or "soft determinism" to indicate that no choices are entirely without preceding influences. I agree that it is important to be clear about what we mean in any context.
For comparative reference, I pulled out four translations of Lucretius Book 2 where this wording generally becomes an issue:
1. Daniel Browne edition of 1743:
2. Hugh Munro translation, late 1800's:
3. Cyril Bailey translation, 1930's
4. Martin Ferguson Smith translation, Hackett publishing (current edition):
Quote (found in Les Epicuriens):
This is why Timeus affirms that, whenever they begin any enterprise, sages always in some way invoke divinity. But the Epicurean Hermarchus says: “How do we avoid regressing to infinity in all enterprise if, even for a minor matter, we have need to turn to prayer. Because for one prayer we will need yet another prayer, and we will never stop praying at any point. ”
Here is an excellent post by Elli with which I completely agree. I post it here to call attention to the part that I have underlined:Quote
The term of determinism denotes humans' unresistible desire to have something stable to feel secure, but it is the same issue that hides behind the fate, necessity, god, and the absolutes. The term of indeterminism denotes the instability and leads to chance, randomness and chaos that makes us, the humans, to not feel secure at all. It is an issue how we feel and judge the first causes of the phenomena that caused them in the materialistic reality. The idea by Protagoras that "Man is the measure of all things" it is in consistency with the field of existensial psychology. It leads to the responsibility that we the humans are capable enough to do such actions to eliminate the obstacles that are against to our goal of pleasure, because we know for sure that the only we have is a unique life to
This topic (technology platforms) may need a separate forum, but for now here is this: Today marks Increasing censorship of discussion of religion at Twitter; Facebook won't be far behind. The examples listed here are not the kind of language "we" normally use, but it's only a thin line that probably won't hold for very long. I've never gotten much into using Twitter for outreach, but I am exploring alternate platforms, probably those based on the fediverse / mastodon technology. https://blog.twitter.com/offic…hatefulconductupdate.html
As a help in clarifying key issues, I remember that DeWitt talks about how Epicurus used the rhetorical technique of contrasting false opinion vs true opinions. For example, I am convinced that one of the worst "false opinions" that we are up against in differentiating Epicurus from common viewpoints is "the greatest good for the greatest number" as a method for evaluating pleasure.
The final PDs make clear that our goal is not the pleasure of everyone, or the world in general, but of ourselves and our friends. For those who are unfriendly, or our enemies, we separate ourselves from them, and we know from other doctrines that this would include by any means necessary.
PD6. In order to obtain protection from other men, any means for attaining this end is a natural good.
PD39. The man who best knows how to meet external threats makes into one family all the creatures he can; and those he can not, he at any rate does not treat as aliens; and where he finds even this impossible, he…
I had already written a commentary of a commentary on this book (from an English source), but I have re-read the book in French from Les Epicuriens, with new insights. Here is the initial essay I wrote years ago:
The work has many long sentences, and is hard to follow sometimes because of that.
We see in philosophy and anthropology a tension between nature and culture, and this is reflected in this book, where Epicurus compares "the original constitution" of an individual versus the "product in the process of development" (his character), and finally the "developed product"--a fully mature character of someone who understands his "causal responsibility".
GERMS / SEEDS
Epicurus talks about the "germs" or "seeds" (spermata) that we carry from birth of both wisdom and virtue, as well as ignorance and vices. In p. 103, E says "at first people act out their "seeds", but later, a time comes where…
I don't have time for a long post but I wanted to start a discussion. First and foremost however let's repeat the reliable major text references as to the general desirability of life, and the general undesirability of death:
Life Is Desirable - From The Letter to Menoeceus:
But in the world, at one time men shun death as the greatest of all evils, and at another time choose it as a respite from the evils in life. The wise man does not deprecate life nor does he fear the cessation of life. The thought of life is no offense to him, nor is the cessation of life regarded as an evil. And even as men choose of food not merely and simply the larger portion, but the more pleasant, so the wise seek to enjoy the time which is most pleasant and not merely that which is longest. And he who admonishes the young to live well and the old to make a good end speaks foolishly, not merely because of the desirability of life, but because the same exercise at once teaches to live well and to die well.…
Cassius started a new event:Quote
Several of the group leaders are planning to coordinate a group discussion Skype session, July 28, at 10 am Eastern Time (Sunday).
We are in the process of choosing a main topic in Epicurean Philosophy.
What would you be interested in discussing together?
There's a limit on how much we can do in one, but please post your suggestions and we will work on a format.
Please post about this in this thread: Open Group Conference Call for Sunday, July 28, 10 AM Eastern Time
I am sure that I have made comments to the effect that Epicurus seemed to be saying that we should not pursue the pleasure of the moment, but pleasure measured over a lifetime.
I do not think that is exactly the right perspective either. Pleasure is not to be measured by time alone, as we clearly know from the letter to Menoeceus: "And even as men choose of food not merely and simply the larger portion, but the more pleasant, so the wise seek to enjoy the time which is most pleasant and not merely that which is longest."
This issue calls to mind why the wording of PD3 is so interesting. As translated by Bailey and most others, PD3 refers to "the limit of quantity in pleasures...." This is not a statement of "the best" pleasures or "the highest" pleasures or pleasures measured in any way other than "quantity." What is the meaning of "quantity" and how should we measure pleasure. if not by time?
Should we measure pleasure by "intensity"?
Is PD9's reference to…
[Pasted from a discussion posted by EC in another group]
Let's talk about decisions we have made in our daily lives, recently, which have increased our personal happiness. Epicurean Philosophy can be used to guide our day to day decisions, large and small. We can take note of which actions have pleasant net effects for us and which do not, and arrange our lives accordingly. Some of these pleasures will be highly idiosyncratic, and others might apply to most of us. Maybe we can learn something from each other!
Here is something I have had to make decisions about recently: what I eat. I have had a long-standing preference for foods like beans, pasta, olive oil, nuts, fruits, vegetables, cheese, and good bread. I don't eat much sugar, but when I do, it is usually in the form of chocolate!
These foods have agreed with me, physically. I had given up meat for several years, because it aggravated my autoimmune arthritis and made my feet hurt, but about 6 months ago, I started eating some…
Some people try to draw parallels between Epicurean philosophy and Ayn Rand's objectivism. I would argue that they are very wrong to do so, but as an exercise in discussing how, I would pose this question: Rand was recorded to have said that she could present the essence of her philosophy while standing on one foot. Her summary was:
- Metaphysics: Objective Reality
- Epistemology: Reason
- Ethics: Self-interest
- Politics: Capitalism
Let's presume you are a stand-in for Epicurus or Metrodorus or Lucretius, and you were asked to give your statement of those four categories in one word or a very short phrase that conveys the essence of each.
Rand went on to elaborate slightly further at the link I am going to paste below. Her answers there might help you fine-tune your reply.
Note: I left the photo of Spock in the photo because I took it from a post that is several years old. In this instance Spock can serve as a reminder that Epicurus was not a Stoic/Vulcan, and Epicurus'…
I consume a lot of audio, and am really feeling deeply the absence of a good podcast dedicated to Epicurean philosophy. I understand that maybe Oscar is working on something?
In any case, I have a pretty good voice (or so I'm told...I spent enough years working in drive-through restaurants to be confident of this). I've been kicking around an idea for some time, and I finally made a (very short!) recording.
My primary obstacles right now are that I live in a truck, I have no equipment, I don't entirely know what to talk about, and dealing with computers makes my head hurt.
However! I registered a few domains today, and I will be playing around with this idea further. So (if this blasted link actually works) I present my initial pitch for a new podcast...A Mortal Brew.
Near-death experiences are often misrepresented as evidence for an afterlife or even an omnipotent and omnipresent god (e.g. https://www.yahoo.com/news/wom…tes-writes-161046083.html).
They are the closest to evidence believers in an afterlife might have. So, it is important to nix the validity of the interpretation of near-death experiences as such evidence.
I remember one article with a simple explanation by a medical researcher who attributed the symptoms to lack of oxygen in the brain. It seems I did not save that article because the phenomenon itself is not of much interest for me.
We should have an easy to find position statement with a summary of and references to the research.
That position statement could be the outcome of collaborative effort in this thread. If there is not much input, I would contribute to this thread from time to time to eventually create the position statement even though the topic is far outside my field of expertise.
Seeing the bust of Epicurus
Ho! I--Master, I held from grief. We laid
Your body to its rest beneath the sky
And sun. What then to grieve? Thy atoms fly
Scattered, thy soul at more than peace which said
"Death is nothing"--but here! Thy sculptured head
Is wreathed with leaves of bay. Ah, how can I
Fall to grief? Your students with laughing cries
Honor you--your 'membrance blesses their bread.
Should scholarchs fail, and birds alone here warble--
Should vine and olive go to sage and sorrel--
Still aged men would carve your like in marble
And shining youth crown thy head with laurel.
I am currently re-reading Les Epicuriens on the train on my way to/from work, and in the process of trying to imagine or re-construct what these lectures or discussions consisted of as far as possible, so that we can create modern dialogues around these issues to replace the literature that is missing.
Discusses a bit about the nature of Time, how to measure it (mentions days and nights), the use of conventional language for it and the fact that time is real.
Discusses objects that float in the air, says "certain people conceive Earth circled by walls … and suppose that Earth is in the center of everything".
Discusses where the sun rises and sets and distance; various models to interpret this. The commentators categorize this book as a polemic against the ancient astronomers who were using certain tools or machines (alluded to in this book) to evaluate the movements of celestial objects, and against Eudoxus' geocentric model. I looked this up and found this about…
pasted-from-clipboard.pngCheck out this link for a very detailed list of people relevant to Epicurean commentary in the ancient world.
I don't yet have a copy of this book so if anyone know anything about it or a source for it (especially in PDF) please let me know!
I just received my five-year "congratulations" email from Universal Life Church, which gives ordinations to just about everybody online.
It occurred to me that this is one way in which Epicurean Philosophy could assert itself in the mainstream and become part of everyday discussions. It's generally seen as a stamp of societal legitimacy when a movement provides chaplains and celebrants for rites of passage like baby namings, funerals, and weddings--as we've seen with Humanist celebrants. Plus,
- it has become clear recently that some Epicureans feel very strongly that we really are a thing different and distinct from generic humanism, and that a humanist celebrant may or may not speak to the Epicurean soul, and
- Epicurean tradition has VERY specific and particular things to say about life events, particularly memorializing friends and death. We also had our own distinct funeral traditions in Roman antiquity (non fui, fui, non sum, non curo). This
This article contains interesting commentary on the development of Epicurus' canon of truth.
Also at this link: http://lexicon.cnr.it/index.php/DDL/article/view/123/62
Here are two translations of the same section of the letter to Menoeceus. The left is the Epicurus wiki at Epicurism.info and the right is Cyril Bailey's "Epicurus the Extant Remains." I am not able to offer an opinion in the Greek original, but I can offer an opinion on the English wording:
The English wording presented here equates "pleasure" with "absence of pain" as if the two concepts were interchangeable in every respect. My contention is (1) that it is clear to any "normal human" that the two concepts are clearly NOT interchangeable in every respect, (2) that Epicurus was in every relevant respect a "normal human," and (3) that therefore there is (a) some corruption of the text, (b) some corruption or inadequacy of the translation, (c) some missing context that explains the apparent discrepancy, or some combination of (a), (b), and (c).
Note also that this text, even in its current form which appears to equate the two terms, does not state that "absence of pain" is "the…
I'm trying to shore up my Science Fiction deficiencies with audiobook time, partially for the sake of my long-suffering friends. I absolutely love Dune, but hadn't gotten much farther in my 30 years. So I recently finished the first Foundation book by Isaac Asimov, which I enjoyed immensely. Rather than finish the series (knowing what I know about sequels in general), I moved on to Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. I came across an exchange that caught my
eyeear; a young man trying to convince his father of his desire to join the novel's interstellar military force. The father's response:Quote
In the first place this family has stayed out of politics and cultivated its own garden for over a hundred years—I see no reason for you to break that fine record.
I haven't finished the book, but I'll be looking for other clues. There are similarities to the past, and some differences (after all, Epicurus' two year military…
The following comes from a recent discussion in which the work of Alain de Botton. It started in the context of whether there were ever Epicurean communities in the ancient world outside the garden in Athens, but the main reason I am posting this is that I want to preserve Elayne's commentary (below, EC) with which I totally agree and think to be very important:
SG: I remember, Alain de Botton stated the same thing about Epicurean communities. He even added some of what we know as old monasteries, belonged to Epicureans before Christianity came to power and declared them as heretic and illegal cults. Well, he may not be a legit source. But do we have any?
Cassius: I don't consider Alain to be a legitimate source for this because I have never seen him (or anyone else) produce documentation / source material for these suggestions. No personal offense intended to him, but in general my observation is that Alain is a good example of someone who is basically an eclectic / humanist who…
Over the years I have found this to be one of the best articles available on the impact of "the swerve" in human affairs, and how Epicurus likely reconciled his idea of the swerve (which if carried to an extreme would mean that nothing is predictable) with the regularity we see in the world around us.
Find "Chance and Natural Law In Epicureanism" here on the forum at this link.
I'm curious to know what others think about Carlin's frankness, particularly in light of the above discussion among us. It seems like the Founding Fathers believed we had natural rights, and it seems like this stems from their agreeing with Locke (who believed that humans are naturally sociable) and disagreement with Hobbes (who believed that humans are solitary and brutish in their natural state).
It seems like the argument is that if humans have an inherent, natural morality, then there was something like natural rights that preceded the state. Lucretius seems to confirm that this is in fact what ancient Epicureans believed. (Studies on dogs and monkeys that show that they have a sense of justice and reciprocity seem to confirm this intuition). Typically, these natural rights are expressed as "right to freedom" or non-coercion so long as one respect the similar freedoms of others.
From my reading of Epictetus, he viewed us as having LIMITED Freewill.
The best example from his reading is from Discourses II. The example is going on a trip.one can select the captain, ship, crew, destination and date of departure. Beyond that, there is much outside of our control. For example, we could becalmed. Or we could encounter a ferocious storm and our ship founder. None of those are in our control. Chance enters at some point, no matter how hard we try, wish or demand. And there is nothing we can do to change the random character of the universe.
Since our control is limited, we are kind of like the dog on the leash. Do we control if there is war and hunger? Do we control drought and famine? To a certain degree, we as individuals can impact those things, but if the general tide is against us, we control little.
Rand believed we could change the world with our will. Perhaps if enough agreed with the goal we could influence all events. Certainly we see individuals in…
NB: I notice a linguistic connection between the ancient Greek word 'hedone' and the Hebrew word from which we derive 'Eden'. It seems that 'Eden' can be translated as 'Delight' and 'Pleasure'. (The Hebrew language provides different vocabulary to denote 'holiness', 'righteousness', or 'sanctity'). An Aramaic root indicates that which is "fruitful, plentiful," or that which is "well-watered", thus, linking the idea of 'that which is pleasant' to 'healthy, living beings'.
Prior to their adoption of monotheism, and before their monolatrist period of YHWH-privileged worship, did Hebrew populations explore philosophical materialism? I found one reference to 'pleasure' as being a desirable reward for following the precepts of the deity (Talmud Kidushin 82:b). We also find language in 'Ecclesiastes' and 'Song of Songs' that use sensual imagery to express religious belief.
I wonder how influential philosophical materialism was on early Judaism––at the same time, I remind myself that…
On the Mind-Body Split-https://theautarkist.wordpress…h-on-the-mind-body-split/
Happy 20th Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/fc3bdca0c920/9l7cos6cd7
PLUS, here you may find all the previous Twentieth Messages:
Happy Twentieth of June to all of our participants in discussions on Epicurus! Thanks to all of you who join in these discussions. They are helpful in so many ways, both to us individually and to our common desire to see Epicurean philosophy better understood and more widely accessible throughout the world. Remember, this is why we talk:
Thanks to Hiram for this link: https://epochemagazine.org/sta…N4UUSgbjm_HdO_wZq30VgiBfk
It's a good article but completely focused on Stoicism rather than pointing out the Epicurean alternative. Nevertheless worth noting here.
Gaius Florius Lupus asked in a related thread: "The idea that there is no positive pleasure beyond the avoidance of pain always was what bothered me most about Epicurus' ethics, because it would lead to apathy. Do you have a quote where he specifies the kind of pleasure beyond absence of pain we should seek to attain? I only know quotes where he warns us of "unnatural desires"
Because this issue is so important I wanted to respond in a separate thread. Another way of asking the question is: "What references does anyone have to offset what appear to be the clear statements in the Letter to Menoeceus, in PD3: "The limit of quantity in pleasures is the removal of all that is painful," and in PD18: "Once the pain arising from need is removed, physical pleasure is not increased and only varies in another direction." Why does this not add up to a call that there is nothing higher than the extinguishment of desire,an ascetic "zero state"?
It is always good to talk about this…
I came across this article, which offers a discussion about modern physicists' ideas on whether there is a beginning point of the universe. Hawking's no-boundary idea seems in agreement with Epicurus' understanding.
Martin (one of our regulars) gives us a great example of how an Epicurean "avoids pain" -- by choosing to fill his life with pleasure!
Very impressive Martin!
Hiram cannot even post this link without the determinists rushing to mock it. I personally choose not to make the free will argument the major focus of my time devoted to philosophy, but if the issues worries you, you could probably do a lot worse than to choose to follow Hiram's link and check out that article. And just ignore the people who say you were destined to do that from the dawn of the universe..... because (1) the universe had no dawn, and (2) you weren't.
For anyone really "into" this free will argument, I would appreciate any examples or links to positions on this issue that are particularly clear and succinct. As for me I will stay with this one:
"Who, then, is superior in your judgment to such a man? He holds a holy belief concerning the gods, and is altogether free from the fear of death. He has diligently considered the end fixed by nature, and understands how easily the limit of good things can be reached and attained, and how either…
Does everyone here find it convenient enough to bookmark the "Dashboard" or other page as the place where you come to check the forum? I would hate to think that lots of people are going to the "home" page first and having to scroll down past the large section of unchanging text every time they want to see new posts.
The competing considerations are: (1) we need some significant unchanging text on the home page so that new users will understand he purpose of the board from the first visit, which competes with (2) we want repeat visitors to have a page they can bookmark to bypass that text on return visits.
The page that is supposed to work best for repeat visitors to bookmark is the DASHBOARD. That page contains only the brief Announcements panel followed by a table of the latest threads and posts. That's the page I have bookmarked to visit every time I come back to the forum to check for new posts.
If anyone is finding that system to be unwieldy and has alternate suggestions,…
I had a friend forward me this article today and ask my opinion. The title is "in defense of being average." There are parts I agree with and parts I don't, and throughout the article I smell a strong odor of Stoicism. But the article does try to strike a balance by saying "mediocrity, as a goal, sucks. But mediocrity, as a result, is OK."
Probably an article like this helps us drill down if we consider "What would Epicurus say about "mediocrity?"
6:30 AM. Lansing, MI
Lost; North Face hoodie. Color brown, size medium. If found, please return to...
...to who? I know the article well, and can remember the day it was purchased. In Denver, at a Sports Authority store (now closed forever) on a trip I took to meet up with the family and visit my brother. The last of its kind on the clearance rack and a size smaller than I wear normally, this garment was sartorial perfection. Nothing ever fit me so well (I an ectomorph; 6'2", 145 lbs, gangly in the superlative). I hadn't known until then that clothes could fit, and should; I had never been comfortable in my own clothes.
Gone now, though. Left behind. Not yet "reduced to it's primitive elements", which was Thoreau's consignment program--it was instead hove off of this human shore, and floats free on the listless currents of humanity--or else cast into the rubbish, and Virginia has its bones. Who can say?
Nevertheless, I find that I actually can reduce it to elements. I can, in my…
Thank you Nate and Elli!
This popped up in my feed: it's a brief article on the preservation of the art and architecture at Herculaneum.
And if anybody wants to visit a living, breathing reproduction of the Villa Papiri in scenic Malibu, California:
M: I've read somewhere that it (justice) was partly defined as what people would agree to if they were not under coercion. Assuming that isn't right, where do you think this misconception came from?
H: If you google the Principal Doctrines you will find justice explained as mutual advantage in the last ten Doctrines, with more detail furnished there.
E: I don't think you've got that wrong. Coercion wouldn't be part of a mutual contract. A person might choose an agreement that appears asymmetric in some ways, if they find it to their advantage. But if they aren't choosing it, that's not really a contract. By contract, I'm including informal, unspoken understandings between people who have at least met each other.
The thing people do, though, is make a leap and say ok, then if an interaction isn't proceeding according to mutual free agreement then it's "wrong." But there's no absolute standard. If there's no contract to begin with, it might even be hard to say "unjust"-- because…
Thanks to Nate for helping me express in one graphic what I have spilled weeks of time writing in much less effective form.
What do you fellow epicureans believe to be true about fashion and art? Can one have fancy(artistic, stylish) shoes or clothes but may or may not be expensive and still be an epicurean? I thought Epicurus was more about plain simple basic and not extravagance.…
I thought to mention this in light of the recent topics in music. Before I got into Epicurean Philosophy I got into metrosexuality(a man that gets into his feminine side but still being masculine in his choice of wardrobe his home his hygiene his taste in the arts and so on. It is about being stylish.) I read many books on the topic and applied some of it. But I think some of those metrosexual men take it too far and buy too many clothes, shoes and so forth. Not having many clothes and not following trends but something you find appeals to you after you have applied the tips for how to be stylish but in your own way such as wearing colors that go together not wearing cowboy hats or boots with shorts and other similar things.
Here are some general thoughts that occur to me during the course of an ongoing debate about a different non-Epicurean philosophy:
it is not my goal in this or any other Epicurean forum to just meet new people, smile to them about how we all want to be happy and have less pain, and walk away. I don't think that was what Epicurus was all about either. What I find in my life is that my greatest pleasures and support comes from dealing with FRIENDS who largely see the world the way I do -- and that does not mean "we just all want to be happy" and leaving it at that.
The reality is that people tend to gravitate into circles with which they identify, and there are certain core attributes of the Epicurean circle that go far beyond "atheism" and "let's all be happy." The world "happy" is notoriously ambiguous, and the Happy Christian and the Happy Muslim and the Happy Jew and the Happy Communist and the Happy Capitalist (and on and on in listing the mainstream political parties,…
Due to the shortage of verifiably authentic writing from Epicurus dealing with the Prolepseis/ Anticipations/ Preconceptions, and the conflicting interpretations of same (DeWitt/Cassius/common sense v everybody else/academics), I’ve been on the lookout for present day information which may apply, and I’m just beginning to read up on it. In my field of design, there currently is critical interest in “embodied cognition”. Here are some quotes from the book Welcome To Your World, by Sarah Williams Goldhagen, a proponent of this idea. In terms of the science involved, these quotations are quite generalized. As far as I know she has no interest in Epicurus. Words in  are my comments.
"The new paradigm of human cognition begins by reframing the relationship of our thoughts to our bodies. Cognitions do not emerge in tension with a corporeal self, as was thought for centuries, nor from a disembodied mind— a paradigm encapsulated in the dualistic “mind- body problem.” Instead,…
This is my outline so far for a book for parents, combining my professional knowledge about child development ( I am a pediatrician) and behavior with EP. I will likely not write chapters in order but will post as I go and then eventually have a full book done. I am very interested in hearing member stories about how they have applied EP to interactions with their children-- I plan to include stories from my own experience as examples of different points. This outline has some technical jargon in it for conciseness, but I will write in a conversational tone.
I would like your comments on the general proposed organization of information and suggestions for any key topic I may be omitting. Thanks!
I. Basic overview of EP, including physics, the Canon, and ethics-- fairly brief and I will probably write this part last
II. Physics (in which I will include relevant biological research, which is ultimately physics)
A. Material nature of the universe and of biological beings
Originally posted by Elli -
E.Π XXVII.(27) Ἐπὶ μὲν τῶν ἄλλων ἐπιτηδευμάτων μόλις τελειωθεῖσιν ὁ καρπὸς ἔρχεται, ἐπὶ δὲ φιλοσοφίας συντρέχει τῇ γνώσει τὸ τερπνὸν οὐ γὰρ μετὰ μάθησιν ἀπόλαυσις, ἀλλὰ ἅμα μάθησις καὶ ἀπόλαυσις.
Baileys' translation : ES27. In all other occupations the fruit comes #painfully after completion, but in philosophy pleasure goes hand in hand with knowledge; for enjoyment does not follow comprehension, but comprehension and enjoyment are simultaneous.
Warning: Bailey wears again his stoic glasses. Where in this ES 27 does Epicurus mention the word "painfully" ? And where he says that any occupation of one’s labors - the fruit - is bitter and painful? Where the creativity of any work and by any human being like us has pains? Here is, again and again, the devious trick for saying that Epicurus did not suggest to be active and creative, or to not enjoy any of your work and labor, because this is painful. Stay in "apathy", then, in your sofas, your beds,…
This legal phrase came to my attention this afternoon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_justitia_ruat_caelum
There was a time in my life when I would heartily endorse this statement. What do you think Epicurus would say about it?
Epicurean, or not?
My goal in the discussion of "Humanism" has been to generate "light" rather than "heat," but since the goal of life is "light" (pleasure), and not the avoidance of "heat" (pain), I have more to add. The accompanying graphic is not a "proof" of anything. It is simply a summary of my observation, over many years, of a common thread that binds what I find to be the majority view of "Humanism" to what I find to be a popular but flawed view of Epicurus.
The text on the left is from an article that just came to my attention. It is what is often considered to be a "good" article about Epicurus. However the version of Epicurus that it promotes, I submit, is not a version that Epicurus would recognize or endorse, and not only because he would not appreciate being called a liar.
I certainly understand that many people will disagree with my commentary on the right. Everyone has to evaluate for themselves whether this pattern and connection really exists, and their own view of it.
I've been up for five hours, wending my way west from Wamsutter to Salt Lake City. Sitting at the dock now, relieved of duty for a time, and watching the morning sun light up the snow-gilt eyries between Flat Top and Farnsworth Peak, I recline a bit deeper into the chair and rest my head. Good old Utah. The bustle of industry is a faint buzz in my ears, but between my thoughts and that mountain there's nothing but morning air and sunshine. I'm aware of it now; that much-vaunted inner world. The palace of monks and poets, ascetics and philosophers.
Ne plus ultra. No more beyond; beyond that snowy eminence, nothing but blue sky. And inside, interiorly, nothing beyond the vague and scarcely intelligible patter of a mind finally at something near to rest. Is that right? I know, of course, that it isn't; that beyond that blue sky is an infinity of space and time, of worlds wheeling off into eternity. And within, the deep imperceptible currents of subconscious; the stirring…
I’m having a really hard time coming up with a character from a movie or literature who I think would be a decent depiction of Epicurean ethics, though. Can you?
JAWS has asked this question and it is a great way to come up with threads on separate books and movies.
If you have a suggestion to make, could you please start a thread in THIS forum: Discussion of Movies / Books / Artwork Posing Questions Related to Pursuit of Pleasure
Please start a thread with a title something like: "Gone With The Wind" - Scarlett O'Hara
That's simply an example and maybe not a good choice
But I think this would work best if each suggested Movie/Work/Character had a thread of their own, and we come back over time to develop each thread, rather than smash every suggestion into a single thread. We could go on and on and on with this topic on many different movies/works of art.
(As one example of a good…
Good evening, all! My name is Joshua, and I'm rather new around here. I've been an Epicurean for some few years, and I have occasionally been possessed by the notion to write a longform materialist poem in English. In my vision (forever out of reach) this would correct the two major deficiencies in Lucretius; first, the many (albeit generally trifling) mistaken scientific hypotheses in his poem. And second, the temporal disadvantage that separated him from the death pangs of pagan philosophy and the subsequent brutal intolerance of revelation.
To make a long story short, I began such a poem by degrees but soon found the rhyme and meter burdensome. I may add to it further, or start again in blank verse as time allows, but in any case I'll post it here for your perusal. I am desirous of letting it out for several reasons. For one thing, because I shall be pleased to have feedback! But I offer it as encouragement also; in the hope that some here will be pleased to know that there is a…
I have never considered Epicurean philosophy to be a form of "Humanist" philosophy any more than it is a form of Stoicism or Platonism. I haven't written extensively on this, in part because many Humanists are allies on certain important points, such as rejection of Supernatural Religion.
But I was reminded of this point today and I think it is time to start a thread on it. My position is that "Humanism" is just another "-ism" that has a goal at its center which is very different from Epicurean philosophy. It will take much citation and explanation to explain this, but let's start in this post with the frequent Humanist slogan:
"GOOD WITHOUT GOD"
That should be an immediate tipoff that feeling - pleasure and pain - are not at the center of Humanism. What's at the center is "being good." And advocacy of being a good person is always a tipoff that the person advocating that position has his or her own definition of "What a Good Person Is." And therein is the slippery…
Can I pose a question to any of our readers who might have access to knowledge about the current state of the Herculaneum texts:
Nearby, Hiram posts a link to an article he wrote about Philodemus On Music. Some of the material for his article comes (I understand) from "Les Epicurens" edited by Daniel Delattre. I have a copy of that myself, but I don't read French, so I can't read the details as to what part of the reconstruction of the text is speculative and part is firm. I see that the section on Music contains over sixty pages of small print, of which I will attach pictures of the first page below. I am also attaching a summary of a Cambridge publication which indicates that the surviving text was in poor condition.
This is a general question that has occurred to me ever since I heard of the DeLattre book, and isn't limited to this current discussion of Philodemus on Music. Can someone who is familiar with the state of academic research and DeLattre's publications enlighten…
[Edit by Cassius: This thread was started in response to my asking about Major and Minor key, which came up in the discussion of Romanze in Moll (the Romance in Minor Key" movie. I asked: Nate if you get a chance to glance at this thread: Can you explain to a non-musician like me what "minor key" is and how it is musically able to evoke sadness, as opposed to major key? I will look this up on Wikipedia but I would be interested in your comment.]
Yes! So, to dive into this, I'd like to talk about two, different, creative arenas.
First, we have an immediate phenomenology of music: what is music, and how do we experience music?
Second, we need to explore the cultural environment in which the appearance of structures like "major", and "minor" arise (because they are not, themselves, universal variables). Furthermore, I'll discuss "major" and "minor" specifically, to explain why those two structures (of many) are the most useful examples for non-musicians to regularly cite to…
This message just popped up on my Facebook Admin screen. Facebook becomes ever more oppressive with each passing day, and I continue to plot my reduction of use there, and eventual exit. This Epicureanfriends forum is the first step, but far from the last.
I rearrange the order of the following Epicurean doctrines slightly because I think 33 stands out as the "heading" for all the rest. Thirty-three immediately slaps us in the face, and from it we feel the implications of "there is no such thing as absolute justice." I submit to you that "justice" is simply one of the "virtues," and that Epicurus calls us to read ALL of these doctrines as if the word used were not "justice" but "VIRTUE." (and not "law" but "a code of virtue")
In other words, there is no absolute virtue, and each of these profound statements should be read and absorbed by us as referring to VIRTUE in general:
33. There never was such a thing as absolute justice, but only agreements made in mutual dealings among men in whatever places at various times providing against the infliction or suffering of harm.
34. Injustice is not an evil in itself, but only in consequence of the fear which is associated with the apprehension of being discovered by those appointed to…
(This is a post byElli)
I would like to point out something in the translation by Bailey in an excerpt from Epicurus' epistle to Meneoceus which says : "And again independence of desire we think a great good — not that we may at all times enjoy but a few things, but that, if we do not possess many, we may enjoy the few in the genuine persuasion that those have the sweetest enjoy luxury pleasure in luxury who least need it;" (translation found here.)
Bailey in this point of "the independence of desire" is wrong. Epicurus did not mention anywhere "independence of desire as a great good".
Epicurus in this point, he mentions the word "self-sufficiency as a great good". And "self-sufficiency" includes the desire for freedom, the desire for bravery, the desire for justice, and generosity for offering to the others in the society. Freedom, bravery, justice, and generosity produce enjoyment and pleasure of course!
Sites With Free Streaming Movies
A significant part of the benefit of a discussion of a particular movie or scenario comes from being able to have a shared experience and then discuss the details of that experience.
Sometimes that won't be possible, but one way of accomplishing this is when each person in the discussion has direct access to the movie / artwork and is able to point out particular moments for discussion. Posting a link and a time within the movie directing people to a particular scene makes it possible to discuss detailed aspects of a scenario without watching an entire movie. Of course in many cases just watching a scene will not convey the full impact, but that option makes it possible to discuss things that otherwise would be impossible if people have to watch a full two hour movie to get to a particular moment.
This ability to access particular scenes and moments is most possible on sites containing public domain movies which…
This is a new forum where you can post links to movies/books/artworks which you think pose interesting questions about how to pursue (or how not to pursue pleasure). The nature of these postings means that it probably is not realistic to expect quick replies, but a strength of the forum system is that people can find the post and reply to it months or years later. Feel free to post links to movie situations or other subjects you think are worth discussing. Please post a link to whether the artwork can be viewed if you can, and also describe the situation which you think is worthy of discussion. General posts to a particular movie won't be very helpful - please describe the scenario of interest.
Please post new suggestions in that forum -- this thread is just for announcement of the opening of the forum, and any comment you might have about that.
This is a 1943 German (no political context) movie with English subtitles, apparently based on a Guy De Maupassant love triangle story. (Edit - I have now learned, not based very closely!)
I am in a major argument with a friend, who asked me to watch this, as to with whom I should be in sympathy at the end of the movie. The question revolves around a loveless marriage - and the proper way to pursue pleasure in the context of that marriage. Even though the movie is dark, the music is interesting (presumably in minor key).
I would be very interested in any comments from anyone who views this, because all of the major characters appear to be flawed, and they can be evaluated in a variety of ways. My friend, with whom I generally agree, came to totally different conclusions as to whom we felt most in sympathy.
Link where it can be viewed for free:
Time for something dramatic... This is a
A number of good examples here how the teachings of Aristotle lend themselves to the molding of pliable young minds:
There's no need to wonder why thy teach Aristotle and not Epicurus.
Here is a continuing issue which we need to address: Orientation for people who are new to Epicurus and don't know where to start.
Here's an analogy: Someone new finds out about Epicurus and wants to learn more. They come to Epicureanfriends.com, or to Epicurean sections on Facebook, or on Reddit, or on some other online location, and they find lots of detailed information about fine points of the philosophy. They quickly get lost in all the detail and get turned off by the amount of effort needed to get a big picture perspective.
There's no way to prevent this problem from happening. If we are doing our job, new people will constantly hear about Epicurus and want to know more. Just like the atoms, at no fixed time and no fixed place, new people are going to swerve into one of our public activities, and they are not going to know where to start. And Wikipedia is not only not going to get them where they need to be, it will probably discourage them from going further.…
Over at another internet location, someone made a comment to the effect that "of the Greek philosophers, Epicurus (who advised his followers to "avoid politics") had gained the greatest political victory in the modern world."
The writer was from Cambridge England.
Here was my reply to him:
To the Poster from Cassius:
I see that you wrote that Epicurus gained the greatest political victory, and I also see that you are located in Cambridge. I've never been to England, so perhaps you can help me with a question I have. Suppose I decided to take a walk through downtown London, holding a big homemade sign that says:
1 - Yahweh, Jesus, and Allah are Mickey Mouse Gods!
2 - When you're dead, buddy, that's all she wrote, so forget heaven and hell!
3 - Your "virtue" is worthless unless it brings pleasure!
4 - Socrates was a liar, Plato was a faker, Aristotle was a wasted druggie, and Bertrand Russell was an ignorant boor!
After an afternoon walking through London with that sign, would…
This is my personal outline and interpretation of Epicurean philosophy:
On the nature of reality
1. Nature, being the physical universe consisting of matter, energy, and void, is all that exists. The supernatural does not exist.
2. There are no gods, in the traditional religious sense of supernatural beings that interact with our universe.
3. The mind is an emergent function of the physical body, most importantly the brain. When the body dies and disintegrates, so does the mind. There is no afterlife in which the mind survives the death of the body.
On the nature of knowledge
4. Nature is knowable. We observe it using our senses. And we use our mind to order these observations and integrate them into knowledge.
5. Our feelings of pleasure and pain inform us as to what is beneficial and what is detrimental to us.
6. We are born with certain innate ideas, such as a sense of justice. These form a kind of genetically transmitted knowledge which is beneficial to our life.
7. We should…