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  • Thanks for the detailed commentary. I've been thinking about this recently too, and incorporating some of the imagery in several graphics more as a discussion starter than anything else. As you know LD from my prior posting, I am one who takes the position that Epicurus was serious about "gods" as he defined them existing. But for the moment that is not the part on which I would like to focus. The reason I am comfortable incorporating Greek imagery into my graphics is that regardless of the "re…
  • LD let me ask you that question I am discussing -- If you were trying to visualize the highest and best life you could live, what kind of imagery would you visualize? I think this is a good question for anyone studying Epicurus. The Epicurean world is real - it's this one, between birth and death - and whatever goal we set for ourselves also has to be real, and therefore should be something we can visualize.
  • (Quote from elli)Yes, I do too. I think this is a very important subject to discuss. Aside from Epicurus' statement that "gods" exist, what is more primary about how we discuss anything than "that which has no sensation is nothing to us" as part of PD2? If a subject cannot be considered in terms of sensations, then it seems to me that the subject can have no relevance at all. Which means to me that if the subject of the best and highest life cannot be considered in terms of sensations that are …
  • I want to think more about this before I go too much further. At this moment I am acutely reminded that I am not an Epicurean god because I think I have an allergy attack going on, and when my mind is not clear I cannot receive those clear images as data from which to discuss this! Unless you purge your mind of such conceits, and banish them your breast, and forebear to think unworthily of the gods, by charging them with things that break their peace, those sacred deities you will believe are a…
  • Ok I am feeling a little better and just read the most recent posts. I don't think any of us think that many of the details of the stories of the gods acting childishly are relevant or useful, other than maybe at most in the way that various stories in the Bible (David / Bathsheba?) add depth to the full story. But it does seem clear to me that (1)Epicurus thought that healthy aspirational images of living deathlessly and pleasurably and without pain can come from the gods, regardless of whethe…
  • Right now if I knew a young person who was confused and wanted a model of what it would mean to be an Epicurean I would be at a loss to draw such a picture. I might refer them to read "A Few Days In Athens" and of course if they were old enough I might suggest the DeWitt book, but those are not adequate to provide the vision necessary to convey the full picture. I don't know if Nate would be interested in commenting here but this is related to the artistry of being able to capture the essence i…
  • I need to update and reformat this list, but when I worked before on listing the known Epicureans of the ancient world this is the list I came up with: (So perhaps if we are looking for people to image this is a good place to start) https://newepicurean.com/resources/honor-roll-of-epicureans/
  • Name Period Status Verification Source Comments Epicurus 300 BC Self-Evident Metrodorus Avowed Epicurean Diogenes Laertius Hermarchus Avowed Epicurean Diogenes Laertius Polyaenas Avowed Epicurean Diogenes Laertius Philonides of Laodicea 200-130 BC Avowed Epicurean Life of Philonides from Herculaneum Court Philosopher of Antiochus IV Epiphanes Philonides of Laodicea 200-130 BC Avowed Epicurean Life of Philonides from Herculaneum Court Philosopher of Antiochus IV Epiphanes Titus Lucretius Carus 5…
  • (Quote from Laughing Democritus) I don't really disagree with that wording, but I think part of the issue we are talking about is whether the description is purely philosophical / conceptual, or whether it includes the actual references to the material in "On the Nature of the Gods," Lucretius' poem, etc. An Epicurean deity to an ancient Greco-Roman Epicurean would presumably not look exactly like a Hindu version or an African version or an Asian version, but similar characteristics could be em…
  • And of course in this discussion we also have to consider the specific phrase "gods among men," and the serious or semi-serious or allegorical references to Epicurus himself as a god, for which reason you could presumably have idealized but recognizable figures of men and women serving as examples of "gods among men." In fact what we may be talking about here is visualizing "gods among men" as much as visualizing "gods" themselves." And it may also be relevant to consider the relationship of th…
  • Yes I agree Nate ---> (Quote from Nate)Yes especially since the word "ideal" indicates something that does not exist. We are talking even in Epicurean terms about beings that exist, even as "gods among men" exist. I think our first and maybe best shot is as you indicate, depicting images of people who are outstandingly successful in the important areas of life. For some reason Sean Connery as James Bond kind of exemplifies (in my mind) as the ultimate "spy." I think we're talking about depictin…
  • Ha! I bet you expect I will object to that Matthaeus! First, unless I misunderstand what you are saying (possible, as I am reading during a class) you are advocating the stoic model of "nature as deity." I feel sure Epicurus would object to that, because he believed he had established real living intelligent beings with deathlessness and blissfulness, first of all. Second, I think it is the wrong direction even to discuss "idealized deities" with the emphasis on the "idealized" as the problem. …
  • Yes, welcome Clive to the discussion and to the forum!
  • (Quote from Oscar)I bet you will get your wish, Oscar!
  • It's a never ending topic that for sure. All of these points are questions for debate; Quote: "The issue is that Epicurus himself posits that the gods are in fact real." I have definitely seen the points where Epicurus says that gods exist, but never have I seen a specific statement that Zeus or Apollo or any other SPECIFIC god existed in the way that the other greeks held them to exist . (Quote from Matthaeus)Of course in addition to the observation that most of the works are lost, we do have …
  • My views are probably clear in other places, Clive, but to summarize here I take the position that Epicurus was absolutely serious that in an infinite and eternal universe full of life there are going to be beings which are perfectly happy and don't die. That really is a highly likely and reasonable conclusion of the fundamental premises about life in the universe. But that also really has nothing necessarily to do omipotence, or omniscience, or with Zeus and Athena running around creating havoc…
  • (Quote from Matthaeus)I fully agree with that. Everyone who studies Epicurus needs to study this aspect of his thought, just as much as his thought on the size of the sun, which shows his approach. (Quote from Matthaeus)I think this is the heart of the dispute - the meaning and implications of the word "evidence." Maybe because of my legal occupation, I am fully comfortable with the idea that circumstantial evidence is fully as admissible in considering difficult issues as is "direct" evidence.…
  • At the risk of getting too basic, I think one of the many issues that Epicurus was concerned about was the evidence implications of "Life exists only on earth." Much like "The earth is the center of the universe," if either or both of those are true, then there is clearly something special about the earth, and that something special would imply a supernatural explanation. I therefore think that it was important to Epicurus to make the obvious point that there is never only one thing of a kind h…
  • Mattheus not to try to pin you down for the sake of pinning you down, but it might help the flow of the conversation if we all understood what you personally think is the most compelling argument on the ultimate issues. Can you give that in condensed form?