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  • (Quote from Susan Hill) Yes I have always thought that "feeling affiliated with a group" is an important enjoyable experience that we're lacking in, and need to work to cultivate. (Quote from Susan Hill) Ok that's the profound issue with lots of ramifications. It can easily lead to a "supernatural creator" argument that would be irreconcilable with Epicurean physics on the nature of the universe, and yet it is clear the Epicureans saw a feeling of "reverence" to be a very legitimate part of thei…
  • (Quote from Susan Hill) I agree with you, but this is one of apparently many situations where Epicurean definitions may depart from common usage. In this case, if "divine" does not equal supernatural, we probably need to be aggressive in articulating what it does mean. But does this definition really help anything or is it just circular?
  • Along the lines of noting that "supremely good" may be circular and unhelpful, let me observe this: (Quote from Susan Hill) For the same reason "supremely good" doesn't advance the ball much, the words "bigger" and "more profound" also need further definition / articulation.
  • (Quote from Elayne) YES I think that is a very key point! Awe is something we find agreeable, anything we find agreeable is a pleasure, so awe still fits within the context of "pleasure as the ultimate good." At least that's the way I think we're all using the word "awe."
  • (Quote from Cassius) I can imagine that someone might object and saying we're playing a word game with "pleasure" here, and that we are being inconsistent because we aren't supposed to like or approve of word games. I think Epicurus's response would be to say that ultimately this particular observation is not an endless serious of word reductionism, but in this case "pleasure" reduces to a "feeling" which is primary and which cannot be second-guessed and must be accepted as a foundational premis…
  • I think "pigs" were an intentional "in your face" argument to take things to the logical extreme, which is, in fact, following our "word game" that "pleasure" is the ultimate good, and that there is no universal sanction for contending that one person's pleasure is "better" than another's. We all have our private views about that, and we think our own feeling of pleasure is superior, but ultimately there is no "universal" justification for that view.
  • This last issue of relative estimations of pleasure deserves a lot more articulation. Elayne, when you get a chance, I want to be sure to hear your view... Because in my view this is one of the key issues. I am ready to say that each of us is totally proper in considering OUR version of pleasure (meaning, each person's pleasure, for that person) to be exactly what each person is called by nature to pursue, under all the Epicurean rules. At the same time, that does not lead me to the total relati…
  • (Quote from Elayne) That's another way of saying the same thing that seems to important to stress. The "definition" of pleasure that is current today is far too narrow, and because we play the game with the public definition of "pleasure" being so narrow, it is hard even to communicate the full extent of Epicurean theory until that is made clear.
  • Don't let me derail the current direction of the discussion, but I finally took the time to find this quote, which appears relevant. Of course Nietzsche is full of all sorts of trouble and ambiguities, but his interest in Epicurus, and his strong denunciation of stoicism and standards of absolute virtue, means to me that Nietzsche's line of thinking as to REVERENCE probably has relevance to our discussion: http://nietzsche.holtof.com/re…-287-quote_f5535481a.html I am curious as to your reaction …
  • I don't want to turn this into a Nietzsche tangent, but this sentence sounds like a workable implementation of his "will to power" which superceded the will to "self-preservation." Maybe that can or should be generalized to "Will to pleasure." Regardless of Nietzsche, it will be a frequent question as to how the Epicurean view relates to "self--preservation." It is necessary to have an explanation of why "self-preservation" is not the Epicurean goal, which would include as a primary example the …
  • "Why we evolved awe would be an interesting evolutionary biology question-- does it serve some sort of fitness function? " And related to that would be why or how we evolved pleasure and pain (?) We'd need to incorporate that part of Lucretius that discusses how eyes were not born so we could see, etc. That passage has always been mysterious to me, along with the observation that the gods could not have created the universe because they would have had no pattern.
  • Elayne and @Susan Hill - This last string of posts on reverence and awe and Neitz. Etc. is probably too good, and not requiring of confidentiality, to leave in this nonpublic thread. Ok with you if I "prune" out these into a public thread in one of the other forums? At the same time we can continue this thread with focus on the personal observations about stoics part of the conversation. Before I do that, though, let me know by replying or liking this post. I just looked back and I would prune …
  • i tried to do the move on my phone and it looks like I have messed things up and there are some other posts at the top I need to clean up. Will do that within an hour or two when I get to my desk. In the meantime please feel free to continue and add to the thread - it will be relatively simple to clean up the beginning.
  • There's a lot of complexity in that last exchange that I don't really have an immediate comment on. However on this part: (Quote from Susan Hill) I guess saying "he was not an atheist" requires that we be clear that "atheism" as understood today requires a supernatural element, and that we be clear that Epicurean gods were not supernatural. How do we find a more compact way of explaining this without always raising detailed caveats that are too unwieldy for common conversation? Because if we don…
  • Ok we need some input from Godfrey, Don, and Charles , though by listing those I am not by any means looking to exclude anyone else's comment. I am in particular thinking that there are many text references in Lucretius, one of which we touched on briefly in the podcast today, which can be read substantially along the direction Susan is going, which always strictly conforming to the limitations that Elayne is stressing. I am particularly thinking too that we ought to systematically go through so…
  • Susan made her last post while I was posting mine. I'm myself going to refrain from simply "liking" each post in this chain as that would end up being meaningless as there is a lot of complexity being discussed. I am hoping Susan can help us focus on particular passages that seem especially relevant to the direction she is thinking so that we can evaluate them.
  • in what I pasted above let me clarify this: I am not sure it is as clear as it should be that DeWitt was referring to Christians / non-Epicureans who "discovered" spiritual beings. It's probably a good observation that the Christians may have been spurred to this in reacting to Epicurus, but as he seems to do he's jumping back and forth.
  • Just to interject this again here for people reading along: (Quote) So in that context we have to answer this question: (Quote from Susan Hill)
  • (Quote from Susan Hill) I think I may have previously commented on this but I strongly think this is the best way to proceed. There are many questions to which the standard answers are not very satisfying, such as "What was Lucretius doing in his opening hymn to Venus in book one?" Was it totally, primarily, secondarily, or not at all a part of his "rimming the cup with honey" just to make a connection with people who followed the standard religion? I think it's important to have a position on t…
  • Just so we don't forget the Star Trek analogies, I also want to interject that I have never felt that the Epicurean position of "no supernatural gods" rules out all sorts of other phenoma, whether it's "ESP" or whatever. The test of whether something is real is whether it is real - whether it is testable and verifiable. As I see it, the formula Epicurus was advocating meets the Platonic/Stoic/Etc position at the very highest level -- there is no supernatural power OVER THE UNIVERSE. In that sens…