A few quotations from works on Epicurus

The laws are laid down for the sake of the wise, not to prevent them from doing “wrong , but to keep them from being wronged” (The Essential Epicurus”, by Eugene O’Connor, Great Books in Philosophy series). Happiness and blessedness do not belong to abundance of riches or exalted position or offices or power, but …

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Read Epicurus , a poem

Theypeddle fear here; They peddle fear of terrorists and sudden death; They peddle fear of rapists and angry drivers; They peddle fear of government and paying tax; Of deer ticks, butter, sugar, fat, untested drugs; Of unknown visitors and dark-skinned men; Of invasion, war and sudden death; Of gunmen holding up cashiers; Of bombs in …

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The Basics of Epicureanism

From time to time I post information on Epicureanism and what it stands for: Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 B.C. It teaches that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquillity, freedom from fear (“ataraxia”) and absence …

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Basics of Epicureanism

From time to time I post a brief description of Epicureanism, not for the benefit of the cognoscenti, but for new readers for whom Epicurus is just the name of a philosopher: Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 B.C. It teaches that the greatest good is …

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Defund the Pentagon!

“In 1997, the Department of Defense set up the 1033 program as part of the National Defense Authorization Act to provide thousands of domestic police forces with “surplus” equipment of almost every imaginable militarized kind. “Since then, thanks to your tax dollars, it has given away $7.4 billion  worth of such equipment, some of it …

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Millennials – the unluckiest generation

(A bit long, but important.  How millennials can benefit from the ideas of Epicurus) For young people leaving college since 2008 the prospects of a full-time job have been stressful, to say the least.  Now, during this crisis, more than ever. Their grand-parent’s generation enjoyed almost full employment for the majority of their working lives, …

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Epicurus and the swerve

If you haven’t read it Stephen Greenblatt’s book, “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern”, do try to find time to do so.  It a very readable.  It introduces the modern reader to the most famous of Epicurean books, de rerum natura of Lucretius.  Greenblatt’s book, which won several prestigious awards, is contentious because it pictures …

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Filling the day with ……..what?

“We are born once and cannot be born twice, but we must be no more for all time. Not being master of tomorrow, you nonetheless delay your happiness.  Life is consumed in procrastination, and each of us dies without providing leisure for himself.”     (From “The Essential Epicurus”, by Eugene O’Connor, Great Books in Philosophy …

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Epicurus and pleasure

The idea that life’s objective should be pleasure was greeted with horror by contemporaries, who believed that man’s highest calling was self-sacrifice, self-denial and worship of the Gods, and the Emperor. The early christians regarded pleasure as a form of vice. To them the pursuit of pain triumphed over the pursuit of pleasure. Bravery and …

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Meditation

There seems to be good evidence that regular sessions of mindful attention have a calming effect on the amygdala, the brain’s emotion processor, and reduce impulsive reactions to stressful or negative thoughts and experiences. Mindfulness, they say, can help mute our emotional response to physical pain, and lessen anxiety and mind-wandering (not the kind that …

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Some thoughts from Lucretius…

In the words of Lucretius:  “..we are all born from the same celestial seed;  all of us have the same father, from which the earth, the mother who feeds us, receives clear drops of rain, producing from them bright wheat and lush trees, and the human race, and the species of beasts, offering up the foods with which all …

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The hypocrisy of the Amazon-using classes

“Great abundance is heaped up as a result of brutalizing labor, but a miserable life is the result”. (The Essential Epicurus”, by Eugene O’Connor, Great Books in Philosophy series) Well, that was prescient!  What immediately comes to mind is Amazon – huge numbers of people working long hours at pitiful wages so that we can …

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A sad Epicurean event

There really are two Epicurean gardens in Greece, one in Athens and the other in Thessalonica.   I quote: The “Garden of Thessaloniki” was launched in November 2007 as a voluntary, participatory, informal  company of friends and fans of the teachings of Epicurus. Since then there have been countless meetings and open events, participations in national meetings …

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Epicureanism

Epicureanism: the chief beliefs, not necessarily in order of importance: equality of treatment and opportunity suggested by the actions of early Epicureans courtesy to all, rich and poor, child and mother politeness and consideration tolerance rejection of superstition, organised religion, man-made gods and “eternal suffering”. compassion for immigrants, the oppressed and the sick refusal to …

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A somewhat long, but hopefully useful, philosophy crib list

Pre-Socratics (6th-5th cent BC)  Interested in the natural world           –Thales: 1st philosopher; “everything comes from water”             –Anaximander:  “Our world is one of many and what comes before and after all created things is boundless.”              –Parmenides:  “Everything that exists has always existed and nothing changes.”  He was the first …

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Epicureanism then and now

Brian Dougall, in The Hobo Test, his 2013 critique of Epicureanism, published in Philosophy Now, began by explaining what Epicurus meant  by pleasure and then went on to explain what Epicurus meant by a “good. life” . He wrote that easily- accessible pleasures in the era of Epicurus included water, fruit, a comfortable hammock, a simple …

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Labour exploitation

“Great abundance is heaped up as a result of brutalizing labour, but a miserable life is the result”.  (p.100, “The Essential Epicurus”, translated by Eugene O’Connor, Great Books in Philosophy series) The employment practices of Big Business, the outsourcing and the indifference of politicians have led the the highest suicide rate per thousand in the …

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Eton going Epicurean?

Eton College is adding gratitude, kindness and empathy coaching to its curriculum to build its pupils’ “character”. Following a review into what values Eton should be promoting, boys at the £40,700-a-year school are being taught to take a moment each day to acknowledge how others have helped them and what they have to be grateful …

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Five things you shouldn’t do

Don’t smoke The Hisayama Study, an ongoing investigation of a suburban Japanese community, has found that smoking in mid to late life not only raises the risk of lung cancer, but also ups the chance of developing dementia. Smokers who quit, even in their 40s or 50s, didn’t see the same rise in risk. Don’t …

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