How we should treat others – a seasonal exhortation

I suggest that anyone who is reasonably self-aware and seeking to follow in the footsteps of Epicurus should ask whether they have the following personal characteristics which I think are important for humanity.  We might think of them as areas to work on for the New Year where instinct tells them they are a bit weak.  (This list is not in any particular order of priority.  If you want priority work one out for yourself):




Generosity when you can be generous

Kindness to others in distress

Thoughtfulness towards all

Respect for everyone, regardless of age, race and gender

Consideration for the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged

The treatment of money as a necessity not as a sort of god

Courtesy to others at all times


Politeness in public

Patience with the young, old and the less articulate

Lack of boastfulness (a little self-deprecation is charming).

Lastly, a sense of humor, please.  The world looks at philosophers and sometimes finds them, well, wordy.  In any case there isn’t enough humor in life.

As church attendance falls (and at least one religion discredits itself) and children are no longer taught manners and proper human conduct like they used to be;  and vulgarity and cruelty mushroom on the web, maybe there is an opportunity for Epicureans to position themselves as a small but decent group in society, setting an example.

Epicurus did not leave such a list for posterity, but he did live  in accordance with the qualities listed above.  Indeed, maybe in his days, exhorting people to live with integrity, respect etc may have been regarded as too obvious to mention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.