***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREANISM – 6/28/2014***

**This is the sixty-first in a series of weekly updates with news from the world of Epicureanism. Our home base for discussion of Epicurean philosophy is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com. Please consider joining us on the Facebook forum so your facebook feed will be updated with the most recent postings.

Before we cover the posts of the week in order, let me turn to a discussion we had at the end of the week about what readers of the “Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group” would like to read more about. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/686549288060701/

Among the most popular suggestions were:

– What people do in their everyday lives that feel promotes a good lifestyle;

– Real life application of epicurean philosophy as it relates to the present age;

– Discussion of where modern Epicureans stand on politics;

– Common pitfalls;

– How Epicureans speak about Epicurean philosophy to relatives, friends, people they meet or colleagues at jobs, with discussion of and experiences and examples how do Epicureans affect (positively or negatively) the lives of other;

– Discussion of insights on celebrating the 20th, practicing meditation, issues around discerning between true/false friendship and other teachings.

– Techniques for practicing Epicurean approaches and attitudes until they become habit (for those of us who are disposed to it, including “chants” plus more conventional Epicurean methods such as displaying portraits of Epicurus such as the ancients used on rings and cups).

– Ways to pursue a ‘back to basics’ look at the fundamental teachings, for those who are new to the subject (and reminder for those who have been around).

– Ways to engage with the local community.

This is a great list and I will post it as a file in the Group to refer to in the future. Let’s continue to discuss how we can pursue these leads.

** We had some great posts this week, and one I’d like to highlight is Hiram’s “The Epicurean Way – Rediscoverying the good and Meaningful Life Through Work.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/685800738135556/ This was an excellent article that Hiram published on Occupy.com, and it sparked a good discussion on our board. Hiram has really been working hard lately since the completion and issuance of his book; he’s a great example of what can be done to spread the word about Epicurus to new people.

**This past week I posted a lengthy article myself on the relationship between Epicureanism and Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/684143624967934/ Thanks to the kind of networking that really makes facebook useful, one of our friends in the group pointed me to a ten year old article entitled “Objectivist Egoism v. Epicurean Hedonism” which tracked along my observations nicely. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/685301904852106/ There are many significant differences between Epicureanism and Objectivism, not the least of which is that Rand based her views on Aristotle. But it is also true that many of the people attracted to objectivism are good candidates for being interested in Epicurus, and I am convinced that those who study the differences with an open mind can readily see the superiority of Epicureanism over a warmed-over update of the views of Aristotle.
** Tom posted a link to an excellent article entitled “Fraternity, Subversion, Pigs, and Asparagus” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/684900831558880/ I am still waiting for the confirmation of the statement on Epicureans and asparagus!!

** Hiram found a link on “the Lucian of Samosata Project.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/685078794874417/ I hold Lucian in VERY high regard as an underappreciated Epicurean writer, so be sure to check out that site if you are not familiar with it.

** Tom (aka Mr. Curmudgeon), who exels at being curmudgeonly, found a good article: “In Defense of Being Average” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/685429208172709/

** Hiram found an article about a word that has some promise for us: “Eupraxsophy” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/686350864747210/

** Continuing in his efforts to excel at being average, Tom found some soul-mates in Denmark, where “”The whole idea of ambition is embarrassing….” : https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/686029794779317/

**Tom posted an interesting question about the meaning of ataraxia: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/686372331411730/

**Departing from excelling at being average, Tom found more dangerous water on which to tread: “How Supportive Parenting Protects the Brain.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/686278858087744/

** I believe someone tipped me to this link but I have forgotten who to credit: “Physicists Should Stop Saying Silly Things About Philosophy” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/685785721470391/

** Hiram posted to a TED talk by Jon Jandai that looks very good and received Stefan’s endorsement: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/686431271405836/

** For those who want to dabble in chanting (and I know at least one who does *NOT* ;-), Brian posted a sample of his reading from Lucretius. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=285197574993391

** To round up the week as of press time, Helen S. started a new discussion on books to read. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/687245311324432/ I think we got some good suggestions, but I have to say again, that I continue to worry about our Australian / NZ friends and how they manage to get around walking upside down….

** In closing, please thing about the list of topics at the top of this post. Facebook and other internet vehicles give us many good options, at little if any cost, and all it takes is for us to exert the energy. Making new friends and sharing good times is worth it, so to adapt a military cliche, please don’t wait for assignments from anyone else – ride to the sound of the opportunity!

I apologize if I missed anyone or anything. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ or hop around the internet word of Epicureanism by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
PEACE AND SAFETY!
Cassius Amicus

***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREANISM – 6/21/2014***

**This is the sixtieth in a series of weekly updates with news from the world of Epicureanism. Our home base for discussion of Epicurean philosophy is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com. Please consider joining us on the Facebook forum so your facebook feed will be updated with the most recent postings.
** Tonight I have been working feverishly on a lengthy new post that I will release at some point later this weekend. The working title: Objectivism: The “Worst and Most Dangerous” Philosophy in America. 😉

** I can’t express my appreciation enough for all the participation in the Facebook forum this week. We’ve had numerous new members and very good discussion on many substantive topics. We’ve seen the release of Hiram Crespo’s new book (“Tending the Epicurean Garden” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/678588392190124/ ) and I really sense that we have significant momentum toward making the forum much more useful.

** Agamemnon Kotsifis started the week with a post on Greek philosophic attitudes toward suicide: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/680478038667826/

** As the week wore on we had some signficant discussion and development on forum structure. I posted on “Civility” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/681125731936390/ and to the excellent article on “Frank Criticism” from the surviving texts of Philodemus. We also updated the “About” section this week. I don’t seem to be able to generate a direct link, but you can click on “About” on the right side. Try this: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/682533401795623/ The main thrust of the change was to emphasize to casual participants that we have no litmus test philosophical requirements other than a sincere interest in discussing Epicureanism. At the same time, the new about section lists a number of core tenets of Epicureanism that new readers often find to be new to them, and posting them here gives us a chance to acquaint everyone with some of the core ideas. In the end, in my view, our rules really don’t amount to much more than “This is a forum for all things related to Ford Mustangs. If you wish to discuss Chevy Camaros, or talk incessantly about how Camaros are superior to Mustangs, there’s another forum for that.” 😉

**We had several discussions this week revolving around reading material. Panagiotis A. started a discussion about reading lists https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/681743368541293/ and Hiram mentioned both “Exploring the Way of Epicurus” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/681741251874838/ and “Epicurus and His Gods” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/683840098331620/

**Hiram also included a new installment of his “Reasonings about Philodemus’ “On Piety” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/681352301913733/ which has been an excellent series.

** I started a discussion about the loss of Davey L’s cat and how it led me to think of a funeral oration for use at my funeral 😉 https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/681971408518489/

** If you check out one thread this week, I highly suggest the one started by Alisa D. with the quote from Nietzsche’s “Gay Science” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/681620458553584/ This prompted a lengthy discussion about Hellenism and tragedy, and if you’ve not considered these topics I strongly suggest you glance at the thread. Lots of excellent input from Elli P. on Hellenism.

**Agamemnon K. posted a good link to an article in Philosophy Now about an imaginary exchange between Socrates and Epicurus: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/682886208427009/

** This week was the Twentieth of June, and on that day I posted http://newepicurean.com/peace-and-safety-for-your-twentieth-of-june-on-the-futility-of-argument/ with several good excerpts from “A Few Days In Athens” about the nature of Arguments and how to approach them constructively. Hiram helped me out by posting that to twitter as a hashtag #humanism and we had a good discussion about the merits of doing that https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/683523768363253/

** For now I need to get back to work and polish off my next post. I apologize if I missed anyone or anything. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ or hop around the internet word of Epicureanism by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
PEACE AND SAFETY!
Cassius Amicus

***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREANISM – 6/14/2014***

**This is the fifty-ninth in a series of weekly updates with news from the world of Epicureanism. Our home base for discussion of Epicurean philosophy is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ and copies of these posts are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com. Please consider joining us on the Facebook forum so your facebook feed will be updated with the most recent postings.
** Lots of good discussion on the forum this week. First, however, let me call your attention to Hiram Crespo’s new book “Tending the Epicurean Garden” which he announced here https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/678588392190124/ . The book is available on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Tending-Epicurean-Garden-Hiram-Crespo/dp/0931779537/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402512719&sr=8-1&keywords=tending+epicurean+garden+hiram+crespo From the “More about the Author” section: ” Hiram Crespo was born in New York to Puerto Rican parents and currently resides in Chicago. He recently graduated with high honors from a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Northeastern Illinois University, with concentrations in Mass Media and French. He’s a philosopher, multilingual author, and the founder of the Society of Friends of Epicurus. His book Tending the Epicurean Garden is an introduction to Epicurean philosophy for a contemporary audience. In his goodreads profile, he cites among the reasons why this work is needed the lack of introductions to Epicureanism “on its own terms” rather than from direct or hostile sources, as well as the huge body of interdisciplinary research that vindicates the teachings of Epicurus, which calls for an update to how they’re presented. Hiram is currently working on the Spanish translation of his book.” I have not yet had an opportunity to read Hiram’s book, but I am very much looking forward to it, and I will certainly post commentary in the future. Hiram has become a dynamo of Epicureanism in the time since he founded the Society of Epicurus, and his efforts are really an inspiration to show what someone who is interested in ideas can do.
**This week we welcomed to the forum someone I am particularly pleased to have with us – Evan Der Millner https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/677361272312836/ He’s a world traveler so I’m not sure what to list as his home country, but one thing I do know from personal experience about Evan is that he is the host of some of the best and most comprehensive “self-taught” courses on learning Latin on the internet. I used to listen to his podcasts some ten years ago, so I am very pleased to have someone so familiar with the Latin language with us. Evan posted on the Thomas Creech version of Lucretius, and I collected at that same link a number of links to Evan’s pages. I hope you’ll choose to visit them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/677361272312836/

**Evan’s appearance put me in a Latin mood, so I posted a link to a “punk rock version” of a poem by Catullus. Not sure why this tune has stuck with me but after first hearing it I’ve never really gotten it out of mind. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/677530658962564/

**Evan also posted an interesting link on the possibility that “brain noise” might be the root of free will in a way similar to that which Epicurus predicted. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/677526945629602/

**In another post by Evan, I was particularly pleased to learn of an author/book which I had never come across: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/677744675607829/ Evan’s mention was the first I had ever heard of “Isaac Cardozo’s Philosophia Libera (1673), [which] apparently [did] for Judaism what Pierre Gassendi attempted to do for Christianity [as] an attempt to reconcile Jewish theology with Democritean atomism.”

**Agamemnon Koftis posted a link about Anton LaVey’s ” Church of Satan.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/677745402274423/ This is also something I learned about for the first time over the last year or so through members of the forum. I point that out not to highlight my ignorance but to reinforce what a great asset Facebook is for networking information that may be new to many of us.

**My “geography survey” from last week continued to get new comments, so I will link to that one more time: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/676457975736499/ Ah that reminds me that I promised to start off an example round of “My Life and Why I am Here” posts. I failed to do that this week and I have no excuse, other than to say that this time I have only good distractions to cite – the week was busy both in life and on the forum. I will get back that project this week!

**Once again Elli P. showed why she is one of our most inspirational participants. I’ve never seen this very simple graphic but it’s excellent, and a reminder of so many important (if melancholy) things: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203649606903778&set=gm.679182945464002&type=1

**Then finally to end the week, Mikha’el O. started a discussion I thought was particularly good. With the few words “Contemporary Epicureans, what say you about the soul and its end” Mikha’el started an excellent thread on a crucially important topic. I apologize if I got carried away in response 😉 I ended up citing the letter to Herodotus in my reply, and one thing I will add here that I did not state in the thread was this: As you study Epicurus be sure not to slight the letter to Herodotus and the letter to Pythocles. I know we all like to read the letter to Menoeceus, and we have a tendency when we start the letter to Herodotus to think “Oh this is about atoms and void and I really don’t need to know this.” There, my friends, you would be wrong. Remember that the letter to Herodotus (and also the letter to Pythocles) were not intended as advanced material for advanced students. These were written as summaries of BASIC doctrine that all Epicureans were expected to know and to remember, even as they studied more deeply into the details. And although it is true that physics and astronomy are the major topics, for Epicurus there was no split between mind and body or theory and practice. All theory was presented as the practical means of pursuing happiness, and you can bet that Epicurus would not have included a topic in these letters if he did not think it was important. I urge you to put aside your detailed modern physics and realize what he was writing here: Epicurus never saw a molecule or atom through an electron microscope; he never saw the sun through a telescope; instead what we have here in these letters is a logical process that addesses at “procedure” level how we should approach not only physics but life itself. Epicurus was writing in a philosophical context where he was combatting not only the idealism of Plato, but also the rationalism of Aristotle and the skepticism of Pyrrho. It was not enough for Epicurus; it was not his style; to say something as if you were expected to take it on authority. If you will read closely you will see that Epicurus is not only teaching about atoms and void; he is attacking Platonic idealism by showing that only atoms and void exist, and not ideal forms. Epicurus is not only teaching you how to analyze reality and how to think by comparing those things you don’t understand to those you do, all the while never confusing what is certain from what is uncertain. He isn’t telling you *just* these things, he is showing you how attempts to “reason” through things without constant reference to reality leads to Aristotelian rationalism and fatal error. And when Epicurus tells you the nature of the elemental properties, but also describes their appearances and qualities that arise from combinations, he is not talking to you solely about “images,” but he is giving you the foundation for understanding that it IS possible to attain truth in areas where the evidence allows it, in contrast to total Pyrrhonian skepticism. It is true that you must read between the lines, and think about the context in which Epicurus was writing, but the rewards are great!

**That’s it for the week! I apologize if I missed anyone or anything. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ or hop around the internet word of Epicureanism by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
PEACE AND SAFETY!
Cassius Amicus

***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREANISM – 6/7/2014***

ThisWeekInEpicureanism**This is the fifty-eighth in a series of weekly updates with news from the world of Epicureanism. Our home base for discussion of Epicurean philosophy is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ and copies of these posts are stored at http://www.epicurus.englishboards.com/t19-this-week-in-epicureanism and EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com. Please consider joining us on the Facebook forum so your facebook feed will be updated with the most recent postings.
** This has been a particularly good week on the forum, and I think we’ve ended the week on a high note with new participants and ideas for making things better. Let me recap where I think we are in the “online world of Epicureanism”:
** First let me say where I think we’re NOT. We’re *not* working on building a cult; we’re *not* trying to be creepy and obsessive about ancient history; we’re *not* trying to take the place of a professional academic study group where we show off our knowledge of trivia; we’re *not* looking to provide a home for everyone in the world who knows how to spell the word “philosophy.” As I see it we are ordinary people of good will who understand that happy living requires a framework of thinking. Although we’ve each started from any number of different perspectives, we’ve independently come to think that Epicurus had some particularly insightful things to say, and we’d like to learn more about his views as they might help us in living our own lives.
**There are a number of conversation lists in which one can discuss Epicurus on the internet. One that immediately comes to mind is here: http://www.epicurus.net/en/epl.html I don’t participate in that one as much as I would like, but it is available and contains some very good people. It is, however, built on the old model of a “list-serve,” so it is based on traditional email.
**Facebook is something of a brave new world. It provides amazing opportunities, along with a number of hazards and dangers. As we are a philosophy known to be identified with the phrase “live unknown,” we certainly want to be careful in how we go about spreading our names and faces across the world at large. I like to point out, however, that we don’t have the context for “live unknown” to evaluate its limitations, and it’s obvious that even Epicurus himself did not let the desire for privacy get in the way of conducting an outreach campaign to friends across the world.
** Our current “Epicurean Philosophy” facebook group is “open” – which means that anyone can see what we post. I need not remind most of you that there are controversial aspects to Epicureanism, so I suggest that people be circumspect in what they post and how they identify themselves in an open group like this. Perhaps in the future we can add a “closed/private” group as an adjunct to this one, but for now we need to keep in mind that there are few if any filters on who can choose to read what we write.
**I think we have a consensus that our present group is, and will always be, a place for light and happy discussion; a place to come into contact with others from across the world who share our similar interests; and not a place for bitterness or strife or unpleasantness of any kind. We have two good moderators here (three if you want to count me) and they’ve established a track record of good judgment and interest in our topic that we can count on to keep the group on an even keel. Continue reading