***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREANISM – 8/2/2014***

**This is the sixty-sixth 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.
**As of tonight, our participant total has grown to 282. Last week this time we were 226. Welcome to all the new participants!
**We’ve had such a busy week that I can’t even find last week’s update on line to decide where to pick up. Again I will have to go with the highlights:

**Probably the most important developments of the week revolved around a new look for the Facebook group and associated discussions about the direction we should go. The former closeup of the Pompeiian “monkey-skull” mosaic was retired from use for the moment, and none too soon for some who thought he was rather ghoulish. Ghoulish or not, that toothy smile provided much opportunity and reminder to discuss the second most important Principal Doctrine (“Death is nothing to us”). There’s a time and place for everything, however, and we’ve changed the mood this week. The threads this week contain several new graphics that might be of use to fans of Epicurus as computer or cell phone desktop backgrounds, and we encourage you to use any of the graphics we post in any way you see fit. The week included a copy of the “Dancing Tetrapharmakon” (aptly named as the dancers were essentially medicine capsules), as well as two versions of a graphic superimposed over the replica of the Villa of the Papyri. The images on those required more than a little explanation, but since one of our objectives is education, that wasn’t so bad, was it? At any rate, we have ended the week on a compromise hopefully suitable to all for at least a while — a full statement of the tetrapharmakon as illustated by our most adorable mascots, the “piglets.” If nothing else, all our group members should now be aware of the numerous real-life associations between Epicurean philosophy and one of Nature’s creature’s that is most unstoppable in its devotion to pleasure and its willingness to ignore “authority”- the pig. Just as over two thousand years ago, if you find the piglet offensive, offputting, or not serious enough to be associated with a philosophy — the best advice is for you to “get a life” and “get a sense of humor!” Links are here (to the final version): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204010908536093&set=oa.702064106509219&type=1
Here (to the Villa versions): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=803850166313791&set=gm.701217213260575&type=1 and https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=802885423076932&set=gm.700376136678016&type=1 and
here: to the dancing tetrapharmakon: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=803839456314862&set=gm.701206979928265&type=1
** All of these should be downloadable in our “photos” section here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/photos/

**Also of importance this week (and probably more important, actually) was that the group “About” statement was updated, along with a “pinned post” with initial information for newcomers. Please take the time to review these when you get a chancce. We’ve already had some discussion about possible revisions of some of these, which is welcome. There are many considerations that go into both of these statements, so if you have questions or comments please give your input to the discussion that has already started. There is no way to satisfy everyone, but we’ll do our best to accomodate within the limits of the purpose of the group. We don’t have a “constitution” or a set of rules beyond what is in these two documents, and we’re not likely to have any. This is FACEBOOK, and it could easily be here-today-gone-tomorrow. Also it is very easy for us to segment the group down into new groups as necessary, and that might eventually be the best answer for those who are more “generalists” rather than being more detail-oriented about the actual teachings of Epicurus. The ABOUT statement is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/700668726648757/

**We also had quite a discussion about whether the group should be “open” or “closed” – the key difference being whether people outside the group who happen by can read the posts, or whether they have to “join” first. We’ve decided for at least the time being to remain “open,” as we like the benefits of other seeing our discussions. We happen to believe that the wisdom of Epicurus and good will to all is a message that is helpful to most everyone. On the other hand, we will continue to urge participants not to post personal information, and be careful with how they conduct themselves. We have participants from all across the world, and customs and attitudes vary widely. As time goes by and we gain more activity, we’ll probably develop other groups that are closed to deal with any special confidentiality issues. In the meantime, being “closed” is probably more of an appearance of safety than actual safety. It is up to you as a participant on Facebook to use good judgment about how and with whom you interact. The open/closed thread discussion is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/701624613219835/

**I am gratified to have gotten some good responses to my post entitled “How Do I Most Quickly Learn the Basics of Epicurean Philosophy.” It contains my thoughts on an initial reading list as discussed here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/701450099903953/

** Hiram pointed out an “Epicurean Books” section on Goodreads: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/700891066626523/

**In a post I PARTICULARLY appreciated, one of our members who has a Greek name I can’t type here posted information about a Roman period epitaph featuring reference to a “Joyously Living Epicurean chorus.” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=301632220016593&set=gm.701258679923095&type=1 The original post is here, and my blog version to be sure it is findable in the future is here: http://newepicurean.com/keeping-watch-with-the-epicurean-chorus-happily-thriving-and-alive-with-joy/

**Elli posted a graphic with a saying of Metrodorus https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203998552227193&set=gm.701274786588151&type=1 and an illustration of Vatican Saying 14: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203998401063414&set=gm.701265713255725&type=1&theater

**Elli posted a link to a memorial in Greece for Themistocles, which brings to mind the passage of Menander comparing the two “sons of Neocles” – Menander’s famous phrase was a remark on how Themistocles saved his people from slavery while Epicurus saved them from stupidity. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/700753386640291/

** Tom posted a link to a discussion about death that got good conversation going: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/698839823498314/

**I posted a link to a paper on Epicurean logic, which is essentially a summary of the message of Philodemus’ “On Methods of Inference” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/700700776645552/

**I also posted a link to a paper entitled “Chance and Natural Law in Epicureanism.” This is a technical subject but it is a well-written paper that explains a persuasive theory on the place of the swerve in Epicurean philosophy and how it establishes the basis of “free will” without blowing up the eternal nature and predictability of the elements and their combinations in nature. If you are interested in the concepts of “Fate,” Deteminism,” “Chance,” etc, and how they interact with “Natural Law, “this is one article you’ll want to file away and read: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/702081563174140/

**I posted a link to an unfortunately brief review of Hiram Crespo’s excellent new book “Tending the Epicurean Garden” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/700414733340823/

**Hiram posted to “Lucian’s Sale of Lives” dialogue. The website where this resides has most all of Lucian’s dialogues, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. They have both excellent entertainment value and great intellectual content. They come down to us certified with the point of view of a man who praised Epicurus as “that great man whose holiness and divinity of nature were not shams, who alone had and imparted true insight into the good, and who brought deliverance to all that consorted with him.” Don’t miss these at some point in your recommended reading, along with my personal favorite “Hermotimus” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/701627986552831/

**And to close out the update with two posts from early in the week, I posted on “Anticipations” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/699674573414839/

**And more importantly, I posted a copy of an excellent paper by the leader of the Athens’ Garden of Epicurus, Christos Yapijakis, Assistant Professor of Neurogenetics at the University of Athens Medical School Yapijakis, Assistant Professor of Neurogenetics at the University of Athens Medical School. The paper was entitled On The Need For the European Union To Adopt The Epicurean Concept of “Pursuit of Happiness” As A Human Right. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/699084323473864/

** Again I have skipped over much this week, but I want to close by reminding everyone that we are seeing a lot of new people and a lot of new activity on the Forum. Let me repeat the caution I gave last week: There are inevitably going to be some glitches, misunderstandings, and things said which will probably be regretted. Please remember that we are all new at Facebook forum communications, and most of us are also new to Epicureanism. Please give each other the benefit of the doubt and presume comments are benevolent when there is any doubt. If anything gets out of hand, please report it to the moderators and it will be dealt with. Perhaps the hardest thing to do is to calibrate exactly how much spiciness to allow in the debate before things are deemed over the line. Philosophy is a rough and tumble game, but we ask that you keep your descriptions of others as respectful as possible, and that you eliminate profanity and harshness from your posting. This is FACEBOOK. It is intended to be a community of friends, and it is intended to be fun. It is focused on Epicurus and not general philosophy, but we have participants from all over just about every possible political and geographic and philosophical background you care to imagine. We have participants from the political far left to the far right, and just about all increments in between. I am not aware of participants who promote fundamentalist religion, but rest assured that those will come. We will try to be slow to anger and slow to remove offending participants, but please honor the “About” section and be sure that your posts are relevant to Epicurus and made in a good faith effort to discuss his philosophy constructively. Above all, post and act responsibly.

**OK that’s it for the week. Feel free to post any comments in this thread.

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

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