***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 11/29/2014***

**This is the eighty-second in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.

**As of tonight, our group has grown to 1102. Last week this time we were 1030. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “strike a blow for Epicurus – 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!”

**We’ve had another active week of discussion so let’s check the highlights:

** Most-Commented Post of the Week: The run-away award winner for this category was Elli’s post on Pope Francis and his recent reference to Aristotle and Plato. This thread covered the gamut from the faces in the famous “School of Athens” painting to defense of Greco/Roman civilization from the barbarians, including the views of Nietzche and Dimitri Liantinis. I won’t attempt to summarize the details, but it might help if I point out a common thread in many of our conversations.

We often find ourselves discussing topics that are partial answers to the famous question “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Throughout the ages, have been people who have never given up the view that Greco-Roman civilization was superior to anything that has replaced it in the Judeo-Christian age. This view of history has been most notably expressed in the works of Nietzsche, especially in his “Antichrist.” Similar views were echoed more recently by a less-well-known (outside of Greece) intellectual by the name of Dimitri Liantinis. [Before going further, I should mention that one of our own group members has translated into English Liantinis’ most sweeping work, GEMMA, and this excellent book is available on Amazon.com.]

How does this relate to Epicurus? Nietzsche wrote in “Antichrist” that “One has but to read Lucretius to know what Epicurus made war upon—not paganism, but “Christianity,” which is to say, the corruption of souls by means of the concepts of guilt, punishment and immortality — He combatted the subterranean cults, the whole of latent Christianity — to deny immortality was already a form of genuine salvation. Epicurus had triumphed, and every respectable intellect in Rome was Epicurean — when Paul appeared….”

Neither Nietzsche nor Liantinis appear to have been primarily Epicurean in viewpoint. Much of their work, however, is in the Epicurean tradition, so their arguments against the modern world and in favor of the Greco-Roman ethos have a distinctly Epicurean flavor. I highly recommend that students of Epicurus consider the writings of Nietzsche and Liantinis on this topic. They shed useful light on how someone of an Epicurean perspective would react to aspects of the modern world. I readily admit that both writers can be dense and difficult to follow if you are not familiar with ancient literature, but Nietzsche’s Antichrist is one of his most readable works, and the English translation of GEMMA is very approachable. Til you have time for those, our Facebook conversations can clue you in to the debate, and you’ll find much helpful information in Elli’s latest thread: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204818734691242&set=gm.751373588244937&type=1

** Most Far-Reaching Post of the Week: Although it gained not one comment, I want to point out that this past week we saw the announcement of Hiram Crespo’s Spanish-language translation of “A Few Days In Athens.” One day this book is going to be recognized for the landmark work which Thomas Jefferson saw it to be. Hiram Crespo has opened this book to an entirely new world. Of all Hiram’s many contributions to the study of Epicurus, this may in the end be one of the most far-reaching. I predict that one day “A Few Days In Athens” will be made into a movie script, and that its fame as a philosophical masterpiece will only grow over time. This book is further evidence that the aspirational phrase of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” comes not from the mind of Thomas Jefferson, but from the philosopher Jefferson called his “master” – Epicurus. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/751933294855633/

**In other posts of the week –

**Aurelius E. posted on the views of Democritus and how they relate to Epicurus: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/750407488341547/

**Aurelius also posted to a French-language introduction to Epicurean philosophy: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/750089921706637/

**Wayne W. posted to an “existential comic strip” – https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/750744964974466/

**I posted to a site with a new satellite mapping system for the lost city of Pompeii, which might prove useful in analyzing the origin of relics with an Epicurean flavor: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/751712248211071/

**A friend pointed us to a youtube music video with some excellent lyrics regarding “free will.” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=864297360269071&set=gm.751893431526286&type=1

**Hiram reminded us of his Google Plus site — If you’re a user of Google Plus be sure to check out the Society of Friends of Epicurus page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=864297360269071&set=gm.751893431526286&type=1

**I posted a link and discussion of a blog entry on Epicurus and Kant: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/751939568188339/

**Julius V M posted to a graphic on God and Free will that generated considerable discussion: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/749980798384216/

**For those in the US celebrating “Thanksgiving”, Hiram posted the excellent Epicurean passage: “Thanks be to blessed Nature because she has made what is necessary easy to supply, and what is not easy unnecessary.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/751927611522868/

**And because the Epicurean resistance to fatalism and determinism never rests, not even on holidays, I chose the occasion to launch a new salvo on the topic. The target this time was appropriate because this American President was responsible for declaring Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Abe Lincoln’s strong fatalist views are very disappointing to read, but are well documented at the links in this post. But don’t despair too much, at the end of the post I linked back to Jefferson’s outline of Epicurean thought, which contains the simple but profound words – “Man is a free agent.” : https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/752603354788627/

** Another post by Elli this week was an excellent excerpt from Lucian on “Thesmopolis the Stoic.” This was another great reminder that Lucian is a largely-undiscovered treasure who is fun to read almost regardless of one’s level of knowledge of philosophy. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204791451089169&set=gm.749499471765682&type=1

**Leonard M. did us all a service by reminding us of Cicero’s “On Ends”, the Epicurean section of which is one of the most important summaries of the philosophy left to us from antiquity. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/752416638140632/

**Last, as I “go to press” tonight, Yiannis T. has posted a link to an article on “where famous atheists get their values.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/752987034750259/

**OK that’s all for this 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 world of Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com

PEACE AND SAFETY!

Cassius Amicus

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***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 11/22/2014***

**This is the eighty-second in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.

**As of tonight, our group has grown to 1030. Last week this time we were 991. Thanks to everyone, especially our most recent members, for helping us break the 1,000 mark. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “strike a blow for Epicurus – 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!”

**As we announced last week, we memorialized the one-thousand mark by honoring one of our members who composed a particularly good “What Epicurus Means to Me” statement. Check out the thread here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/747092095339753/q
The winners selected to receive a gift of the “tea of Olympus” were Alexander Rios and Kirsti Honkaavaara.

Alexander wrote: “With Epicurean Philosophy’s Canon: I save my soul. I rescue myself. I dispel unwarranted fear. I multiply my pleasure. I reduce my pains. I feel myself living. I defend myself from evil men. I smile. I laugh at Fate and Fortune!”

Kirsti wrote: “Epicurus makes me believe in friendship, enjoy life in the present moment and (hopefully) helps me to face death without fear.”

We want to thank everyone who submitted responses, including several new people who commented for the first time (or nearly so), such as Wayne W. Aristotelis KK, Kris P., George Henry S., Loudovic F., Rafe Covington, and Christoper L.

This was our first “contest” and we’ll work on doing another as soon as we can. The contest served as a good excuse for the Admins to caucus using Skype. That worked out very well, and we’ll see if we can’t find other opportunities to hold mini-meetings or online conferences using Skype or something similar (such as Livestream).

In addition to our contest, we had another active week of discussion:

** Hiram posted a link to an article entitled “The Doublet as a Technique for Making Philosophy Tangible” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/747064545342508/

**I released a new “table of contents and finding aid” for “A Few Days in Athens.” Find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/747090705339892/ Hiram commented about it in a separate thread here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/748349618547334/ (NOTE: Hiram is working on a translation of AFDIA into Spanish, which will be a tremendous boon to spreading the word of Epicurus to new parts of the world.)

**Julia O. posted a link to an article on “the present moment” as a philosophical concept. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/747835578598738/

**Michael C. posted a link to a comedian who poses as Marcus Aurelius. Be warned, this is pure stoicism, but it’s pretty funny if you know the Stoic positions and don’t get confused into thinking they make sense! https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/747441645304798/

**Alexander R. posted a link to a new physics article on subatomic particles. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/748232071892422/

**This week contained the twentieth of the month, and in honor of that I posted about Thomas Jefferson’s own personal outline of Epicurean thought. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/748640891851540/

**The Friends of Herculaneum society posted some new photos this week, and we shared them in the group along with comments on several of the statues: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/747547445294218/

**Winner of the “Longest Thread of the Week” award goes to a thread on –Care to Guess???? — Yes, that’s right — DETERMINISM! 😉 https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/747110055337957/ If you aren’t burned out on this topic you might want to check this thread, as it contains articulate statements of both Epicurean and non-Epicurean positions.

**Elli posted today on the story of Thesmopolis the Stoic, as told by Lucian. Most readers of this news update know that Lucian was a strong admirer of Epicurus, so as you might expect, Thesmopolis does not come out too well in the story! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204791451089169&set=gm.749499471765682&type=1

**Hiram asked for – and received – graphic design assistance with making a “Society of Epicurus” logo in Spanish https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152479240750267&set=gm.749475318434764&type=1

**Yiannis T. posted a link to an article on a “Visual Dictionary” of major schools of thought. It’s not clear that the article contained references to all the schools referenced in the underlying “dictionary”, but they did not bother to include Epicurean philosophy in the article. The link provided an opportunity to discuss why Epicurus is often overlooked. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/748371555211807/

**OK that’s all for this 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 world of Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com

PEACE AND SAFETY!

Cassius Amicus

**THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 11/15/2014***

**THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 11/15/2014***

**This is the eight-first in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.

**As of tonight, our group has grown to 991. Last week this time we were 956. Soon we will break 1,000, and we’ll try to do something to observe the milestone. As we continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “strike a blow for Epicurus – 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!”

**This week we had several important threads to recap:

**In probably the most lengthy thread of the week, Aaron F. asked a simple question “The end justifies the means. Thoughts?” which turned into a survey of “the ends of life” in great detail. This simple question is one of the continuing “big picture” issues that deserves a lot of thought, so I highly recommend the thread: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/744475142268115/

**Hiram posted to an article on Epicurean influences in Jewish history: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/744892142226415/ Hiram also posted about references to mentions of Epicurus in Josephus: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/745866392128990/

**In followup to that Alexander R. posted to Josephus’ comparison of the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jewish history. This is a very illuminating topic and if you’re not familiar with what Josephus recorded, this is worth reviewing. The parallels between Epicurean philosophy and Sadduccee thought (which unfortunately died out) are too close to be coincidence. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/745898115459151/

**In followup to last week’s topic on the nature of Pleasure and how we should pursue it, I posted a link to an excellent article entitled “On Cicero’s Interpretation of Katastematic Pleasure in Epicurus.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/745613175487645/

**Yiannis T. linked to a book on Epicurean Ethics. It was published in Greece (in Greek) but we still managed to have a good conversation about it in English. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/745820292133600/

**Yiannis T. also linked for us to the live feed for the Rosetta comet landing. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/745249348857361/

**Based on a question from Christos T. we had a short conversation about ways to commemorate the 20th of each month, as Epicurus suggested. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/746243795424583/

**Elli P. posted a link to a video of the president of Uruguay, who gave a speech specifically citing Epicurus and arguing a number of points familiar to those of us who study Epicurean philosophy. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/746326185416344/

**We had several posts about the “Internet Philosophy Quiz” which a number of people have been taking on facebook. Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/746023265446636/ and here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/746573342058295/ In the event anyone is interested in discussing the questions or answers, I set up a list of them here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/746648318717464/

**The post of the week that I’d like to add a few comments on here is one I started which asked what Epicurus would have thought about “usury” (the charging of interest on loans). Many thinkers of many types in Western Civilization have condemned usury, but over the last two hundred years most of the laws that had been enacted to discourage it fell by the wayside. As a result, we now have a world economy with more debt than previous generations could ever have imagined, and central bankers have replaced elected political leaders and controllers of the direction of nations. Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics condemned usury, but I am not aware of there being a recorded direct statement on the subject from Epicurus. We know he did not wish his students to hold their money in common (as that is not indicative of friendship), but that’s about all the economic commentary we have from Epicurus himself. There is some surving material from Philodemus on property management, but if Philodemus comments on this I am not aware of it. Here’s the thread I started — https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/746468848735411/

One reason I raised the topic is that I personally believe that the world financial situation is well past a tipping point, and headed into disaster. Much of the rest of the world seems likely to follow the financial hardships now being experienced by our friends in Greece. Huge amounts of loans that *cannot* be repaid *will not* be repaid, and though Central Banks have all but assumed political control of some nations, at some point the ability of the central banks to manipulate the public is likely to end. There are an unlimited number of economic articles predicting gloom and doom, but one that came to my attention today about the depth of the crisis is here: http://www.safehaven.com/article/35803/financial-sphere-bubbles

Many of us live in parts of the world that continue to experience relatively “good times,” but the economic crisis seems likely to spread. Hard times in the future will make it more important than ever that we understand Epicurus’ teachings. It will be more pressing than ever to understand that unlimited time, and unlimited wealth and power, are not necessary for us to live full, complete, and happy lives. Epicurean philosophy is always needed, by everyone, and all the time, but when the full extent of the world financial crisis explodes into the world headlines (as I believe it will before much longer) the world will recognize the need for Epicurus as never before.

As far as we know, Epicurus did not endorse a particular form of government or particular financial system. As a philosopher, Epicurus was concerned about the deeper issues of life that transcend politics and money. What Epicurus knew and said was that “Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man.” The final thread I want to cite tonight expresses this in perhaps the most moving words I’ve ever read. This passage was penned by Seneca (a Stoic), but as he says, he was speaking “in the guise of an Epicurean,” and the sentiment and argument are pure Epicurean. If you’ve never read this and its fascinating “mouse and cheese syllogism” argument, do yourself a favor and follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/746573342058295/

Here’s the direct link to the passage at wikisource: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_48

Keep this one and read it whenever you run out of energy to study philosophy!

**OK that’s all for this 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 world of Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com

PEACE AND SAFETY!

Cassius Amicus

**THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 11/8/2014***

**This is the eightieth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.

**As of tonight, our group has grown to 956. Last week this time we were 896. Soon we will probably break 1,000, and we’ll try to do something to observe the milestone. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “strike a blow for Epicurus – 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!”

**Because we have so many new members and lurkers, I think it is a good idea to use the weekly update not only for news, but to place some of the discussions in a context in which our new participants can more easily follow along.

Over the last several weeks, we have had much discussion of “determinism.” The primary reason for that focus is that the Epicurean doctrine of the “swerve” of the atom was developed to explain how it is we have the ability to make choices that influence the direction of our lives. This is important because there is a continuing battle in philosophy over whether people are essentially robots. Many opinion leaders in the religious world argue that gods control our destinies. Many opinion leaders of the atheist/secular world argue that our genes or our environment are in complete control of our destinies. Epicurus staked out a firm position in this war by observing that normal men have at least some degree of free will. As a scientist, Epicurus realized that this meant that the atoms that make us up must not be simple billiard balls, slaves of the action and reaction of hitting each other, but must also have some degree of ability to swerve from their paths so that they can break the chain of fate. Grounded on this swerve of the atom, Epicurean philosophy affirms that men possess the ability to think for themselves and make decisions as to what to choose and avoid. Because we have this freedom – and ONLY because we have this freedom, it makes sense to study philosophy and exert effort to work to improve our lives.

This past week we began to focus on a new topic: the role of pleasure in human life. Most everyone knows that Epicurus held pleasure to be the guide of life, rather than “virtue,” but few understand what this really means, or appreciate the complexities of the issue. One of the most interesting complexities arises from what some consider to be conflicting passages in the Epicurean texts about the role of “active pleasures” vs. “static pleasures.” If you read most any modern commentary on Epicurus, you will find the view that the goal of life according to Epicurus was something like “tranquility” (you will often see the word “ataraxia”). This emphasis on tranquility is often combined with the third and fourth items in the “Four part cure,” which are listed in our graphic at the top of the Facebook page. These are (3)”what is good is easy to get” and (4)”what is terrible is easy to endure.” Current residents of Syria and northern Iraq, or new students of Epicurus anywhere, are to be excused if they find these formulations superficial, unclear, or contradictory with their own experience. More troubling still is that many formulations of this view of Epicurean pleasure can sound as if Epicurus advised a life of asceticism, suppression of emotion, and repression of the active pleasures that bring joy to life.

Many of us are here in this group because we truly believe that Epicurean philosophy is uniquely insightful and valid even today as the appropriate approach to how to live our lives. We have many varying interpretations of the issues raised in the last paragraph, held by very smart people of good faith. It is not possible to summarize all those views here, but for now, what new students of Epicurus should know is that the academic interpretation of pleasure I just stated does not stand unchallenged.

The leading modern exponent of a very different view of Epicurean pleasure, and the meaning of Authorized Doctrines three and four, was Norman DeWitt, author of “Epicurus and His Philosophy.” The essence of DeWitt’s argument is PD3 and PD4 are best interpreted as directed at the philosophic context of Epicurus’ day. DeWitt collects the evidence, much of it from Aristotle’s “Nichomachean Ethics,” that Epicurus faced a challenge much more difficult than the question of “how” to follow pleasure. DeWitt points out that with few exceptions (Eudoxus being a notable one), the major Greek philosophers before Epicurus had argued not only that Pleasure “was not” the guide of life, but that Pleasure “COULD NOT” be the guide of life. Those arguments are too complex to relate here in full, but they are discussed in detail by Dewitt in the latest addition to our “Files” section (link below). The basic argument, however, was Plato’s assertion that it is impossible to live a life of “continuous” pleasure. In other words, because we frequently seem to find pleasure in life absent, we cannot look to pleasure for guidance all the time. This and similar arguments, if true, would blow out of the water any contention that Pleasure could be the guide of life, thus leading us back to the need for “virtue.”

Before returning to DeWitt, compare the abbreviations contained in the “Four Part Cure” to the actual wording of PD3 and PD4. I think you will see immediately that the abbreviation is very different and less precise than the wording of full doctrine. The most likely explanation for this, according to the DeWitt view, is that the reason PD3 states that the “limit” (completeness? fullness?) of pleasure occurs when all pain is absent is that this was Epicurus’ response to Plato’s allegation that pleasure could not be continuous. In this view, PD3 and PD4 are elemental theoretical statements that a life of “continous pleasure” is possible, and achievable. Epicurus accomplishes this by pointing out that life in the absence of pain is pleasurable in itself, and that pain in life is generally short and endurable. This means that these doctrines are a PHILOSOPHICAL PROOF that Plato was wrong, and that a life of great pleasure can be continuous and complete in a variety of circumstances. These doctrines are not, and were never intended to be, an argument that we should all live the most simple life possible. They are not, and should not be considered to be, arguments that modern Syrians are confused when they find the good to be quite hard to get, and the terrible quite difficult to endure.

Why is this issue important? Because much of the prevailing Epicurean literature, outside of Norman DeWitt, makes it sound as if Epicurus condemned all “active pleasures” and that he thought we are poor Epicureans if we pursue anything but “static pleasures.” This interpretation suffers from the failure that it is guaranteed to turn off any normal active happy and joyful person of youthful age (or youthful attitude), and — more importantly — if Norman DeWitt is right, then it is a highly regrettable misunderstanding of Epicurus’ true view that both active and static pleasures are desirable, and that our decision to choose or avoid them is determined solely by the question of whether the particular pleasure is achievable without excessive pain.

Just as with “determinism,” you will see the proper role of “active pleasures” and “static pleasures” regularly discussed in Epicurean circles. I submit to you that you will avoid confusion if you keep in mind two clear statements from the ancient Epicurean record: (1) Diogenes Laetius (Epicurus’ biographer) recorded that “[Epicurus] differs from the Cyrenaics with regard to pleasure. They do not include under the term the pleasure which is a state of rest, but only that which consists in motion. Epicurus admits BOTH; [emphasis added] also pleasure of mind as well as of body, as he states in his work On Choice and Avoidance and in that On the Ethical End, and in the first book of his work On Human Life and in the epistle to his philosopher friends in Mytilene.” (2) Vatican Saying 63: “There is also a limit in simple living, and he who fails to understand this falls into an error as great as that of the man who gives way to extravagance.”

I hope you see the significance of issues such as determinism, free will, and Epicurus’ view of the nature of pleasure, and how they impact our decisions on how to live. If you have questions, please ask! We won’t resolve anything with finality, but we can certainly make the issues more clear for you, and I submit that clear and independent thinking on them will benefit you regardless of your conclusions.

Before turning to the rest of the news, note the following links where the above issues were discussed this week:
*Excerpts from Norman DeWitt on PD3 and PD4 and the nature of pleasure – https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/743679825680980/
*Hiram’s post on “The Problem of Desire” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/743212929061003/
*Hiram’s post “Let’s talk about your hedonism” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/743236002392029/

***In other news this week:

**The leader of the Athenian Garden of Epicurus forwarded me a fascinating link on radio-telescope views of formation of a planetary system, with reference to Epicurus’ own description: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/743191422396487/

**Mitja M. asked for help with a school project https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/742390939143202/

**Hiram posted on the “Epicurus and Job” article in Philosophy Today https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/742793972436232/

**Elli posted on “The Tea of Olympus” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204697607583140&set=gm.743329672382662&type=1 (and in case any new reader thinks that this is a female writing about food rather than sticking to topic, I dare you to ask her about Nietzsche’s views on Epicurus, or Liantinis’ views on Stoicism, or ask her to say something good about Plato!

**Also going on this week is a great spurt of “likes” over at the Society of Friends of Epicurus page. Check it out if you have not: https://www.facebook.com/SocietyOfFriendsOfEpicurus.

**Manzoor B. posted about dealing with the tragedies of life: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/741362955912667/

**Alexander R linked to an article about how the mind adds opinion to what the senses report. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/743344315714531/

**Yiannis T. posted to an interesting article about a book by Daniel Dennett on how to argue intelligently and charitably. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/742143709167925/

**If anyone is confused about how much talent we have in the group, be sure to check out the post in which one of our participants recites a portion of Lucretius in a restored version of ancient spoken Latin. And check out some of the comments, which are amazingly advanced. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=348120915367723

**Lopunis R. posted to a link about Thoreau which served as an occasion to talk about ways he is similar and also differs from Epicurus. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/743790412336588/

**An inquiry from Soufian M. about Socrates prompted some interesting replies. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/743512845697678/
**OK that’s an update on the new posts for this 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 world of Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com

PEACE AND SAFETY!

Cassius Amicus

**THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 11/1/2014***

**THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 11/1/2014***

**This is the seventy-ninth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.

**As of tonight, our group has grown to 896. Last week this time we were 795. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “strike a blow for Epicurus – 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!”

**The one item I would like to highlight this week is actually not a new post, but the addition to the “Files” section of our group of an article from 1947 entitled “Epicurus: Philosophy for the Millions.” This brief article, summarizing the life and mostly the work of Epicurus, is the best brief introduction I know of to the place of Epicurus in Western philosophy. At the time the article was released, DeWitt was professor emeritus of Latin at Victoria College at the University of Toronto, Canada. DeWitt devoted much of his academic life to writing articles on Epicurus, which he eventually combined into his two books “Epicurus and His Philosophy” and “St. Paul and Epicurus.” If you have never had the time to read DeWitt’s full book, this article can serve as an introduction to why you should put it on your list. Rather than approach Epicurus as just another brick in the wall of comparative philosophy, DeWitt took a personal interest in understanding Epicurus and defending his doctrines against the criticism of other schools, so his perspective is almost unique among commentators in the last 150 years (at least in the English-speaking world). Do yourself a favor and download a copy: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/737740656274897/

**To start off the news this week, one of our long-standing readers, Andres Haf of Germany, has released a book on Amazon entitled (as translated)”The Epicurean Yearbook”. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/738440692871560/ Unfortunately for those of us who do not read German, no translation is available, but if you will check out the link above you’ll see that Andreas helped me through a rough translation of his opening section. Andreas’ own thread announcing the book is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/738287989553497/

**Alexander R linked a video presentation “What should we think about death?” by the British Humanist Association. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/738654582850171/

**Ilkka posted an excellent blog entry on Doctrine 1 and the fact that there is no need to fear the gods. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/738814032834226/

**Alexander also posted to a Scientific American article discussing how it is not true that everyone wants to be happy. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/738831749499121/

**I posted a reminder of the passage that I think is the most important section of the most important poem ever written: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/738795169502779/

**As followup to our many recent discussions of lifestyle issues, I posted a link and a summary of points about the life of Titus Pomponius Atticus, one of the most well-known Epicureans of the ancient world. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/736598433055786/

**Yesterday thanks to a tip from a reader (Domagoj V.) I linked to a series of videos on responding to Determinism, produced by Stefan Molyneux. There will never be a “last word” on this issue, as it has been debated since the ancient world, but Molyneux gives a good overview of many of the negative ramifications of choosing to become a crusading determinist. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/739943016054661/

**Hiram posted to an interesting video on a group of modern Greeks who continue to follow the ancient Hellenic gods (and not in an Epicurean way, but literally). https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/738434062872223/

**OK that’s it for this 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 Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com

PEACE AND SAFETY!

Cassius Amicus