***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 1/31/2015***

** This is the ninety-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 1390. Last week this time we were 1367. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. We have been intentionally slowing down the approvals of new profiles when we can’t tell from the basic info whether the profile is a real person with real interest in Epicurus, or a spambot. (There IS a difference!) If you want to participate and are not approved immediately, don’t hesitate to send an email to one of the admins. 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!”

** Most-Commented Post of the Week was Hiram’s post to an article entitled “Epicurus and Kinkade” which discusses how the ideas of Epicurus might be incorporated into future about utopian communities. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/781019758613653/ The comments in this thread had a lot of good discussion about the extent of our actual knowledge about the way the Epicurean garden functioned. Closely related to the same topic was a post by Leonard M with a link to a page from the PhilosophersMail website. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/781890601859902/ These are important discussions because they bridge the gap between ancient theory and how we live today.

**In other posts:

**The Epicurus page launched details of the February portion of “An Epicurean Year” project https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/781950671853895/ This one did not get as much comment as it deserved — I hope we will come back to this idea repeatedly over the coming weeks.

**Hiram linked to an article on how friendship is good for the heart https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/780303612018601/

**Hiram linked to another article on progress in deciphering the Herculaneum scrolls: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/780207732028189/

***Hiram linked to an announcement of his new paperback edition of “A Few Days In Athens” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/780705645311731/

*Hiram linked to “An Epicurean Feast for the Mind – A Yoga-Flavored Life” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/780859541963008/

*Dragan N linked to a good meme: “Straight raods do not make skillful drivers” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/781229831925979/

*Steve K linked to new high-resolution pictures of the Andromeda galaxy. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/780155272033435/

*Gabriel B. started a thread that ended up being a discussion of the nature of good and evil. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/781698648545764/

**Hiram linked (in fun) to the “Tweet from God” page https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/782747655107530/

**And as the week came to a close Dragan N found a quote from Plato which has some Epicurean overtones: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/782764388439190/
**All in all it was another good week. Thanks to one and all for your participation. 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 – 1/24/2015***

** This is the ninetieth 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 1367. Last week this time we were 1360. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. We have been intentionally slowing down the approvals of new profiles when we can’t tell from the basic info whether the profile is a real person with real interest in Epicurus, or a spambot. (There IS a difference!) If you want to participate and are not approved immediately, don’t hesitate to send an email to one of the admins. 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!”

** Winner of the Most-Commented Post of the Week (at least so far) is this post contrasting Epicurus with the discourses of Epictetushttps://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/779335375448758/ We had a couple of posts this week with similar themes, including this one to a post on a podcast by James Warren – https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/779809898734639/ We have many people here (including myself!) who were fans of Stoicism before they were fans of Epicurus, and this is an important topic. For those of you who have read some of the ancient commentary on both, has it not struck you as odd that the ancient Stoics were always complaining about the ancient Epicureans and denouncing them, but that modern Stoics seem to just love Epicurus?

I submit that this contrast is clue to an important possibility – that the modern mainstream view of Epicurus is not faithful to what Epicurus really taught. Instead, according to this possibility, what is taught today is a neutered, homogenized, strangled version that has been created to make Epicurus appear to have said what the Stoic-oriented crowd wants to see. The Stoics have denounced the pursuit of pleasure from day one. With their anti-Pleasure viewpoint, how could they **not** have denounced Epicurus? And they did in virtually every ancient text that discussed the goal of life. So what changed? What happened? How could apostles of austerity such as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius reconcile themselves to start quoting Epicurus as if he was a just an earlier version of Epictetus or Zeno himself? The answer, I submit to you, is that they were the forernners of a process that continues to this day – a process of downplaying to the point of erasing the fact that Epicurus promoted BOTH active and “static” pleasures. They have done so in this way: Epicurus observed that, in measuring ANY pleasure, the greatest intensity of that pleasure is present when there is no pain to dilute it. By dropping “active” pleasures from the list of acceptable pleasures, the Stoics conclude that Epicurus was holding up “absence of all activity” as itself “the highest pleasure.” (This, despite the fact that nowhere do we have Epicurus ranking pleasures in order of importance – a favorite game of other philosophers – to know which is “highest.”) In so doing, they have transmuted the Epicurean focus on pleasure into a focus on austerity, and made Epicurus a proto-Stoic.

This is not a debate that is going to be resolved here. Legions of mainstream scholars have published the proto-Stoic view, and there is only one significant modern scholar that I know of – Norman DeWitt – who has argued that they are wrong. Read both sides and judge for yourself. Obviously I have staked out my position in support of DeWitt, but the more important goal is not to convince you that DeWitt is right, but to expose you to his argument. The world is flooded with neo-Stoic versions that reduce Epicurus to a small footnote in their Stoic view that the world is marching toward austerity and self-denial as the goal of life. The opposite view- the understanding of Thomas Jefferson, of Frances Wright, and of others who refuse to agree that Epicurus told us to give up “joy and delight,” are less easy to find, but they exist, and I will cite them here as I can. Read both sides and judge for yourself, and in particular be sure to read this excerpt from DeWitt: https://www.facebook.com/notes/epicurean-philosophy/norman-dewitt-on-pd3-and-pd4-from-chapter-10-of-epicurus-and-his-philosophy/743679822347647

**In another important post this week, we found a new article focused on Epicurus published in a journal on public health. We made contact with the author as well, and welcomed him to the group. His article and the discussion about it is well worth reading, and can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/777906865591609/

**Hiram posted an excellent article this week entitled “Reasonings about Sam Harris’ THe Moral Landscape.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/777461125636183/ One of several reasons that this article is significant is that it contains references to the several surviving fragments from Polystratus, an early head of the Epicurean school. The surviving fragments are short but *very* significant, as they shed light on the Epicurean position that the qualities of things our senses can perceive are in fact *real* and not to be considered passing illusions or insignificant. This is another ongoing point of interest in Epicurean theory, and it is really one of the most basic fights Epicureans had with opposing schools. Can we rely on our natural faculties to discovery the things we need to know about life and how to live? Or must we resort to speculation without evidence? Hiram wrote a deep article and it is well worth reading.

**This past week contained the 20th, and my post on it featured the notice about the upcoming Epicurean Symposium in Athens early next month. If you haven’t visited the Athenians’ website, you’ll want to do that, as it contains a section in English with very interesting material. Hopefully the symposium will lead to some youtube videos and other presentations we can enjoy from afar. Stay tuned and we will report back on the conference, which is set for February 7 and 8. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/778064402242522/

**We saw several posts this week, by Alexander and Dragan, on the news that progress was being made on reading the Herculaneum scrolls through computer tomography. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/778178505564445/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/779812815401014/ It will be a tremendous achievement if more can be obtained from these. Maybe we will one day have new evidence on some of the controversies we discuss here, and maybe even new texts from Epicurus himself.

**In a recent post which has not yet had much time for comment, Hiram posted his reasonings and impressions on reading Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra.” This article contains some very interesting material. Nietzsche’s dense and often iron writing style makes him notoriously difficult to follow, but he is also famously insightful, and many of his viewpoints parallel those of Epicurus. This article ought to be one in a series we discuss over the years, as we’ve hardly scratched the surface. Nietzsche’s scholarship on points such as the “Dionysius / Apollo issue” are helpful jumping-off points to discuss these deeper questions. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/779398125442483/

**Also this week Hiram announced the Spanish paperback version of his translation of “A Few Days In Athens.” You have heard me bang the drum for this book many times in the past, and you’ll hear me do more in the future. (www.AFewDaysInAthens.com) If there is one book that could open the eyes of a new generation to Epicurus, it might well be this one. At least in the United States (and for those around the world who know his reputation) we have the “hook” that this book was specifically endorsed by Thomas Jefferson. That relationship might be enough to get people who would never otherwise pick up a book on Epicurus to read this one, just so they can get more insight into the mind of Thomas Jefferson. Hiram is doing a great work by making this available in Spanish. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/779447665437529/

**It may seem like I am closing where I began, but the most recent post as of this writing was by Eric S., citing a section on pleasure from the Discourses of Epictetus. In this passage, Epictetus is stating that pleasure is unreliable and does not inspire confidence and trust and a sense of certainty. This is another aspect of Stoic rejection of pleasure, and an important one. That brings to mind this comment: We no doubt have here in the group people with much more academic training do our admins, and we gladly welcome cites to sources that shed light on Epicurean views, even when they come from opponents of Epicurus. Epicurus wrote in an existing context of Platonic, Aristotelian, and other schools, and we have to expect that much of what he wrote was geared to responding to those schools, often in disgreement with their positions. The problem is that we have so few texts, and those we have are relatively short, so we do not always have ready at hand the context to which he was responding. (This is a particular issue in regard to the debate on Epicurus’ view of pleasure.) If possible, please state in your post the relevance of the other philosopher’s position to Epicurus, especially when that connection is not immediately obvious. But thanks to Eric for this post, and we hope for more from him and others. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/779865275395768/

**All in all it was another good week. Thanks to one and all for your participation. 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 – 1/17/15**

***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 1/17/2015***

** This is the eighty-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 1360. Last week this time we were 1353. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. We get quite a number of “spam” applicants, and that slows down our approvals at times. If you want to participate and are not approved immediately, don’t hesitate to send an email to one of the admins. 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!”

**In addition to more commentary as a result of the fallout from the Paris terrorist attack, we had a number of very substantive exchanges this week about basic issues of philosophy, several of which I want to highlight.

** First, the winner of the Most-Commented Post of the Week goes to Phil Somers, who posted an innocent question about Epicurean diet and got blasted with contention about the epigrams of Philodemus and the Epicurean view of living simply! https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/775337989181830/ This thread contains much good material about the (relatively little) information that IS known about Epicurus’ commetary on food, but it branched off into a discussion of the purpose and methods for living simply, and how the Epicurean view of that would differ from the Cynic view. And all, if I recall correctly, without citing one of the passages that is most well known, that Epicurus said that we should be at least as much concerned about *who* we take our meals with as *what* we eat. One of the sources for this is Seneca, who wrote: “Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 19.10: Epicurus says “you should be more concerned about inspecting whom you eat and drink with, than what you eat and drink. For feeding without a friend is the life of a lion and a wolf.”

**Another well-commented post was my link to news reports on the Pope and his statements in favor of restriction on free speech. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/776000475782248/ This is a well-worn topic, but very important nonetheless. In close relation to that post, I also commented on an issue within Epicurean circles as to how closely Epicurus would advise us to participate, or not participate, in public disputes such as the Charlie Hebdo attack. In this post I referred to several cites from Lucian which provide precedent that we need to consider. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/774616935920602/

**Also this week I posted a series of substantive philosophy posts on the relationship between Epicurus and the Stoics, and why there is so much confusion today about how they relate to each other. The first was a passage from Francisco de Quevedo discussing the issue: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/774579095924386/

**The next day, I posted an even discussion of how the Stoic view of the goal of life differs from the Epicurean view, using as a text a section of Cicero’s “On Ends.” deeper https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/775012229214406/

**Last in this sequence, but one I hope everyone had a chance to check out, was link to an audio version of the full letter of Cosma Raimondi in defense of Epicurus. This is an important document from the Fourteenth Century and shows that the arguments recorded in Cicero’s On Ends were far from dead even more than a thousand years later. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/775366345845661/

**In other posts of the week, Hiram posted that he had uploaded many of his research papers on Epicurus up to the web at Academia.edu. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/774848149230814/

**Teddy M. posted a link to the WIKI at Epicurus.info. This often gets overlooked as it is a sort of sub-site of the main page, but it is an excellent resource on its own. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/775335985848697/

**Hiram posted a quote from Cosma Raimondi at his tumblr.com page for Epicurus. If you use Tumblr be sure to check it out. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/775353862513576/

**Alexander R posted a link to an article on Elementary particles. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/775800809135548/

**Hiram posted a link to the sad but revealing story that a young man who had written a book about experiencing “heaven” while in a coma has admitted it was all made up. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/776161472432815/

**Hiram also posted about a children’s bool series that featured a section on Epicurus. Though parts of the book described on the page might not have been exactly accurate, t was great to see Epicurus get recognition for his importance.

**In closing, it may be the dead of winter in the northern hemisphere, but all sorts of controversies in all sorts of fields – religious, political, and economic – are heating up rather than cooling off. Epicurean philosophy has much to offer in all of these fields, and even though Epicurus advised that we not pursue careers in politics, sometimes these controversies refuse to leave us alone, and we need to be prepared on how to deal with them. Retreating to the safety of a garden is not always – or even often – possible, and mental disturbance over such issues can be just as troubling, if not more, than if we were in the middle of them physically ourselves. The world needs an Epicurean viewpoint more than ever, and I hope as many of our participants in the group as possible will keep in touch with us here and help us all plan to make our lives as happy as possible.

**All in all it was another good week. Thanks to one and all for your participation. 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 – 1/10/15**

** This is the eighty-eighth 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 1353. Last week this time we were 1342. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. 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 was our first full week back from holidays in the USA, and it was turned in a dramatically bad direction by the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Much of our discussion this week were directed toward support for Charlie Hebdo. Observing the various types of responses in the world at large was quite interesting, however, as already some religionists are diverging from uniform support for the right to free speech and the ability to criticize religion. I am sure this will generate more comment in the future. For now, here’s a report on the last seven days:

** Most-Commented Post of the Week: The winner here would be Hiram’s post on Charlie Hebdo: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/772852672763695/ Hiram focused on the lessons to be applied from Lucian’s “Alexander the Oracle-Monger” in which an Epicurean faced down a religious radical. In some of the comments we discussed that Lucian also had some cautionary words about how such facing-down should be done. In further comment, I want to say that there are very many complicated facts and cross-currents in the background leading up to the issue of Islamic terrorism. As I get older, the more I appreciate that there are two sides to every story. One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. We need to be very cautious in examining a situation as complicated as this, and avoid being overbroad. Epicurus gives us sage advice on the nature of justice and how it is to be applied at different times and places to different people. This is one of the less-well-known aspects of Epicurean philosophy, and some people are going to Epicurus’ conclusions unexpected and disconcerting. As always, however, Epicurus was rigorously logical in the application of his core principles. He did not draw back from stating that the goal of life for **everyone** is to live happily. Epicurus was also renowned for his compassion, and that applies to everyone, Christian, Muslim, Jew, and non-religious. A significant number of Epicurus’ doctrines were devoted to the principle of “justice” and how it is to be applied. I urge you to read the post and Epicurus’ doctrines for more detail.

**Another significant post of the week was Bryan’s recitation of a passage from Lucretius on isonomy – in the original Latin. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=371601733019641 I realize that few of us can understand the spoken (or written, for that matter) Latin word, but there is much to be learned from a detailed study of Lucretius. This poem is truly the Epicurean equivalent of the Bible or the Koran, and unless new texts from Herculaneaum are recovered, it will likely always be our best testament to the Epicurean way of thought. Lucretius wrote this with Epicurus’ larger book “On Nature” before him, so the poem is a key method of “reverse engineering” our way back to a better understanding of Epicurean doctrine. As much as anything else, the poem is an extended example of the Epicurean **method of reasoning**, and in that respect even the passages on atoms and void that we find less interesting can still prove to be very, valuable. Bryan has a great deal of training and background in the study of Lucretius, and he has obvious affection for the subject. I would like to think that some of our interaction in the Facebook group will lead to significant contributions to the field of Epicurean research, and Bryan has the potential to really add to the understanding of Epicurus in the modern world. I hope everyone will help me encourage him in that goal — not for the sake of posterity, or for learning for the sake of learning, but so that we ourselves can live more happily!

**Dragan N. posted a graphic closely related to the Epicurean view of learning to control our desires and focus them on those things within our capabilities. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=561037237365303&set=gm.773838589331770&type=1

**Takis P. posted a copy of an English version of the flyer announcing the 5th Pan-Hellenic Symposium of Epicurean Philosophy in Athens on February 7 and 8. This Symposium produces quality material, and it is my goal to try to bring more of it to the attention of the non-Greek speaking world. We’ll do what we can in that department and be sure to bring to you any photos or multimedia we can.

**The last post I’d like to draw to your attention was my own from earlier today. A friend brought to my attention a very recent post from the leader of the Stoic Facebook group, in which he went to some length to describe the differences between Stoicism and Epicurean philosophy as he sees it. This is an important topic, and much that he said I agree with very strongly. On the other hand, he naturally has a less enthusiastic view of Epicurus than I do, and he repeated a number of the standard slanders against Epicurus that have been used by Epicurus’ enemies for 2000 years. I do not know Mr. Robertson in person, and I feel sure that given the state of the world today, we would be in agreement in many areas about practical problems. In fact, there are many areas in which today’s Epicureans and Stoics might well be able to recreate the Epicurean/Stoic alliance pioneered by Cassius Longinus and Brutus in opposing Julius Caesar. Be that as it may, there is a tremendous amount of confusion out there in the general world about the relationship between Epicurean and Stoic philosophy. I welcome Stoic efforts to paint the differences in brigher colors from their point of view. I took the liberty of using his post to organize my responses, and I think many people on both sides of the question will find this post helpful.

In view of the arguments that this post may start, this is a good time to remind everyone of the purpose of our group and some limitations on our time. I posted my response here, and not in a general outside forum, because I do not have the time to engage in a full-blown war of words with dedicated Stoics. I wrote my post for those here who are genuinely interested in Epicurus, not as a means of reaching dedicated Stoics. In fact, I am beginning to think that the best use of my time has got to be, not to persuade people that Epicurus was right (though I think he was), but simply to expose them and educate them about what he really said. Only if someone understands both sides of a question is it possible to choose a side intelligently. The world is full of activists for Stoic and Stoic-related philosophies. If you have been educated in an English-speaking country, it is virtually guaranteed that you have been taught the Stoic point of view, as it is by far the mainstream view today, even if not referred to by that name.

Many people have been exposed to little else than the homgenized Stoic/Cynic/Skeptic/Platonic view, to the point that Epicurean views are hardly recognizable when they are heard. That means that our first use of time has got to be to ensure that the Epicurean point of view is presented in a form that is as complete as possible before we turn to argument with devoted anti-Epicureans. While we might find it tempting to devote our time to arguing with firm advocates of other philosophies, that cannot be allowed to consume all our time. Our task is to study, learn, and apply Epicurean philosophy to our own lives so as to live happily. In so doing, we will naturally learn to explain these ideas to others, and turn to that task, so that we can have Epicurean friends of the type Epicurus advised. Abstract arguments with anti-Epicureans has a place, but it cannot be allowed to distract from this primary goal.

**All in all it was another good week. Thanks to one and all for your participation. 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 – 1/3/2015***

***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 1/3/2015***

** This is the eighty-seventh 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 1342. Last week this time we were 1293. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. 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 holiday period is almost over, at least here in the USA, but the forum has been busy this week anyway. Here’s a report on the last seven days:
** Most-Commented Post of the Week: Of the new posts this week, the winner here was probably that of Phil S., who thanked us for being added to the group and then immediately informed us that he was a great admirer of Diogenes the Cynic! 😉 I want to thank Phil for his good humor and attitude in the ensuing discussion. His comment prompted a discussion focused on Lucian of Samosata, who wrote an essay entiled “The Cynic” which can be construed in a number of ways. This article contains some compliments for the Cynics, but a strong argument can be made that the negative outweighs the good. Regardless, as in the essay “Hermotimus,” Lucian definitely advised that we expose ourselves to many different schools so as to be best able to choose between them. We have many people who drop in with many different backgrounds, and it is very helpful to have discussions like this so we can expand our knowledge of the issues. That’s really the only way to get a good understanding of how Epicurus chose to address them. Phil’s thread can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/768273636554932/

**In other posts of the week:

** The Cambridge book referenced last week with letters from the middle ages contained two other letters besides that of Cosma Raimondi. The letter by Francesco Filelfo had some good material as well: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/766856000030029/

** Bryan H posted another of his excellent readings in the Latin text of Lucretius. He is very talented at this, and these are very interesting to see and hear.https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=369763649870116

** New member June Z posted a link to a Simon and Garfunkel song regarding death. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/768044793244483/ But at the same time she and Mitchell CW agreed that they liked the more upbeat “Don’t Fear the Reaper” better!)

** Hiram posted a link to a good article about “wave-particle duality and quantum uncertainty.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/767487776633518/

** Takis P. posted a happy new year video from Athens https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/768841359831493/ As did one of our Greek participants, Μπάμπης Επίκουρος Πατζόγλου https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=977207465640901&set=gm.769158943133068&type=1

** Earlier today I posted a link to a newspaper article from 1858 which contained a classic defense of Epicurus. As time goes by we’ll get access to more and more material over the internet that was previously unavailable. No doubt there are many other “relatively unknown” articles and even books like those of Frances Wright which would be very helpful to us, and I hope we’ll find much more like this. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/770495319666097/

**Patrick B. asked a good question about whether the Epicurean description of the divine nature would apply equally to one or many “gods”? https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/770128583036104/

**Elli P posted a New Years card for us – look closely and you’ll see a familiar face in front of the candles. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10205080417833157&set=gm.768399193209043&type=1

**Hiram posted a link to his page where people can indicate their location, as a step toward one day moving from virtual relationships to face-to-face connections. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/770526656329630/

**The last post I’d like to discuss for this week is my own, from yesterday – a new essay I composed entitled “Toward a Better Understanding of Epicurus – Eight Areas of Focus for 2015. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/770119906370305/

The eight areas I picked out in which controversies exist, and where greater precision can be reached as we resarch further, were:

1) Atomism vs. Universalism
2) Dogmatism vs. Skepticism
3) Free Will vs. Determinism
4) Hedonism vs. Epicurean Philosophy
5) Active AND Static Pleasures vs. The Greatest Pleasure IS The Absence of Pain
6) Empiricism vs. the Epicurean Canon
7) Living Simply” vs. Living Pleasurably
8) Living Unknown vs. Living Pleasurably

While I indicated my own views on each, there are important distinctions and explanations that are necessary in order to gain a good grasp of each question. The real problem is that we come to these questions conditioned by a lifetime of teachings from religion and philosophy that conflict with the Epicurean viewpoint. That makes it hard for us to understand the reasons for the disputes, and sometimes it is all so foreign that we don’t even realize that a dispute existed.

In the same way I closed that article, let me close this first Weekly Update of the New Year:

I have enjoyed and appreciated the interaction I have had with all of you who have read and responded to my comments in the past. I hope my work has been of some interest and help in your own thinking and living. I also hope that posts like this will encourage you to pursue your own study and writing, and that together we can, with 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.”

**All in all it was another excellent week; thanks to one and all for your participation. 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