***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 03/28/2015***

** This is the ninety-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 1571. Last week this time we were 1555. 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!”

** Each week on the Facebook group seems to get better and better, and we had some excellent threads this week. The one I would like to highlight is one of the most recent, Stephen M’s link to a professional documentary on Oinoanda entitled “A Gigantic Jigsaw Puzzle.” This was produced in 2012, but apparently has not been posted on youtube until recently. It is a tremendously good production featuring Martin Ferguson Smith, the lead researcher on the inscription for many years, as well as a number of German researchers whose names I do not know to be able to list. This is a GREAT documentary on the inscription, and I urge everyone to take a look.

**I had previously posted an excerpt from the inscription https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806143346101294/ with a link to the main page on the internet that features the full rendering of the text: http://www.english.enoanda.cat/the_inscription.html If you’re not familiar with the inscription, it is an EXCELLENT supplement to the material in Diogenes Laertius and Lucretius. It is (with Lucretius) one of the few surviving “documents” from an enthusiastic ancient Epicurean, so it is particularly trustworthy as a statement of Epicurean doctrine. Here’s a third link, a video by the owner of the main inscription page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/807226985992930/ (Unfortunately for us, in Catalan language.)

**This week I continued to post about controversies regarding the nature of pleasure, with this one entitled “United We Stand” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/805459332836362/ to emphasize that ALL pleasures are good.

**Tommy H started a thread on good sources of inexpensive/free books https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/805678036147825/

**Elli P. wrote an excellent brief summary of the Garden of Epicurus https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806043346111294/

**Wayne W started a thread on the nature of the “gods” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806198092762486/

**Leonard M started a thread on H.P. Lovecraft, a writer who was new to me but was a fan of Epicurus. Leonard posted an EXCELLENT brief passage where Lovecraft sees through the Stoics https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806611156054513/

**Ilkka shared a post from the Epicurus page about community building over there. If you have not “liked” the Epicurus page, be sure to do that. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806738652708430/

**Wayne W also started a thread about PD2. These are good “question” threads and we encourage them. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806570909391871/

**Elli started a thread about a recent listing of the most famous people in the world. Epicurus was unfortunately not at the top! https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806765086039120/

**Yiannis started a thread with a link to a podcast series which contains several episodes on Epicurus https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806799709368991/

**Elli also started a thread that gets the “most discussed of the week” award! This one started out discussing how we are “born Platonist” but by the time it was over (if it is over) it hit MANY topics https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/805492726166356/

**Hiram posted an announcement from Christos in the Athenian Epicurus group about their new “Happiness Petition” initiative. If you have not read about this, please be sure to check it out, along with their new web site. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/807239232658372/

**In followup to one of our discussions with Wayne Watts, I posted a “Limits of the Vessel” graphic. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/807165029332459/ Here’s the post by Wayne to which this was a followup https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806962866019342/

**In another thread that turned out to be very long, I posted a question from a reader who wanted advice on how to introduce an eclectic group of adults to the differences between the major philosophers. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/806885512693744/

**Those are most of the highlights for the week. Thanks to all who participated. We appreciate all the contributions from those who share our view that the philosophy of Epicurus is something special – something that can be used to make our own lives, and the lives of our friends, happier and less troubled. We have quite a task ahead to continue to educate ourselves and others about what Epicurus really believed and taught, rather than what his enemies have said about what he believed and taught. But the task is enjoyable even as we work together to pursue it. I hope we will continue to work together for a long time to come, that our numbers will grow, and that all of us will profit in living happier lives through the process.

**Thanks to all participants for another great 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 – 03/21/2015***

** This is the ninety-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 1555. Last week this time we were 1520. 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!”

** In contrast to last week’s short version, this week deserves a far longer post, but in the spirit of Vatican Saying 26 “One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end.” I am going to distill this down to focus on two of the most important aspects of what we are doing: (1) promoting the philosophy of Epicurus to new people, and (2) educating ourselves to be sure that while we promote, we sure that what we are promoting IS the philosophy of Epicurus, and not some modern mishmash of ideas that Epicurus himself would not recognize.

**In the promotion department, be sure you check out this post from one of our Greek friends on the new Eadaimonia.eu website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/803834786332150/ The friends of Epicurus in Greece have been promoting a declaration that the European Union should recognize a “right to happiness,” and this website provides excellent information about the background and history of that initiative. It’s a great website and a great project!

**In the education department, this week I released a new “fundamentals” video which assembles key passages from the core text into a progressive narration of many of the main points of Epicurean philosophy. It is far from professional or complete, but it does – in the space of about thirty minutes – introduce a new reader of Epicurus to the core concepts he or she will encounter, and how they fit together into a coherent philosophy for living life. The main link discussing this is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/802936029755359/ You can always find the latest version of the video, and several versions of background music, here: http://newepicurean.com/new-fundamentals-of-epicurean-philosophy-video/ (And if you want to read a little about the “Tannhauser” opera, this is the thread you want to check.)

**Also in the education department this week, Hiram posted an video that covers some extremely important themes. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/803869469662015/ The video “Nietzsche and the True World” does a great job of pointing out the similarities in the many philosophies and religions which reject the “real world” around us in favor of a hypothetical “true world” which they assert is reachable (conveniently enough) through their own peculiar paths. The video stops before describing Nietzsche’s response to this, and it doesn’t touch on the Epicurean alternative at all, but it does a great job of explaining what the issue really is.

**Hiram also posted a link to an article on “Objective Morality” that spurred a debate very similar to the one spurred by the “True World” video: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/802909666424662/

**The new “Foundations” video prompted me to post a series of posts related to Painlessness, which included:

– “The Painless Peter Potter Principle” which discusses the purpose of painlessness as pleasure. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/802754109773551/ I might have picked a better way to illustrate the point, but I’ve always liked the Acadamy-Award winning song from that movie (“Buttons and Bows”) which is in the post.

– I posted a new graphic arguing that the focus should not be on “painlessness” but on “pure pleasure. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/804377566277872/

– The Painlessness issue led to a quote from Gassendi relevant to the topic, posted here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/803884469660515/

– A post citing the letter of Thomas Jefferson to William Short, highlighting Jefferson’s advice that repose itself must be evaluated by the results that it brings. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/805044716211157/

– I posted a link to an article by professor Boris Nikolsky of the Russian State University for the Humanities entitled “Epicurus on Pleasure,” which provides important cites and analysis on this and related issues.

**Other significant posts included:

**David d.V. asking a question about the nature of the soul and its particles: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/801280006587628/

**Hiram posting on Hitchens-Jefferson Day: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/802907689758193/

**Uwe assisting with information about “Tannhauser,” the play by Wagner I chose as the background music for the new Foundations video – https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/804297652952530/

**Alexander posted a link on a technology that may lead to “new senses”: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/804148989634063/

**M.E. posted on the International Day of Happiness: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/804450819603880/

**Alexander posted on whether Epicurean philosophy is indeed for everyone (including psychoapths) https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/804258102956485/

**Hiram posted on the naming of the “god particle” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/803740043008291/

**On the Twentieth I posted on “Time To Rescue Venus” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/804524002929895/

**Steve Ko. posted a link to an article on the problems entailed in aiming for “the best” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/804523009596661/

**Most recently, but not least, Bill H. asked an excellent question about whether we should in fact cultivate gratitude in our lives, as several texts indicate, or whether that goal is diluted by the fact that the gods are not indicating as displaying gratitude. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/805125192869776/

**And just before pressing the “send” button, I see Elli posted a link to a new graphic of PD12 and a link to a Vangelis song that’s very appropriate to the topic: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/805191586196470/

**Those are most of the highlights for the week. Thanks to all who participated. We appreciate all the contributions from those who share our view that the philosophy of Epicurus is something special – something that can be used to make our own lives, and the lives of our friends, happier and less troubled. We have quite a task ahead to continue to educate ourselves and others about what Epicurus really believed and taught, rather than what his enemies have said about what he believed and taught. But the task is enjoyable even as we work together to pursue it. I hope we will continue to work together for a long time to come, that our numbers will grow, and that all of us will profit in living happier lives through the process.
**Thanks to all participants for another great 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 – 03/14/2015***

 

** This is the ninety-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 1520. Last week this time we were 1456. 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!”
**
I have been traveling today and almost dispensed with a post, but for the past ninety-six Saturday nights I have not missed a post, and I don’t want to break a streak. Here’s an abbreviated version which is the best I can do tonight:

**Hiram has worked on two new “feeds” this week. “Friends of Epicurus” on Twitter https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/799487780100184/ and Society of Epicurus on Rebelmouse: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/802125349836427/

**Tommy H started a thread on Hedonism and Plato: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/799895050059457/

**Leonard M posted the quote from Epicurus on “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/800230596692569/

**For those interested in more background on Frances Wright, we had some posts by a real fan of hers with new information (new to me anyway): https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/799260310122931/

**For those who are more recent on our list I reposted information about the “Elemental Epicureanism” epub: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/800349026680726/

**Ivan W started a thread about a meme from Machiavelli https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/800056333376662/

**We had a couple of discussions about Cicero this week: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/800300366685592/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/800055833376712/

**Tommy H started a discussion on the Victorian book “Marius the Epicurean” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/800423470006615/

**Trfon M started a thread on the Antikythera mechanism https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/801120269936935/

**Thanks to all participants for another great 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 – 03/07/2015***

 

** This is the ninety-sixth 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 1456. Last week this time we were 1447. 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!”

**
If there is a must-see post of the week, it is this one – a recent video presentation made by the Getty Villa of Stephen Greenlatt discussing the history of Epicurean philosophy. You can find it https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/796914467024182/ or here https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/798584946857134/ I thought Greenblatt’s book was very good, but I always say that with the caveat that the book spends a lot more time on the history of church politics in the middle ages than on Epicurean philosophy itself. This video reverses that proportion – it focuses on almost exactly what fans of Epicurus would like to hear about in a discussion of the survival of the philosophy. Highlighting news such as this for people who might have missed it is the most important reason I do these weekly summaries. Don’t miss this video!

**In other news this week:

** Hiram posted a good essay on “Strong Wind Does Not Last All Morning” on his study of Taoism. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/796168270432135/

**Continuing last week’s discussions on Philebus, I posted a graphic that compared Socrates and Epicurus on pleasure as the good and the role of virtue. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/796541477061481/

**Here’s a video which sets the “hymn to Venus” in Lucretius to music. It is extremely well done and will be especially entertaining to those who can recognize the Latin wording.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/796638250385137/

**Tommy H. asked about whether Epicurus had spoken directly on Plato’s analogy of the cave. I bet he did, but I don’t know that it still survives. The best I could find was to put together a graphic featuring a quote from Lucretius that is pretty closely on point. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/796661710382791/

**More Philebus: I posted my reactions on completing my reading of Philebus in full. For those of you who now or later want to compare what Epicurus said about pleasure to what Plato had said, Philebus is your prime source material. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/796193017096327/

** Elli posted a poem from the excellent Greek poet C.P. Cavafy: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/796686350380327/ For those who don’t know Cavafy, “Ithaca” is one of his most famous poems and can be found in several notable renditions on youtube. This poem was new too me, but is good too.

**It’s been very satisfying recently to see a number of people getting copies of DeWitt’s book to aid in their study of Epicurus. Tommy H did this week, and posted about it here https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/797086470340315/

**One of the many reasons to read DeWitt is that he challenges the orthodox beliefs about what Epicurus really taught. One of his most important challenges was to the view that Epicurus held a superficial version of pleasure as the greatest good. This is a topic DeWitt covered years before his book was released, in an article entitled: “The Summum Bonum Fallacy.” Check out that article here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/797448813637414/

**Dragan posted a Mark Twain graphic making an argument that Lucretius stated as well. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/797966973585598/

**Francisco Martinez posted an excellent video about a sense of justice in monkeys that is very likely related to Epicurean views of anticipations. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/797046850344277/

**Tommy H posted an excerpt from the famous Edith Hamilton praising Plato’s dismissal of pleasure as the guide of life: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/796761103706185/

**If you speak Spanish, be sure to check out Victor H’s post to “#epicurusf friends.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/798307663551529/

**Alexander R. started an excellent discussion on the meaning of a selection from “On Ends” regarding whether fears of future pain not grounded in bodily pains are ever warranted. This is very creative thinking and an excellent way to approach difficult subjects. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/797936646921964/

**Dragan posted a link to an article entitled “the biology of happiness” which prompted some discussion about the extent to which it was accurately reflecting Epicurean views. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/798427616872867/

**Elli posted to an excerpt of material that has been prepared by Dimitris Altas for the Greek Garden of Epicurus on the topic of “Multivalued Logic, or the Manifold Way of Epicurus.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/796178923764403/ This is a subject that deserves a lot more attention. It is important to see how Epicurus challenged Platonic/Aristotelian ethics, but even more revealing is his attack on their method of reason and logic. In order to focus more attention on the topic, I followed up with a post on a music video that playfully addresses this broad issue, in the narrow form it arises in the “analog/digital” distinction. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/798762533506042/ Both of these posts received good comments, and you’ll hopefully see us developing more about this in the future.

**And that leads me to a post that I’ll deal with last. Franciso Martinez lit a fire under me this morning by posting to a passage from philosopher Alasdair McIntyre. This passage contains a dense a serie of statements about Epicurus as I think are very misleading. Francisco’s post does us the great service of reminding us that the legacy of Epicurus is hotly contested. If you read DeWitt’s book, you will know that he starts off at the very beginning telling us that Epicurus was (among different populations, of course) both the most loved and most reviled of ancient Greek philosophers. Unfortunately, in the end the revilers came out on top, and as a result most modern commentators alternate in either disparaging or ignoring Epicurean philosophy. McIntyre does both in this passage, disparaging Epicurus and then dismissing him as relevant. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/798652796850349/

I know some readers get tired of hearing philosophical controversy, and they would rather that we could devote every post to uplifting positive self-help tips. We go with the positive as much as we can, but the most important self-help tip everyone needs to realize is that we live in a world that is actively working to suppress the Epicurean viewpoint. If you think you are going to find all your friends and family and co-workers endorsing the views you read in Epicurus, you will be bitterly disappointed. It’s better to understand this up front so you’ll be prepared for that. Francisco’s post and others like it help us do for ourselves what the the students in the ancient Garden must have done under the guidance of Epicurus himnself: learning about the errors in other philosophies. Check out the list of books written by Epicurus and the other leaders of the Garden, and you will see book after book written *against* other philosophies. Thanks to Francisco and to all who assist us in this department. We encourage posts like this, and ask only that you do just as Francisco did: Post negative material with comment about why it is relevant, so that new readers will not make the mistake of thinking that such material accurately reflects Epicurus. Laying out the contrasts is among the best ways to learn what Epicurus was all about.

**Thanks to all participants for another great 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