Blog Update – January 30, 2017 – “You Have Been Deceived”

Today the site is being upgraded and updated to serve as a central link repository for people looking to learn more about Epicurean Philosophy. The site is being featured as the “more information” link on the Audio Presentation of “You Have Been Deceived.”

YOUTUBE VIDEO VERSION:

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This Week in Epicurean Philosophy – 11/14/15

Welcome to This Week in Epicurean Philosophy for the week of 11/14/15!  To subscribe (at no cost) click here.

This is the one hundred and thirty-second in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy.  At the Epicurean Philosophy Group we are dedicated to the study and productive discussion of Epicurean Philosophy and its application to daily life.  Our goal is also, in the words of Lucian, to “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!

TANTUM RELIGIO POTUIT SUADERE MALORUM!

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This Week in Epicurean Philosophy – 11/7/15

Welcome to This Week in Epicurean Philosophy for the week of 11/7/15!  To subscribe (at no cost) click here.

This is the one hundred and thirty-first in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy.  At the Epicurean Philosophy Group we are dedicated to the study and productive discussion of Epicurean Philosophy and its application to daily life.  Our goal is also, in the words of Lucian, to “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!

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This Week in Epicurean Philosophy 10/31/15!

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Welcome to This Week in Epicurean Philosophy for the week of 10/31/15!  To subscribe (at no cost) click here.

This is the one hundred and thirtieth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy.  At the Epicurean Philosophy Group we are dedicated to the study and productive discussion of Epicurean Philosophy and its application to daily life.  Our goal is also, in the words of Lucian, to “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!

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This Week In Epicurean Philosophy 10/24/15

Welcome to This Week in Epicurean Philosophy for the week of 10/24/15!  To subscribe (at no cost) click here.

This is the one hundred and twenty-ninth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy.  At the Epicurean Philosophy Group we are dedicated to the study and productive discussion of Epicurean Philosophy and its application to daily life.  Our goal is also, in the words of Lucian, to “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!

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This Week In Epicurean Philosophy – October 17, 2015

View this newsletter online.

Welcome to This Week in Epicurean Philosophy for the week of 10/17/15!  To subscribe (at no cost) click here.

This is the one hundred and twenty-eighth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy.  At the Epicurean Philosophy Group we are dedicated to the study and productive discussion of Epicurean Philosophy and its application to daily life.  Our goal is also, in the words of Lucian, to “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!

 

Note Re: Epicurus.info and the Epicurus wiki. 

Over the last two weeks we’ve mentioned the death of Erik Anderson, founder of the Epicurus.info website and the associated wiki, two of the most helpful Epicurean sites on the internet.  As of this writing those sites are still offline, but they can be accessed at https://web.archive.org/web/20141217100328/http://epicurus.info/and https://web.archive.org/web/20140530150345/http://wiki.epicurus.info/Main_Page .

 

This Week: Applying Epicurus To Modern Problems. 

Before we can apply Epicurus to our own lives, we first have to understand his advice, and that is not always as easy as it first appears.  We all know that Epicurus considered pleasure to be the guide of life, but just as in any other philosophy (or in any religion) there are plenty of questions about how that should be done.  We often run into situations where there are competing demands and priorities, and we need to know how to approach those situations where the evidence for what we should do is conflicting.

That’s the reason for the recent post entitled “The Epicurean Method of Analogy in Philodemus, and its Vital Importance to Us.”  Epicurus didn’t just pick an unconventional goal of life at random, he claimed that the goal of life, and the method for living it properly, all derive from the nature of the universe.  The atomistic view of the universe that Epicurus taught led him to stress that thinking itself is a function of the atoms, and must operate consistently with the elements if it is to be successful.

Thus by the time Herculaneum as destroyed and the Epicurean library was buried in the debris, Philodemus had produced a work highlighting the differences between Epicurean methods of thinking and those of other schools.  The part of the work that survived has been translated by Phillip and Estelle De Lacy, and the result, with an excellent commentary, is easily accessible at the link featured in the article.

Only one small part of Philodemus’ work is featured in the recent blog post, and there is much more to be learned from Philodemus’ argument. But the bottom line is that successful rational thinking is not reserved for the gods, or for the experts in syllogistic logic.  It is essential for happy living that we have confidence in the results of our thinking, and that’s exactly what we can achieve if base our thinking on the evidence nature gives to us, and not on the opinions of other men.

 

Also From the Facebook Group this week:

This past week at the Epicurean Philosophy Group contained a post onthe hypothetical content of modern ceremonies for important life events based on Epicurean principles.

Also, in the most-diiscussed post of the week, Jason B. posted about how modern psychological problems might be addressed using Epicurean principles.

 

Recent significant posts at NewEpicurean.com:

image “Quantity” Does Not Equal “Type”The diagram associated with this post is intended to dramatize the question:  Does any quantity of a thing ever change that thing into its opposite?  When Epicurus stated that there…
image Peace and Safety For Your Twentieth of September! – An Overview of the Letter to HerodotusPeace and Safety to the Epicureans of today, no matter where you might be!   This month for the Twentieth, I offer a quick outline of the major points of…
image Fundamentals of Epicurean Philosophy – An Outline(Click on the bullet to the left of each item to expand.) This outline represents my latest aid to discussing Epicurus with people who are new to the philosophy. I can’t…
image All Dressed Up But No Place To GoThanks to Alexander R. for linking to this video at the Science Channel, which alleges that the robot in this example is well on its way to learning emotional associations.…
image A Season Of The Year To Remember Fallen EpicureansChecking back over the last four years, it seems that late in August of odd-numbered years I have resubmitted the following post on “A Season of the Year To Remember Fallen…
Thanks to all who participated in the Facebook forum this week. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group!
 – – – Live Well!

= = = = =  NOTES = = = = =

Resources for Epicurean Philosophy On The Internet


There are many find Epicurean websites on the internet, so be sure you are aware of the main ones.  This newsletter is brought to you by http://www.NewEpicurean.com. Two other very active and important websites are SocietyofEpicurus.com and Menoeceus.blogspot.com

There is also an active website in Greece (mostly in the Greek language) at Epicuros.net.  Please be sure to check the list at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.net for a full list, and let us know if other sites should be mentioned here.

Options for those who wish to discuss Epicurus on the internet include:1- If you are focused primarily on Epicurus, and you want to participate in a forum where people will defend Epicurus strongly from all challenges, then you have two Facebook options. Our open and main group, entitled simply “Epicurean Philosophy,” is the home base of this post. Anyone can read the posts there, and all you have to do is ask in order to join. (Note that there is an “About” and a “Sticky” post with our forum rules.)

2 – If you are someone whose views are fully formed, and you’ve combined several disparate viewpoints into your own personal mix, and you mainly want to talk casually to other people of the same eclectic type, there are several excellent facebook groups including EPISTOBUZEN and “Epicureanism for Modern Times.” 3 – If you prefer to post in a “private” group where your posts are not readable by outsiders, we have “Epicurean Private Garden.” Because it is a private group, you cannot find it by searching, and you have to email one of our admins in the open group if you wish to join. Please note that our About and Sticky Post rules in the private forum are the same as the open forum, and the private forum will be moderated to the same standards as the open forum (or perhaps slightly tighter!)

4 – If you are not only focused primarily on Epicurus, but you wish to assist with a forum platform where pro-Epicurean activists can build for the future, check out www.EpicureanFriends.com. Work is starting on a FAQ and other resources. Anyone can read the posts, but only approved members can create new posts or comment.

5 – If your interest is primarily on the scientific research side, such as implications of quantum mechanics and related theories, be sure to check out “Epicurean Touchpoints” at Facebook.

Please be sure to check out the list of websites at www.EpicurusCentral.wordpress.net for the latest available sites. If you know of sites that should be mentioned here, please send me an email.

This email newsletter is brought to you by NewEpicurean.com.  Copies of these posts, and a current list of links to active Epicurean websites can also be found at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
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This Week In Epicurean Philosophy – 10/10/15

View this newsletter online.

Welcome to This Week in Epicurean Philosophy for the week of 10/10/15!  To subscribe (at no cost) click here.

This is the one hundred and twenty-seventh in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy.  At the Epicurean Philosophy Group we are dedicated to the study and productive discussion of Epicurean Philosophy and its application to daily life.  Our goal is also, in the words of Lucian, to “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: more on how we console ourselves to the death of loved ones. 

Last week we marked the death of Erik Anderson, founder of the Epicurus.info website, as recorded in his obituary.  This week, I am still caught up in thinking about how short life is, and how important it is for us to make the best use of the time that we have.  As I also mentioned last week in discussing Erik’s death, a very close friend of my own died last week.  This past week has been spent meeting with his widow and hearing about my friend’s final months struggling with a heart condition that should have been curable, and that has kept the issue of reconciling with death front and center in my mind.

There are many ancient Epicurean passages that deal with the loss of a loved one to death, but a longer passage that stands out was written in the 1800’s by Frances Wright and given to Epicurus to say in chapter ten of A Few Days In Athens stands out.  If you haven’t yet read A Few Days In Athens, I hope this extended quote will encourage you to take the plunge:

 

“But there is yet a pain, which the wisest and the best of men cannot escape; that all of us, my sons, have felt, or have to feel. Do not your hearts whisper it? Do you not tell me, that in death there is yet a sting? That ere he aim at us, he may level the beloved of our soul? The father, whose tender care hath reared our infant minds — the brother, whom the same breast hath nourished, and the same roof sheltered, with whom, side by side, we have grown like two plants by a river, sucking life from the same fountain and strength from the same sun — the child whose gay prattle delights our ears, or whose opening understanding fixes our hopes — the friend of our choice, with whom we have exchanged hearts, and shared all our pains and pleasures, whose eye hath reflected the tear of sympathy, whose hand hath smoothed the couch of sickness. Ah! my sons, here indeed is a pain — a pain that cuts into the soul. There are masters that will tell you otherwise; who will tell you that it is unworthy of a man to mourn even here. But such, my sons, speak not the truth of experience or philosophy, but the subtleties of sophistry and pride. He who feels not the loss, hath never felt the possession. He who knows not the grief, hath never known the joy. See the price of a friend in the duties we render him, and the sacrifices we make to him, and which, in making, we count not sacrifices, but pleasures. We sorrow for his sorrow; we supply his wants, or, if we cannot, we share them. We follow him to exile. We close ourselves in his prison; we soothe him in sickness; we strengthen him in death: nay, if it be possible, we throw down our life for his. Oh! What a treasure is that for which we do so much! And is it forbidden to us to mourn its loss? If it be, the power is not with us to obey.

Should we, then, to avoid the evil, forego the good? Shall we shut love from our hearts, that we may not feel the pain of his departure? No; happiness forbids it. Experience forbids it. Let him who hath laid on the pyre the dearest of his soul, who hath washed the urn with the bitterest tears of grief — let him say if his heart hath ever formed the wish that it had never shrined within it him whom he now deplores. Let him say if the pleasures of the sweet communion of his former days doth not still live in his remembrance. If he love not to recall the image of the departed, the tones of his voice, the words of his discourse, the deeds of his kindness, the amiable virtues of his life. If, while he weeps the loss of his friend, he smiles not to think that he once possessed him. He who knows not friendship, knows not the purest pleasure of earth. Yet if fate deprive us of it, though we grieve, we do not sink; Philosophy is still at hand, and she upholds us with fortitude. And think, my sons, perhaps in the very evil we dread, there is a good; perhaps the very uncertainty of the tenure gives it value in our eyes; perhaps all our pleasures take their zest from the known possibility of their interruption. What were the glories of the sun, if we knew not the gloom of darkness? What the refreshing breezes of morning and evening, if we felt not the fervors of noon? Should we value the lovely-flower, if it bloomed eternally; or the luscious fruit, if it hung always on the bough? Are not the smiles of the heavens more beautiful in contrast with their frowns, and the delights of the seasons more grateful from their vicissitudes? Let us then be slow to blame nature, for perhaps in her apparent errors there is hidden a wisdom. Let us not quarrel with fate, for perhaps in our evils lie the seeds of our good. Were our body never subject to sickness, we might be insensible to the joy of health. Were our life eternal, our tranquillity might sink into inaction. Were our friendship not threatened with interruption, it might want much of its tenderness. This, then, my sons, is our duty, for this is our interest and our happiness; to seek our pleasures from the hands of the virtues, and for the pain which may befall us, to submit to it with patience, or bear up against it with fortitude. To walk, in short, through life innocently and tranquilly; and to look on death as its gentle termination, which it becomes us to meet with ready minds, neither regretting the past, nor anxious for the future.”

 

From the Facebook Group this week:

This past week Hiram posted a link to a great collection of Epicurean “memes” and pamphlets which can be used to share information about Epicurus in graphic form. One of the materials listed there is a PDF ofNorman DeWitt’s Philosophy for the Millions, an excellent introduction to the significance of Epicurus and his philosophy.

Uwe F. posted a link to an interesting article on Lucretius’ choice of style for persuasion.

Hiram also posted a link to an upcoming release by Michael Onfrey entitled “A Hedonist Manifesto:  The Power to Exist.”  This is the English translation of a book that was published in French a number of years ago, and it’s right on target with many isssues of interest to the student of Epicurus.  From the Amazon page:  “Onfray attacks Platonic idealism and its manifestation in Judaic, Christian, and Islamic belief. He warns of the lure of attachment to the purportedly eternal, immutable truths of idealism, which detracts from the immediacy of the world and our bodily existence. Insisting that philosophy is a practice that operates in a real, material space, Onfray enlists Epicurus and Democritus to undermine idealist and theological metaphysics; Nietzsche, Bentham, and Mill to dismantle idealist ethics; and Palante and Bourdieu to collapse crypto-fascist neoliberalism. In their place, he constructs a positive, hedonistic ethics that enlarges on the work of the New Atheists to promote a joyful approach to our lives in this, our only, world.”

Hiram also posted a link to a very good video on Richard Dawkins on how we should deal with assertions by religion which by nature cannot be proved.  Dawkins emphasizes that relativism is not a sufficient response to religion, a point of view we often hear expressed as “everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

 

 

Recent significant posts at NewEpicurean.com:

image “Quantity” Does Not Equal “Type”The diagram associated with this post is intended to dramatize the question:  Does any quantity of a thing ever change that thing into its opposite?  When Epicurus stated that there…
image Peace and Safety For Your Twentieth of September! – An Overview of the Letter to HerodotusPeace and Safety to the Epicureans of today, no matter where you might be!   This month for the Twentieth, I offer a quick outline of the major points of…
image Fundamentals of Epicurean Philosophy – An Outline(Click on the bullet to the left of each item to expand.) This outline represents my latest aid to discussing Epicurus with people who are new to the philosophy. I can’t…
image All Dressed Up But No Place To GoThanks to Alexander R. for linking to this video at the Science Channel, which alleges that the robot in this example is well on its way to learning emotional associations.…
image A Season Of The Year To Remember Fallen EpicureansChecking back over the last four years, it seems that late in August of odd-numbered years I have resubmitted the following post on “A Season of the Year To Remember Fallen…
Thanks to all who participated in the Facebook forum this week. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group!
 – – – Live Well!

= = = = =  NOTES = = = = =

Resources for Epicurean Philosophy On The Internet


There are many find Epicurean websites on the internet, so be sure you are aware of the main ones.  This newsletter is brought to you by http://www.NewEpicurean.com. Two other very active and important websites are SocietyofEpicurus.com and Menoeceus.blogspot.com

There is also an active website in Greece (mostly in the Greek language) at Epicuros.net.  Please be sure to check the list at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.net for a full list, and let us know if other sites should be mentioned here.

Options for those who wish to discuss Epicurus on the internet include:1- If you are focused primarily on Epicurus, and you want to participate in a forum where people will defend Epicurus strongly from all challenges, then you have two Facebook options. Our open and main group, entitled simply “Epicurean Philosophy,” is the home base of this post. Anyone can read the posts there, and all you have to do is ask in order to join. (Note that there is an “About” and a “Sticky” post with our forum rules.)

2 – If you are someone whose views are fully formed, and you’ve combined several disparate viewpoints into your own personal mix, and you mainly want to talk casually to other people of the same eclectic type, there are several excellent facebook groups including EPISTOBUZEN and “Epicureanism for Modern Times.” 3 – If you prefer to post in a “private” group where your posts are not readable by outsiders, we have “Epicurean Private Garden.” Because it is a private group, you cannot find it by searching, and you have to email one of our admins in the open group if you wish to join. Please note that our About and Sticky Post rules in the private forum are the same as the open forum, and the private forum will be moderated to the same standards as the open forum (or perhaps slightly tighter!)

4 – If you are not only focused primarily on Epicurus, but you wish to assist with a forum platform where pro-Epicurean activists can build for the future, check out www.EpicureanFriends.com. Work is starting on a FAQ and other resources. Anyone can read the posts, but only approved members can create new posts or comment.

5 – If your interest is primarily on the scientific research side, such as implications of quantum mechanics and related theories, be sure to check out “Epicurean Touchpoints” at Facebook.

Please be sure to check out the list of websites at www.EpicurusCentral.wordpress.net for the latest available sites. If you know of sites that should be mentioned here, please send me an email.

This email newsletter is brought to you by NewEpicurean.com.  Copies of these posts, and a current list of links to active Epicurean websites can also be found at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
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To change your subscription, click here.

This Week In Epicurean Philosophy – 10/03/15

NewEpicurean.com

View this email online

Welcome to This Week in Epicurean Philosophy for the week of 10/3/15!  To subscribe click here.

This is the one hundred and twenty-sixth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy.  At the Epicurean Philosophy Group we are dedicated to the productive discussion of Epicurean Philosophy and its application to daily life.  Our goal is also, in the words of Lucian, to “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 mark the death of Erik Anderson, founder of the Epicurus.info website:

Although the event happened in July, most of us have just learned about the death of Erik Anderson this past week, after a group member found this obituary.  Many of us, definitely including me, learned a lot about Epicurus from the material that Erik edited and collected at his websites Epicurus.info and the associated Epicurus.wiki.  I never had the pleasure of knowing Erik myself except in a very few cordial emails, but this selection from his obituary classically describes the kind of upbeat, searching personality who is attracted to the study of Nature and to Epicurean ideas:

From an early age, Erik was fascinated by the stars. (He built his first telescope at age 14.) He co-authored (with Charles Francis Ph.D.) a number of papers that appeared in academic journals, including the Royal Astronomical Society, most focused on their alternative theory of the motions of spiral galaxies. An article on his work appeared in the Ashland Tidings. He ran a successful business, astrostudio.org, from which he produced best-selling moon calendars and stellar images calendars. His book Vistas of Many Worlds featured Erik’s beautiful computer-generated images. A past president of Southern Oregon Skywatchers, Erik could often be seen helping star-gazers to find the twin stars and the moons of Jupiter.  Erik was an avid reader, mainly of classic philosophy, an enthusiastic hiker, and a formidable Trivia and Scrabble player. Most of all, he was a caring friend to many who will greatly miss him for his friendliness, his wit, his remarkable intelligence and his questing spirit.” 

Unfortunately the obituary is all I know about the circumstances of Erik’s death, but we do know a little more about the aftermath.  The main reason that most of us learned about Erik’s death is that for the last few weeks Epicurus.info and the Epicurus wiki shortly thereafter have become unavailable.  Several of us are working to see what can be done to change that, but in the meantime you may want to bookmark these links at the “Wayback Machine” on archive.org. For the present, you can find copies of Epicurus.info here and the Epicurus wiki here.

One avenue that may open to get those sites back on line seems to be taking shape with another of the leading students of Epicurus on the internet, Peter St  Andre.  Peter is working to see if the sites can be brought back, and he would make a great curator of Erik’s sites given his own expertise Epicurus. If you’re not familiar with Peter’s work, you might want to check out his page

The impact of Erik’s death has taken on additional significance to me personally, as this weekend a close personal friend of many years passed away unexpectedly.  Both these events emphasize to me that it is among the most important insights of Epicurean philosophy that we must live while we live, and that life comes to an end all too quickly.  Regardless of any other of the many factors that support Epicurean conclusions, we should consider it of the greatest urgency to live our lives fully while we can.  To paraphrase Lucretius, divine pleasure is the guide of the living. Those who are now dead need no guides or anything else, because they have ceased to exist.  Erik has left us a sterling example of someone who has lived fully by engaging life at the deepest philosophical level.

As we think about this event, we should remember PD40:  “As many as possess the power to procure complete immunity from their neighbours, these also live most pleasantly with one another, since they have the most certain pledge of security, and after they have enjoyed the fullest intimacy, they do not lament the previous departure of a dead friend, as though he were to be pitied.”  

All of us will eventually meet the same end as Erik, so he is no more to be pitied than are we ourselves.  Our goal should be as was recorded in VS. 47: “I have anticipated thee, Fortune, and entrenched myself against all thy secret attacks. And I will not give myself up as captive to thee or to any other circumstance; but when it is time for me to go, spitting contempt on life and on those who vainly cling to it, I will leave life crying aloud a glorious triumph-song that I have lived well.”

From the Facebook Group this week:

This past week Hiram has suggested a campaign to have Epicurus honored by Google with one of their “doodles.”  Considering the number of people who see that graphic the benefit would be immense, so please check Hiram’s suggestion here.

Also this week Ilkka posted a major new article on his Menoeceus blog. The article addresses an early blog post by a writer who wanted to discusses “problems with Epicureanism and Naturalism.”  Ilkka cuts through a lot of confusion in the earlier article – here’s an example:  The LavalSubjects author writes: “Epicureanism teaches that by “good” we mean pleasure and “bad” we mean pain.  In other words, pleasure, for the epicurean is the ethical principle.”  Of course this requires that the reader immediately understand that Epicurus clearly advised that sometimes we choose pain and avoid pleasure, and writers who are not versed in Epicurus have a very difficult time understanding that Epicurean advice to pure pleasure wisely does not elevate wisdom to a status that it can never hope to carry – that of being an abstraction higher than pleasure to which pleasure herself must bow.  The writer assumes that there must be a “THE ethical principle” above all others, and only if you study Epicurus for yourself are you likely to understand that Epicurus calls you to separate from the crowd and reject that frame of reference.  Ilkka does a very good job of unwinding these and other confusions in the original article.  Be sure to check out Ilkka’s article for the full commentary.

 

Recent significant posts at NewEpicurean.com:

image “Quantity” Does Not Equal “Type”The diagram associated with this post is intended to dramatize the question:  Does any quantity of a thing ever change that thing into its opposite?  When Epicurus stated that there…
image Peace and Safety For Your Twentieth of September! – An Overview of the Letter to HerodotusPeace and Safety to the Epicureans of today, no matter where you might be!   This month for the Twentieth, I offer a quick outline of the major points of…
image Fundamentals of Epicurean Philosophy – An Outline(Click on the bullet to the left of each item to expand.) This outline represents my latest aid to discussing Epicurus with people who are new to the philosophy. I can’t…
image All Dressed Up But No Place To GoThanks to Alexander R. for linking to this video at the Science Channel, which alleges that the robot in this example is well on its way to learning emotional associations.…
image A Season Of The Year To Remember Fallen EpicureansChecking back over the last four years, it seems that late in August of odd-numbered years I have resubmitted the following post on “A Season of the Year To Remember Fallen…
Thanks to all who participated in the Facebook forum this week. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group! 
 – – – Live Well!

= = = = =  NOTES = = = = =

Resources for Epicurean Philosophy On The Internet


There are many find Epicurean websites on the internet, so be sure you are aware of the main ones.  This newsletter is brought to you by http://www.NewEpicurean.com. Two other very active and important websites are SocietyofEpicurus.com and Menoeceus.blogspot.com

There is also an active website in Greece (mostly in the Greek language) at Epicuros.net.  Please be sure to check the list at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.net for a full list, and let us know if other sites should be mentioned here.

Options for those who wish to discuss Epicurus on the internet include:1- If you are focused primarily on Epicurus, and you want to participate in a forum where people will defend Epicurus strongly from all challenges, then you have two Facebook options. Our open and main group, entitled simply “Epicurean Philosophy,” is the home base of this post. Anyone can read the posts there, and all you have to do is ask in order to join. (Note that there is an “About” and a “Sticky” post with our forum rules.)

2 – If you are someone whose views are fully formed, and you’ve combined several disparate viewpoints into your own personal mix, and you mainly want to talk casually to other people of the same eclectic type, there are several excellent facebook groups including EPISTOBUZEN and “Epicureanism for Modern Times.” 3 – If you prefer to post in a “private” group where your posts are not readable by outsiders, we have “Epicurean Private Garden.” Because it is a private group, you cannot find it by searching, and you have to email one of our admins in the open group if you wish to join. Please note that our About and Sticky Post rules in the private forum are the same as the open forum, and the private forum will be moderated to the same standards as the open forum (or perhaps slightly tighter!)

4 – If you are not only focused primarily on Epicurus, but you wish to assist with a forum platform where pro-Epicurean activists can build for the future, check out www.EpicureanFriends.com. Work is starting on a FAQ and other resources. Anyone can read the posts, but only approved members can create new posts or comment.

5 – If your interest is primarily on the scientific research side, such as implications of quantum mechanics and related theories, be sure to check out “Epicurean Touchpoints” at Facebook.

Please be sure to check out the list of websites at www.EpicurusCentral.wordpress.net for the latest available sites. If you know of sites that should be mentioned here, please send me an email.

This email newsletter is brought to you by NewEpicurean.com.  Copies of these posts, and a current list of links to active Epicurean websites can also be found at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
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Welcome to This Week in Epicurean Philosophy!

ALL READERS PLEASE NOTE:  This week we are upgrading to a new format.  We will continue to post all updates to the Facebook groups and Twitter feed, but we are starting a new email subscription list for updates so you can receive copies of all newsletters (and at your option, each post at NewEpicurean.com) in your local email.  To ensure proper delivery please subscribe (for free of course) by clicking here.  There will no doubt be some glitches as we adopt the new system so please feel free to report all comments and suggestions.  We hope this new format will lend itself to greater substance and an increased “shareability” factor that will lead to continued growth of the worldwide Epicurean community.

THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 09/26/2015

– This is the one hundred and twenty-fifth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is the Facebook Epicurean Philosophy Group.  Copies of these posts, and a current list of links to active Epicurean websites can be found at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com. For even more choices in discussing Epicurean philosophy, check the list of sites included at the end of this newsletter.

– At the Facebook Epicurean Philosophy Group we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate (through the normal Facebook process) and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. Our group is dedicated to the productive discussion of Epicurean Philosophy and its application to daily life, and in so doing we want to also, 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!

– Along with our format change this week there will be additional changes to the weekly newsletter.  We’ll continue to point to the best of the posting going on in the Facebook group, and we’ll also include links and commentary to items that might not have made it to a posting on the Facebook group.  Hopefully these changes will make the newsletter more useful in spreading the word about the true philosophy of Epicurus.

–  Here are the latest major posts at the Facebook Group this week:

– This past week contained the Twentieth of September, which (as Epicurean students know) was the date of the month which Epicurus requested that his students memorialize as a special date for the observation of Epicurean philosophy and recollection of the founders.  As usual we had several special posts commenorating the date, including one from Steve K. commenting on an Epicurus-related Existentialist comic and my own post with a summary of major points from the letter to Herodotus.  Also on the 20th, Elli P. posted a very interesting article on Asclepiades of Bithynia and his relationship to Hippocrates.

– On the 21st I posted a link to remind everyone of the unashamed Epicurean connection to the common pig (an extremely smart animal), as confirmed by several ancient references including the poet Horace.

– On the 21st I also posted a graphic listing a number of importantEpicurean quotations involving “time” and our attitude toward it.

– As an example of what I think is the high quality of our group’s posting and research into Epicurus, we had two posts this week that produced an important find for those interested in getting Epicurean theory as accurately as possible.  First I posted on Cicero’s attacks on Epicurus in On Ends, noting that we regularly cite the good comments and we need to be able to deal with the bad comments too.  That post led directly to an importand find, thanks to Pangiotis A.  We have located an posted a copy of an important research work from 1938:  Mary Porter Packer’s “Cicero’s Presentation of Epicurean Ethics.”  This is a well-documented and researched work which blows the lid off of the respect that many people accord to Cicero’s interpretations of Epicurean ethics.  Norman Dewitt mildly criticized the article for being too easy on Cicero’s motives, but the conclusion that Cicero cannot be relied on at face value is of importance regardless of Cicero’s motive.  Here is how Packer summarized her own opinion:  “”Cicero was himself a man of action whose personal standards and inclinations resulted in a life of high integrity and devotion to public service. A life of tranquil equilibrium, even if good and useful, would not have appealed to his nature. He was therefore temperamentally out of sympathy with the Epicurean ideal, and was confirmed in his attitude by the price which he had paid for his own devotion to public interests, and partly perhaps by contict with certain nominal Epicureans of his own day (see above pp. 64-65, 94-97, 115-116). It would seem that these influences worked in a circle, so that Cicero by his disinclination toward the ideals of Epicureanism is blinded toward much in the doctrine with which he must have agreed; and by his failure to realize much that he could have agreed with in theory, he is led to assume for the doctrine certain inconsistencies and vicious tendencies which were in no degree inherent in ‘the system. The respect which he admits for certain individual Epicureans, and even for certain tenets of their philosophy, might well have led him to re-examine his own conclusions concerning the system as a whole. In the light of the above study it is fair to say that Cicero’s treatment of Epicurean ethics is an untrustworthy source from which to seek a fundamental understanding of the philosophy.”  This is a very important work that would be helpful to anyone interested in learning more about Epicurean ethics.

– On the 23rd Yiannis T. posted a link to an article on David Hume, which has some very interesting commentary on Hume’s views that are helpful in evaluating Epicurean ideas.  Hume is often compared to Epicurus, but there are tremendously important differences of viewpoint as well, and this is a good article for bring out those differences and similarities.

–  On the 24th Elli posted a link to an interesting couch!  In a similar vein, Elli posted to an article on something that doesn’t sound like a good use of time.

–  Earlier today (the 26th) Hiram posted a challenge to all of us to see if we can get Google to honor Epicurus.  Please check it out and see if you can help.  Hiram also posted a link to an article discussing Sam Harris’ views on pleasure.

  Here are the major recent posts at NewEpicurean.com:

image “Quantity” Does Not Equal “Type”The diagram associated with this post is intended to dramatize the question:  Does any quantity of a thing ever change that thing into its opposite?  When Epicurus stated that there…
image Peace and Safety For Your Twentieth of September! – An Overview of the Letter to HerodotusPeace and Safety to the Epicureans of today, no matter where you might be!   This month for the Twentieth, I offer a quick outline of the major points of…
image Fundamentals of Epicurean Philosophy – An Outline(Click on the bullet to the left of each item to expand.) This outline represents my latest aid to discussing Epicurus with people who are new to the philosophy. I can’t…
image All Dressed Up But No Place To GoThanks to Alexander R. for linking to this video at the Science Channel, which alleges that the robot in this example is well on its way to learning emotional associations.…
image A Season Of The Year To Remember Fallen EpicureansChecking back over the last four years, it seems that late in August of odd-numbered years I have resubmitted the following post on “A Season of the Year To Remember Fallen…
Thanks to all who participated in the Facebook forum this week. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group!
 – – – Live Well!

= = = = =  NOTES = = = = =

Resources for Epicurean Philosophy On The Internet


There are many find Epicurean websites on the internet, so be sure you are aware of the main ones.  This newsletter is brought to you by http://www.NewEpicurean.com. Two other very active and important websites are SocietyofEpicurus.com and Menoeceus.blogspot.com

There is also an active website in Greece (mostly in the Greek language) at Epicuros.net.  Please be sure to check the list at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.net for a full list, and let us know if other sites should be mentioned here.

Options for those who wish to discuss Epicurus on the internet include:1- If you are focused primarily on Epicurus, and you want to participate in a forum where people will defend Epicurus strongly from all challenges, then you have two Facebook options. Our open and main group, entitled simply “Epicurean Philosophy,” is the home base of this post. Anyone can read the posts there, and all you have to do is ask in order to join. (Note that there is an “About” and a “Sticky” post with our forum rules.)

2 – If you are someone whose views are fully formed, and you’ve combined several disparate viewpoints into your own personal mix, and you mainly want to talk casually to other people of the same eclectic type, there are several excellent facebook groups including EPISTOBUZEN and “Epicureanism for Modern Times.” 3 – If you prefer to post in a “private” group where your posts are not readable by outsiders, we have “Epicurean Private Garden.” Because it is a private group, you cannot find it by searching, and you have to email one of our admins in the open group if you wish to join. Please note that our About and Sticky Post rules in the private forum are the same as the open forum, and the private forum will be moderated to the same standards as the open forum (or perhaps slightly tighter!)

4 – If you are not only focused primarily on Epicurus, but you wish to assist with a forum platform where pro-Epicurean activists can build for the future, check out www.EpicureanFriends.com. Work is starting on a FAQ and other resources. Anyone can read the posts, but only approved members can create new posts or comment.

5 – If your interest is primarily on the scientific research side, such as implications of quantum mechanics and related theories, be sure to check out “Epicurean Touchpoints” at Facebook.

Please be sure to check out the list of websites at www.EpicurusCentral.wordpress.net for the latest available sites. If you know of sites that should be mentioned here, please send me an email.

This email newsletter is brought to you by NewEpicurean.com.  Please check our page and also http://www.EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com for links to other Epicurean websites worldwide.

#

★★ THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 09/19/2015 ★★

★★ This is the one hundred and twenty-fourth 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, and other discussion cites are referenced at the end of this post.

★★ 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!”

★★Today I’d like to highlight a new post by Alexander R. in the group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/889980677717560/ ) and explain why I think it’s significant. The topic is essentially how we should consider whether and how concepts of “condensed – rarified” and “kinetic – static” apply to pleasure. Alexander’s comments highlight the issue from the perspective that Alexander regularly posts on – physics issues, including the movement of particles.

Here’s the point that I want to emphasize: Alexander has a keen interest in Epicurean theory in part because he is oriented toward the physics, and he knows that the implications of physics go far beyond “dry” science. Many of our participants come to our group knowing a little about Epicurus’ ethics, but virtually nothing about Epicurus’ “physics” or his theories of knowledge. If this situation describes you, you owe it to yourself to spend some time understanding why Epicurus was concerned about these deeper issues. With just a little effort I think you’ll begin to see why they are so important.

I think we all can recognize that the question “can we know anything?” is closely related to the ethics questions that most of us find interesting. After all, if we can’t know anything with confidence, then how can we have any confidence in any decisions we make on how to live?

And how did Epicurus attack the question of how we know anything? He attacked it by looking for the *mechanism* by which we gather informations – the mechanism by which our senses operate. And the key to this mechanism is the topic of “images.” As dry as that might sound, the essential point of “images” is nothing more than to address the point of how we learn things. The point is that GODS do not plant ideas in our minds, and neither are we born with ideas fully-formed in our minds. We don’t learn things by looking for FORMS in heaven, as Plato taught, or for “essences” built into the objects around us, as Aristotle taught. Our job in learning isn’t dependent on revelation from gods, nor is it dependent on “logic” after we somehow tune our minds with the essences around us. The job of learning is wrapped up in understanding how our senses operate – how “images” travel from objects to us, and how we interpret those images even when they are not clear.

The work of unravelling how these “images” work relys on our understanding the nature of the images and how they move, and that is a matter of “physics.” In other words, we have to grasp a basic understanding of the concept of particles and how they move if we are to have any confidence that we can rely on this mechanism to gather knowledge. If those particles are at the mercy of gods, then WE are at the mercy of gods, and all hope of confidence in living without fear of the gods is essentially gone.

So Epicurus wants you to understand enough physics to see that our senses operate through the motion of particles. And he also wants you to know that not only your sight and hearing, but the entire universe as well, operates through the properties and the motion of those particles. That’s why you need to know enough about particles to realize that they aren’t “divine” and they are in fact “eternal” – that they therefore weren’t created by any god.

And only if you know the basics of this issue will you have enough confidence to laugh at St. Paul, in Galatians 4:9, when he says: “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”

From this you ought to begin to see that the “physics” of Epicurus was hardly “dry” at all. Unlike our modern particle physicists, who often seem to live in a world of their own, Epicurus considered a series of basic observations about the nature of the elements to be essential for anyone’s understanding of how to live happily.

In order to make this review of basic principles of nature easier to grasp, I have continued to work this week on my latest “outline” which summarizes these issues and their implications. The latest version will always be here: http://newepicurean.com/major-observations-and-conclusions-in-epicurean-philosophy-an-outline/

So if you’re one of many who knows something about Epicurean ethics but little about the foundations of the Epicurean view of Nature or Knowledge, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to review the first two bullet points on Nature and Knowledge, and these should help you to think about the connection of “physics” to the Epicurean conclusions on how to live.

★★ Moving on, here are the rest of the highlights of this week’s posts:

★★On Sep 15, Elli posted a cute video illustrating an Epicurean and Platonist at the Agora. 😉 https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/887462297969398/

★★On Sep 16, I posted a link to a news article on a court ruling allowing the religious ceremony of “Kaparos” to continue in New York over the objections of animal rights advocates. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/888556217860006/

★★ On Sep 17, Alexander linked to an article on how quantum theory may relate to human decisionmaking. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/888955844486710/

★★ On Sep 15 I linked to my blog post announcing the “outline” as discussed above. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/887735334608761/
★★Thanks to all who participated in the Facebook forum this week. 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

Live Well!
Cassius Amicus

★★Options for those who wish to discuss Epicurus on the internet include:

1- If you are someone whose views are fully formed, and you’ve combined several disparate viewpoints into your own personal mix, and you mainly want to talk casually to other people of the same eclectic type, there are several excellent facebook groups including EPISTOBUZEN and “Epicureanism for Modern Times” that you can find by searching facebook.

2- If you are focused primarily on Epicurus, and you want to participate in a forum where people will defend Epicurus strongly from all challenges, then you have two Facebook options. Our open and main group, entitled simply “Epicurean Philosophy,” is the home base of this post. Anyone can read the posts there, and all you have to do is ask in order to join. (Note that there is an “About” and a “Sticky” post with our forum rules.)

3 – If you prefer to post in a “private” group where your posts are not readable by outsiders, we have “Epicurean Private Garden.” Because it is a private group, you cannot find it by searching, and you have to email one of our admins in the open group if you wish to join. Please note that our About and Sticky Post rules in the private forum are the same as the open forum, and the private forum will be moderated to the same standards as the open forum (or perhaps slightly tighter!)

4 – If you are not only focused primarily on Epicurus, but you wish to assist with a forum platform where pro-Epicurean activists can build for the future, check out http://www.EpicureanFriends.com. Work is starting on a FAQ and other resources. Anyone can read the posts, but only approved members can create new posts or comment.