Death is nothing to us; for that which has been dissolved into its elements experiences no sensations, and that which has no sensation is nothing to us. Continuous bodily pain does not last long; instead, pain, if extreme, is present a very short time, and even that degree of pain which slightly exceeds bodily pleasure does not last for many days at once. Diseases of long duration allow an excess of bodily pleasure over pain. All bodily suffering is easy to disregard: for that which causes acute pain has short duration, and that which endures long in the flesh causes but mild pain. It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and honorably and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely and honorably and justly without living pleasantly. Whenever any one of these is lacking, when, for instance, the man is not able to live wisely, though he lives honorably and justly, it is impossible for him to live a pleasant life.
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Shelves: philosophy Not my greatest work reading, but it is hardcore philosophy. The interesting thing is that Epicurus has relatively little extant work. Most of what we know about him and his philosophy comes to us secondhand through other philosophers and writers, such as Lucretius. That is about as clear as we get of Epicurus. Another Not my greatest work reading, but it is hardcore philosophy.
Another curiosity is that he considers the soul to be material. The soul is something binding atoms together. But he clearly believes that both the soul and body die when we die. He claims not to fear death because of the deduction that with death ends sensation, and since both body and soul die, there is no sensation to be afraid of. A further curiosity is this: how did he know so much about atoms? Everything the early Greeks knew about life was through observation as now and logic also as now , but it is amazing that they could come up with these insights, years ago and before microscopes and modern chemistry.
If I were to be a philosopher, this work would have to be high on my list. Epicurus appears to have been a rebel.
Though he followed Plato chronologically, he does not seem to take much from his lead. I was very nicely surprised by his doctrine of pleasure, that seems to be mistaken for hedonism quite a lot of times.
He is a sober writer, with a touch of irony, that teaches some very valuable secrets for a happy and calm life. Although I would not consider myself an Epicurianist, there is great wisdom in his approach to life and even the gods.
Unfortunately all we have left complete is two collection of quotes, for I finally decided to read Epicurus to see what all the fuss is about. Unfortunately all we have left complete is two collection of quotes, for letters and his last will. Two of the letters deal with Epicurean science that tried to free itself from myth and the gods and are slightly more boring than his maxims and letter on how to live in tranquility.
But it was worth the read.
He studied under Nausiphanes , who followed the teachings of Democritus ,   and later those of Pyrrho ,   whose way of life Epicurus greatly admired. Epicurus came of age at a time when Greek intellectual horizons were vastly expanding due to the rise of the Hellenistic Kingdoms across the Near East. Nonetheless, Epicurus differed from his predecessors on several key points of determinism and vehemently denied having been influenced by any previous philosophers, whom he denounced as "confused". Instead, he insisted that he had been "self-taught".
Epicurus: Letters, Principal Doctrines, and Vatican Sayings
Shelves: philosophy Not my greatest work reading, but it is hardcore philosophy. The interesting thing is that Epicurus has relatively little extant work. Most of what we know about him and his philosophy comes to us secondhand through other philosophers and writers, such as Lucretius. That is about as clear as we get of Epicurus.
And we will not give ourselves up as captives to thee or to any other circumstance; but when it is time for us to go, spitting contempt on life and on those who here vainly cling to it, we will leave life crying aloud in a glorious triumph-song that we have lived well. Follow your inclination as you will, provided only that you neither violate the laws, disturb well-established customs, harm any one of your neighbors, injure your own body, nor waste your possessions. That you be not constrained by one or more of these conditions is impossible; for a man never gets any good from sexual passion, and he is fortunate if he does not receive harm. If the anger is not justified but is unreasonable, it is folly for an irrational child to appeal to someone deaf to appeals and not to try to turn it aside in other directions by a display of good will. He who fails to heed this limit falls into an error as great as that of the man who gives way to extravagance. Should such a life happen to fall upon great wealth, this too it can share as to gain the good will of those about.