Essay on Epicurus

This essay has a total of 1883 words and 8 pages.

epicurus

Nor is life a spectator sport. It is a full contact event requiring your action and
participation. You are part of "Team Humanity" and you need to give it your all. Do what
you love to do (as long as it does not hurt others) with passion and enjoyment and you
will no doubt do it well. Learn to balance your life and share your passion and enjoyment
with others, in particular, those you care about most. Sharing your life interests with
others will enrich them as well if you believe and feel passionately about what you do.
The act of sharing with others will help you balance your own existence as well. It will
insure that you don't simply engage in narrow, selfish pursuits to the exclusion of other
aspects of your life and the important people in it. The act of sharing means you have to
reach out, engage and understand the interests of others in order to involve them in yours
as well.


Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus is about life and explains it from a philosopher's point of
view. In it he discusses pleasure, pain, death, fear, judgment, destiny, ignorance and
many other debatable issues that humans experience. The one idea that struck my attention
is from a passage about pleasure and morals. He doesn't use the word moral but rather
implies that morals are connected to pleasure. The passage states, "Pleasure is our first
and kindred good. It is the starting-point of every choice and of every aversion, and to
it we come back, inasmuch as we make feeling the rule by which to judge of every good
thing." Epicurus simply indicates For example, a man or woman who is willing to give up
their life for their country would be pleasing himself or herself as well as the country.
That is a huge sacrifice that one may make in order to fulfill their desire to do
something good. Epicurus suggests that pleasure is our first thought that is good. So in
order for something to be good it must be pleasurable to anyone including yourself. He
also states that pleasure is our first and kindred good. This suggests that from the time
that we are born we associate good as something pleasing. Infants learn that eating,
sleeping, being changed to be more comfortable, cuddling, having a blanket for warmth, and
any other physical needs are all good or pleasing to the baby. As we grow our pleasure
comes from our emotions as well as our physical desires. The parent of a child receives
his or her pleasure from the caring and nurturing of the child. According to Epicurus, our
choices are based on pleasure. As we age our form of pleasure transfers from a physical
need to our emotional needs. When we evaluate a situation we tend to think about what
would be best or the most pleasing to us. An example of this is that I choose to go to
school because it makes me happy to have an education and so I can feel secure in my
future. My choice was made from an evaluation of how pleasing it would be for me, had it
not been pleasing I would have altered my choice. Both the feelings of security and
happiness were evaluated before I made my decision. Epicurus also mentions feelings and
how they effect our judgment of good. Since our choices are based on pleasure they effect
our morals or our judgment. When a person considers another person's feelings over their
own is a value that is instilled in their morals when they are young. For example people
that have children place their pleasure on the happiness of their child. From this the
child is learning the pleasure of pleasing others and that it is good. Epicurus entwines
the idea that pleasure is connected to our judgment of everything that is "good". He began
by talking about pleasure and how it is the first thing that we learn. He then says that
we consider the amount of pleasure something will bring us before we make our decisions
about things. Then he brings in the idea of how pleasure is a feeling and that we make
feelings our basis for determining if something is good. From all these feelings and
judgments we are given our morals. So if we didn't have feelings would it be possible to
have "good" morals? Word Count: 619


Epicureanism



Epicurean physics is atomistic, in the tradition of the Greek philosophers Leucippus and
Democritus. Epicurus regarded the universe as infinite and eternal and as consisting only
of bodies and space. Of the bodies, some are compound and some are atoms, or indivisible,
stable elements of which the compounds are formed. The world, as seen through the human
eye, is produced by the whirlings, collisions, and aggregations of these atoms, which
individually possess only shape, size, and weight.


In biology, Epicurus anticipated the modern doctrine of natural selection. He postulated
that natural forces give rise to organisms of different types and that only the types able
to support and propagate themselves have survived.


Epicurean psychology is thoroughly materialistic. It holds that sensations are caused by a
continuous stream of films or "idols" cast off by bodies and impinging on the senses. All
sensations are believed to be absolutely reliable; error arises only when sensation is
improperly interpreted. The soul is regarded as being composed of fine particles
distributed throughout the body. The dissolution of the body in death, Epicurus taught,
leads to the dissolution of the soul, which cannot exist apart from the body; and thus no
afterlife is possible. Since death means total extinction, it has no meaning either to the
living or to the dead, for "when we are, death is not; and when death is, we are not."


The cardinal virtues in the Epicurean system of ethics are justice, honesty, and prudence,
or the balancing of pleasure and pain. Epicurus preferred friendship to love, as being
less disquieting. His personal hedonism taught that only through self-restraint,
moderation, and detachment can one achieve the kind of tranquillity that is true
happiness. Despite his materialism, Epicurus believed in the freedom of the will. He
suggested that even the atoms are free and move on occasion quite spontaneously; his view
resembles the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics.

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