“It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing ‘neither to harm nor be harmed’).
And it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.” Epicurus
So wrote Epicurus, the Ancient Greek philosopher who inspired his followers to seek to live without pain or fear.
Epicurus(341BC, Samos – 270BC, Athens) gave his name to Epicureanism, the misunderstood philosophy borne of his teachings. Today, we think of Epicureanism as denoting a life of eating and drinking richly or to excess in order to best enjoy life. However, this was never the intention of Epicurus, who merely wanted people to understand that to experience modest pleasures will allow fear and pain to subside, in itself creating the greatest pleasure of all: a life of contentment through equilibrium.
Delving a bit deeper we learn that Epicureanism is a multi-faceted philosophy. Epicurus was certainly ahead of his time in his belief that the existence and behaviour of everything in the world is based on the movement of invisible particles, which we now know to be atoms. On a human level he favoured the cultivation of friendship and was even the Pollyanna of the Ancient World, teaching us how to find the positive in the most negative of situations.
“Everything in moderation,” is a saying we could easily attribute to the views of Epicurus. Gluttony and excess could only give rise to disappointment, he believed, for if we’ve already experienced the best of something, what more is there to look forward to?
“Do unto others as you would have done unto you,” is a Christian reference we could also say had commonalities with Epicurean opinion which developed a few hundred years before the Nativity itself occurred.
In the above and so many other ways, Epicurus is a source of inspiration, hence the name for this blog.