“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.

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.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. razzbuffnik says:

    Epicurus has much to say that is so relevant in this age of consumerist confusion.

    If only more people were aware of his ideas, the world would be a much more just and happier place.

    Your post about “The Unhappy Traveller” is a classic example of how ignorance leads to an unhappy life.

    I find it sad that 2,300 years ago Epicurus laid out his sound ideas and most people are totally unaware of what he had to say and how to live an enjoyable life.

    We are surely slow learners.

    I genuinely feel that some classical philosophy should be taught to children at primary school to help them achieve happier lives and to create a better world.


  2. epicurienne says:

    Razzbuffnik, thanks so much for your comment. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say about philosophy for schoolchildren. In France everyone has to study philosophy at some point during their school years and it certainly makes for a country where everyone is comfortable with debate.
    Isn’t it ironic that Epicurus had so many amazing ideas that have been forgotten by modern society?
    Another Greek chap worthy of mention must be Socrates. Fascinating stuff. I’ll try to write about some of his ideas soon.
    Say hi to the wallabies for me!


  3. razzbuffnik says:

    “Another Greek chap worthy of mention must be Socrates. ”

    Ah yes! Socratic irony. Reading about Socrates helped me better understand that old American Detective show Columbo 😉

    All joking aside, my wife and I read out load to each other, on a week long hiking trip in NZ, Plato’s “Georgias”.


  4. epicurienne says:

    Yep and it takes me back to my last year of school when we read Plato’s Socratic Dialogues. Loved every minute.
    Like the bit about Columbo. Will be thinking of Socrates next time I catch an episode. Nice tip!


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  6. James Mowery says:


    I was wondering if you accept guest post for your blog. If you do, I would like to submit a few. You can see a sample of my work at LaptopComputers.org under the author James Mowery. I’ve also written for several high-profile blogs like Mashable, Performancing, and CMSWire. Thank you for your time.

    – James


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