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Fear not Epicureans… Happiness does not reside in the taste buds.

February 15, 2013

Epicurus

I’ve always been fascinated by the Epicurean philosophy. Starting today I’ll try to regularly post some Epicurean teachings for your brain to mull over. Contrary to the ideas of  popular culture Epicureans were not hedonists in the same sense as the word is used today. They were, however, hedonists in that they believed pleasure to be the highest goal. The greek ataraxia usually translated as pleasure was not orgasmic pleasure but rather ridding oneself of suffering or pain. It is a state of tranquility brought about by this lack of suffering – be that suffering physical (pain) or mental (fear).

I’m going to stop before I extend past my knowledge. I’ll keep studying up! All I wanted to do was share some Epicurean ideas on life. Below is the first lesson in living an Epicurean life.

The Eight Epicurean Counsels

Epicureanism was never meant to be a dry academic philosophy but a vital way of living which would free men and women from a life of unhappiness, fear and anxiety – they sought ataraxia.

Epicureanism is a missionary philosophy, and while epicureans have written scholarly works, they have always been very interested in explaining this way of life in a manner simple enough for anyone to understand and remember.

The following eight counsels are a basic guide to Epicurean living.

1) Don’t fear God.
2) Don’t worry about death.
3) Don’t fear pain.
4) Live simply.
5) Pursue pleasure wisely.
6) Make friends and be a good friend.
7) Be honest in your business and private life.
8) Avoid fame and political ambition.

As my miniseries progresses I’ll go further into explaining why the Epicureans thought we should accept these Eight Counsels. But for know see if you can uncover their wisdom.

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