« Philosophize This!

Episode #010 ... The Hellenistic Age Pt. 1 - Epicurus

2013-11-24 | 🔗

This week on the podcast, we shift our focus back to Western philosophy. On this episode, we learn about Epicureanism—one of four schools of thought that were prevalent during the Hellenistic Age, which will be our focus for the next few episodes. We find out why Diogenes liked Epicurus’ ideas so much that he permanently graffitied them onto the walls of an ancient greek community center. We also learn why Epicurus thought that the most satisfying part of eating a half gallon of ice cream was the moment after the last spoonful, and why a jacket from Nordstrom really isn’t that much better than a jacket from Target. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For more information about this or any episode of the podcast check Got the website at philosophize. This start org. We have additional content further reading trance scripts of every show, all free. Of course, But if you value the shows an educational resource and you want to help keep it going, you can find that more about how to do that at patriarch dot com, slash philosophize this or alter. Notably you're, buying something from Amazon this week, anyway, concern clicking through our banner. It's at the bottom center of the landing page of philosophize. This org, Small percentage goes back to the show. It may just be a click for you, but every little bit adds up there key for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday, and I hope you show have you guys ever heard of a Stoa, Stoa was a com structure in ancient greek architecture that served a wide variety of purposes, but most of the time it was just a place that people gathered. Just imagine two huge lie. It's a big, doric or ionian columns holding up a massive roof. Usually hundreds of feet
and positioned right in the middle of town, offering people a little shelter from the elements while they do their business in a stoa, sometimes merchant it would set up shop. Sometimes artists would lay out there art, where people to see sometimes pay I would just hold a gathering in honour of some local prestigious war hero, but in the second son read. There was a guy named Diogenes and he was incredibly rich. The richest man in his town of oil, Wada, the MIC raw of his town of a nata, he was so rich and believed so much in the philosophy of a guy named Epicurus who lived almost five hundred years before him that he paid to have a giant wall built onto the Stoa. That was right in the middle of town He built it where he knew everyone would be walking past. It and they'd all have no choice but to look at it all day long and on this wall he carved in twenty five thousand words, that's about
two hundred and sixty square metres of text in the text he chose to carbon to this wall was the philosophy of Epicures metaphysics. A pistol Molly Gee ethics just imagine going about your daily business and constantly having to look at some antiquated view of how to be a happier person written by a guy. I never knew you and lived hundreds of years ago and he's telling you doing everything completely wrong. It must have seemed pretty pretentious at the time. One of the sections of the wall, though at the very big There was sort of a prologue written by Diana Genies, explain Why even put up the wall in the first place, he writes about being extremely troubled in his youth and that by studying Acuras and his philosophy. He turned his life around. He achieved level of tranquillity, hidden even Noah's possible. He writes at the older. He got the more gratitude he had for the teachings of epicures, and it was this gratitude that drove him to put up this wall here.
But he did it to help also those who come after us and to place there. Or the remedies of salvation by means of this porch, because the wall he built was adjacent to a particle of the Stoa, which is like a porch. He said that if there were only one or two people were lost or had been let stray and this human existence, then he'd just find them himself and talk to them personally about epicures instead He built a giant wall in the middle of a public place because, as far as he saw it, most people were lost. Hello everyone, I'm Stephen West. This is philosophize this, and today we return to western philosophy, at least for a little while, and this episode is part one of many series that month from now people will look back on and see at all as one block and if by chance, their listening to this months. From now this next Part may seem kind of repetitive or contrived, because I say at every episode, but please be considered.
the fact that we're releasing one episode every two weeks almost and I need to re up my gratitude for the love support. I've gotten over the last two weeks, this is is growing rapidly in this audience is like the nitrate fertilizer. Thank you for the donations. Thank you for following me on Twitter. Thank you for the I just want to. Let let you guys know that I'm constantly trying to find ways become a more efficient person and shave time offer the other obligations I have so that I can spend more time improving my craft trying to bring you guys better shows. Your compassion makes me want nothing else in this world. So let's go part one of the Hellenistic age Epicurious Ten ten episodes go. We started talking about the priest, socratic philosophers, this group of really strain two guys with a lot of really strange ideas, even by today's standards. None of them really knew what to think of the whole philosophy thing that was emerging note
really had anything figured out that. Well, you had all different kinds of approaches, some of them like sales who just taught people informally. You had Pythagoras who started a cult and his super restrictive life. Look Heraclitus buried himself up to his neck and manure for God's sakes, but despite all their different methods of philosophizing, the different results they arrived at. They were all generally speaking, talking about the same stuff, the building blocks of metaphysics and epistemology. Then Socrates was born. And for the first time in the west, you had someone using this tool of philosophy to try to discern what the most effective way to live life was then came played. When Aristotle, to polymath gene This is diametrically opposite and most ways but similar in the sense that philosophy as they pursued it was nearly impossible for the to man to relate to was
much salvation from your everyday problems and Plato telling you that there is a magical world of forms were perfect form of everything exists. I mean some ruthless dictator. I have just written into town and sold you and your family into slavery. But hey, don't worry some, up in the sky in the magical world of forms, there's a perfect form of that shovel you're going to be using for the rest of your life. Don't worry, keep in mind. It really help the longevity of your philosophy, as well as its ability to even get off the ground in the first place. If it had a popular following an just popularity among aspiring philosophers of the day but of the average person and really
part of what makes Plato and Aristotle so remarkable today is just how foreign the things they talked about were from the average thought process I mean both of them had schools you needed to attend for years to fully grasped some of these concepts they're talking about when it came to philosophy being useful to the average person, it must have seemed at the time like it skip the couple generations, so goes the quote by Cicero. That Socrates, however, was the first who called philosophy down from Heaven and placed it cities and introduced it even in homes and drove it to inquire about life and customs and things good and evil. But when Aristotle died and three twenty two b c, he was the only supremely important figure, tick kilos, and die recently. This one year earlier, Alexander, the great died and that ended in uncharacteristically stable time in the life of the average citizen of Athens, the life of the average citizen was changing, philosophy was changing and the Hellenistic age was beginning,
The death of Alexander, the great, is one of those moments in history, where it's crazy to think about what history would look like today. If things went down differently, he D, I'd very mysteriously and unexpectedly and apparently Alexander the great wasn't watching much daytime television in his day. Definitely would have seen the hundred commercials commercials from insurance companies and law firms telling him one day you're to follow of a ladder and die. So make sure your family is protected, no is actually quite the contrary. He died so suddenly he uneven named a successor and nobody knew what to do in the year. Three, twenty three b c, Suddenly, the largest and most powerful empire known to man at the time was just up for grabs. Suddenly, one was scrambling just to try to hold onto this really good thing they had going. Opinion was divided on what to do. Some people thought As far as the successor goes, Alexander's half brother was the best way to go, then a whole other group of people.
They should wait around for his unborn child. The come of age, long story short: some people got murdered Chaos ensued, constant war for giant dynasties made up of many kingdoms, each many of which just grasping at straws. In this battle for succession, even two hundred years later. People were still reeling from the death of Alexander and jockeying for their own geopolitical position, the life of the coverage person during this time period changed dramatically with the death of Alexander because depending a more you lived, you might have some guy right into town, tell you that he's your ruler. Now you guys are all subservient to me now. And now I'm gonna go off and try to conquer more territory. Everyone goes ok, that's our new king! ok, goes off too It's late or some other guy comes and says he just killed that guy and now, a ruler and everyone's like okay,
things were very uncertain and uncertainty breeds fear. We people were scared, they didn't know what their future was. Gonna look. Like in when this paradigm of the average life changed. So too did philosophy. Whole period is known as the hellenistic age. The law. He was shifting from a focus on metaphysics and epistemology to a focus on ethics. Philosophy was changing. From something that resembled the works of Plato and Aristotle, to something that more resembled the work of Socrates remembers. Cookies was the guy that didn't have time for all these pointless abstract questions about what the universe is made of. Is more concerned with finding what the best way to live life was or how to be happy and with all the stress of the political climate at the time. It's no wonder why all these new schools, a philosophy that we're cropping up we're more heavily influenced by Socrates and they were by Plato or Aristotle. There were three main schools, but also a fourth which is worthy of note.
These were stoicism, epicurean, isn't scepticism and later on cynicism, much like the Ford dynasties of the political landscape. These four schools were constantly battling with each other trying to assert their dominance and, throughout this Helen, to series we're gonna be talking a lot about the relationships and battles between these schools and in the end, we were left with the winner The king of the Hellenistic Age Hill will realize just how Morton the politics of the day are in determining which philosophical schools emerge victorious in which fail a concept which will be crew. Show and understanding the next fifteen hundred years, or so there aren't many people throughout history that can claim to be as misunderstood as epicures. I think most pay, we'll think of Epicureanism as being synonymous with a life of indulgence, but this is actually very far from the truth. Entire goal of its philosophy, as well as many of the other philosophies of the time, was to increase your anoraks. You. It was a word
at the time that meant tranquillity or, more specifically, a complete freedom from pain forever. Curious. It was a very literal struggle against pain. Apparently, he spent most of his life with chronic severe pain in his stomach and gut and its commonly thought that he died. Very bad kidney stones. I mean he writes a letter on his death bed. He tells his friend that he knows he's gonna die and that he's on Able to urinate and he's in extreme pain, it's terrible, but the freedom of pain that he talks about this philosophy. Freedom of pain that someone could relate to very well in the hellenistic age was a completely different kind of pain. Seven years after the death of Plato, Epicurus was born three and forty one BC. Now every account seems to agree that he was born and raised by poor parents on a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. That would have been considered a relatively insignificant colony of Athens at the time. So it's important to note that, for all of his childhood, for all of his format
of years, Epicurus lived a, maybe not constant poverty stricken existence but definitely a very modest and humbling existence, and like Sadara gotta, both spent there, valuable years and a place that would offer an invaluable insight into what happiness truly is when developing their philosophy. The later both had access when extreme end of the spectrum that they could contrast Future more realistic lies with so as not to fall victim to the common delusions about what people think they're whacking that's making them unhappy. Palaces and riches for sudatta, abject poverty for epicures and when Finally left the island. He spent all those years on it's interesting to consider Then he studied under philosophers who were direct students of two people, Plato and Democritus. When you compare the two as philosophers they're, not even in the same galaxy, if you compared the task of innovating philosophy to the task of getting off
a deserted island Plato would would be Tom. Hanks cast away and Democritus would be his. volleyball friend, Wilson me Plato, did everything in Democritus. Just kinda floated there with that creepy smile, but for Epicure ass it was the opposite. Democritus was the guide that he really attached himself too. He laid the groundwork for all of his metaphysics. Now. Just a recap: democratic is the guy that believe that everything we see in the world consists of atoms and void. Epicurus agreed with them. They both believe that, because things we see are able to move around, they must be moving into empty space right or else they wouldn't be able to move. So they call this empty space void. They also both believed that the things we see around us our composites there made up of many. Smaller than the thing itself, because if they weren't, then we wouldn't be able to break them into smaller pieces or cut cut them down to size.
On that same note, they both don't think that the process of cutting things in half can go on forever and that there must be some fundamental unchanging. Eternal building block of stuff that can explain the uniformity of the world and everything in it. That building block is the atom. So these guys love each other. I mean they agree. On many things, but obviously not everything in the differences between the metaphysics of Epicurus and Democritus. As far as Adams go lie in three main areas. The first one is that Epicurus believes atoms, have a weight and naturally move downward. Now there's all sorts of multi generational drama at work. Here. Let me bring up to speed, though. Previously on general hospital. Democritus said that all atomic motion. All move of atoms throughout the void is the result of previous atomic collisions like
this atom got hit by that Adam over there and they collided and hit this atom and when flying, etc. Years later, Aristotle through Democritus a major curveball and said well, that's great, now, cool story, bro How did they begin? Moving in the first place, then Epicures responds to So by saying that Adams have a wait and therefore, in this pre Sir Isaac Newton World, their living and Adams would naturally travelled downward. So this explain why they started moving at the beginning of time. But then you gotta be thinking and I'm sure, Aristotle would have been thinking this well, why didn't the atoms just move perfectly downward from the beginning? Have you explain them running into each other. In the first place, will the answer this is the second of three differences between epicurean metaphysics in democracy and metaphysics. The swerve simply put:
The swerve is epicures his way of explaining how Adams originally collided with each other, and it's just that every so often at random times in random intervals and Adam, we'll just kind of swerved to the side of it. That's it now. Everyone tries to compare this to modern quantum physics and how there's some infinitely small percentage chance of an atom shifting position on its own. I think it's safe to say, epicures didn't stumble across Less in three hundred BC, but that's not to say, there's nothing profound: about this idea. The influx issues behind the swerve. They reveal the philosophical debate that still exist to this day. Here's what I mean Denmark believed in a sort of cosmic determinism. He thought that, based on his theory of the universe if you found an atom somewhere in the universe. Right now follow that atom around. Eventually, that item is going to run into another Adam and combined with it, and then maybe
those two items will run into a rock or something Quickly, what I'm saying is the universe is so constant and predictable that you could known the future that Adam from the get go. You could know. It was gonna, combined with the rock way back when you first found it, and for that Are you could know everything it was ever gonna do if you are willing, Do the calculations far enough out humans like rocks and planets are also made up of just atoms, so everything, including human two democritus we're just Adams colliding in moving around in space and in that Instead, everything is already predetermined, but epicures didn't agree. He again that our bodies are made up of the same atoms that celestial bodies are made up of, but he didn't like the determinism. If this determinism was true, we would all be on. Was spectators to our bodies in their actions, passengers, not in control. At all I mean you just be, closely watching your Adams go to the bathroom and forget to put the toilet sit down
Millions of men around the world would instantly have an excuse and you can't really be held accountable, and it's not just that, This would make morality absolutely pointless because it could never hold anyone accountable for any of their actions. It was just an unfortunate, seek and collision of atoms. He agreed with most of what Democritus said, but he held that there must be at least a small amount of free will it work here and that's he rationalizes the swerve doctrine, years later, a roman poet and staunch epicurean named Lucretius, puts it well in his poem day room, not her quote again All movement is always interconnected, new arising from the old and a determined in order, if the atom never swerve so as to originate some new movement that will snapped the bonds of fate, the everlasting sequence of cause and effect. What is the source of the freeway possessed by living things throughout the earth. End quote the third difference, but
Their theories of atoms involves Epicurus thought that the causes of our sensations come from something outside of the sensations themselves, but I think it'll make the most sense and be the most memorable if we cover it in a future episode. Let me just say, though, the first half of his philosophy is natural. RO philosophy or what in modern times, we would probably just call science and even No, we got a lot of things wrong. He really didn't do too badly considering, but make no mistake aim was to find a rational way of understanding the world that had nothing to do with gods or supernatural forces. This was extremely important to him, because if he didn't have one all the This philosophy becomes much less effective throughout the years. Epicurean railed against any sort of magical or two where natural or fate driven account for some phenomena happening. Sometimes they got a little carried away just how
can stagnate scientific progress by blindly accepting that a supernatural forces behind something that you don't understand. You can also stagnate scientific progress by prematurely accepting a rational account for why something happened without any evidence. Simply because want some explanation. That's not supernatural, and the epicureans were definitely guilty of this just one more time to make this clear. The two halves of Epicurus Philosophy Fit together beautifully, but in order for the second, after work properly epicures thought you needed this rational explanation of the world without gods. So it's no surprise that he approached it a little more com principally than just making a few updates to Democritus and his theory of atoms. He wasn't in Paris on one hand he had to refute the rationalists descendants of Plato and, on the other hand, he had to refute one of the main. The rival, philosophical schools at the time, the sceptics
so in other words, not only did we have to make a case for why information gathered through the senses is the best way to arrive at truth, but he also had to make a case that truth, something that could be attained at all, not exactly an easy task, but it came up with some pretty interesting ideas. He believed that we could arrive at truth, but in order for us to get there, we needed three things: sensations, exceptions and feelings. He thought when we see any object. That object is constantly sending off a layer of atoms? One atom thick, think ripples in a pond except the ripples. Adams and they're moving in every possible direction. Adam slam up against our eyes and into our body and our sense organs read this layer of atoms and creator picture in our minds of what the world around us is, but he made it very clear that we need to proceed with caution from this point. He heard the argued,
Some people he heard when they said the senses lied to us in our crude biological instruments. Deceive us all the time. Why should we trust them? Well, epicurism, it wasn't the senses that were deceiving us. Our minds were deceiving us, and this is where the preconceptions and feelings come into play. The way a curious sought. How can we blame the sense organs? The eye sir ears or knows are just transmitting information. It's these things are purely mechanical. The eyes aren't making judgments at the world is a certain way or isn't a certain way. That's you doing that. That's your mind and at the same time he recognised that the senses weren't perfect. He just thought it was dumb to go against everything. The census tell us, because if you went extreme and discounted everything the senses told you you'd have no reference point to relate.
Other information to? He says it number twenty three of its principal doctrines quote. If you fight against all your sensations, you will have no standard to which you refer and thus no means of judging, even though sensations, which you claim are false, end quote. He gives a great example about seeing a tower in the distance he talks about if you were half a mile away from a tower and looked round, you would assume, based on that input, that the tower was round in shape, but then, if you walk towards a tower and its only started to change, and eventually, when you're, only a couple hundred yards away, the power looked square, at which point we are is lying line deal well. He actually gives us an atomic explanation for distortions between your senses and the waves of atoms coming off of an object. It gives us a general rule of thumb that the closer you are to something the more accurate of a representation you're getting, but that's probably delving too far into it. The important wrong on the ladder of epistemology is that yeah the senses are far from perfect, but he thought they're the best.
And most reliable thing we have so really what you should do is realised the faults and limitations of them in the things that they're good because no matter what the senses tell us there's at least some basis in reality, they're never completely lying to Us- and this is the nexus of epicurean philosophy. This is the junction station of the two halves of his philosophy that we were talking about earlier. We perceive the world in a flawed way because of our mind, mine's flawed way of interpreting what the senses tell us. In the same exact way we perceive our happiness in a flawed away. Because of our mind are, finds flawed way of interpreting the situations we live in its not the input at some its interpretation of that input, and, if you ask me, this is what epicures should truly be remembered, for I mean people have this misconception that epicures was a guy that preached constant in
Georgians and vice these people have this idea that the guy was walking around telling everyone drink a thermos. Full clam chatter, everyday become nine hundred pounds like me, I mean come on really it couldn't be further from the truth but it's something that we ve seen before. He suffered the same fate of rampant gossip that Pythagoras did years earlier. After epicures studied under not and wasn't really happy with the way he was teaching. He set up a zone, philosophical schools and Middle Lenny and then in lumps across Finally settling back down in Athens at the age of thirty. Four worry bought a house on the outskirts of Athens and started. School, he would become famous for the garden. Now the garden was very special: it accepted women, and slaves as members and advocated a very communal, simple life, a collection of friends all revelling in the production of epicurism teachings
thing behind all the politics and ambitions that come with being a citizen living in the busy city that lead to nothing but disappointment or dissatisfaction. The only problem was is precisely that a commune, the secretive colt like atmosphere where they sit who did themselves from the population led to tons of gossip and oversimplify. Patients about what epicures taught it was kind of a perfect storm of sir RO things all coming together. People love to draw comparisons between epicurean, ism and hedonism. They love to attach the two. He and his m is a school of thought were pleasure, is seen as the only intrinsic good, and not only was it not created by a precarious would have been well known by the time of the curious. And hedonism goes all the way back to even ancient Sumerian ethic Gilgamesh. You know it says, fill your belly day and night make merry let days beef of joy dance and make music day and night. These things alone are the concern of men. The problem is
The definition of pleasure varies between all the heedless philosophers, so it's unfair to classify epicures with p but like the siren x and think of them is all the same. But years later, the hedonism of roman type, when they were conquering and looting the world would have been associated with Epicureanism, but Epicurus wasn't an advocate of just any pleasure or anything. Anyone could possibly perceive to be pleasure. He thought it was obvious that pleasure was the goal of life. I mean we all start from birth, with the knowledge that pleasure is a positive experience and pain is one we should avoid, but the important distinction he makes is that there were Two kinds of pleasure, kinetic, pleasure and static, pleasure, kinetic pleasure is also known as moving pleasure and it's what most people think of when they think of pleasure and example of I pleasure would be like eating a half gallon of ice cream when you're hungry. You experience kinetic pleasure when you are actively in the process of satisfying a desire like hunger in this case,
Your senses are stimulated in a pleasurable way. Most people see this as pleasure, but Once you ve actually laid hold the half gallon of raw, He rode into your stomach, Yourn hungry anymore. Once your desire has been fulfilled a certain state of being overcomes, you you're satisfied. You're no longer desiring that thing anymore, epicures, says that this state of tranquillity is also a type of pleasure, static. Pleasure and whether we realise it or not? It's the best kind of pleasure in the kind we should strive. so, in other words, pleasure in its purest form, is just the absence of pain and we desire something we see
ourselves as lacking in some way, which also counts as a form of pain and as humans were constantly thrown back and forth on a crazy ride between these two states. He talks about it in number. Eight of its principal doctrine, he says quote: no pleasure is a bad thing in itself, but the things which produce certain pleasures entailed the stir many times greater than the pleasures themselves and quote now. On the same note, he thought a lot of people wrongly believe that once they reach this tranquility, this static pleasure that, by treating themselves to a kinetic pleasure that will increase their level of happiness. For example, let's say it's really cold outside and you want a Beckett, you desire warmth. What epicurism saying is that, once that warmth is satisfied, I'd say you satisfy it with a twenty dollar jacket from target. There's not much difference in I sure, between that twenty dollar jacket, from target keeping you warm and a three thousand
dollar jacket from Nord storms keeping you warm there's a point of diminishing returns in four epicurism. It was that point of static pleasure. The absence of pain, Now, for some reason you don't agree with the jacket example, if you're thinking, it's not true, just think of how ridiculous it would seem if he tried to increase your pleasure with a kinetic pleasure. While you were in pain. Imagine if you're goin on a bike ride a car hits you and breaks your leg and six places you're just lying on the ground, rising pain, screaming help, and then the ambulance comes. The empty comes up to one And looks at your leg and says: I know what you need. Here's a nice, vanilla, ice cream, cone little guy there you go and he pass me on the head and he walks over to the no. No, that's not what I need. I want to go to the hospital. I want this pain to go away. In the same We, the kinetic pleasure, is useless when it comes to actually increasing your level of pleasure. In that context, Epicures thinks it's
equally is useless at actually increasing your pleasure when nothing is wrong at all. He expands which desires are good and bad in number, twenty six of its principal doctrines quote. All desires that do not lead to pain when they remain unsatisfied are unnecessary, but the desire is easy We got rid of when the thing desired is difficult to obtain or desire seem likely to produce harm. End quote pleasure really is just about removing things that cause pain and we have to be careful about choosing what we think will bring us pleasure might in the long run, bring us pain and, besides all these physical pleasure. And pains are secondary anyway. The really important part is the.
Giving a state of mental static, pleasure or mental tranquility. It's the more powerful, more useful and ultimate form of pleasure, the goal of life. Now when we have the broken leg, it's very obvious to us which pain needs to go away. But how do we figure out? What's preventing us from mental tranquility? Well, at the curious thought that people live in a constant state of irrational fear? anxiety and superstition, the biggest causes of these fears are the fear of death or the fear of being trapped in some really terrible afterlife for all eternity. A fear fear the gods, but Epicurus wasn't too worried about the gods, mean where's. He sought for some reason everyone thinks of these gods as existing in some blissful tranquil state of being but they also believed that they are perpetually concerning themselves with all the troubles and woes of humans living on planet earth. He thought that the gods must exist, but they just don't want anything to do with. Humans means too much trouble.
And it certainly explains why there working so hard to conceal themselves from every one all the time we view the lore surrounding them as a lifestyle to emulate, not as something to fear after death. So great. We don't have to fear the gods anymore. That's a white lifted off our shoulders, but what about death certainly were justified in being anxious and scared about death right. Well, no and this is why understanding his metaphysics and epistemology is so important because, having that knowledge, the Rational explanation for the mechanics of the world goes hand in hand with his ethics in his view on what is the best way to live life according to principal doctrine. Number two of Epicurus quote death is nothing to us for that which has been dissolved into its elements. Experiences no sensations, and that which has I was sensation is nothing to us. End quote, death is nothing to us.
Human beings consist only of atoms. The human mind or soul, is just another component of a human and must also consist only of atoms. So, therefore, when you die, the atoms that make up your mind just like the ones that make up your body. We'll this person all go there separate ways, and you have sense organs, so you're incapable of sensing anything see people Not it all wrong the way up. Acura sought the state of death isn't unpleasant. Maybe the process of dying will be, but once we're dead, we don't exist. Anymore. Death is nothing to us later. The roman poet Lucretius would say the mind must be made of matter and suffer the same fate as the body Epicure says, The principal doctrine number ten. That quote. If the things that Do the pleasures of profligate men really freed them from years of the mind concerning celestial or atmospheric phenomena, the fear of death and the fear of pain. If further, they taught them to limit their desires,
We should never have any fault to find with such persons, for they would then be filled with pleasures from every source. It would never have p Of body or mind, which is what is bad end quote remember: the goal of life is pleasure, but the only way We can achieve true pleasure or anorexia is by first, understanding the nature of things, the rational. Explanation for the physical structure of the universe. Then, once you realize you're, just Adams and void like everything else, in your not constantly going through some obstacle course to earn your spot in Andy's Toy Box up in the sky like Toy story right his toy box, because the We now have new toys to play with all the people alive on planet earth and you're, just a relic of a past living in his team box! You know when I said it, I thought it was clever. Bullets keep going once you understand all that, then you can actually set out to achieve happiness in this life. We don't need immortality to have a good light
in fact constantly worrying about it, just waste time in the short stent we do have on this planet. It's really interest. How is humans, we agonize over the quantity of our life. So much a long time ago, I was talking to a woman from France and He told me that Americans and french people see food in two completely different ways in France, it's about having just a couple bites of the most high quality delicious, most excellent they prepared food possible, and she said in America about eating as much low quality Really salted fat filled stuff. We can we love to feel stopped in America now, obviously both are generalizations, but in the same way a wise person would want a couple bites of really high quality food, as opposed to a mountain of french Fries epoch. Harris thinks than a wise person would want a couple bites of super high quality life as opposed to an eternity of dissatisfaction.
Elimination of all these mental fears is the ultimate form of pleasure and thus the goal to life and to experience these fears and superstitions as a form of pain. The medication for this pain was philosophy when we think about exactly in fear, we don't really see it as a form of pain, but up a curious did. He almost approached this philosophy as though it were medicine he famously said quote empty as the heard of that philosopher by whom no affliction of menace cured for as there is no benefit in medicine, if it does not treat the diseases of the body so with philosophy, if it does not drive out the affliction of the soul and quote his medical themed approach to ending pain and achieving a stir of tranquillity, completely devoid of fear and anxiety was called Tetra farmer coasts, which directly translated, means the fourfold remedy, and please don't pay attention at all to the similarities. Between his plan to end pain and achieve tranquillity by follow,
his fourfold remedy and start a goddamn as planned in suffering and achieve tranquillity by following his eightfold path. He thought Philosophy was medicine for the soul. He thought if we can understand for things, it would dramatically help us on our quest towards a happy life. These four things were gone, holds, no fear, death holds no worries, good can easily be attained and evil can be endured. The first one God holds no fears. We talked about this one once you realize the nature of the universe You realize that no God living in a state of bliss whenever be worried about you was a mere human. The second one death holds no worries. Again. Where are you on this. The soul is made of atoms and, just like the body will find itself
eventually, in a state of disillusion. Death is nothing to us. The third one good can easily be attained. If the only intrinsic good is pleasure and pleasures just the absence of pain in the satisfied feeling you get when your basic natural desires are met, then it seems, pleasure is pretty easy to attain the last one is that evil can be endured or more specifically, pain can be hindered. Remember I said the state of death isn't terrible. The process of dying might be terrible, but it's not the state of death which is terrible. While this is the contingency plan. If that's the situation, you find yourself in there. A few different strategies at epicures lays out some involve just reliving all the good times in your past, but the more foolproof one is to realize it
the more severe the pain is, the less time it's going to last. Basically, he's saying that stabbing pain in your chest, yeah- don't worry about it, because if it's bad enough, it's going to kill you soon anyway, you're going to die how's that for some solace. So I want you to imagine yourself as an epicurean. Your life would be a simple one. Living in the commune on the outskirts of Athens away from the hustle and business of the city with no ambitions other than to remove your desire of ambitions. Your anoraks here it was athenian. Culture to have aspirations of one day, making a bunch of money or gaining military prestige or succeeding in politics and making a difference, really it was all about being a citizen and contributing to society. I mean that's just what you did, but as an epicurean you, you wouldn't care about any of that stuff. You focus focus
the complete removal of pain and all you really needed for that were your basic needs meant. He says in principle, doctrine number, fifteen quote: the wealth required by nature is limited and easy to procure, but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity and quote. Remember the example from before. If you ve got We had dinner and you aren't hungry and you decide to have a bowl of ice cream. It doesn't increase your level of pleasure. Much at all, we'll. Just like that example, epicurean focus on meeting their basic needs and not worry about changing the world or making tons of money cause. All that stuff is really like a bowl of ice cream. It's not increasing your place
Much at all, it's actually really consistent with the way statistics seem to be heading in modern times. Have you guys ever seen those studies where it's like a happiness index and the difference between the level of happiness, people experience in relation to their income, the ones I've seen always show the difference in happiness between zero dollars in income per year, and something like fifty thousand dollars a year in income is massive like no a comparison between the two, but the difference in happiness between fifty thousand dollars a year and fifty million dollars a year is basically nothing the point of the studies that once people make enough money to pay for their basic needs. It really doesn't matter how many cigars your lighten with one hundred dollar bills. You don't get that much happier. This seems to be the idea that Epicurus sad when he set up the garden now as an epicurean politics and prestige were not important. In fact, epicures often said things like withdraw from public life and focus on a private group and this private group he was referring to where the
hello members of the commune, your friends. If meditation was the way to cultivate happiness and Buddhism, then an epicurism friendship was away. You can cultivate the steady. And long lasting joys that counter the inevitable pain of life. He famously said quote before you eat or drink anything carefully, consider with whom you eat or drink, rather than what you eat or drink, because eating without a friend is the life of the lion or a wolf. End quote: as I've said six times, pleasure was the goal of life and he thought friendship, is one of the greatest ways to gain pleasure. Friends contribute in a number of ways to the complete removal of pain from our lives. Firstly, them because feel secure, not just emotionally secure, but they always have your back I remember when I was thinking about getting married, I was going around. I was scared, I was going around in I asking everybody the same question in today's modern society in a world where we don't have a choice
that labels as social pariahs for not getting married. In a word where women are perfectly capable of being self sufficient. In a word, where there is no risk of dying of typhoid fever at the age of twenty five. Besides these slightly increased tax return. Why Would anyone ever get married and all the people that I talked to give me the same exact answer. It's just nice to know that, no matter what happens, no matter how bad things get seen you can always count on some one being. Therefore you it seems clear that epicures that level of security as one of the major perks of having friends know. Another way, friends, help to remove pain from your life is that they help you to reason Properly, throughout your day to day life, when you become emotionally attached to things it's really. Easy, sometimes to deceive yourself and convince yourself that some thing is true that isn't. I think that if epicures was alive today, and he saw the show american idol. He would definitely think that the first be
of the show? The audition phase were full of people that have no friends, one of the biggest mysteries known to the universe right next to finding a link between quantum physics and string theory, one that I'm sure Stephen Hawking is working on right now is how these People can go from singing in the shower to singing on national television completely unscathed. I mean anyone love these people? Do this people not have mothers looking out for them. These people are a good ample of when friends in the epicurean sense could help out they ve. Some I'll convince themselves that they can sing and a true friend in Epicure, eyes would have shown light on their delusions and help to remove or prevent the future pain of Simon Kowal, saying that was absolutely dreadful. Friends in this way provide an objective interpretation of ourselves and Buddhism. It was a life full of constant self reflection. Moving yourself from your own ego and thus remove.
The delusions we cloud ourselves with, or at least finding which ones were destructive, but an epicureanism. Our friends act as a neutral third party. That calls us out when we're fooling ourselves, but the type of friendship Epicurus is talking about is not the type of friendship we're accustomed to in modern times. He thought in order to truly benefit from your friends you couldn't just passively, send them a text every now, and then I see them sporadically you needed to live with them, be with them all the time, and that was like you would have lived in, the commune friendship was about trust, And he needed to consider the well being of your friends as equal to your own wellbeing, because, after all sometimes being a good friend means sacrificing yourself in some small way, so that your friend can rest gifts, some benefits This is one of the most controversial points of Epicurism philosophy,. And one that I'm sure countless act.
It makes over the years have wish they had more of his work to dissect defined authoritatively. His true feelings on the matter. It all centres around interpretation of one quote principle: doctrine number, five quote it is impossible to live a pleasant life with living wisely and honourably and justly- and it is impossible, the live, wisely and honourably unjustly without living, pleasantly. Whenever any one of these is lacking when, for instance, the And is not able to live wisely, though he as and justly it is impossible for him to live a pleasant life end quote on one side of the fence, you have people that say that epicures was completely amoral, meaning that there are no good things or bad things in themselves, just things that add two or attract from your level of pleasure or ataxia. So in this case the idea of altruism wasn't his favorite thing, because, if you're, making sacrifices or foregoing potential pleasure
so that someone else even your friends can be better off for it. Then you are, by definition, least in some small way in pain and based on his egoist headen Mr philosophy, if you're in pain, doing the wrong thing and I'd like to direct your attention back to the quote by Doktor Epicurus, it is impossible to live a pleasant life without living. Wisely, on the other side of the fence, you have people that responded this with principle, doctrine number eight we set an earlier no pleasure is a bad thing in itself, but the things which produce certain pleasures entail disturbance, as many times greater than the pleasures themselves, you can smoke a cigarette now and maybe it will relieve stress and make you look super cool in the short term, but eventually years from now you're going to get lung cancer and die epic. Would not condone this spirit or because the pain you receive in the long term completely over it's the pleasure you get in the short term. Conversely, the sum total of all the benefits that
in close friends, give you in the long term camp. Lately override whatever insignificant amounts pleasure you would get in the short term from not acting altruistically. These people argue that epicures really thought that acting outside Sally is a self serving venture and that the benefits of having friends actually increases your net pleasure overall for Epicurus. All the different forms of virtues that other philosophers laid out are actually all forms of prudence or expertly choosing what is best for you and now it's time for the big question, theirs chick flick movie STAR and John Cusack called serendipity that I'm ashamed to say. I've seen multiple times, there's a scene in the movie where they bring up the concept of fate. Some people believe in the idea that there is a one and only someone for Everybody- S, soul, mate and whether it's the power of the universe or the power of God, you're destined to be with this person,
Now, in the movie a therapist is trying to So with with one of the main character saying that this thing thing is really just a human construct trying to force an honest external themselves, because by saying your relationships are failed because you guys just were destined to be together. Really that's just a cop you're just trying to gather all the hard work that being in a successful long term. Relationship really requires next episode. We're gonna be looking into stoicism the biggest rival of epic, Baroness Ashton, and one of the major tenants of stoic thought is the concept of fate. Forget relationships philosophize. This do you believe in fate toxic? I soon. Hey guys, if you love philosophize this and want to make sure you never miss an episode consider signing, for email notifications whenever a new so it is released, I will
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Transcript generated on 2020-10-01.