Atomism and rational hedonism are two concepts that we owe to the Greek philosophical doctrine by Epicurus of Samos (341 BC-270 BC), Epicureanism.
Even though his parents, a school teacher and a fortune teller, were poor, the young Epicurus could study in several cities with teachers like Democritus and finally put the foundations for his own school of philosophy in Athens, called “The Garden”. For him, the pursuit of prudent and rational pleasure away from pain are the basis of existence and he denies the determinism of fate, saying that nature is governed by chance within which we find freedom.
Epicurus also criticized the absolute power of religious myths to give more weight to the decision of the person to seek the ataraxia or a state of body and soul wellbeing, free from pain or fear (of the gods, of death, of pain itself and of failing in finding the good). Fighting fears is a very important part of Epicurism.
Epicurus treated pleasure from intelligence and moderation as its excess or deprivation involve pain in the future. Knowledge and care are tools to help us find happiness.
We know these ideas through the work ‘De Rerum Natura’, by Lucretius, through just three letters (for Herodotus, Pitocles and Meneceo) and through the Principal Doctrines, which have barely been preserved out of the 300 works that Diogenes Laertius said Epicurus had written. They are all about Gnoseology, or what is true and false reality; in physics, concerning the nature; and Ethics. I invite you to know more through these quotes:
The absence of embarrassment and pain are stable pleasures; however, the enjoyment and joy are pleasures in motion by its liveliness. When we say then, that pleasure is a motivation, we are not referring to the pleasures of the extravagant, but to feeling free from sufferings of body and soul.
Do you want to be rich? Well, stop worrying about increasing your wealth, and try to reduce your greed.
The one who is not content with little, is not content with anything.
He who does not think to have the greatest wealth, is unhappy, even if he owned the world.
So, both the young and the old should practice philosophy; ones, so even getting older, can stay young in their happiness through memories of the past; the others, so they can be young and old at the same time showing his composure against the future.
The man who is rich is was familiar with shortage.
The greatest fruit of justice is the serenity of the soul.
To remain hidden is no good for the sinner; for even if he happens to find a good place to hide he lacks confidence.
There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.
He who forgets how happy he has been, grows old in a day.
Retire within yourself, especially when you need company.
I wish you a happy week,
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