Let’s Talk Philosophy: Epicurus

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Epicurus was a Greek philosopher born in February 341 BC. A great deal of what he wrote has not survived. His philosophy was to acquire a happy and tranquil life, free from worry and absence of pain.

His School, named The Garden has the distinction of being the first philosophical Greek school to admit women.

The basis of his beliefs can be summed as:

  • Don’t fear god
  • Don’t worry about death
  • What is good is easy to get, and
  • What is terrible is easy to endure.

Our group found lots to discuss about the above four points – particularly the last two. For example, what does he mean by “good” and how “easy” is it really? We found it hard to get our heads around the suggestion that terrible things/circumstances etc. are EASY to endure.

One of my personal favourite quotes from Epicurus is about the importance of friendship as seen in the quote below.

Of all the things which wisdom acquires to produce the blessedness of the complete life, for the greatest is the possession of friendship.





7 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Philosophy: Epicurus

  1. I quite like his philosophy. I expect that by #3 he means that the best things in life are free ~ joy, peace, tranquility, rationality, happiness, friendship, etc.

    #4 is harder to put in context. Terrible used to be reserved for things that caused fear and terror, but today we use the word to describe anything awful, lousy, or just plain bad.

    I like this quote:

    Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance. ~ Epicurus

  2. When I was in the greatest pain after my marriage collapse I coped (by ‘enduring a suppose’).
    Yet I would become quite anxious about any other tiny little upset in my life.
    So all through that time, I was able to endure the terrible but not the trivial.

  3. Interesting article, thanks Rainee 🙂
    The words good and terrible are very subjective particularly with cultural differences. As for terrible being easy to endure, I agree with him. If it was difficult to endure terrible things, we wouldn’t do them for as long as we do.
    When we give attention to things we tend to get embroiled in them, they become habit and habits whether good or bad seem to be easy to endure.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. There are so many words in philosophy that can be taken different ways. It is good that I have to stop and think what the philosopher might have meant – in the era it was written.

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