Epicurus and Happiness

Favorite quotations, etc.
SustainableHappiness
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by SustainableHappiness » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:15 am

Awesome portrayal of ennui here: http://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=2232

Ennuigi

Spend some time with a depressed, laconic Luigi as he chain smokes and wanders through a crumbling Mushroom Kingdom, ruminating on ontology, ethics, family, identity, and the mistakes he and his brother have made.

BRUTE
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by BRUTE » Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:50 pm

SustainableHappiness wrote:Ennuigi
the princess is always in another castle, isn't she.

enigmaT120
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by enigmaT120 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:26 am

BRUTE wrote:ok, time for brute to finally get that "flow" rant out...
for reference, brute has used flow to overcome boredom in the past. turns out few things put brute into flow as quickly as riding a motorcycle at 3x the posted speed limit.

but that isn't a solution to life, it's not even a strategy. it's a very, very powerful distraction.

Oh my yes. Unfortunately my fastest motorcycle is a '70 Triumph Bonneville with a top speed of somewhere around 112 mph. But on a curvy road that can be plenty. Of course, if I sold it I could afford a Daytona 675.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:16 pm

I have almost fallen asleep on the back of a motorcycle. Anyways, it's never about the speed. It's about the rate of acceleration.

BRUTE
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by BRUTE » Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:19 pm

both are fun. at high speeds, the whoosh effect and the air buffer are an incredible experience, too. brute supposes it's the delta, not the speed - if everything else was also going very fast, it wouldn't be very noticeable.

BeyondtheWrap
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by BeyondtheWrap » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:36 pm

ThisDinosaur wrote:Lots of these old philosophers read like outdated self-help books.

My world view is heavily influenced by George Carlin. Maybe he's a better philosopher than Epictetus, or maybe he was just better than me at articulating things I kind of already believed.
Ha, I have figured pretty much the same things, though my opinion was somewhat more positive. I started out interested in philosophy and later moved on to self-help books, which I viewed as being like "applied philosophy." I also once remarked to myself that comedians seem to be the philosophers of our day.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by ThisDinosaur » Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:26 am

It depends on the comedian. Louis CK is a philosopher. Chris Rock might be. Norm Macdonald probably not as much.

Flow is very similar to how I would define confidence. Being sure and focused on a task distracts you enough to ignore any insecurity. Confidence can go with happiness, but not necessarily. See: "Grizzled," as in "Grizzled Old Man".

Classic philosophy, self-help gurus, scientology, and well-constructed song lyrics all function to provide framing. If that framing inspires you in the frame of mind you have when you hear it, it will be important to you. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does explain why I don't see anything universal about Happiness in Epicurus. Some schools of Buddhism seem "right" to me, but not so for others. Its all just different filtered views of different corners of reality.

We are all very small organisms, in a mossy puddle, on a moist pebble, hurdling through space in a wobbly orbit around an unremarkable star in a vast sea of other stars. Meaning is not inherent in the universe. You invent meaning for yourself as you go along.

jacob
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by jacob » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:17 am

"Happiness" does receive a lot more priority in the US and by anyone who's submerged in US culture than it does by any other country. Case in point, Americans are far more fascinated with Denmark as the "happiest" country in the world; more than any other country in the world; and even more than the Danes themselves. American culture is looking for a framework based on a pursuit of Happiness. (Life and Liberty seems to have fallen somewhat by the wayside. Maybe because they're not so easy to buy on credit?)

Classical philosophers did focus mostly on the practical application of their philosophy believing that philosophy was something someone lived and not something one wrote about in papers that are only interesting to five people in the world. As such their works can easily be seen as self-help because that is what those philosophers were trying to do. Contrast that with modern philosophy which is generally useless for all practical purposes if not downright stupid insofar one tries to apply it to something other than basketball practice in a trash can (e.g. deconstructionism).

The classical perception of practicality could also be a question of survivorship bias. Maybe they had their own Derrida 2500 years ago but it's not hard to imagine why such nonsense writings would be more likely to end up as TP than preserved over the centuries.

On a similar note, consider what kind of 21st century books or knowledge is likely to survive for the next two thousand years. I'll put my money on a book on astrology rather than Principia Mathematica, say.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by ThisDinosaur » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:08 am

Dovetailing on the comment about modern philosophy being useless, I once met a Graduate student studying the Philosophy of Music. His thesis was on whether certain aspects of music were "real" or "illusory." So I asked something about mathematics and neuroscience. He said he didn't know anything about that. :o

@Jacob, why do you figure Astrology will outlast Math and Physics? Lindy effect or is there more to it?

jacob
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by jacob » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:34 am

@ThisDinosaur - Because there are more practitioners of astrology than there are practitioners of astronomy. The amount of knowledge that a random person has about astrology likely exceeds what they know about astronomy. E.g. ask someone to write an essay about either and compare lengths. Put it another way, astronomy is more fragile than astrology.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by ThisDinosaur » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:46 am

Astronomy can predict comets and eclipses. Astrology can't predict shit.

I suppose vague horoscopes are just unfalsifiable enough to be antifragile.

BRUTE
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by BRUTE » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:40 am

jacob wrote:On a similar note, consider what kind of 21st century books or knowledge is likely to survive for the next two thousand years. I'll put my money on a book on astrology rather than Principia Mathematica, say.
the secret

luxagraf
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by luxagraf » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:31 pm

jacob wrote:On a similar note, consider what kind of 21st century books or knowledge is likely to survive for the next two thousand years. I'll put my money on a book on astrology rather than Principia Mathematica, say.
Given the extremely high acid content of the paper used in the vast majority of 20th and 21st century books, I would expect the original Principia Mathematica -- along with a great many of Newton's texts on astrology -- to outlast any others.

enigmaT120
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by enigmaT120 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:00 pm

After what Jacob said, I hope luxagraf is correct.

GandK
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by GandK » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:24 pm

jacob wrote:"Happiness" does receive a lot more priority in the US and by anyone who's submerged in US culture than it does by any other country. Case in point, Americans are far more fascinated with Denmark as the "happiest" country in the world; more than any other country in the world; and even more than the Danes themselves. American culture is looking for a framework based on a pursuit of Happiness. (Life and Liberty seems to have fallen somewhat by the wayside. Maybe because they're not so easy to buy on credit?)
This observation reminds me of a video I saw on YouTube once where someone was wandering around in Germany asking random people on the street what they think of Americans. Responses were mostly predictable (we're too fat, we're too patriotic, we wear obnoxiously bright clothing), but one woman said something like, "Americans are always smiling. Even when there's nothing to smile about and they're not even happy, they're smiling. It's so stupid. How can anyone tell if you're happy or not if you never quit smiling?" Facebook Live, in other words.

I wonder if America is obsessed with happiness because of the overall cultural demand in this country for a happy facade and the idea that you're not really a success at something unless you've accomplished it with a smile. It seems as though that's not universal? At least a few of the smile fakers here have got to be wondering if there's a way for them to arrive at a genuine smile.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by ThisDinosaur » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:27 pm

@GandK
Your video reminds me of a story I heard on NPR about a guy who asked Germans to describe Americans. They thought we were all obsessed with Cowboys and Baywatch. The first because Westerns, the second because Joey on Friends is obsessed with Baywatch.

sky
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by sky » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:43 pm

At the same time Germans are complaining about Americans, they are copying them completely. Don't ask a German for wisdom on happiness, they are pursuing a dead end of consumerism.

BoredRider
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by BoredRider » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:17 am

jennypenny wrote:Agreed.

The problem is that once a person reduces their desires to the point where they have all that they need or want, many seem to end up in that malaise described in the Wheaton Scale thread and elsewhere. "I have all I want / Is that all there is?"

Finding meaningful (non arbitrary) engagement with minimal consumption feels like the Holy Grail around here sometimes.
Yeah, I guess I've applied it to reducing my monetary desires. That way I don't have to spend my time doing things other people pay me to do, and can devote it all to pursuing my passions. Despite my handle, boredom's never an issue I've grappled with personally - my problem has always been finding enough hours in the year to pursue all the fascinations I have. Which is why I don't plan to sell any of those hours! :D

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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by sky » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:01 pm

The highest recommended book on Epicurus:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QxiK5c ... LyrKh/view

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