Epicurus and Happiness

Favorite quotations, etc.
Myakka
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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:39 am

Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by Myakka »

Having had a life replete with challenges and having sometimes wished I did not have so very many of them, I have found that in the aftermath of break through when one or more of them has found a solution is always boredom. When things are too easy they are boring -- like sitting in a class in school that is covering topics already thoroughly known to you.
And in those moments when I do not have a challenge already before me, the challenge is to go exploring and discover the next one.
And it is not so worthwhile to compare myself with others as it is to compare myself not with whom I have been before.

So while I agree with much of what Epicurus has to say about avoiding unnecessary wants, life just doesn't have meaning without trying to go somewhere and to discover what more is possible for me. I do not compete with others; I compete with myself to become something qualitatively more than I am now.

sky
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by sky »

How do you decide which challenge to work towards?

EricaR
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Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:10 am

Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by EricaR »

Myakka wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:38 am
I always had a weak personality and I was unable to understand it in my younger age.. I was afraid to accept new challenge or to do new things because I was afraid of defeat and I didn't ever trust myself..I was always negative thought I'm weak.. After reading your post I felt that I should compete with myself to be a strong person

amandastone
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by amandastone »

Myakka wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:38 am
That's encouraging!
Thank you

Myakka
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:39 am

Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by Myakka »

sky wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:27 am
How do you decide which challenge to work towards?
The best challenges choose me, rather than I them.

It is like that very beginning of the Harry Potter series with all the owls but with another voice going around randomly saying "Wow! Doesn't that sound cool?"

The best chooser is the small voice within which is again and again the one that knows what is right for me and what I am needing now.

Usually that voice comes with a hint "try looking here" -- to which often enough I respond "There?! How could that be found there?!" -- only to find that once again it is quite right.

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jennypenny
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by jennypenny »


sky
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Re: Epicurus and Happiness

Post by sky »

Stoicism may be a philosophy that works best in younger people who are starting their adult lives and still need to win their fortune in this world. The philosophy of Epicurus may be best for older people who have dedicated themselves to a cause throughout their middle lives, but now need to learn to focus on themselves. For example, a corporate warrior who has put the needs of the organization above his own for many years, but now needs to learn how to live in retirement. Or, a mother who has cared for her children, putting their welfare above her own throughout their development, and now must learn to put herself first in order to fully enjoy the last half of her life.

Epicurus taught that the virtues are excellent examples of good behavior, but that the path to happiness lies in developing wisdom in how to live one's life. The Stoic focus on virtues is helpful, but one may follow all of the recommendations of a system of virtues without ever understanding true happiness. Epicurus advises to use one's instinctual inner guide of pleasure/pain, good/evil or comfort/discomfort to gain wisdom on how to live one's life. This wisdom comes from a rational knowledge of one's environment and an ability to predict the positive or negative outcomes of behavior. With wisdom, one can choose the path in life which brings the highest level of happiness and tranquility.

As a young person, one is still developing one's wisdom. At the same time, one is faced with difficult decisions on how to make one's fortune in this world. Generally this involves a career decision which will balance long periods of sacrifice and dedication to the needs of others for a salary and perhaps, if one is lucky, a feeling of accomplishment and status among one's peers. The Epicurean way is to approach this decision with consideration of quality of life while working, health impacts of the job and level of pay. Once one has chosen a career path, one requires a great deal of discipline to continue on that path, even though the short term impacts to one's quality of life may be negative. As a young person, one may need advice to properly select a career path. This is a time where focusing on virtues and advice from others may be more effective than relying on wisdom which is not yet fully developed.

When one has reached a position where, through good decisions, discipline and good fortune, one is able to withdraw from the career life, then it becomes appropriate to focus on one's own needs before others. At this time in life, the philosophy of Epicurus becomes most effective through a combination of wisdom, discipline and guidance from one's instinctual knowlege of good/evil. Make the right choices to satisfy the instinctual needs of the self, based on careful consideration of one's environment and potential outcomes of any decision, while maintaining the discipline to carry through short term difficulties to reach a state of happiness and tranquility. The philosophy of Epicurus can take one further toward a state of happiness and tranquility than can the philosophy of Stoicism.

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