Epicurus -341 - -270 (71)
Letter to ..
“Accustom yourself to the belief that death is of no concern to us, since all good and evil lie in sensation and sensation ends with death. Therefore the true belief that death is nothing to us makes a mortal life happy, not by adding to it an infinite time, but by taking away the desire for immortality. For there is no reason why the man who is thoroughly assured that there is nothing to fear in death should find anything to fear in life. So, too, he is foolish who says that he fears death, not because it will be painful when it comes, but because the anticipation of it is painful; for that which is no burden when it is present gives pain to no purpose when it is anticipated. Death, the most dreaded of evils, is therefore of no concern to us; for while we exist death is not present, and when death is present we no longer exist. It is therefore nothing either to the living or to the dead since it is not present to the living, and the dead no longer are.”
He was an Athenian Greek citizen , son of Neocles and Chairestratis . His father, a native of the old prominent Athenian family of Filaidon participated in the colonization of Samos , where Epicurus raised. From young age he came into contact with the philosophy of Nafsifani Ex. At the age of 18 he went to Athens for his military and political term. For the next fifteen years we don’t have information about his life. Later, he created his own philosophical cycle of thinking in Mytilene and then Lampsacus . He returned to Athens at the age of 34, bought an area in Athens between Dipilon and the Academy, where it housed his philosophical school - the Garden of Epicurus . He taught for 35 years following a quiet and simple life, surrounded by men, women, courtesans and slaves, who participated equally in the Epicurean Garden.
The aim of Epicurus was to search for the causes of human misery and false beliefs such as superstition , so to allow the counter proposal of a pleasant life , which is achieved by the absence of pain and fear and experiencing a life of self-sufficiency, surrounded by friends . The pleasure and pain is the measure of what should we prefer and what should we avoid . A pleasure for Epicurus is morally legitimate and must be sought, since it is a means of ensuring our top hedonic situation , which is none other than our mental tranquility . Even the pain sometimes helps us to conquer our mental calm and for that matter is positive . ( eg pain may need to study a science , then it can bring us pleasure for our entire life ) .
Under the moderate form of hedonism , the criterion for choosing between the pleasures are no longer quantitative , ie their intensity , but quality . Epicurus distinguishes pleasures to those of the state and those of the action considering the first much higher than the latter. For example, the satisfaction of hunger, by the time that occurs , it is a pleasure of the action . The state of calm that follows when man has had enough food , it's a state pleasure. If someone ate too much and has stomachache, has fulfill the pleasure of energy, but will not gain the state pleasure, of peace and tranquility and will be unhappy So it happens with all the excesses. People are deceived with temporary, as long as happens, action pleasure and get away from the real pleasure of the state.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF HIS TEACHING :
• The purpose of life is pleasure "we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal and those located within the material world, but we mean not to hurt the body and not to be disturbed the soul, so one can reach the state of calmness ."
• With death comes the end not only for the body but for the soul too .
• The gods did not mingle in the affairs of men.
• The universe is infinite and eternal.
• The events are based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space .