He studied under Nausiphanes , who followed the teachings of Democritus , [10] [11] and later those of Pyrrho , [12] [13] whose way of life Epicurus greatly admired. Epicurus came of age at a time when Greek intellectual horizons were vastly expanding due to the rise of the Hellenistic Kingdoms across the Near East. Nonetheless, Epicurus differed from his predecessors on several key points of determinism and vehemently denied having been influenced by any previous philosophers, whom he denounced as "confused". Instead, he insisted that he had been "self-taught". He then founded a school in Lampsacus before returning to Athens in c. He ordained in his will annual memorial feasts for himself on the same date 10th of Gamelion month.

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His letter to Menoeceus explains his influential hedonistic philosophy. Read Part I in this series on his letter. You know, the sort of meaning that can make all that you do worthwhile. All the glitz of growing up wears off and we settle into a routine. Routines bring comfort and familiarity, but they also bring boredom.

They rarely provide ultimate meaning. I remember a time in my life when I was empty. I felt like a shell of a person. I was internally bankrupt. I sought meaning in worthless pursuits. I lived foolishly. I reaped the harvest of my foolish living in the bitter fruits of despair and hopelessness. Philosophy can help in that process of clarifying meaning in life. It lays on the table a tasting menu of ideas that you can sample. Better understanding what you think life is all about directs your steps.

It provides meaning to the mundane activities of life. He was a Greek philosopher that subscribed to a hedonistic philosophy. Hedonism is a theory of value that prizes the pursuit of pleasure as the ultimate goal of human life. He had a nuanced view of pleasure. Unfortunately, not a lot of his work survived.

Epicurus to Menoeceus Epicurus knows human nature well. In the heat of youth we ask big questions. Life stands before us as a wide open landscape full of possibilities. As we age, life becomes a small, cluttered landscape.

All we see are bills and responsibilities pilling up on the horizon. Asking questions like "what makes actions morally right? Such forgetfulness of big, ultimate issues contributes to what I talked about earlier. We transition out of youthful wonder.

We move into a robotic maintaining of life. This happens, in part, because we lose our pursuit of wisdom. Wisdom means effectively navigating life toward goals we deem of ultimate value.

Losing such a navigating force contributes to aimless drifting and internal emptiness. This is why Epicurus reminds Menoeceus not to grow tired of seeking wisdom in old age. Likewise he encourages Menoeceus to pursue wisdom in youth. Lack of wisdom results in acting foolishly. In youth, we frequently settle for short term pleasures.

The result is often long term pain. So, as Epicurus summarizes: Both old and young alike ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter Otherwise, in old age, the opposite occurs. Most of us have met people that are old and bitter. Wisdom helps prevent this. In the meantime, stay intellectual stimulated by philosophical ideas. Reflect on what you believe about such ideas, and bask in the richness of a greater sense of who you are and how you can positively impact the world.

Keep living The Philosophical Life! Wisdom helps the young not live foolishly, wasting precious time and gifts. Wisdom helps the old not grow bitter and forget what ultimately matters in life. Related Posts.


Epicurus: Letter to Menoeceus (Summary)

It is to this last letter that we are interested in now. Indeed, it is, for one, neither too early nor too late, when it comes to ensuring the health of his soul. Besides, whoever said that the time to philosophize is not yet come, or that time is past, like the one that says, in the case of happiness, that his time has not yet come or that it is not. So the young man should, like the old man, philosophize in this way, the second, while aging, rejuvenate the past thanks to the property, because he will devote their gratitude, and the first will be at the same time young and far advanced in years, because he will not fear the future.







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