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PHILOSOPHY - Epicurus

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PHILOSOPHY EPICURUS This is a philosopher who helps us think about money, capitalism and our run-away consumer societies. Epicurus was an Ancient Greek born in 341 BC. What made him famous was that he spent all his life trying to work out the largest puzzle there is: What makes people happy? Philosophers before him had discussed at length what could make people good. Epicurus preferred to look it was fun. Unfortunately the world was bitter and bitchy even then and when people heard that Epicurus had set up a school to study happiness, the rumors went off the scale There were tales that the school hosted ten course feasts and orgies every night. Epicurus was said by one critic to've orgasmed eighteen times on a single evening in a bed filled with virgins! It wasn't true. Epicurus and his team WERE studying happiness but they were doing it very soberly. The philosopher owned only two cloaks and lived on bread, olives and for a treat an occasional slice of cheese. As for the bedroom he merely responded demurely that he'd married philosophy. Having patiently studied happiness for many years Epicurus came to a set of remarkable and revolutionary conclusions about what we actually need to be happy. He proposed that we typically make three mistakes when thinking about happiness. Firstly, we think happiness means having romantic sexual relationships. But Epicurus looked around and saw so many unhappy couples, the unions marked by jealousy, misunderstanding, cheating and bitterness. At the same time he observed how much nicer friendships are, How people tend to be so decent and unpossessive with their friends. Friendship seemed to be where human nature was at its sweetest The only problem Epicurus noted was that we don't see our friends enough. The next thing we ordinarily think we need to be happy is a lot of money. But we tend not properly to factor in unbelievable sacrifices we're going have to make to get this money: the jealousy, the backbiting, the long hours. What make work really satisfying Epicurus believed isn't money but when we're able to work alone or in small groups like at a bakery or boot repair shop and when we feel we're helping others and in our own minor way improving the world. It isn't really large sums or status that we want deep down. It's a sense of making a difference. And lastly Epicurus observed how obsessed we are with luxury, especially involving houses and beautiful serene locations. But beneath our love of luxury there is really something else we try to get out. What we want is a feeling of calm. We want our minds pure, free, not full of a normal bothering chaos. Great question is does luxury actually make us calm? Epicurus wasn't so sure. Having looked at happiness in depth Epicurus announced revolutionary set of insights. That you really need only three things to be happy in this life. Firstly, you need your friends around. No sex, no orgies, just your mates. Enough of seeing them only now and then - it's regularity of contact that counts. So he did that thing that most of us occasionally dream of doing but never actually get around to. He bought a big house and started living with all his friends. Everyone at their own quarters and there were pleasant shared areas too. There was always someone nice to talk to in the kitchen. Secondly everyone downshifted. All the members of the commune stop working for other people. They took big pay cuts in return for doing their own stuff: some did farming, some cooking, some pottery or writing. And thirdly Epicurus and his friends stopped thinking you could be calm just by having a beautiful view to look out on. They devoted themselves to finding calm in their own minds. Through spending time on their own, reflecting, writing stuff down, reading things, meditating. The experiment was so successful, the member of the commune so happy, the idea spread like wild fire. Epicurean communities opened up all around Mediterranean. At the height of the movement 400 000 people living in communes from Spain to Palestine. It was only the Christian church that ended things in a 5th century. But they must have respected the community somehow cause they converted them all into monasteries. What we know is monasteries are really just Epicurean communes with the Christian topsoil. Another interesting fact: Karl Marx in his PhD thesis on Epicurus and what we call communism that gigantic, dour, joyless, fail system is really a grown up, corrupted, not very successful version of Epicureanism. The real legacy of Epicurus is that human beings aren't very good of making themselves happy. Chiefly because they think it's so easy. We think we know it's about sex, money, luxury - we just want to have and secure all these. But no, says Epicurus. Reflect on the moments that truly bring you happiness and they aren't to do with these. Have the courage to change your life in accordance with the moments that actually deliver satisfaction. You might end up living in a very different way: out in the country, with just some cheese and couple of cloaks, few philosophy books and some very good friends down the corridor.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 24 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 95
Posted by: dostoyevsky1828 on Dec 7, 2014

The school of life -- Ecpicurus

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