PracticalWisdom
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Principal Doctrines of Epicurus

1. That which is blissful and immortal has no troubles itself, nor does it cause trouble for others, so that it is not affected by anger or gratitude (for all such things come about through weakness). 2. Death is nothing to us; for what has disintegrated lacks awareness, and what lacks awareness is nothing to us. 3. The limit of enjoyment is the removal of all pains. Wherever and for however long pleasure is present, there is neither bodily pain nor mental distress. 4. Pain does not last continuously in the flesh; instead, the sharpest pain lasts the shortest time, a pain that exceeds bodily pleasure lasts only a few days, and diseases that last a long time involve delights that exceed their pains. 5. It is not possible to live joyously without also living wisely and beautifully and rightly, nor to live wisely and beautifully and rightly without living joyously; and whoever lacks this cannot live joyously. 6. It is a natural benefit of leadership and kingship to take courage from other men (or at least from the sort of men who can give one courage). 7. Some people want to be well esteemed and widely admired, believing that in this way they will be safe from others; if the life of such people is secure then they have gained its natural benefit, but if not then they have not gained what they sought from the beginning in accordance with what is naturally appropriate. 8. No pleasure is bad in itself; but the means of paying for some pleasures bring with them disturbances many times greater than the pleasures themselves. 9. If every pleasure were condensed and were present at the same time and in the whole of one's nature or its primary parts, then the pleasures would never differ from one another. 10. If the things that produce the delights of those who are decadent washed away the mind's fears about astronomical phenomena and death and suffering, and furthermore if they taught us the limits of our pains and desires, then we would have no complaints against them, since they would be filled with every joy and would contain not a single pain or distress (and that's what is bad). 11. If our suspicions about astronomical phenomena and about death were nothing to us and troubled us not at all, and if this were also the case regarding our ignorance about the limits of our pains and desires, then we would have no need for studying what is natural. 12. It is impossible for someone who is completely ignorant about nature to wash away his fears about the most important matters if he retains some suspicions about the myths. So it is impossible to experience undiluted enjoyment without studying what is natural. 13. It is useless to be safe from other people while retaining suspicions about what is above and below the earth and in general about the infinite unknown. 14. Although some measure of safety from other people is based in the power to fight them off and in abundant wealth, the purest security comes from solitude and breaking away from the herd. 15. Natural wealth is both limited and easy to acquire, but the riches incited by groundless opinion have no end. 16. Chance steals only a bit into the life of a wise person: for throughout the complete span of his life the greatest and most important matters have been, are, and will be directed by the power of reason. 17. One who acts aright is utterly steady and serene, whereas one who goes astray is full of trouble and confusion. 18. As soon as the pain produced by the lack of something is removed, pleasure in the flesh is not increased but only embellished. Yet the limit of enjoyment in the mind is produced by reasoning out these very things and similar things, which once provoked the greatest fears in the mind. 19. Finite time and infinite time contain the same amount of joy, if its limits are measured out through reasoning. 20. The flesh assumes that the limits of joy are infinite, and that infinite joy can be produced only through infinite time. But the mind, reasoning out the goal and limits of the flesh and dissolving fears about eternity, produces a complete way of life and therefore has no need of infinite time; yet the mind does not flee from joy, nor when events cause it to exit from life does it look back as if it has missed any aspect of the best life. 21. One who perceives the limits of life knows how easy it is to expel the pain produced by a lack of something and to make one's entire life complete; so that there is no need for the things that are achieved through struggle. 22. You must reflect on the fundamental goal and everything that is clear, to which opinions are referred; if you do not, all will be full of trouble and confusion. 23. If you fight against all your perceptions, you will have nothing to refer to in judging those which you declare to be false. 24. If you reject a perception outright and do not distinguish between your opinion about what will happen after, what came before, your feelings, and all the layers of imagination involved in your thoughts, then you will throw your other perceptions into confusion because of your trifling opinions; as a result, you will reject the very criterion of truth. And if when forming concepts from your opinions you treat as confirmed everything that will happen and what you do not witness thereafter, then you will not avoid what is false, so that you will remove all argument and all judgment about what is and is not correct. 25. If at all critical times you do not connect each of your actions to the natural goal of life, but instead turn too soon to some other kind of goal in thinking whether to avoid or pursue something, then your thoughts and your actions will not be in harmony. 26. The desires that do not bring pain when they go unfulfilled are not necessary; indeed they are easy to reject if they are hard to achieve or if they seem to produce harm. 27. Of all the things that wisdom provides for the complete happiness of one's entire life, by far the greatest is friendship. 28. The same judgment produces confidence that dreadful things are not everlasting, and that security amidst the limited number of dreadful things is most easily achieved through friendship. 29. Among desires, some are natural and necessary, some are natural and unnecessary, and some are unnatural and unnecessary (arising instead from groundless opinion). 30. Among natural desires, those that do not bring pain when unfulfilled and that require intense exertion arise from groundless opinion; and such desires fail to be stamped out not by nature but because of the groundless opinions of humankind. 31. Natural justice is a covenant for mutual benefit, to not harm one another or be harmed. 32. With regard to those animals that do not have the power of making a covenant to not harm one another or be harmed, there is neither justice nor injustice; similarly for those peoples who have neither the power nor the desire of making a covenant to not harm one another or be harmed. 33. Justice does not exist in itself; instead, it is always a compact to not harm one another or be harmed, which is agreed upon by those who gather together at some time and place. 34. Injustice is not bad in itself, but only because of the fear caused by a suspicion that you will not avoid those who are appointed to punish wrongdoing. 35. It is impossible to be confident that you will escape detection when secretly doing something contrary to an agreement to not harm one another or be harmed, even if currently you do so countless times; for until your death you will be uncertain that you have escaped detection. 36. In general, justice is the same for all: what is mutually advantageous among companions. But with respect to the particulars of a place or other causes, it does not follow that the same thing is just for all. 37. Among things that are thought to be just, that which has been witnessed to bring mutual advantage among companions has the nature of justice, whether or not it is the same for everyone. But if someone legislates something whose results are not in accord with what brings mutual advantage among companions, then it does not have the nature of justice. And if what brings advantage according to justice changes, but for some time fits our basic grasp of justice, then for that time it is just, at least to the person who is not confused by empty prattle but instead looks to the facts. 38. When circumstances have not changed and things that were thought to be just are shown to not be in accord with our basic grasp of justice, then those things were not just. But when circumstances do change and things that were just are no longer useful, then those things were just while they brought mutual advantage among companions sharing the same community; but when later they did not bring advantage, then they were not just. 39. The person who has put together the best means for confidence about external threats is one who has become familiar with what is possible and at least not unfamiliar with what is not possible, but who has not mixed with things where even this could not be managed and who has driven away anything that is not advantageous. 40. All those who have the power to obtain the greatest confidence from their neighbors also live with each other most enjoyably in the most steadfast trust; and experiencing the strongest fellowship they do not lament as pitiful the untimely end of those who pass away.
PracticalWisdom
© 2018 This site uses cookies for navigation and analytics only, no personal information is collected.

Principal Doctrines of

Epicurus

1. That which is blissful and immortal has no troubles itself, nor does it cause trouble for others, so that it is not affected by anger or gratitude (for all such things come about through weakness). 2. Death is nothing to us; for what has disintegrated lacks awareness, and what lacks awareness is nothing to us. 3. The limit of enjoyment is the removal of all pains. Wherever and for however long pleasure is present, there is neither bodily pain nor mental distress. 4. Pain does not last continuously in the flesh; instead, the sharpest pain lasts the shortest time, a pain that exceeds bodily pleasure lasts only a few days, and diseases that last a long time involve delights that exceed their pains. 5. It is not possible to live joyously without also living wisely and beautifully and rightly, nor to live wisely and beautifully and rightly without living joyously; and whoever lacks this cannot live joyously. 6. It is a natural benefit of leadership and kingship to take courage from other men (or at least from the sort of men who can give one courage). 7. Some people want to be well esteemed and widely admired, believing that in this way they will be safe from others; if the life of such people is secure then they have gained its natural benefit, but if not then they have not gained what they sought from the beginning in accordance with what is naturally appropriate. 8. No pleasure is bad in itself; but the means of paying for some pleasures bring with them disturbances many times greater than the pleasures themselves. 9. If every pleasure were condensed and were present at the same time and in the whole of one's nature or its primary parts, then the pleasures would never differ from one another. 10. If the things that produce the delights of those who are decadent washed away the mind's fears about astronomical phenomena and death and suffering, and furthermore if they taught us the limits of our pains and desires, then we would have no complaints against them, since they would be filled with every joy and would contain not a single pain or distress (and that's what is bad). 11. If our suspicions about astronomical phenomena and about death were nothing to us and troubled us not at all, and if this were also the case regarding our ignorance about the limits of our pains and desires, then we would have no need for studying what is natural. 12. It is impossible for someone who is completely ignorant about nature to wash away his fears about the most important matters if he retains some suspicions about the myths. So it is impossible to experience undiluted enjoyment without studying what is natural. 13. It is useless to be safe from other people while retaining suspicions about what is above and below the earth and in general about the infinite unknown. 14. Although some measure of safety from other people is based in the power to fight them off and in abundant wealth, the purest security comes from solitude and breaking away from the herd. 15. Natural wealth is both limited and easy to acquire, but the riches incited by groundless opinion have no end. 16. Chance steals only a bit into the life of a wise person: for throughout the complete span of his life the greatest and most important matters have been, are, and will be directed by the power of reason. 17. One who acts aright is utterly steady and serene, whereas one who goes astray is full of trouble and confusion. 18. As soon as the pain produced by the lack of something is removed, pleasure in the flesh is not increased but only embellished. Yet the limit of enjoyment in the mind is produced by reasoning out these very things and similar things, which once provoked the greatest fears in the mind. 19. Finite time and infinite time contain the same amount of joy, if its limits are measured out through reasoning. 20. The flesh assumes that the limits of joy are infinite, and that infinite joy can be produced only through infinite time. But the mind, reasoning out the goal and limits of the flesh and dissolving fears about eternity, produces a complete way of life and therefore has no need of infinite time; yet the mind does not flee from joy, nor when events cause it to exit from life does it look back as if it has missed any aspect of the best life. 21. One who perceives the limits of life knows how easy it is to expel the pain produced by a lack of something and to make one's entire life complete; so that there is no need for the things that are achieved through struggle. 22. You must reflect on the fundamental goal and everything that is clear, to which opinions are referred; if you do not, all will be full of trouble and confusion. 23. If you fight against all your perceptions, you will have nothing to refer to in judging those which you declare to be false. 24. If you reject a perception outright and do not distinguish between your opinion about what will happen after, what came before, your feelings, and all the layers of imagination involved in your thoughts, then you will throw your other perceptions into confusion because of your trifling opinions; as a result, you will reject the very criterion of truth. And if when forming concepts from your opinions you treat as confirmed everything that will happen and what you do not witness thereafter, then you will not avoid what is false, so that you will remove all argument and all judgment about what is and is not correct. 25. If at all critical times you do not connect each of your actions to the natural goal of life, but instead turn too soon to some other kind of goal in thinking whether to avoid or pursue something, then your thoughts and your actions will not be in harmony. 26. The desires that do not bring pain when they go unfulfilled are not necessary; indeed they are easy to reject if they are hard to achieve or if they seem to produce harm. 27. Of all the things that wisdom provides for the complete happiness of one's entire life, by far the greatest is friendship. 28. The same judgment produces confidence that dreadful things are not everlasting, and that security amidst the limited number of dreadful things is most easily achieved through friendship. 29. Among desires, some are natural and necessary, some are natural and unnecessary, and some are unnatural and unnecessary (arising instead from groundless opinion). 30. Among natural desires, those that do not bring pain when unfulfilled and that require intense exertion arise from groundless opinion; and such desires fail to be stamped out not by nature but because of the groundless opinions of humankind. 31. Natural justice is a covenant for mutual benefit, to not harm one another or be harmed. 32. With regard to those animals that do not have the power of making a covenant to not harm one another or be harmed, there is neither justice nor injustice; similarly for those peoples who have neither the power nor the desire of making a covenant to not harm one another or be harmed. 33. Justice does not exist in itself; instead, it is always a compact to not harm one another or be harmed, which is agreed upon by those who gather together at some time and place. 34. Injustice is not bad in itself, but only because of the fear caused by a suspicion that you will not avoid those who are appointed to punish wrongdoing. 35. It is impossible to be confident that you will escape detection when secretly doing something contrary to an agreement to not harm one another or be harmed, even if currently you do so countless times; for until your death you will be uncertain that you have escaped detection. 36. In general, justice is the same for all: what is mutually advantageous among companions. But with respect to the particulars of a place or other causes, it does not follow that the same thing is just for all. 37. Among things that are thought to be just, that which has been witnessed to bring mutual advantage among companions has the nature of justice, whether or not it is the same for everyone. But if someone legislates something whose results are not in accord with what brings mutual advantage among companions, then it does not have the nature of justice. And if what brings advantage according to justice changes, but for some time fits our basic grasp of justice, then for that time it is just, at least to the person who is not confused by empty prattle but instead looks to the facts. 38. When circumstances have not changed and things that were thought to be just are shown to not be in accord with our basic grasp of justice, then those things were not just. But when circumstances do change and things that were just are no longer useful, then those things were just while they brought mutual advantage among companions sharing the same community; but when later they did not bring advantage, then they were not just. 39. The person who has put together the best means for confidence about external threats is one who has become familiar with what is possible and at least not unfamiliar with what is not possible, but who has not mixed with things where even this could not be managed and who has driven away anything that is not advantageous. 40. All those who have the power to obtain the greatest confidence from their neighbors also live with each other most enjoyably in the most steadfast trust; and experiencing the strongest fellowship they do not lament as pitiful the untimely end of those who pass away.