2020 – 1969
Who was Epicurus?
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher as well as the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. Only a few fragments and letters of Epicurus's 300 written works remain. Much of what is known about Epicurean philosophy derives from later followers and commentators.
For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia—peace and freedom from fear—and aponia—the absence of pain—and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared; the gods neither reward nor punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.
- It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men all live in a city without walls.
- If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.
- The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd.
- Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempest.
- A free life cannot acquire many possessions, because this is not easy to do without servility to mobs or monarchs...
- I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know they do not approve, and what they approve I do not know.
- I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding.
- There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men
- Of all things which wisdom provides to make life entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship.
- Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.