Happy 20th to all the Epicureans everywhere, and Happy HumanLight to all my subscribers! We’ve reached the solstice, the time of the year when the day is shortest and the night is longest. This means that light is reborn and can only grow from here. May you have Peace and Safety this season, and most importantly Enlightened PLEASURE!
I encourage my readers to enlighten their friends by giving them the gift of philosophy for the holidays. There is great Epicurean literature out there, from my own books (review of Tending the Epicurean Garden here) to the many books by Cassius Amicus, Frances Wright, Norman DeWitt, Lucretius, Michel Onfray, and others. Our webpage also has a few pamphlets and brochures on philosophy.
This month, I published my review of the book Ontology of Motion, by Thomas Nail. For ease of reading, I separated the essays to address issues of how words are defined, theology, and parallels between Lucretius and Taoism or modern quantum physics. Just as importantly, I address the author’s attribution of Lucretius’ ideas to the poet, when the Epistle to Herodotus makes it clear that many of the ideas in De Rerum Natura originate in Epicurus and the other founders of the School. This is not to diminish the importance, the brilliance, or the eloquence of Lucretius, but merely to provide context–as well as to encourage sincere students of Epicurean Philosophy (and students of modern physics) to read Herodotus. There, you will find a clearly explained introduction to the arguments that were discussed back and forth by the ancient atomists more than 2,300 years ago which led to many of the ideas that are current in science regarding particles, movement, relativity, and the importance of reliance on empirical evidence in order to gather knowledge about nature. The Epistle to Herodotus is one of the most importance proto-scientific documents from antiquity and should be of interest to students of both the philosophy and the history of science.
A few new essays have been published or translated into English recently by our Greek brethren:
- Epicurean Philosophy and Modern Science and Life – a live conversation between Christos Yapijakis and Stefano Cianfarani
- The pleasure lifestyle – by Haris at epicurusphilosophy.com
- Epicurean influences on Enlightenment, by Dimitris Altas, Cardiologist, member of Epicurean Philosophy Friends of Thessaloniki.
One of our friends is a (very good, might we add) musician and published a new album, which includes a song that mentions Diogenes the Cynic’s famous request to Alexander the Great to step aside and stop blocking his sunlight. His artist name is Shazdar. We invite you to show him love and support his music!
Someday I dream we will have an online source for all the literary works in Epicurean philosophy, all in one place and searchable, with study guides and commentary, in various languages and with various translations available for comparison for the benefit of students of Epicurean Philosophy everywhere. I think of websites like Bible Gateway and some of the online Qur’an and Bhagavad Gita translation sites available online, where students can search for a subject or word, or systematically read and study a particular chapter. I envision this Epicurean site as including the entire ancient Epitome (the works of the founders), Elemental Epicureanism, On the Nature of Things, all the works by Philodemus, Diogenes’ Wall, Diogenes Laertius, and even A Few Days in Athens. Perhaps it should even include some of Lucian’s works. As I said in my book, we should treat the works of our philosophy, and preserve it and pass it on, with the same dignity that it confers upon us. All of these works are worthy of careful study by sincere students of Epicurus, and have also accumulated a growing body of exegetic commentary by devoted readers that deserves to be preserved and built on.
New Epicurean has been creating audio files on many subjects–be on the lookout for a future Epicurean Radio website–and here’s a brief thematic study guide for the Vatican Sayings for beginners. As more study material becomes available, please stay appraised by joining our online forum and community at Epicurean Friends.com!