Historical Context for Letter to Menoeceus by Epicurus. Epicurus’ teaching rejects Platonic Forms; it claims, for instance, that justice is nothing other than a. In this letter, Epicurus recommends to Menoeceus that he conduct his life according to certain prescripts, and in accordance with certain beliefs, in order that his. Letter to Menoeceus. Epicurll«1 (TranAated by Brad Inwo(Jd and L. R Geraon). Let no one delay the study of philosophy while young nor weary of it when old.
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For we recognize it as the primary and innate good, we honor it in everything we accept or reject, and we achieve it if we judge every good thing by the standard of how that thing affects us [ note ].
Historical Context for Letter to Menoeceus by Epicurus | The Core Curriculum
Reflect on what brings happiness, because if you have that you have everything, but if not you will do everything to attain it.
And he who asserts either that it is not yet time to philosophizeor that the hour is passedis like a man who should say that the time is not yet come to be happyor that it is too late.
This rendering is consistent with the connection that Epicurus makes between such desires and opinions that are not based on an understanding of the inborn requirements of human nature. For it was easily in his power to do so, if it really was his belief. Self-Sufficiency Being self-sufficient is conducive to the blessed life Those who do not need abundant goods are better able to find happiness It is easier to obtain What is obtained is enjoyed most Becoming accustomed to simple pleasures puts us in the best condition It makes us healthy It makes us fearless in the face of chance.
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Epicurus’s Contributions Adopted and modified the earlier atomism of Leucippus and Democritus Epicurus’s atomism was influential on early modern scientists Explained all human behavior in terms of pleasure and pain Propounded an ethics according to which the goal of life is freedom from pain Secularized philosophy, claiming that the gods have no influence on cosmic or human affairs. And, they sayhe who enjoins a young man to live well, and an old man to die well, is a simpletonnot only because of the constantly delightful nature of lifebut also because the care to live well is identical with the care to die well.
Our every action is done so that we will not be in pain or fear. menoecehs
Letter to Menoeceus: text – IntraText CT
For since they are at home with what is best about themselves, they accept that which is similar and consider alien that which is different. The happy life for Epicurus is to place oneself in an ataraxic state in ketter one is free to pursue pleasures while minimizing pain.
Young or old, it is necessary to love and practice wisdom, so that in old age you can be youthful by taking joy in the good things you remember, and likewise in youth you can be mature by not lettfr what will come.
The good, says Epicurus, is pleasure—a thesis that was explicitly rejected by Socrates and Plato before him—and pain is evil. I have expanded the verb as “to love and practice wisdom”. But people in generalat times flee from death as the greatest of evilsand at times wish for it as a rest from the evils in life.
In the meantime, menoeces What is Ancient Philosophy? But they are not of the character which people in general attribute to them; for they do not pay a respect to them which accords with the ideas that they entertain of them.
For the assertions of the many about the gods are not anticipationsbut false opinions. For there is nothing terrible in living to a man who rightly comprehends that there is nothing terrible in ceasing to live ; so that he was a silly man who said that he feared deathnot because it would grieve him when it was presentbut because it did grieve him while it was future.
And because this is the primary and inborn good, we do not choose every pleasure. Let no one put off the love and practice of wisdom [ note ] when young, nor grow tired of it when old. Yet the wise man does not dishonor life since he is not set against it and he is not afraid to stop living since he does not consider that to be a bad thing. Training yourself to live simply and without luxury brings you complete health, gives you endless energy to face the necessities of life, better prepares you for the occasional luxury, and makes you fearless no matter your fortune in life.
Letter to Menoikos
Yet they are not such as most people believe; indeed most people are not even consistent in what they believe. Selected Writings and TestimoniaHackett Publishing: Happiness If happiness is present, we have everything If happiness is absent, ,etter do everything we can to get it So, one must practice the things that produce happiness The person who lives well is the happy person.
Just as he does not choose the greatest amount of food but the most pleasing food, so he savors not the longest time but the span of time that brings the greatest joy.
So death, the most terrifying of evils, is nothing to us, because as long as we exist death is not present, whereas when death is present we do not exist. It is simpleminded to advise a young person to live well and an old person to menoecesu well, not only because life is so welcome but also because it is through the very same practices that one both lives well and dies well.
So simple flavors bring just as much pleasure as a fancy diet if all pain from true need has been removed, and bread and water give the highest pleasure when someone in need partakes of them. Epicurus Born B. Some translators understand it as applying to “the gods” from the previous sentence, with msnoeceus sense that the gods would not interfere in human affairs because they don’t care about “consider as alien” mortal creatures who are so different from themselves.
But if he was jokingthen he was talking foolishly in a case where it ought not to be allowed ; and, we must recollectthat the future is not our own, nor, on the other handis it wholly no our own, I mean so that we can never altogether await it with a feeling of certainty that it will be, nor altogether despair of it as what will never be. According to Epicurean cosmology, no Prime Mover nor a teleology governing the movement of matter: Justice There is no injustice where there are no agreements made, but justice exists only when there is a pact that does letted harm either party Injustice is not menoecus in itself, mdnoeceus only produces fear of punishment Due to this fear, one menoeceuw avoid harm from injustice Justice is generally the same for all, but different things may be just in different circumstances Justice exists only as long as the pact is useful.
So that both young and old should study philosophythe one in order that, when he is oldhe many be young in eltter things through the pleasing recollection of the pastand the other in order that he may be at the same time both young and oldin consequence of his absence of fear for the future.