Epicurus: His philosophical spectrum gave society new doors of opportunities to think differently

Epicurus: His philosophical spectrum gave society new doors of opportunities to think differently

Updated on August 16, 2022 18:18 PM by Anna P

Epicurus and his way of presenting the mind

The philosophy of Epicurus has been popular for a millennium now. He is known to be born in 341 B.C.E and died in 270 B.C.E. 

During his time, his thoughts were considered absurd as he was born much before his time frame; people at that time were pretty ignorant of many things and did not even know how to explore their inner identity.

However, Epicurus brought up the first concept of a mind, which is much more independent of itself than dependent on its surroundings.

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Epicurus and his beliefs

He believed in a complete interdependent system based on the basic goals of human life. 

However, the interdependency should not be based on creating the individual's identity based on material pleasure. 

But he preferred that interdependency be based on sharing happiness and delight and trying to be a community with all the peace and cooperation required.

Epicurus always believed that an individual should have a purpose in life involving a view of reaching the goal of human life.

His way of looking toward life was much different from those around him. He believed that one can achieve happiness and that the feeling of happiness is not abstract and is not based on worldly things.

However, he said one could gain happiness without physical pain and mental disturbance.

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What were his views?

Epicurus always believed that people could find themselves lively but not serious in life through the proper absence of pain and disturbance. 

He also mentioned that living like that, where every point is taken with too much seriousness and intensity, might make others think you are not responsible enough to be trusted. 

But then again, Epicurus has mentioned that a person who has never taken life seriously and has a free-spirited attitude towards life can find the ultimate happiness.

However, people of those times thought this kind of attitude would never take an individual anywhere.

But then again, Epicurus always believed that society is stigmatized with certainly manufactured oaths that have no ultimate value and will bring no development to the society as a whole.

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What were his thoughts about the human mind?

He talked about an empiricist theory of knowledge which includes sensations and the perception of pleasure and pain, which are nothing but unerring criteria. 

However, a human mind can only attend to the ultimate happiness if they know to detach themselves from these unnecessary criteria.

He also gave a description of nature that is based on atomistic materialism, along with a naturalistic account of evolution.

He considered people are too materialistic, and evolution can only be possible if the communities learn to detach from atomistic materialism. 

A man of word, he always believed that from the formation of the world to the emergence of human societies, everything is connected through atomistic materialism - which is why people cannot attain happiness. 

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Epicurus and his urge to the society

Epicurus believed people had created an imbalance due to humans' desire for more and more materials. 

He thought back then that it would take time to bring balance by making people understand the value of the natural way of evolution and being interdependent for the sake of sharing knowledge and viewpoints rather than substantial pleasures. 

He believed that when a chain of events has disrupted your living environment, it needs time to heal. 

However, the healing process is more about looking inside rather than searching from the outside. 

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Epicurus on life and afterlife

Epicurus believed that based on radical materialism, life is only one way, and it does not have the possibility of having an afterlife with hell and heaven. 

He assigned his viewpoints to the transcending entities related to the Platonic Ideas or Forms.

Epicurus could disprove the possibility of the soul’s survival after death. He said there is no perspective view of life having an option after death. Hence, getting punished for your deeds in the afterlife is almost impossible. 

There are various challenges that people go through in their lifetime. Some of them might be on your way as you might find it exhaustive to move forward, but that has nothing to do with death and the afterlife.

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What did Epicurus want to put forward?

Epicurus finds that humans should start enjoying life more than keeping up with what will happen after death. 

According to his viewpoints, things will not always be under your stride, but that does not mean you will regard your daily activities based on life and death and the actions after death.

Epicurus thinks you should always ensure that the worth of life is not based on counting the days, and one must make it work for them in the long run by working out the negativities. 

So, according to him, one should stop worrying and start working on various life opportunities.

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What did he want people to know?

He always regarded the unacknowledged fear of death and punishment as the primary cause of anxiety among human beings.

According to him, people are so fearful of the unknown that for half of their lives, they forget to live and give in turn to the source of intense and irrational desires which have no value. 

According to Epicurus, eliminating fears of the unknown, especially death, makes people depend on the corresponding desires to find happiness

One of the most significant scholars of all time, he mentions the fear of death restricts people from getting any hold of the true value of life.

Epicurus has said that the fear of death is the only feeling that would never be able to free people from pursuing worldly pleasures. 

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What did Epicurus want to put forward?

People will keep chasing physical and mental pleasures all their lives through the materialistic stuff out there.

According to him, people need to eliminate their fear of death to which they are naturally drawn. 

The moment people can eliminate the fear of death and the unknown, they will be able to enjoy peace of mind.

Human beings are always looking forward to the consequent thought procedure upon which they might find ways in which they can regularly expect to achieve satisfaction. 

Fear of death and fear of the unknown are the only ways to stop a person from rational thinking. 

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Epicurus on fear

Firstly, the factor which remains to be explained is how irrational fears arise in the first place. Fear makes people weak even to explore and approach the newer aspects of life.

Hence he finds the significance of an account of social evolution. A society can only flourish after it goes through changes. 

The mind needs to undergo the required changes to be part of the societal norms and not give in to irrational fears. 

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The way people viewed Epicurus

Epicurus was a brilliant person; he was extremely aware of the fact that changing the thought procedure is so not easy. People are fearful human beings and love to be fearful, so fighting that out might take a long time.

People were never at first able to take into the viewpoints of the philosopher; they found him odd. They found his viewpoints bizarre, and many did not bother to follow him.

However, Epicurus never lost hope; he knew that people's deeply ingrained habits of thought, which have been practiced for many decades, cannot be easily corrected.

He knew it was a tough call, so he proposed various exercises to assist the novice. 

He knew it was hard work, and it was not easy for him to get hold of the people and change their thought processes just like that.

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Epicurus and his strategies

He started his strategy with the system, which included advising the common people on the proper attitude toward politics and making it happen for everyone, not just the commoners. 

According to Epicurus, it is the politics one should be very careful to approach and, if possible, avoid in some cases.

The political system in any given society is not the only foundation. Still, where possible, it plays a pivotal role in determining the upcoming reforms in the given development of the society.

The second most important thing Epicurus has put forward is that about the gods, especially people’s faith in the religious norms.

According to Epicurus, people should not imagine that divine power concerns human beings and their behavior. They have better things to do in their divinity than calculating what the humans are doing on Earth, such as keeping a record of it and punishing them accordingly.

He explained that human actions have made them suffer; karma is the one and not the godly powers that punish them for their vices and pervert urges. 

Humans must do their job and serve their purpose; if they fail to do that, it is not the gods' responsibility to make them do it.

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The explanation Epicurus put forward

Moreover, Epicurus highlighted the role of sex in human life, which is more dubious than anything else in society. Sex is the core factor of pleasure, yet it is seen as a duty to bring the next generation to the world.

Epicurus always found people using sex as a tool, even though it is more than that; sex is an incarnal feeling, but people have turned it into something more painful than pleasant. 

He found that people want to enjoy sex, but people are getting deprived of these true physical pleasures and getting pressed under the charges of bindings like marriage.

Similarly, Epicurus found marriage is also dubious. People are getting married for political, social, and religious reasons. 

In contrast, marriage should be the bond between two people who want to work their issues out together and live with each other at times of trouble.

Epicurus has seen people live happily over a mental bond not tied by any social ties, whereas couples who are not interested in staying together are married. He found the whole institution like a fool’s errand. 

A companion in need is a companion certainly to be kept for the long haul. However, Epicurus has talked about the subtle signs of friendship which he thinks are essential for living beings. 

He thought that humans are made to stay together, which is only possible if they know and understand the subtle factors of friendship.

Friendship does not start with the thoughts of giving and taking but rather spreading true happiness and making it easy for everyone. 

Friendship has no commitments and has no dissatisfaction, and it is not made amongst people just out of utter pleasure. 

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The believer in science and logic

Epicurus always believed in the reflections on nature through various meteorological and planetary phenomena. 

He was a greater believer in science and believed everything worked based on logic and the right form of calculations.

He always believed that a society could only grow if it learns to keep an open mind. 

He also knew this mentality is difficult for society as people are extremely judgemental without decisive verification. 

He always knew making people understand certain things is like trying to believe in his explanations of such processes as gravity. 

People were naive enough not to understand that gravity is the tendency of objects to fall to the surface of the Earth. However, he also knew people would consider him crazy whenever he tried to explain himself.

Still, he believed his duty was to bring people out of the darkness and enlighten them with the utmost knowledge possible.

He wanted to put forward his arguments regarding magnetism, which he believed posed considerable challenges to the ingenuity of the earlier atomists.  

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The world of Epicureanism

The overall structure of Epicureanism was designed to bring together all those thoughts which can serve its essential work to help people reach their ethical goals in life. 

Nevertheless, there has always been room for many intriguing and provocative philosophical arguments against his thoughts and viewpoints.

Even during his time, people were against his viewpoints and found them either vague or audacious enough to go against society. People always found his arguments too much to handle; some were worth the debate.

Even the philosophers of later years believed that his thoughts concerning every aspect of the system needed criticism - whether it is about the speed of atoms in a void or it is about the origin of optical illusions, people always found his explanations as topics challenging enough to be added in the sheer arguments. 

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