Philosophy has always had at its heart the pursuit of happiness and the greater good. It seeks to understand life and how we can enjoy it to its fullest.
There are many schools of thought in philosophy and endless philosophical thinkers. Each has their own idea of what makes things good and how we can be happy with our lives. Today, we would like to introduce you to Epicurean philosophy, a school of thought which can bring you happiness and tranquility. Epicurus was a Greek philosopher between 347 B.C – 270 B.C, the Hellenistic period. He was the founder of Epicurean philosophy which aimed to teach how to lead a happy and tranquil life through minimalism. Epicurus was the first to develop the concept of ‘neither to harm nor be harmed,’ the first form of justice as a social contract. He thought that we had a duty to one another and by fulfilling that duty, others would do the same onto us. This reminds us that we live in a community, that although you may not know your neighbor, your actions may still affect them. Epicurean philosophy was founded around 307 B.C and teaches that the greatest good a person can seek is modest pleasures. This brings us to a state of tranquility and the absence of pain and fear. Once we have freed ourselves from these hardships, we can begin to live a simple life in complete happiness and serenity. Epicurean philosophy also teaches that to gain true tranquility, we must learn more about how the world works and the limits of our desires. Through virtue and simplicity, we can begin to live in ‘cheerful poverty’. Epicureanism teaches moderation in all areas of life, whether it is food or in relationships. By enjoying too much of something, we become greedy and begin to crave it all the more. This detracts from our virtuous endeavors and leaves us dissatisfied with life. Epicurean philosophy went on to influence modern famous philosophers, such as John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche and even Thomas Jefferson. This just goes to show the power it has in helping us to form a simple and satisfying life. Although we are no longer in the Grecian period, there are many ways we can implement Epicurean thinking in the modern world.
The main theme of Epicurean philosophy is to live within your means and to enjoy what you have. Be grateful for the people you have around you and the good things in your life. We are constantly looking for the next big thing. By doing this, we ignore what we already have and the things in our life which already bring us happiness. Living in simplicity means that we should try whenever we can not to be greedy. In the high-speed, tech-heavy world we live in, we are constantly confronted with new things. Advertisers remind us that our old model is up to date and that we absolutely have to have the newest version. However, this is not the true case. Remember that you are lucky to have what you already enjoy.
There is no need to increase our consumption simply for the latest gadget. We have all been guilty of eating too much or spending too much time reveling in luxury. Although it is not a bad thing to enjoy the truly great parts of life, it is important to do it in moderation. Don’t let yourself expect luxury all the time, as we begin to enjoy it less. It is the low parts of life that make the high parts even better. Allow yourself to enjoy the good bits but take the time to appreciate them for what they are.
They are not constant, but when the good times come around, it makes them all the more enjoyable. Epicurean philosophy has a keen focus on community, friends, and family. It is so important to build this community and keep them close to you. Having the important people around you is what makes life all the more enjoyable. It is easy to lose touch with those we love, but take the time to call or get together. By surrounding yourself with the people you love, you will find yourself needing less of everything else in order to be happy. Philosophy has so much to offer the world. It teaches us more about ourselves and the world we live in, giving us a deep understanding of what can truly make us happy. Epicurean philosophy teaches us that we don’t need all of the things we think we do to be happy. We simply need to enjoy life’s ups and downs and surround ourselves with those who are most important to us. R.
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