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This is a philosopher who helps us think about money, capitalism, and our runaway consumer societies Epicurus was an Ancient Greek born in 341 BC. What made him famous was that he spent all his life trying to work out the largest puzzle there is: what makes people happy? Philosophers before him had discussed at length what could make people good Epicurus preferred to look at what is fun Unfortunately, the world was bitter and bitchy even then and when people heard that Epicurus had set up a school to study happiness the rumors went off the scale There were tales that the school hosted ten course feasts, and orgies every night Epicurus was said, by one critic, to have orgasmed 18 times in a single evening in a bed full of virgins It wasn’t true Epicurus and his team were studying happiness, but they were doing it very soberly The philosopher owned only two cloaks, and lived on bread, olives, and for a treat, an occasional slice of cheese As for the bedroom, he merely responded demurely that he’d married philosophy Having patiently studied happiness for many years Epicurus came to a set of remarkable and revolutionary conclusions about what we actually need to be happy He proposed that we typically make 3 mistakes when thinking about happiness: Firstly, we think happiness means having romantic, sexual relationships but Epicurus looked around and saw so many unhappy couples their unions marred by jealousy, misunderstanding, cheating, and bitterness at the same time, he observed how much nicer friendships are: How people tend to be so decent and unpossessive with their friends Friendship seemed to be where human nature was at its sweetest The only problem Epicurus noted was that we don’t see our friends enough The next thing we ordinary think that we need to be happy is a lot of money but we tend not properly to factually the unbelievable sacraficies we gotta have to make to get this money: The jealousy, the backbiting, the long hours What makes work really satisfying, Epicurus believed, ins’t money but it was able to work alone, or in small groups, like in a bakery, or boat repair shop and when we feel we helping others in our own, minor way improving the world Isn’t really large sums or status that we want deep down Its a sense of making a diference and lastely Epicurus observes how obsessive we are with luxury especially involving houses and beautiful serene locations but beneath our love of luxury there is really something else we trying to get out What we want is a feeling of calm We want our minds pure, free… Not full of the normal boredom and chaos But the great question is: Does luxury actually make us calm? Epicurus wasn’t so sure… Having looked happiness in depth Epicurus anounces a revolution reset of insights That we really need only three things to be happy in this life Firstly You need your friends around No sex, no orgy, just your mates Enough of seen them only now and then Its regularity of contact that counts So he did that thing that most of us ocasionally dream of doing but never actualy get around do He bought a big house and start living with all his friends Everyone had your own quarters and there was pleasant share areas too There’s always someone nice to talk to you in the kitchen Secondly Everyone downshifted All the members of the comune stop working for other people They took big pay cuts in return for doing their own stuff some farming, some cooking, some potring or writing And thirdly Epicurus and his friends stop thinking you could be calm just by having a beautiful view to look out to They devote themselfes to finding calm in their own minds To spending time on their own, reflecting, writing stuff down, reading things, meditating The experiment was so successful, the members of the comune so happy the idea spread like wildfire Epicurean communities open up all around the mediterranean at height of the movement there was four hundred thousand people living in comunes from Spain to Palestine It was only the christian church that ending things in the fifth century But in most of the respect to the community somehow cause they converted all in to monasteries what we know as monasteries are really just epicurean comunes with a christian top soil Another interesting fact: Karl Marx it’s Ph.D thesis on Epicurus and what we call communism, a gigantic failed system it’s really a grown up, corrupted, not very successful version of epicureanism The real Legacy of Epicurus is that human beings aren’t very good make themselves happy especially because they think it’s so easy We think we know, it’s about sex, money, luxury We just want to how to secure all this but no, says Epicurus Reflect on the moments that truly bring you happiness and they are to do with this Have the courage to change your life, in accordance with the moments that actually delivery satisfaction You might end up living in a very different way Out in the country with just some cheese, a couple of clothes, a few philosophy books and some very good friends down the corridor

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100 thoughts on “PHILOSOPHY – Epicurus

  1. Can you guys please do a video on metaphysics? I feel like you guys would perfectly describe it and make it more understandable

  2. This stuff really should be obvious to most people. Goes to show how out of touch people are with their own desires, they buy onto what the system TELLS them will make them happy, rather than pay attention to their feelings. I always get weird looks when I say I'd rather have a life long friend than I life long romantic partner. It's clear people are not made for marriage and long term romance, most people I know who are married or in relationships are miserable.

  3. I started to get curious about Epicurus when I read his god paradox accidentally. And the I made some research about him and his works. Now I like him even more…

  4. I like that your example of "things you never get around to" is… dancing with a seal? Can't say that was on the agenda but… it might be now.

  5. Having sex, money and luxuries doesn't gives you happiness.
    Having friends, following your passions and being calm does.

  6. You stopped right when it started to get interesting. Why did his ideas fail? There are no communes let alone prosperous, vibrant utopias here and now. My baby boomer generation strived to revive his life style and they failed. Why?

  7. He lived on bread, olives, and cheese? Where does he get protein and vitamins from? It's probably a simplification, I know.

  8. Epicurus pisses me off (it's not personal) and in general so do most conversations abut happiness and what people think hedonism or hedonistic consequentialism implies. I don't understand what about happiness or the implications of the idea that happiness is the only inherent good is so difficult to understand (for the most part). Just the existence of the misinformation and misconceptions (especially if it's held by philosophical hedonists themselves) is too much sometimes .

    – There is no one secret to happiness and one distinct thing alone that causes happiness for all possible people at all times. People don't seem to think of happiness entirely as a concrete emotional state – they treat it as an abstract idea (or a personality trait or observable behaviour) and their ideas of 'happiness' are usually attached to what they think is philosophically meaningful. A lot of what they're talking about seems to be a reflective 'satisfaction' with one's abstract life and not what we (including non-humans who aren't capable of self-growth, 'spirituality', moral development etc.) feel at specific moments in time which is how they can make a 'true happiness' vs. momentary pleasure distinction. People do one of two extremes – they associate happiness, or at least 'pleasure', with high arousal sensory stimulation or sensory objects that are usually considered shallow or un-noble (ie. 'sex, drugs and rock and roll'. I don't like the term 'pleasure' for this reason – it has narrow and egoistic connotations) or they treat it as a higher level of spirituality, self-improvement or an abstract satisfaction with one's life (something that doesn't necessarily apply to turtles even though they presumably feel happiness – although I can see some people claiming they are happier than humans because they 'live in the moment'). Sexual pleasure and drug induced euphoria fall under happiness but so does affection, sympathetic happiness, what some people feel when they eat comfort food, or play videos games, watch tv, read novels (high or low class), listen to music (high or low class), help other people, enjoy natural scenery or visual art, go bungee jumping, scuba diving etc. Happiness has nothing to do with the sensory or cognitive objects that make some people happy some of the time – and the sensory objects can be high or low arousal (also – there's only one 'kind' of happiness. what distinguishes boredom from shame or physical pain is the kind of objects those emotions have). Emotional intensity and sensory stimulation are two different things- happiness is an emotional state and not sensory experience. The only thing that causes all people happiness for a universally non-arbitrary reason is the experienced satisfaction of their desires for as long as they hold those desires – whatever their desires happen to be (ambiguity and complexity are non-arbitrarily stressful ultimately because desire frustration is inherently painful and they, by nature, ultimately delay desire satisfaction for reasons I won't get into. Value based criticism is also non-arbitrary stressful for the same reason – there's a non-arbitrary reason why we would have a positive or negative emotional response to something we have a positive or negative attitude toward – a positive or negative attitude toward something implies wanting it to exist or to not exist. I don't want to go into detail).

    The concept of 'studying happiness' makes no sense to me and no one can demonstrate any expertise on the issue. We can know through experience that the satisfaction or frustration of our desires is inherently pleasurable or painful – everything else that makes us happy is circumstantial and we can know this because we can imagine a hypothetical person who doesn't enjoy or isn't bothered by what we are (for example, I can imagine someone who actually likes the smell of raw onions but I can't imagine someone who wants their child to live feeling good about their death despite regarding their death as a bad thing. there are some universals or near universals, though – physical injury hurts most, not all, animals. All animals need energy to function so it makes sense that we like some degree of warmth etc. ). I cannot stand 'how to be happy' nonsense that spouts itself as universal if it's not ultimately rooted in what I've mentioned (desire frustration). Universal compassion makes sense because love itself feels good (it has a relaxing effect on the mind and kills anger and arguably fear – both of which feel bad) and compassion – feeling connected to the pain of others- is related to love – a positive emotional esponse to others in the context of intimacy with them feeling pleasurable -wanting intimacy implies connection. Pan-hedonism can help us to minimize moral ambiguity and make sense of reality more than any other worldview because it can be clarified through direct experience. Everything else is circumstantial even if there are near universal things that make most humans happy (besides the physiological needs of food and water, warmth and sex the list gets smaller and even smaller after companionship and some kind of play or interesting cognitive or sensory activity).

    – Money gives us access to goods and services that make us happier. The fact that it doesn't eliminate all of our problems doesn't legitimize the idea that 'money can't make you happy'. It can and does make the overwhelming majority of people happier. The same is true for sexual / romantic relationships. Humans have a psychological need for sexual and physical intimacy with the people they're attracted to. Just because it doesn't guarantee an abstract overall happy life or an absolutely perfect life doesn't mean that people can't experience any happiness at all because of it. If 'calm' means the absence of turmoil and distress then it's redundant to say that calmness makes us happier – both low and high arousal states can be pleasurable (I would agree that low arousal states are probably better for long-term happiness, also that more sensitive or introverted people might be less likely to enjoy high arousal states, but long-term happiness isn't 'true' happiness, it's the same thing we feel with instant gratification. People aren't necessarily 'calm' when they experience high arousal states but they can feel peace of mind, they have to in order to enjoy those states).

    -I don't know a lot about Epicurus so this could be completely unfair but I remember reading that he was an egoist. This directly contradicts the idea that happiness is inherently good. If happiness is good by it's inherent nature then everyone has a reason to want everyone else to experience happiness. Water isn't wet 'for' some people – if happiness is inherently good then everyone experiencing happiness is a better state of affairs than experiencing nothing which is itself a better state of affairs then experiencing pain. I don't understand how this isn't immediately obvious. I hate how the emphasis ('the secrets to happiness' or conversations about 'hedonism' etc.)is on what you can to do make yourself happier.

    -Lastly Epicurus was a materialist which completely contradicts his epistemological justification for happiness being intrinsically good (ie. direct experience – which I agree with). Without considering whether or not an inherently non-mental physical world is even logically possible the solipsism that justifies philosophical hedonism implies that we should be agnostic about a physical world at best. Happiness isn't the neurological activity it corresponds with. If it is, this isn't something we realize through direct experience. Materialism clearly implies (incoherently) that consciousness is an illusion so how do you justify the claim that happiness is inherently good and we can know this through direct experience when it's not immediately obvious from an 'objective' standpoint that the neurological activity that supposedly is your subjective experience of happiness is an inherently better state of affairs or something worth wanting?

    I rushed this so I left out many details and it probably sounds corny.

  9. Shame everything about how we all live at the moment makes this impossible. I suppose isolation will have to do.

  10. So once upon a time philosophy was boring and then this new guy invited his friends to his OWN school with blackjack and hookers

  11. Religion has expired long time ago, since the time of Thales Milates. Unfortunately, people are still consuming this magical concept. They want to be the little children of God, and work hard to make their father proud because they are good followers and great obeying citizens hahahahaha such a pathetic philosophy.
    Just be happy and think rational, respect morality. The list you can do is to pick up your own weights, positive attitude. don’t complain. Every problem has a solution.

  12. His philosophy was based in indoctrinating people. Rather than self-reflection, it was more about memorizing and repeating Epicurean principles. And psychoanalysis of people to see where their ideologies were wrong. This video is absolute bollocks.

  13. I hate the way you present communism in your videos. Communism isnt what you say it is, and its really wierd to hear that from this channel. Its like I hear someone that has never read anything in his life.

  14. Mahatma Gandhi was also a big advocate of the community way of life where people are engaged in small tasks in a self sufficient manner. We call it the Panchayat system in India. His idea of 'Sarvodaya' are also linked to the same.

  15. I was liking and enjoying these posts A LOT, until I came across this washed-down, politically-correct, innaccurate and somewhat timid approach to the teachings of Epicurious.

  16. Okay, for sure, half of the viewers were just watching it since school needs it.brrr but somehow, I learned new ideas about happiness..

  17. What I really liked about Epicurus that you didn’t really touch on, was him living life without excess. Too much of anything will turn out awful. Water, food, working etc.

  18. Epicurus was heretic according to Dante in dantes inferno. I would say that, I would put those religions/cults who kill innocent people in Heresy Circle.

  19. I felt the same way back when I was in a remote boarding school. just me and the boys learning life skill and doing sports and schoolwork. pretty much the happiest moment in my life. it also helped that the school was located atop of a mountain.

  20. I love calm and quiet, gardening, books, cats, cooking, sometimes friends, good movie, swimming, sometimes work hard:)

  21. First time watching while buzzed and the narrator cusses and talks about a guy who is interested in what makes people happy.

  22. Hello my name is Pieter Zandvliet a Dutch Artist, in my webshop I made drawings of philosophers, poets and writers, have fun watching! @t

  23. Living with friends, a simple lifestyle in the country side, leaving decadent vices for more peaceful habits? This is the philosophy I've been wanting to grow old with

  24. The volume is terrible on all of your videos while on speaker (unlike other channels). I would listen if it was improved

  25. Epicurius: “You don’t need money and luxury to be happy.”

    Also Epicurus: buys a gigantic house for himself and all his friends

  26. can confirm this mentality works. I live a very minimalist lifestyle where whenever a splurge on my spending i buy experiences rather than material things (with a few exceptions). I spend my spare time either doing creative things or hanging out with friends and i have a job where i really feel like i'm making a difference. it's not ALWAYS sunshine and rainbows but i've never been so consistently happy in my life.

  27. The problem with Epicureanism, is you necessarily become emotionally immature. Epicurus thinks like a child, reasons like a child, and will not put away childish ways. Epicurus was short sighted and only saw no further than this world.

  28. This isn't very accurate. Especially the communism thing. Epicurus's main claims were that one could find happiness in a simple life, that one should avoid getting involved in politics, that one strive to shape one's life as best as one is able, that one stop worrying about things which one cannot change and that one love one's friends.

  29. Love is a friendship inspires by beauty and truth and sustains by loving kindness.

    The rule of friendship means that there must be a mutual understanding between them; each supplying what the other lacks and trying to benefit the other. Always using sincere and friendly words.

    Therefore, the expressions of love must be kind and gentle; not some diamonds in the sky.

  30. * live with your friends/loved ones
    * live to help others(u should feel that your'e helping others and making a change in there life)
    * find calm and peace without in your daily life by being present at the movement

  31. Greatest philosopher of them all me thinks.
    Who cares about the afterlife? Who cares about right and wrong?
    Only thing that matters is happiness!
    And what makes me happy is worrying about the afterlife and right and wrong… Oh wait.

  32. But what if you are an Introvert? When I really look back, what makes me truly happy isn't to be with friends, it is to see the world and learn.

  33. I think the issue here is "good friends". Since we are all imperfect and most, flawed in many ways, I think it is difficult to have long term friends. I only have two, and neither has any desire to join a commune. Congratulations to the people who have lots of good friends. You should be grateful

  34. Good friends, so true. My friendship is continually sought after. I prepare for gatherings by accumulating interesting topics thru the day to bring something to the table.

  35. Epicurus brought forth the light of knowledge.
    And, as usual, christianity brought forth the darkness of ignorance.

  36. This School of Life series is really brave, I love it! They aren't afraid of oversimplifying, as long as the message gets across. And it's always a very humane message.

  37. They SO should teach this and more branches of philosophy from an early age at schools… and more importantly, we should do at home.

  38. There's a Spanish play called LA Sirena Varada, which pretty much follows his teachings. A man gives up riches to form his own community, everyone is free to do as they want… with, of course, unexpected results.

  39. Epicureans taught to find contentment with life even at the point of starvation, and to even be content when dying. Greek philosophy was not unlike that of buddhism or hindhuism

  40. Go to Google and search for the global truth project and read the
    book named The Present so you will discover all the answers of the big questions of life and discover the truth of life based on evidence.

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