A system of philosophy founded around 307 BC.
It is based upon the teachings of Epicurus. He was a materialist whose beliefs led him to a type atheism: He renounced all superstition, including any type of divine intervention.
His materialism also led him to believe that pleasure — which he defined as an absense of pain (aponia) — was the greatest good, and that the best way to achieve this was to live modestly, limiting your desires. By doing this, you attain the Epicurian goal-state ataraxia, materialistic tranquility.
1. “Cassius, like many Roman Epicureans, is a Puritan, and embodies the spirit of resentment, unhappy as he is at contemplating a greatness beyond him”
(Bloom, Shakespeare, 107)
2. The Epicurianism were historically associated with atheism. The modern Hebrew word for atheist, apikoros, attests to this. But Epicurus didn't deny the existence of gods, he just claimed that they were, like everything else, subject to the materialist laws of the universe.
3. "Modern, Western ideas about how life should be lived were largely formed in the laboratory of Hellenistic philosophy.
Do you believe in a countercultural existence that defies society's conventions? You are a Cynic.
Or is life best when we dutifully play the hand that fate gives us, whatever it is, to the best of our abilities? In which case you are a Stoic.
Or is the aim to remove the stress and anxiety that comes with society's false demands? You are an Epicurean.
Or do you reject any kind of dogma whatsoever? In that case you are a Skeptic."
(Source: Battling the Gods, Whitmarsh, 156)
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