For centuries, philosophers have been at loggerheads in trying to assign meaning to the relationship between nature and divine. Epicureanism, a philosophy that originated from Greek East community and championed by Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher, was conceptualized based on this phenomenon. Epicureanism was developed to challenge Platonism, which assigned independence and infinity to numbers and related abstract objects, and to oppose stoicism, which recognized knowledge as the highest virtue and proclaimed of the need to be indifferent to suffering and pleasure. According to Warren (2009), Epicureanism is founded on the relationship between epistemology (knowledge), the metaphysics, and the ethical influence they have on humanity. It was intended to denounce religion, which for long, humanity was crashed by its weight. Epicureanism trampled the terror of religion by opening the gates of nature to humanity through recognition of the things that can be and those that cannot, their power, and the boundary limit for each. It emphasized on enjoying the honor, wealth, and fame with less anguish from tortured minds, complaints, or lack of respite. Epicureanism philosophy inter-relates physics of the atomistic materialism to rational hedonistic ethics with focus on moderation of desires and building relationships.
Epicureanism philosophical foundations are reminiscent of Epicurus ideas because they are the basis for greater good sought through modest pleasure with the objective to obtain tranquility, freedom from fear, and absence of bodily pain. Epicurus conceptualized that combining the states of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics, constituted the highest form of happiness; a form of hedonism without pain and simple life. Such happiness is dependent on the workings of the world, which Epicurus insisted required knowledge of the same and limiting of desires. Epicurus advocated for moderation of all things including food and bodily desires, and considered “cheerful poverty” to be a honorable state of life. Epicureanism reflects its founder’s justice concept taken as a form of social contract: “neither to harm nor be harmed”. This can be attributed to why Epicureans shunned politics because it contradicted the very foundation of Epicurean ideologies.
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Given the state of the world today, one can argue that there would be severe implications if Epicurean philosophical foundations were incorrect. Obvious is the fact that liberalism and utilitarianism, founded on Epicureanism, dominate lives of most people today, and laws to this effect have been passed and implemented. Humanity is caught in the struggle to espouse the ideologies professed by Epicureans. The fight for equality, especially in addressing the gap between the rich and the poor, is a classic example of Epicureanism in play. The gap between the haves and have nots is of concern as it contradicts the teachings of Epicurus advocating for moderation of pleasures. Even those with wealth, honor, and fame cannot fully enjoy them because of the anguish, pain, and complaints of those around them. However, the Epicurean doctrine should misunderstood as representative of drinks and food pleasures, a concept critics argue is being promulgated by Christian polemicists.
Warren, J. (2009). The Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.