Thursday, February 04, 2016

Celebration in Honor of Epicurus

On February 4th we honor the memory of Epicurus (341-270 BCE), the founder (Hegemon) of the school of philosophy in Athens, Greece, that we now call "Epicureanism."  His school was called "The Garden" (Ho Kepos).

His followers celebrated together in his honor on the 10th of Gamelion.  Gamelion was a lunar period of the Attic Calendar used by the ancient Athenian Greeks. Gamelion was the period in January or February, each Winter, occurring  after a full moon.  Consequently, the celebration of the life and philosophy of Epicurus was a movable feast.  
Vincent Cook reports that Epicurus was born on February 4th.

I am content to use February 4th for the purpose of honoring the memory of Epicurus.  Friends of Epicurus, please celebrate and enjoy yourself today.  Epicurus would have encouraged us to: enjoy wholesome pleasures, be cheerful, have peace of mind (ataraxia), be uplifted by our decent friendships, practice kind speech (suavity), find beauty and factuality in the natural world, respect our bodies and our senses, flourish as human beings (eudaimonia), cultivate wisdom through good conversation, reasoning and reading, and let go of superstitious and false beliefs.  We tip our hats to the founder and master! 

Recommended Reading about Epicureanism and Epicurus

Virtue Ethics

A Philosopher's Notebooks

“Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. And to say that the season for studying philosophy has not yet come, or that it is past and gone, is like saying that the season for happiness is not yet or that it is now no more. Therefore, both old and young alike ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come. So we must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed towards attaining it.” 
-  Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus

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