Thursday, May 12, 2016

Katastematic ... What?

"It would be a condition of no pleasure and no pain classifiable as kinetic, but it would by no means be a condition of no pleasure and no pain at all. It would in fact be a condition of pleasure arising from the simple, undisturbed, undistracted, awareness of oneself, and of one's openness to the world through specific sensory inputs, but without being currently engaged with any. It would be an active awareness of one's constitution as a particular sort of animal—a constitution for such sensory engagement. And, one would not be experiencing this pleasant awareness unless one's condition were one of normal healthiness and ongoing natural functioning: if one's condition were not such, one would be experiencing some disturbing movements in one's consciousness—unhealthy or disturbed and distorted functioning is just what does cause kinetic pain. Accordingly, to pleasure arising in this second set of circumstances for the arousal of pleasure, Epicurus gave the name "katastematic," drawing upon a Greek term for a condition or state, or for the constitution, of a thing. It is called "katastematic" not so to indicate a special kind of pleasure, any more than kinetic pleasures are a kind of pleasure, but rather so as to draw attention to the special circumstances of pleasure's arousal, on which it is conditioned, in the case of this pleasure. We would describe this pleasure as pleasure in the awareness of the healthy functioning of one's own natural constitution, physical and psychic."
- John M. Cooper, Pursuits of Wisdom, 2012, p. 234

"For Epicurus, the only criterion for deciding on one's way of life is what will work out best form the point of view on one's own pursuit of a continuous experience of katastematic pleasure, varied suitably so as to conform to one's own, perhaps somewhat idiosyncratic, preferences among sources of kinetic pleasure."
- John M. Cooper, Pursuits of Wisdom, 2012, p. 263

Notes, bibliography, resources. Research notes by Mike Garofalo.

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