But the wise man neither seeks to escape life nor fears the cessation of life, for neither does life offend him nor does the absence of life seem to be any evil. For that which gives no trouble when it comes is but an empty pain in anticipation. This site was created to be an easy to use resource for Epicurus' "Letter to Menoeceus", also known as "Letter to a Friend" and "The Letter on Happiness." And the man who says that the age for philosophy has either not yet come or has gone by is like the man who says that the age for happiness is not yet come to him, or has passed away. stream Only a few fragments and letters of Epicurus's 300 written works remain. As to chance, he does not regard it as a god as most men do (for in a god’s acts there is no disorder), nor as an uncertain cause (of all things) for he does not believe that good and evil are given by chance to man for the framing of a blessed life, but that opportunities for great good and great evil are afforded by it. {n�$��f&����?����9��p=�q�� ��?~zٯ$���@WX�1.��]������7��Y^�m��I@,�9*��� For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. 129 Between the letter to Pythocles and that to Menoeceus come excerpts (§§ 117-120) dealing with the wise man as conceived by Epicurus, to which are added (§§ 120, 121) some ethical tenets. Discussion summary on : Epicurus Letter to Menoeceus – Philosophy course site. Wherefore prudence is a more precious thing even than philosophy: for from prudence are sprung all the other virtues, and it teaches us that it is not possible to live pleasantly without living prudently and honourably and justly, (nor, again, to live a life of prudence, honour, and justice) without living pleasantly. In the heat of youth we ask big questions. << /Length 5 0 R /Filter /FlateDecode >> Meditate therefore on these things and things akin to them night and day by yourself; and with a companion like to yourself, and never shall you be disturbed waking or asleep, but you shall live like a god among men. Cyril Bailey’s translation (1926). For it is open to him to do so, if he had firmly made up his mind to this. Diogenes Laërtius described Epicurus as a most prolific writer and preserved three of his letters and the Kyriai doxiai (“Principal Doctrines”). Epicurus left three letters: one written to Herodotus, focusing on metaphysics, one written to Pythocles, focusing on weather, and one written to Menoeceus, focusing on ethics. 2019 For men being accustomed always to their own virtues welcome those like themselves, but regard all that is not of their nature as alien. For it is not continuous drinkings and revelings, nor the satisfaction of lusts, nor the enjoyment of fish and other luxuries of the wealthy table, which produce a pleasant life, but sober reasoning, searching out the motives for all choice and avoidance, and banishing mere opinions, to which are due the greatest disturbance of the spirit. But the many at one moment shun death as the greatest of evils, at another (yearn for it) as a respite from the (evils) in life. The right understanding of these facts enables us to refer all choice and avoidance to the health of the body and (the soul’s) freedom from disturbance, since this is the aim of the life of blessedness. The three letters are (1) To Herodotus, dealing with physics; (2) To Pythocles (probably a disciple’s abridgement), on meteorology; and (3) To Menoeceus… It is a capacity that was added in the last stage of the evolutionary process. For if he says this from conviction why does he not pass away out of life? But if he speaks in jest, his words are idle among men who cannot receive them. Letter to Menoeceus. Become accustomed to the belief that death is nothing to us. Download: A 10k text-only version is available for download. And when this is once secured for us, all the tempest of the soul is dispersed, since the living creature has not to wander as though in search of something that is missing, and to look for some other thing by which he can fulfil the good of the soul and the good of the body. It does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more. He Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus . 1 Introduction As a matter of principle the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BC) sought to “live unnoticed,” considering a life of quiet happiness to be better than the pursuit of wealth and power. For gods there are, since the knowledge of them is by clear vision. Letter to Menoeceusby EpicurusLet no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search thereof when he is grown old. 4 0 obj “By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul.” ~ … Epicurus to Menoeceus. Only a few fragments and letters of Epicurus's 300 written works remain. Brad Inwood and L. P. Gerson’s translation (1994). Lives of Eminent Philosophers, a compilation ofinformation on the lives and doctrines of the philosophers ofclassical Greece (see “Doxography of AncientPhilosophy”). We must consider that of desires some are natural, others vain, and of the natural some are necessary and others merely natural; and of the necessary some are necessary for happiness, others for the repose of the body, and others for very life. First of all believe that god is a being immortal and blessed, even as the common idea of a god is engraved on men’s minds, and do not assign to him anything alien to his immortality or ill-suited to his blessedness: but believe about him everything that can uphold his blessedness and immortality. The message is: Do as I say, and youll be happy. We must then meditate on the things that make our happiness, seeing that when that is with us we have all, but when it is absent we do all to win it. In, Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus, Epicurus thinks that most people are mistaken about God. Every pleasure then because of its natural kinship to us is good, yet not every pleasure is to be chosen: even as every pain also is an evil, yet not all are always of a nature to be avoided. The letter to Menoeceus.Translated by Cyril Bailey, Oxford, 1926. So that the man speaks but idly who says that he fears death not because it will be painful when it comes, but because it is painful in anticipation. Let no one when young delay to study philosophy, nor when he is old grow weary of his study. But they are not such as the many believe them to be: for indeed they do not consistently represent them as they believe them to be. This letter addresses Epicurus’ belief that the root of all knowledge is sensation… Let no one when young delay to study philosophy, nor when he is old grow weary of his study. Of all this the beginning and the greatest good is prudence. Epicurus knows human nature well. Yet by a scale of comparison and by the consideration of advantages and disadvantages we must form our judgment on all these matters. In the tenth and final book, devoted toEpicureanism, Diogenes preserves three of Epicurus’ letters to hisdisciples, in which he presents his basic views in a concise and handyform. All we see are bills and responsibilities pilling up on the horizon. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. So death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist. Will is that which distinguishes humans from the other living beings. (He thinks that with us lies the chief power in determining events, some of which happen by necessity) and some by chance, and some are within our control; for while necessity cannot be called to account, he sees that chance is inconstant, but that which is in our control is subject to no master, and to it are naturally attached praise and blame. And since pleasure is the first good and natural to us, for this very reason we do not choose every pleasure, but sometimes we pass over many pleasures, when greater discomfort accrues to us as the result of them: and similarly we think many pains better than pleasures, since a greater pleasure comes to us when we have endured pains for a long time. The Will of Epicurus; The Letter to Idomeneus; The Letter to Herodotus; The Letter to Pythocles; The Wise Man Sayings; The Letter to Menoeceus; The Principal Doctrines; EPICURUS, son of Neocles and Chaerestrata, was an Athenian of the deme of Gargettus, and the family of the Philaidae, as Metrodorus says in his work on Nobility of Birth. For it is to obtain this end that we always act, namely, to avoid pain and fear. Reference Translation – The best available translations by academic experts. Epicurus. T��n��ds���VG�z�"���ʆ�=��"�~?�^�q�X��Ϯ��l�l�V�9(q�C��j�b����B|Y&eͳ;��m��vR�C|&^���W�.���0H�"�=[;yh�����_ B舉��|ⷵC�Y�/�k٠&�;E��|5�����q@4{���$�cWl�k������^:+�S��^v&��Ļ�cC��. Epicurus (Greek: Ἐπίκουρος, Epikouros, "upon youth"; Samos, 341 BCE – Athens, 270 BCE; 72 years) was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. When, therefore, we maintain that pleasure is the end, we do not mean the pleasures of profligates and those that consist in sensuality, as is supposed by some who are either ignorant or disagree with us or do not understand, but freedom from pain in the body and from trouble in the mind. Will has an important function. Life stands before us as a wide open landscape full of possibilities. Principal Doctrines and Letter to Menoeceus Epicurus Translated by Robert Drew Hicks Epicurus (341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher as well as the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. As we age, life becomes a small, cluttered landscape. Letter to Menoeceus Elemental Edition – Paraphrased in modern English to assist new readers in grasping the concepts before reviewing in greater detail. Greetings. by suicide, as recommended by the Stoics ( supra , vii. Keep life simple. He who says either that the time for philosophy has not yet come This letter, written in a direct style, friend to another, is a veritable manual of happiness. The major source for Epicurean doctrine is Diogenes Laertius’third-century C.E. Peter Saint-Andre’s translation (2011) of Epicurus’ Letter To Menoeceus. And therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not because it adds to it an infinite span of time, but because it takes away the craving for immortality. For no one is either too young or too old for the health of the soul. A Letter to Menoeceus The seeking of pleasure through moderation was one of Epicurus’ wisest examinations of the life around him. © For no one can come too early or too late to secure the health of his soul. For no one can come too early or too late to secure the health of his soul. To grow accustomed therefore to simple and not luxurious diet gives us health to the full, and makes a man alert for the needful employments of life, and when after long intervals we approach luxuries disposes us better towards them, and fits us to be fearless of fortune. ���V���\�F�$��D:3����¬%�5@���6nq��3T�%�v;i`�6�a���ׇ!,9�b�|�u����;f��?0E,�����[�z5`�w/��6��]��?�1Q����m��3�!��u�e�*�E���XQ��Cî�_p�u����O���xP���������}�ѩ6߹��Xl��0Bgg��o,Hpn�����%�m�Sj( Letter to Menoeceus By Epicurus. And just as with food he does not seek simply the larger share and nothing else, but rather the most pleasant, so he seeks to enjoy not the longest period of time, but the most pleasant. x��ے��u�����L{�螞��M�R([��e�|�B���Ȣl"�5������ @ϸ{���{���u�@�������O?z=�_�������\Z_m��\�6�{w��������j}��\o��_�7�6��n����C�������C?�Ͽ�������%4��7��m��������u��e�/���/9�s�7���0l��_�ۼ�|��K�.�]�7#f�� �_]v̏�ח������? Wherefore both when young and old a man must study philosophy, that as he grows old he may be young in blessings through the grateful recollection of what has been, and that in youth he may be old as well, since he will know no fear of what is to come. These three letters are brief summaries of major areas of Epicurus’ philosophy: the Letter to Herodotus, which summarizes his metaphysics, the Letter to Pythocles, which gives atomic explanations for meteorological phenomena, and the Letter to Menoeceus, which summarizes his ethics. For we recognize pleasure as the first good innate in us, and from pleasure we begin every act of choice and avoidance, and to pleasure we return again, using the feeling as the standard by which we judge every good. To put his life in further context, he was a part of the Hellenistic period, which occurred two centuries after the death of Alexander the Great. Yet much worse still is the man who says it is good not to be born but once born make haste to pass the gates of Death. %PDF-1.3 For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. And he who counsels the young man to live well, but the old man to make a good end, is foolish, not merely because of the desirability of life, but also because it is the same training which teaches to live well and to die well. Epicurus was the founder of the highly influential school of hedonism known as Epicureanism. A new, public-domain translation of the Letter to Menoikos of Epicurus, including the original Greek text along with notes on the translation. Letter to Menoikos by Epicurus (Ἐπίκουρος) ... Peter Saint-Andre, made this translation of the Letter to Menoikos of Epicurus from Greek into English in the year 2011. A mortal being made up his mind to this life is inseparable them! 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