Epicureanism is an ancient philosophical system which was founded by the Green philosopher Epicurus. It puts great emphasis on prioritizing living a happy and content life as a person’s ultimate goal. It mainly focuses on the present day and it completely rejects being fearful of the gods and any notions about the afterlife. In modern times, the word “Epicureanism” is often related with the popular saying, “Eat drink and be merry.” However, Epicureanism does not actually advocate the natural pursuit of bodily pleasure. It is significantly different from the concept of hedonism. Epicurus had a very materialistic view about the world and the rest of the universe. He strongly believed that all of nature consists of space and matter. Science has proven that all matter can be divisible down to the smallest level of atoms. Epicurus believed that the world is eternal so it couldn’t possibly be created nor can it be destroyed. Although there are various types of shapes, sizes, motion and weight, they cannot be felt or seen using a person’s senses. All the atoms in the universe operate in accordance to natural law so he believed that creation could not possibly exist.
Epicurus and his beliefs
Epicureanism completely rejects the idea of an afterlife. A person’s soul is made out of atoms which is just more subtle than the atoms found in a physical body. Epicurus believed that in order to give life, both body and soul must be present. He strongly believed that when a person dies, his soul also disintegrates with it. He suggested that this is the reason why people must not fear death or any type of future punishment. Amidst his beliefs, Epicurus actually believed in the existence of gods. Humanity’s universal opinion and different visions of the gods is proof of their existence. Similar to everything else in the universe, he believed that the gods are also made up of atoms. They are identified as immortal beings because their bodies cannot be dissolved. He believed that the gods are living happy and content lives being detached from society and out of contact with human beings. Epicureanism teaches that there is no need for prayers, providence or fear of the gods. Epicurus believed that a religion only promotes fear in people.
Teachings of Epicureanism
The ultimate goal of Epicureanism is to live a peaceful, happy and pleasurable life. However, it’s important to understand that the pursuit of pleasure in Epicureanism is different from hedonism or self indulgence. Instead, it primarily focuses on contentment, friendships and pleasures of the mind. Epicurus explained that it is human nature to search for pleasure and stay away from anything which causes pain and suffering. He made this concept the primary basis of his guidelines for living a happy and content life. He believed that people should only do things which bring them joy and happiness. He strongly encouraged looking for the highest quality of pleasure. Epicureanism uses three main criteria which evaluates pleasure and pain. These are intensity, duration and purity.