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Epicurus The Famous Greek Philosopher and the concept of Happiness

Updated on August 7, 2017

A Brief Introduction To Epicurus

Happiness is a state of mind that many of us seek, yet that happiness seems to elude us. There is one person in particular who I believe had the best idea about happiness. And that person’s name is Epicurus. Epicurus was born in the Greek island of Samos in the year 341 BC and he died in 270 BC. Among his many accomplishments there is one aspect that needs to be discussed. Epicurus had a philosophy that men and women could be happy by using three techniques. I wish that they taught these things to our schoolchildren today but they don’t.

What Are These Three Strategies For Happiness?

If you are wondering what those three strategies were that Epicurus believed would bring you lasting happiness, here are these strategies:

  1. Having Friends
  2. Leading an analyzed life
  3. Being financially self-sufficient

Happiness With Friends

Epicurus believed that having friends that you could spend quality time with was one of life’s greatest joys. Friends had such a high value and meaning for him that he made it a mission in his life to surround himself with as many friends as he possibly could. Epicurus also loved to have great feasts. He ate much cheese. I am a lover of feasts also. Friends are also important for your mental well-being. I encourage you to surround yourself with good friends.

Epicurus One of the Most Famous Greeks Ever

Happiness By Leading An Analyzed Life

Epicurus also believed that one of the other ways that happiness could be achieved was by leading an analyzed life. Epicurus meant that you had to take the time to sit back and really think about where your life was going and whether you felt that it was going in the right direction or not. If your life was not going the way that you wanted it to go, Epicurus thought that in a situation like that, you had to sit back and try to find a solution so that your life would go in the direction that you wanted it to go. Basically, he wanted people to really sit and figure out what they wanted to do with their lives because Epicurus really believed that leading a life of high quality was the answer. And leading a quality life did not require a person to be married or to have great wealth.

It has been shown that after a person earns a certain amount of money their happiness level actually doesn’t go up very much if at all. In fact, that happiness level remains stagnant.

Happiness By Being Financially Self-Sufficient

Epicurus believed that stress was one of life’s really negative things that had to be reduced as much as possible. Epicurus also believed that in order to have a happy life, you had to find a way to become financially self-sufficient. By this he meant that you had to find a way to produce a living by working for yourself and becoming your own boss. Epicurus thought that many bosses were unjust, unfair and they expected their employees to work too hard. That is why he left the big city of Athens to work for himself. As he left the competitive nature of city life, it did not bother him at all to make less money than other people did. The reason for that was due to the fact that he had a more simple life and he had freedom. Epicurus also believed that if someone was denied money, as long as they had friends, had a self-sufficient life and they could lead an analyzed life, then they would still be happy.

Epicurus And The Concept Of Egoistic Hedonism

Epicurus found out the secret to living life in the best way and living it wisely and earnestly. I believe that Epicurus was one of the wisest people in the history of mankind that ever lived. He knew exactly how to live life well. I encourage my readers to try and follow what this man believed because he had very wise advice. You deserve to have a life filled with happiness most of the time as it is not possible to be happy all the time. But you can be happy in your life most of the time. And it was not as hard to do this according to Epicurus, one of the greatest philosophers of his time. One of the main forms of ethics that Epicurus believed in was the concept of egoistic hedonism. He said that “the only thing that is intrinsically valuable is one’s own pleasure; anything else that has value is valuable merely as a means to securing pleasure for oneself,” (Keefe n.d.). Pleasure does not mean the absence of pain. However, let us state that Epicurus’ views on desire will most likely be a foreign concept to most of us in this modern era. According to the man, we have two types of desire. Either we can try to fulfill whatever the desire is that we have or we can try to get rid of that desire. Epicurus was in favor of the second option, which is to reduce our desires down to a small number that can then be easily achieved.

A Simple Chart Of Facts About Epicurus

But How Did Epicurus Really Know That Humans Could Be Happy?

Epicurus believed that human beings could be happy. The problem was that humans looked for happiness in the wrong places. Epicurus thought that he had the answer as to how people could be happy. This showed his confidence that he had in his ability to deliver one of life’s greatest virtues. He ate meals that would surely be considered very basic to us in the 21st century. Examples of these kinds of foods that Epicurus ate were bread, vegetables, and olives. He thought of pleasure as the end of life. Epicurus really believed that humans did not really have a good enough idea of what makes them happy. He also thought that what humans want is not always what they need; thus, want and need are two different concepts that can easily get confused. Epicurus also felt that in order to get the maximum benefit out of your friends, you constantly had to be around them and to sort of live with them. He thought of friends as companions. He believed that we should never eat or drink anything alone. However, what was more important to Epicurus was who the person ate or drank with rather than what they ate or drank. Another factor in the lack of happiness among human beings was due to the powerful effect of advertising. Advertising tells us the products that it thinks we need but the things that we are really after are being around our friends and having freedom. If you have read this far, then you are on your way to being happier.

References

Keefe, Tim O'. n.d. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed January 13, 2017. http://www.iep.utm.edu/epicur/.

Epicurus' Ideas And Thoughts About Happiness

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    • CELEBSFAN78 profile image
      Author

      Ara Vahanian 8 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      You are doing a fine job leading a much simpler lifestyle. Congratulations to you on doing that. I am so happy that you are in a place where everybody helps everybody else. That makes life more peaceful in a way. Congratulations to you for being able to live your dream. France sounds like an awesome place to live. Thanks so much for commenting!

    • Frances Metcalfe profile image

      Frances Metcalfe 8 months ago from The Limousin, France

      An interesting article. We have recently moved to France and given up working. Yes we have less money coming in, but we are using land to plant vegetables, chainsawing wood for the fire and enjoy the considerable wildlife that is round about. Life is a whole lot simpler and all the friends we have here have also opted for a more pared down existence.

      We still eat very well but are probably more inventive to cut costs and everybody helps everybody else.

      Yes, we sat back and really assessed what it was we wanted out of life before we left the UK and 18 months on are realising a modest dream.