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Lauren Ford

In: Business and Management

Submitted By laurenford2294
Words 417
Pages 2
Lauren Ford
Professor Colasanto
PHIL 3040
December 5, 2014
In his letter to Menoeceus, Epicurus seems to be defending his particular viewpoint on life, which might be best summarized as “live for today.” As Epicurus says, however, there is more to it than that.
Epicurus makes it clear that he isn’t talking about simple hedonism. He isn’t suggesting that people should indulge their every whim at the expense of others. On the contrary, he states that the goal is to live a life as free from worry and pain as possible. The ultimate goal is peace of mind.
For example, he discusses fear of death at some length. If I understand Epicurus’s position clearly, he maintains that there is nothing to fear in death if death itself is nothingness, or at least if the afterlife (if any) is utterly unknown. After all, it is not as though one will be suffering or existing in a state of terror after one dies. If death is “nothing” (or at least regarded as nothing), any thoughts of fear will not exist because the mind itself will not exist. Our fear of death, according to Epicurus, is a manufactured fear with no rational basis. We fear the unknown and we fear what cannot ever be known. Therefore, such a fear is pointless.
Epicurus advises Menoeceus instead to live as if he was immortal, a god in other words. He doesn’t mean that Menoeceus should believe he suddenly has godlike powers. Instead, he means that Menoeceus should discard any thoughts of death and live as if he is as immortal as the gods.
In my opinion, the philosophy of Epicurus has a lot in common with the current popularity of “mindfulness.” The ideas are much the same – that one should live entirely in the present moment. Regrets are useless since the past cannot be changed; fears of the future are meaningless since the future is always unknown. (Why worry about something that may never happen?) We can enjoy the pleasure and peace Epicurus describes by focusing as much of our attention as possible on the present moment.
Although I agree with the philosophy in theory, it is difficult to put it into practice. Like most people, I often worry about the future. I also occasionally dwell on things that happened to me in the past. I wish I could be more mindful and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with it, but I think that would require practice to achieve.

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