In my previous post, I talked about the Journey segment of the road to happiness being from birth to the “good life.” Reaching the “good life” entails satisfying the first four of Maslow’s needs: Physiological Need, Safety Need, Belongingness Need, and Self-Esteem Need. Ave these first four needs satisfied means that one has a life of friends, family love, financial comfort, and self-esteem or the appreciation of others. This is the “good life.”
This is also the aim of life as expressed by Epicurus. He believed that the aim of life is happiness and that happiness is a life free of pain and anxiety in which one can live a moderate or simple life with friends and loved ones in financial comfort enjoying the pleasures of such a life. Excess desires much be avoided. Epicurus believed that the desire for great wealth, fame, and power are empty desires and the main sources of pain and anxiety in civilized life. Thus, maximizing flow experiences (discussed in my previous post), which contribute to friendships, financial comfort, and self-esteem and recognition, all leading to tranquility, is the foundation of Epicurean happiness.
In summary: Epicurus agreed with the other ancient philosophers that the aim of life is happiness; however, he defined happiness as tranquility and freedom from pain and anxiety – the “good life.” To Epicurus, the freedom from pain and anxiety of the “good life” is a state free of any further needs or desires, and as such, happiness. In psychological terms, the Epicurean state of happiness is the satisfaction of Maslow’s first four needs of his hierarchy (achieved through a loving family, just society, and flow experiences).
The conclusion in my next post!