Epicurus was Right, Partially (Part 3)

I finished my last post with the following:

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 above paragraph is very remarkable: 1) we have a great philosopher, Epicurus, whose philosophy closely matches that of modern psychology regarding the necessity of a loving family, a just society, and flow experiences to lead one to a state free of pain and anxiety, 2) the same philosophy matching the first four of five levels of needs satisfaction of modern psychology driving human behavior, and 3) that a life free from pain and anxiety is one that avoids excessive greed, fame, and power, those things that will never lead to tranquility and happiness.

In summary, we can go so far as to say that the end of the Journey, the “good life,” is the aim of Epicureanism.  Or, to put it another way, the Journey segment of the road to happiness is philosophically one of Epicureanism.  It is the best approach ethically for completing the Journey.  Seek out flow experiences and you will have friendships, family love, financial comfort, and a sense of self-esteem.  Not a bad life, in fact, a “good life.”  But, not happiness.  You also need the Adventure!

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