Epicurus believed that the primary goal of human life is happiness and he believed that happiness can only be achieved through pleasure. Roman and Grecian Epicureanism and their definitions are much different. Epicurus advocated for negative pleasure, or, merely the absence of pain. It is that definition of pleasure and happiness that prevented him from indulging himself in gratuitousness. An emphasis was placed on pleasure of the mind rather than on physical pleasure. Divergently, the Roman interpretation of Epicureanism was all about positive pleasure. This mode of thought came well after Aristotle, who figured life was purely a pursuit of happiness achieved through virtue.
Many of Epicurus’ original ideas sit very well with me. I think a life of simplicity would be much more rewarding than, well, the life I live at present. A world without Facebook, fast food, and Instagram-tification would do us all justice. However, even as I am typing this, I am indulging myself in a Starbucks coffee and my boyfriend just brought me french fries that are far too American to even warrant capitalization. Oh, the irony. I also think that Epicurus hit the nail on the head with his conclusion that our minds and our intellects are the most important part of us. Indeed, I like to read very much, but I am often compelled to read click-bait on Facebook rather than the many
books I have been meaning to get to. I am a walking ideal, and not the good kind. I do not, however, subscribe to Epicurus’ idea that intense emotion and sexuality should be avoided. Nor do I subscribe to the Roman idea of pleasure. Everything in moderation. Less is more. Save for raspberries and The Beatles. In which case, indulge away!
As for Aristotle and the differences between his idea of the “good life” and Epicurus’ ideas mean a deeper understanding of our supreme goal as human beings: happiness. For Aristotle, complete happiness is achieved by practicing virtuous acts, and Epicurus believed that pleasure alone would make a person happy. I figure that a combination of the two ideologies would benefit us the most. Leading a simplistic life whilst helping others when able would make me happy beyond reason. I suppose that Epicuristotlian philosophy (I made that word up) would make us all much happier people. Happiness, and the pursuit of, is so darn important to us as humans because a life without it is a life without meaning. At least, in my opinion. The exact formula for happiness is nonexistent, and if it were, I figure it would make us less happy in the end. For me, a simple, humble life of learning and love is enough. But, maybe some people need NASCAR, too. Who knows? Not I.