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Promoting the Study of the Philosophy of Epicurus

Let’s Make A List: Two Popular Songs That Illustrate Epicurean Themes

Here are two songs that may be useful to the student of Epicurus to illustrate Epicurean themes:

First, on a lighter note, is this youtube video of a song from the 1960’s by Roger Miller about Nature’s limits for human life.   “You can’t roller-skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy, if you’ve a mind to…”

The idea of living within Natural limits is stated much more profoundly by Lucretius as one of the truths that Epicurus brings to us:

So his force, his vital force of mind, a conqueror beyond the flaming ramparts of the world explored the vast immensities of space with wit and wisdom, and came back to us triumphant, bringing news of what can be and what cannot, limits and boundaries, the borderline, the bench mark, set forever.   (DRN, Book I, Humphries translation.)

On a much classier and jazzier note, here’s “Meantime” sung by Carol Burnett:

Before I was born, a lot of things happened,
A lot of things happened, but not to me,
Before I was born, a lot of things happened,
That I didn’t happen to see.

And after I’m gone, a lot of things’ll happen,
A lot of things’ll happen, Oh Lord, Amen,
Yes, after I’m gone, a lot of things’ll happen,
That I won’t know about then.

So it’s the meantime, meantime,
All they gave me is that in-between time,
For my loving,
And my living,
Gotta do it in the time I’m given.

Meantime, may mean nothing
To posterity,
But in the meantime, doing nothing,
Sure is a-worrying me.

Before I was born, a lot of love happened,
A lot of love happened, I’m well aware,
Before I was born, a lot of love happened,
That I didn’t happen to share.

And after I’m gone, a lot of love’ll happen,
A lot of love’ll happen, there is no doubt,
Yes, after I’m gone, a lot of love’ll happen,
That I’ll be doing without.

So it’s the meantime, meantime,
All they gave me is that in-between time,
For my loving,
And my living,
Gotta do it in the time I’m given.

Meantime, may mean nothing
To posterity, but in the meantime,
Doing nothing, sure is a-worrying,
The way the times are hurrying,
Meantime, sure is a-worrying me.

Wow – that’s a great song!  It almost seems as if the writer was thinking of “Non Fui, Fui, Non Sum, Non Curo” while he was composing.  Or maybe he was reading De Rerum Natura at the time!

If you have suggestions for other songs that center on themes such as this, please add a comment to this thread, and over time we’ll develop the list into a new page.

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