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DRN Book II.

De Rerum Natura - The Classic Poem of Epicurean Philosophy.

Bailey Version   Munro Version

Book II

o       Wisdom brings great pleasure, including that of appreciating the dangers from which wisdom protects you

o       Nature has established that our highest goal is that the mind enjoy delight, and that the body be free of pain.

o       Nature has established that neither our bodies nor our minds require great wealth or power over others

o       Wealth, power, and the like are no guarantee of happiness – only reason has power over the fear of death and other irrational fears

o       Ultimately only applying reason to the study of Nature can cure our childish fears

o       Our next lesson is that the basic material of the universe is in constant motion

o       The atoms do not move to please us, nor do they move “perfectly” as if their motions were established by a god

o       The movement of the atoms is in accord with their nature, but in addition to the movement caused by their interaction with each other, it is also in the nature of certain atoms to swerve unpredictably, and from this atomic swerve comes our free will

o       There is a force resident within certain atoms that leads them to swerve

o       The atoms have a finite number of shapes

o       The atoms are finite in number of shapes, but the atoms are infinite in number

o       There is an eternal deadlock between destruction and rebirth

o       Let a man call upon the gods in jest if he like, but let him not be polluted by religion to think that the gods control the universe

o       Atoms cannot combine in all possible ways, but only according to their nature.

o       Atoms have no color.

o       Sentient life is made of non-sentient particles.

o       The key aspect of sentient life is the arrangement of the particles.

o       But while the arrangement of the material makes the key difference, consciousness does not derive from RANDOM combinations of matter

o       Men can laugh without being made of laughing particles; men can be wise without being made of wise particles.

o       Sentient things are made of particles which do not themselves have sensation.

o       The universe is wonderful but do not be shocked by it; in all things welcome the truth; strike down the false.

o       Ours is not the only world; there are many others in the universe, and other races of men, as there has been infinite time and space for all natural combinations of things.

o       And there is never in nature only one single thing of a kind.

o       Nature has no tyrants (gods) over her.

Bailey Version   Munro Version