Peace and Safety For Your Twentieth of November – Polystratus On The Importance of Limits: The Possible and The Impossible

Peace and Safety to the Epicureans of today, no matter where you might be – Happy Twentieth!

Happy Twentieth!

In his article “Limit and Variation In The Epicurean Philosophy,” Phillip De Lacy wrote that “Epicurus retained the traditional demand of Greek philosophers for fixed standards of knowledge and value, but he abolished the traditional means of supplying these standards.  He rejected all transcendence and held that the objects known to us by immediate experience undergo continuous motion and change.  A central problem of his philosophy, therefore, was to discover fixed points in this world of change.  His solution to this problem, I believe, lay in his notion of limit.

There is much discussion of limits in Lucretius, but on this Twentieth of November here is another reference to the same point, this time from Polystratus (as quoted by De Lacy):



It is possible only for those who have studied the science of nature in the right way to have a comprehensive view of the truth about all these things.  For only in this way is one able to apprehend the things that are possible and impossible, whether in respect to existence or power or any activity whatever, and the extent to which they can or cannot exist or do or not do something, and to apprehend the errors of the things transmitted through myths or through popular belief or by any unsound means. * * * It removes every fear or (and?) every vain suspicion, and similarly all the other affections of the soul which arise in it through unsound or false beliefs; and it alone provides the life of freedom, when the mind has become confident and has escaped from all the causes that bring empty anxiety, and from all ignorance and error and false belief; and this is precisely the end of the best life.”



As Seneca recorded: Sic fac omnia tamquam spectet Epicurus! So do all things as though watching were Epicurus!

And as Philodemus wrote: “I will be faithful to Epicurus, according to whom it has been my choice to live.”

Additional discussion of this post and other Epicurean ideas can be found at the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group and

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