I have now completed a second “Epicurean poem for children of all ages,” and I submit it for the reading and listening pleasure of the Epicurean public at the links below. [For a free Epub edition of this book, click here to download.]
I wrote Thus Purred Catius’ Cat as an overview of basic tenets of Epicureanism for readers who come at the subject with little or no background. With that foundation hopefully laid, this second poem introduces Epicurus’ Forty Authorized Doctrines. I have attempted to place them in focus as I think they were intended: as a memory tool useful for giving the student a command over the most important elements of the doctrine, thereby enabling him to build confidence and strength in applying the whole. Because references within this poem are a continuation of the first, readers are advised to review Thus Purred Catius’ Cat before tackling this edition.
Once again I want to apologize that I am neither a poet, nor an artist, nor probably a particularly deep thinker. I claim only to be someone who is very impressed by the ideas of Epicurus, who thinks that they deserve a wider audience, and who is making an effort to do the best he can with the limited talent he has available.
I am providing links to the ebook (epub) edition and to the video versions below. Currently the video is available only on Vimeo, but I hope to have this on Youtube very soon.
Before going further, I want to note that I have dedicated the first edition of this poem in part to Jaakko Wallenius, with whom I first came into contact through his Being Human blog and his work on Facebook. This small gesture is a way of thanking him for his long efforts in spreading Epicurean and other philosophical ideas, especially through his setting up of the original Epicurus Facebook page that has been so helpful to me personally. Over these last several years, Jaakko has shown the sort of Epicurean strength that I am working to highlight in this second poem. Although I am not a close personal friend and I do not know the details, I do know that Jaakko has diligently pursued his philosophical interests even while suffering from a very difficult health situation. Jaakko has shown real dedication to the pursuit of truth, and I trust he will continue that work for many years to come.
As I indicated earlier, I hope to expand the project to release the Catius Cat poems as a dedicated website, but that remains a work in progress. As an experiment in expanding the circulation of “Catius Cat and the Forty Mice” and “Thus Purred Catius’ Cat, I have posted both to Amazon. On the theory that many people believe that something that is free cannot be any good, I am also experimenting with a small price for these two books. I will probably adjust the pricing over time, but I want to emphasize that I don’t want a fee to stand in the way of anyone learning more about Epicurus. If you are reading this and want a copy of the epub for personal educational purposes, please simply email me and I will be glad to assist. Of course also please keep in mind that the full text is in the post below, as well as in the video!
A video version which contains the text read aloud by a very good computer voice, is below.
For those who have not previously viewed the first installment of the Catius’ Cat series, here is the first poem, Thus Purred Catius’ Cat:
Below is the full text of “Catius’ Cat and the Forty Mice”
The Students of Epicurus,
A Great Example of Epicurean Strength
Jaakko J. Wallenius
“Friendship dances around the world,
bidding us all to awaken to the recognition of happiness.”
I take the liberty of observing that you are not a true disciple of our master Epicurus in indulging the indolence to which you say you are yielding. One of his canons, you know, was that “that indulgence which prevents a greater pleasure, or produces a greater pain, is to be avoided.” Your love of repose will lead, in its progress, to a suspension of healthy exercise, a relaxation of mind, an indifference to everything around you, and finally to a debility of body, and hebetude of mind, the farthest of all things from the happiness which the well-regulated indulgences of Epicurus ensure; fortitude, you know is one of his four cardinal virtues. That teaches us to meet and surmount difficulties; not to fly from them, like cowards; and to fly, too, in vain, for they will meet and arrest us at every turn of our road. Weigh this matter well; brace yourself up….
Thomas Jefferson to William Short, October 31, 1819
I did not expect to receive another poem from Catius Cat so quickly after her first, which was released only a few months ago under the title Thus Spake Catius’ Cat. It was my understanding that her first poem, which should be read as an introduction to this current work, was intended to serve for quite some time as her definitive statement of Epicurean theory and practice.
I am now informed, however, that Catius’ Cat decided to accelerate this new release for two reasons. The first was her desire to provide younger readers with a summary of Epicurus’ Authorized Doctrines in simplified form. She recognizes that her “mice” are certainly not an improvement on the original, and probably not particularly creative. She hopes, however, that at least a few of her formulations will be more memorable to a young mind than the form in which they are generally available, without too much sacrifice in the original meaning.
Also important to Catius’ Cat was her desire to expand on the role of “strength” as a vital aspect of Epicureanism. This topic was introduced in her first poem, but Catius’ Cat tells me that she is aware of a tendency to presume that Epicurean goals of “calmness” and “tranquility” are implicitly at odds with “strength.” Her view is that these goals are not at all at odds with each other, and that in fact strength is the necessary foundation of any calmness worth having.
In order to show that she is not alone in her reading of Epicurus’ views, I was instructed to place at the head of this volume the above selection from Thomas Jefferson. In his well known “I too am an Epicurean” letter of October, 1819, Jefferson stressed to his friend the importance of fortitude in meeting and surmounting difficulties, and that the goal of living happily cannot be reached through inactivity. Catius’ Cat tells me that if there is a division of opinion on this issue among students of Epicurus, she will proudly stand with the Jeffersonian wing.
Never one to deny her feline nature, Catius’ Cat has confessed to me that she has more than once sharpened her claws on the furniture in frustration with what she sometimes reads on this topic. She tells me that it should not be necessary to point out that a man like Epicurus, who both formed and brought to life in his own day a world-changing philosophy, most certainly had to have been able to draw on immense strength of both body and mind. His strength of mind needs no defense, and although it appears that Epicurus’ bodily health was not always the best, he certainly possessed a reserve of bodily strength sufficient to accomplish his monumental task.
Catius’ Cat tells me also that, rather than claw the furniture, she would prefer to exercise her claws on those who insist on misrepresenting Epicurus’ views on “pleasure.” Ages of Epicurean critics have been stung by his exposure of the emptiness of their “virtue” or “reason” or “god’s will” as single conceptual terms suitable for defining “the goal of life.” Their error was to believe that when Epicurus spoke of “pleasure,” he was speaking, as did they, of a single term sufficient to describe a “greatest good” of life.
But Epicurus’ critics are betrayed by their stubbornness. Epicurus did not criticize the establishment teachers and preacher of his day simply because of their definitions of “virtue,” or of “reason,” or of however they preferred to describe their “greatest good.” His real insight was to label it a gross error to believe that any single “goal of life” exists at all – and that it is doubly wrong to seek to define such a goal as if it were a mathematical formula. Those who promote “virtue” or “reason” or “the will of the gods” are not simply off in their definitions and their descriptions, they are defining and describing something that does not exist in the first place.
For Epicurus, “pleasure” is not a static concept that competes with “good” or “virtue” or “god’s will.” Such terms are mere words, invented by men to describe their speculation, and their speculation has no existence at all outside of their own minds. “Virtue” and “good” do not exist in Nature; what does exist – what does have reality – is the mechanism which Nature provides to living things. The word “pleasure” describes something real – our sensation of approval of certain conduct on the path of life. Likewise, “pain” describes something real – our sensation of disapproval of certain other conduct on the path of life. Neither of these are invented in our minds – they are sensations we receive from the Natural operation of our senses, just like the sights we see and the sounds we hear.
When we assign the words pleasure and pain to these sensations, it is not our act of assigning words to them that gives them existence. In contrast, “reason” and “virtue” and the like have no independent existence outside our words, and they gain no independent existence by our speaking those words.
Our sensations of pain and pleasure exist by provision of Nature, just as do our sensations of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling, and just as do those sensations that arise from the “anticipations,” which in other living beings we are accustomed to describing as “instinctive.” Although we may at times make mistakes in how we process the sensations we receive from these sources, these three sets of faculties report to us truly what they receive, without mixing in false opinion of their own. Epicurus cannot be properly understood, and life cannot be lived happily, unless we see that these three faculties are the essential basis of all proper thinking. Likewise we must also see that apart from the foundation provided by the “three-legged stool,” neither “reason” nor “revelation,” any more than pure speculation, can serve as a reliable basis for living our lives.
Epicurus pointed to pleasure as the guide of life solely because Nature pointed there first. He did nothing but follow Nature’s lead when he pointed to Nature as providing the proper standard for living. He did nothing but follow Nature’s lead when pointed to the three faculties given by Nature as the only reliable guide for following the path of life. And he did nothing but follow Nature’s lead when he committed the sin that preachers and academics have found so unpardonable for so many years – that of dismissing “revelation” and “reason” as independent sources of truth.
The essential point is that pleasure is not the end of life, but the guide of the living, and this is the point which Catius’ Cat has addressed in this poem when she refers to the error of looking for a “destination” rather working to stay on the “path” of life.
I am also instructed to provide brief but special comment on three particular aspects of this poem:
1. References to the term “Prince of the Power of Air” are based on the groundbreaking work of Norman W. DeWitt, especially his book St. Paul and Epicurus, which is freely available on the internet.
2. Another author Catius’ Cat commends to her readers is Friedrich Nietzsche, especially for those selections where he addresses the rise and decline of Epicureanism in the ancient world. Also, she suggests the reader consult Chapter 51 of Thus Spake Zarathustra for a very helpful illustration of Authorized Doctrine Thirty-Nine. Last but not least, she states that until she has another occasion to address the hazards of failing to control the emotion of “pity,” her readers should consult Nietzsche on the same subject. Her own study of the movement of atoms through the void has led her to conclude that much of the danger of uncontrolled pity is that it breeds the attitude that “I will not move forward myself if I must leave others behind.” She hopes that the limits of such an attitude will be clear to those who hold to Nature’s standards, and not to their own personal preferences, as the proper standard for living one’s life.
3. As for her general commentary on “strength,” Catius’ Cat has assured me that this second poem will have to suffice for the present. For any reader who finds himself unconvinced, however, she has asked me to close this introduction with the unmistakable words of Epicurean Vatican Saying 45: The study of nature does not create men who are fond of boasting and chattering or who show off the culture that impresses the many, but rather men who are strong and self-sufficient, and who take pride in their own personal qualities not in those that depend on external circumstances.
Peace and Safety – through Strength of mind and body!
Cassius Amicus, May 2013
Catius’ Cat And The Forty Mice Glad is the cat who laughs and sings, and studies and learns the Nature of Things. 1. We were out for a stroll, on a warm summer day, Through the walls and the streets of what's left of Pompeii. When I said to my friend, "Would you just look at that! In the Name of What's Good, it is Catius' Cat!" 2. "If my eyes don't deceive me, indeed it is her! It has been far too long since we last heard her purr! And her words from before still ring strong to me yet, But I have to confess - much she said, I forget!" 3. Then from high on her perch on a column of stone, She looked straight in my eyes as if we were alone, And she purred, "Look around you, and what do you see? All that's left of a world loved by Catius and me." 4. But before you give in and are filled with despair, And see nothing much left of a city once fair; Look outside of these walls and you'll see a sight worse, Here our cats still live free; it's outside that is cursed. 5. Yes our city was lost, but below lay preserved, The walls and the paths of a world thus conserved, But our friends who survived, and who thought this was lost, Saw their own world destroyed, and at far greater cost. 6. For many here heeded the rumblings they heard, And the smoke they saw rising before the earth stirred, So they found peace and safety by traveling away, And those perished here mainly who chanced it to stay. 7. But of those who escaped and lived past the sad date, When our mountain consumed those who fled from it late, Few could see their own fire and brimstone draw near, With destruction far greater than what you see here. 8. What are fire and smoke and the tumbling of rock? To compare with the madness that leads men to flock, To renounce all that Nature commands them to keep, In exchange for a life that's fit only for sheep. 9. They did not understand - Catius taught them of strength, But they chose to believe those who called them to shrink, Like a litter of kittens, first running for cover, Then sleeping through life, leaving strength to another. 10. Now you come to me here, and you say "I forget?" What I told you before of our wisdom, and yet, Perhaps what you see here -- though not now very nice, Will convince you that weakness exacts a great price. 11. You'll recall - I'll remind you, that once long ago, Human life lay imprisoned, oppressed, and so low. But a wise man of Greece burst the gate and the bars, And by his great vict’ry we reach for the stars. 12. As I told you, “Not all cats can jump to that height, But that nevertheless it's through strength we find light." And for questions where "trust" is the only right answer, Trust Nature to lead you through life like a dancer. 13. But I know you are men. And what follows from that? You are not born with courage and skills like a cat. Your minds wander fast from those things that you learn, And to fear and frustration your minds often turn. 14. No you're not like those cats who have no need to ponder, The wisdom of Nature, from which cats don't wander. But though try as you might, you are forever falling, To error through "reason," or thoughts of "gods calling." 15. Once again, I remind you, look to Nature only! And leave the word games to the sick and the lonely, Shun those men who enjoy playing games with illusions, And spreading to others their fears and confusions. 16. Commit this once more to your mind as you're able: You have no way to know what is fact and what's fable, Without using what Nature provides as your tool, To rise up and see better - your three legged stool! 17. "Men we are," said my friend, "and though try as we might, We so often fall short as we sift wrong from right, It is not that we wish to commit "bad" mistake, But it's no easy task to know which "good" to take. 18. Is your hearing defective? she asked with a smile, For I show you the way, but you talk all the while, About "good," about "bad," about "wrong," about "right," But I've told you before, in these words there's no light. 19. Let's add "Virtue" and also "God's Will" to your list, Add "unselfish" too. Are there others I've missed? Yes the list of false standards is so very long, As long as the number of ways men go wrong! 20. But I sense that your problem's at root an illusion, That seems to create in your mind a confusion. For I speak of a Path, while you hear "Destination." And I say to you now, "That is all fabrication!" 21. Think back with me now to this very relation: Recall where we started and laid our foundation. Stay close with me now, til this error's destroyed, For our answer is found in the matter and void! 22. We see no seeds created, or ever destroyed, But constantly moving - all matter through void, An infinite cosmos - no "start" and no "end;" Through time everlasting, the galaxies spin. 23. Do you see all's in motion? With nothing at rest? And that mountains look firm but still spin nonetheless? So what then can you ask to add more confirmation? There is only a path; there is no destination. 24. Now let's step back and think; do you hear what I say? Don't allow more confusion to get in your way. I do not say that change means no thing can be known, What I say is that truth is in motion alone. 25. But neither does motion mean what you might think, That all things can be true, and with nothing to link, From cause to effect, or to aging from youth, No, the seeds, never-changing, are the real source of truth. 26. Please be sure that you see this, do not be confused. Our seeds move through the void; are in many ways used, And combine with each other, til time rearranges. But the power and limits of seeds never changes. 27. Recall that I told you, our wise man of Greece, Cast his mind through the stars, and brought back to us peace, In the knowledge that limits and boundaries are set, By the Nature of Things - this you must never forget! 28. But do not think that truth must be hopelessly dark, For I've told you before, Nature gives you the spark, Divine pleasure as guide; all your senses at stations. And then dancing with these - yes - your Anticipations. 29. So with words such as "bad" and with "good" never toy, For they have no existence, like Helen of Troy, As with her, who's now dust, and for long generations, Mere words such as "virtue" are all speculations. 30. Do you see that what differs, between path and "end," Is that each path is different. And so those who tend, To steer by one course as all times "wrong" or "right," Throw away Nature's guidance for sailing through night. 31. But life's path is not dark if you heed Nature's light, And your way you can find as if lit by sun bright, But no error is worse! It is all fabrication! You must not be so blind as to seek "destination." 32. At that moment my friend gave a gasp of complaint, As he reached for my arm and began then to faint, "Do you mean there's no rest at the end of my road? And no person or place who will take up my load?" 33. Catius' Cat purred again, "Hear this truth very clear, There is nothing whatever in my words to fear. For at death does indeed your path come to an end, But thereafter no burden will be yours to tend." 34. And do not think the time after death is forlorn, Any more than you suffered before you were born, All your pleasure and pain and your love and your wrath, You must choose and avoid while you follow life's path. 35. So do not be distracted - this takes concentration! There is only life's path - there is no destination. You must learn from the words of our very wise Greek, How to stay on life's path that you always must seek. 36. When I show my own kittens, I've told you before, There is first to point out, before anything more, That each Sense, Pain and Pleasure, alert at their stations, We must heed, and compare, with our Anticipations. 37. For a cat who seeks truth knows to never reject, What he learns from his senses. He'll never elect, To ignore what they tell him, for if he did so, He'd have nothing to judge the direction to go. 38. By this path we arrive at the place where we start, And we grasp the first lesson we must take to heart, That no matter's destroyed or is ever created, And thus we are from fear of priests liberated. 39. Now our great master Greek pursued this very course, And he wrote scores of scrolls to trace fears to their source, And he showed men that atoms aren't beggars or weak, But the Nature of Things, and from them truth to seek. 40. So he knew that true wisdom is what men most need, Yet he saw that so few had the strength to succeed, To break through for themselves past the bars and the gate, That the preachers and teachers have set to frustrate. 41. And so out of his Garden, with help from a few, Our wise Greek searched out and wrote down what is true. By these truths freed from fear, and from doubt, then at length, All of those who will heed can develop their strength. 42. Now his words worked so well to free men from their care, That by Priests he was called "Prince of Power of Air." And I urge you to read every word that he wrote, And commit them to heart and to mem'ry devote. 43. Then my friend turned to me, and he asked with a stare, "What is this; does she honor the Power of Air? Is this name not renowned as the worst of the bad? And a thing to be shunned with no good to be had?" 44. But before I could speak, our cat jumped to the task, And she said to my friend, "You don't know what you ask. As I've said, "Those who preach and who teach don't play fair, So pay heed to me now, and mistake I'll lay bare." 45. Now the same men who taught you that atoms are weak, Called them beggarly too, and with poor words did speak, Of the elements small, and of ALL that is real, Of the world Nature gave you to see, taste, and feel. 46. What they taught you to honor instead, let's just say, Is a subject we'll hold for some much longer day, But for now here's the point about which you should care: Those men were not friends of the power of air. 47. Once again, follow close, it is not just for fun, That we speak of the void and the matter that run, Throughout infinite space, without end, without start. So you'll always go back to that first if you're smart. 48. And so now here's the fact that's important to see, That what makes up the Air is no less with the Sea, Be it mountains or stars or whatever we seek, All are atoms and void, as we learned from our Greek. 49. Now I hope that you see that it's very poor thinking, To disparage the Air or the water we're drinking, But these men lose their way, as they twist and they turn, And yet even from this there is something to learn. 50. Did you notice that those who opposed our wise Greek, When they sought to make fun of him, that they did speak, Of the "Power" of Air, not its "Peace" or its "Calm?" Can you pass over this without even a qualm? 51. For our Prince, let's fix error that's held even now. For some teach that our Greek lived his life like a cow. Did he call us to hide in a garden in stillness? No! He beckons to strength, shows repose to be illness. 52. Recall what I've told you, how once long ago, Human life lay imprisoned, oppressed, and so low. Do you think that our Greek could burst gates and at length, Reach the stars and return without vigorous strength? 53. No, I noticed before that when I spoke of strength, That you thought it was odd, and I knew that at length, I would have to explain why it's "strength" that I stress, And why words such as "calmness" I focus on less. 54. Once again, let us fly with the atoms through void, Till our vision is clear and our truth unalloyed. Don't think atoms in void for all time come to rest, For in infinite space there's no end to their quest. 55. Now look far as you like, and as long as you will, Do you think that you'll ever find anything "still"? Yes the mountains and rocks and the stars do look firm, But they'll pass away too, as their atoms yet turn. 56. But indeed, while you look, it is true they exist, And the firmness of mountains so tall can't be missed, But consider, those things it seems nothing could tremble. Can only be still while they're firmly assembled. 57. Then our Cat looked at me and she said with a smile, You must know what this means, you must think in my style: I've just shown you a truth that's been hid far too long, There's no way to be calm until first you are strong. 58. Like men too, groups of atoms, as they spin through space, Cannot claim for themselves their own permanent place. No, all things made of atoms can live on at length, For only so long as they maintain their strength. 59. Here I said, "For these words I am deep in your debt, But it's hard to stay strong, and I'm prone to forget!" Let me help you then, kindly purred Catius' Cat, "For I have much to say which will help you with that." 60. As I told you before from his Garden our Greek, Composed letters most wise, and left those who would seek, To be strong, free from fear and from cold hand of fate, A fine list of his wisdom that men still relate. 61. Catius Cat then sat up, and now smiling she purred, But I have my own list, as you may not have heard. For the gods may speak Greek as I've heard some men say, But my kittens learn best in a more simple way. 62. Yes the list that he left us, from so long ago, I keep fast in my heart, I would have you to know. And all forty in number, arranged there so nice, I describe to my kittens as my "Forty Mice!" 63. My friend gasped aloud; once again he looked faint, "Do you say that his wisdom you've taken to paint, Like a child with his fingers smears mud on his chest? Don't you think that his words are too holy for jest?" 64. At this Catius' Cat snarled - I was taken aback, For I'd never seen her come so close to attack. "Vain is the word, sir," she seethed at my friend, That does not heal an ailment; bring suffering to end." 65. When I lead my own kittens, I must be most clear, Would you have me speak Greek? And then what would they hear? If I spoke Greek to them I might just as well mumble, And then, over "virtue" -- just like you they would stumble! 66. But she quickly returned to her kindly old self, And she added, "But you sir, read books off a shelf. My kittens need nothing, but only a mention, Of Mice and I have their devoted attention. 67. And I tell them, "Of course these are not mice at all," But whatever you think of them, this please recall: As with mice, which are all that cats need to survive, Each of these builds your strength, and will help you to thrive. 68. But recall what I told you and don't be confused, For I've shown you that "virtue" and "good" can't be used, As a standard to steer while you navigate life, For the pain of such error will cut like a knife. 69. No, the truth of the wisdom of our master Greek, Does not come from mere words as those other men speak, So consider this well and you'll banish frustrations, These truths are established by triple sensations. 70. Without further delay, let's get on with our list, And do not get distracted! Not a one should be missed! When we have further time, I'll develop them more, But for now here is what in your mind you must store: THE FORTY MICE Mouse One A cat who is perfect, and truly divine, Is complete in himself, has no need of what's mine. Such a cat who's immortal and happy and blessed, Has no anger or favor, both are signs of weakness. Mouse Two A cat knows he's alive because he has sensation, He sees, hears, tastes, smells, and he feels of elation, When he dies these are gone, along with all the fuss, And therefore we say, "death is nothing to us." Mouse Three A wise cat understands that there's no greater pleasure, Than to follow life's path without pain he can measure, When this truth he's once grasped, then no matter the weather, He'll fear no pain of body or mind altogether. Mouse Four A wise cat knows bodily pain won't last long, If it gets too intense, or becomes much too strong, Then death frees him from both; and those pains of less measure, Fade away from his mind when compared with his pleasure. Mouse Five No cat can live happily, this he can trust, Unless he lives wisely, is honest, and just. So do not be confused, he must live as all three, For without any one, happy he cannot be. Mouse Six A cat can't be weak and be safe from detection, For danger abounds, and he must have protection. So he's never concerned about whether he "should," He pursues any means of protection as good. Mouse Seven Some cats seek protection in fame or in rank, And they think that thereby they'll find reason to thank, Those below them for safety, but generally speaking, Such cats fail to gain what they thought they were seeking. Mouse Eight A wise cat knows pleasure's not bad on its own, But some choices do not bring just pleasure alone, For in fact it is true that the price of some pleasures, Is trouble profound and in much greater measures. Mouse Nine Remember, all pleasure, no matter how strong, Must come to an end, and must not last too long, Even though when its gone, we may think that time flew, Only end of past pleasure can make way for new. Mouse Ten If those habits which kittens find fill them with dread, In fact drive away fear of gods from their head, And relieve fear of death, cool desire, and quench pain, Then these should be pursued and not held in disdain. Mouse Eleven Happy is He who lives life as a cat, Who has no fear of gods or of death or all that, Which strikes fear, causes doubt and the pain that it brings. To all cats who don't study the Nature of Things. Mouse Twelve No a cat can't live free of the fear and the doubt, That will plague him through life, til he learns to drive out, Thoughts there might be some truth in the dream a priest sings. That's why cats must go searching the Nature of Things. Mouse Thirteen It's no good for a cat to seek safety in power, When his mind is afraid; troubles over him tower. Hope of Heaven, fear of Hell, thoughts of darkness abound; Cures for these in the study of Nature are found. Mouse Fourteen Some cats who acquire great power and riches, May find that they're helpful with safety and wishes, But the strongest of safety, of which we sing loud, A cat finds when he's strong and is free of the crowd. Mouse Fifteen A cat who is wise knows to train his desires, To chase after those things that his Nature requires, For the Natural desires please him best if he's willing, But unnatural desires he will never find filling. Mouse Sixteen A wise cat is rarely a victim of chance, For he'd rather go hungry than give "luck" a glance, And he knows that his efforts, no matter the season, Turn out best when he lives by the power of reason. Mouse Seventeen The cat who is just is the most free from fear, He lives far from the trouble the unjust bring near; The unjust live always in need of protection, They will always be running in fear of detection. Mouse Eighteen A wise cat knows pleasure of body is filled, When pain of need is removed, no more work need be spilled. He need seek no more pleasure in that same direction, And he finds peace of mind understanding this question. Mouse Nineteen A wise cat will measure his pleasure by reason, He will grasp that what's pleasing has also a season, He will see that completeness has start and has end, He'll lose no sleep at all seeking more time to spend. Mouse Twenty Cats who think that the body needs pleasure unbounded, Commit error of mind that is very unfounded. For the body serves Nature; on her limits depending, So do not flee enjoyment; don't regret when life's ending. Mouse Twenty-One A cat who has learned Nature's limits for life, Understands he needs not what comes only with strife; For he knows that a happy and full life, indeed, Is readily gained when he ends pain from need. Mouse Twenty-Two The wise cat must always keep clear in his thought, Both the ultimate end, and all evidence brought, To his mind through the work of each one of his senses, Against doubt and confusion these are his defenses. Mouse Twenty-Three A cat who rejects any single sensation, Or a pleasure, a pain, or an anticipation, Will not fail to go wrong; he'll be lost to confusion. He's abandoned his tools to tell fact from illusion. Mouse Twenty-Four Any cat who considers a hasty opinion, To be equal in weight with a well-judged conviction, And who jumbles the "possible" in with the "true," Will not fail to go wrong, for he's lost a clear view. Mouse Twenty-Five If on every occasion, a cat fails to consult, The chief end set by Nature, the constant result, Of referring to "virtue" or "bad" or to "good," Is a cat whose confused and won't live as he should. Mouse Twenty-Six A desire for which there's no pain when unmet, A cat sees is unneeded, and with no regret, Turns away from that course, when he sees that it's steep, And likely to harm him with troubles too deep. Mouse Twenty-Seven Every cat who is wise, should then seek to ensure, That his life is complete, lived in happiness pure. So by far the first thing he'll be sure to equip, Is his constant possession and strength of friendship. Mouse Twenty-Eight The same wisdom the wise cat pursues, that he sings, That comes only through learning the Nature of Things, And that shows him that no pain lasts long in duration, Shows him friendship is safety's most solid foundation. Mouse Twenty-Nine Before a wise cat should pursue the desired, He must first look to see just by what he's inspired: Is he led on by Nature? By Need? Both these two? For if neither, he'll learn what vain dreaming will do. Mouse Thirty Vain opinions lead cats far afield in the main, Even though these desires when unmet don't cause pain, So whenever a goal needs excess dedication, Be quite sure that its source is in pure speculation. Mouse Thirty-One The foundation of Justice for cats, you must see, Is agreement between them to live happily, To not harm one another, live safely of course, So do not think that justice has some other source. Mouse Thirty-Two Because justice can only be grounded in trust, When both sides don't agree there's no just or unjust, So when all who're involved can't or won't give consent, There'll be painful results that justice can't prevent. Mouse Thirty-Three A wise cat sees justice is not for the senseless, And that justice itself has no separate existence, "Just" is simply a term that we call a relation, Between those who agree and their participation. Mouse Thirty-Four For as "justice" alone has not ever existed, To speak of "injustice" is also resisted, Unless it is made very clear that what's wrong, With injustice is fear of a punishment strong. Mouse Thirty-Five A cat who's unjust learns to fear this selection, He even in secret can't run from detection, And those who harm others, despite their agreement, Can't cure fear by escaping, no matter how frequent. Mouse Thirty-Six "Justice" means nothing but mutual advantage, Just as rivers are wet in no matter the language. But wise cats know justice flows down many branches, In differing nations and changed circumstances. Mouse Thirty-Seven Mutual advantage means justice, it's true, No matter that all don't subscribe to that view. A law remains just, while with justice it acts, So don't use empty words, refer only to facts. Mouse Thirty-Eight A wise cat will judge all the laws he's enacted, According to whether the terms thus compacted, Remain "just" for the mutual blessing of all, And if not, then "unjust" those same laws he will call. Mouse Thirty-Nine For a cat to live well, from life's start to its end, He should work to make each of his neighbors his friend, But some cannot be friended, though hard he may try, As for those, deal not with them - just pass them on by. Mouse Forty The happiest cats have no fear from their neighbor, But with confidence firm, much good friendship they savor. And when one friend dies first, as they know they will see, They lament not the loss, for they've lived happily. 71. And with that Catius Cat turned to go on her way, But before she moved on, she had this yet to say, "Forty mice are great help, I could show you still others, But I have special words for your wives and your mothers." 72. Heed all mice in my list, but recall this not least, Be always on watch for disease from the East. For your mothers must raise up your children from youth, To perceive Nature's ways for the learning of truth. 73. Many deceptions are spread by your preachers, And almost as many by those you call teachers, So unless your wives first learn our wisdom at home, Then aimless through life their own families will roam. 74. Do you think this is odd, and I stray from the core? Well I tell you this much, I have seen it before. That the greatest of men that were raised in the West, Fell before, not great armies, but fear of their Best. 75. You'll recall - I'll remind you, that once long ago, Human life lay imprisoned, oppressed, and so low. But a wise man of Greece burst the gate and the bars, And by his great vict’ry we reached for the stars. 76. But we found not all cats could jump up to that height, Even though there is no path but strength to find light. Look around; you'll see here what is left of our city, But outside you'll find men worse destroyed by their pity. 77. Do you see that when men fled our mice for a dream, That the cost was much more than at first it would seem? For when men turn from Nature for illusions more pretty, They're soon lost in the dark and consumed by their pity. 78. Not all cats find the light, and what's more, those that do, Face the loss of their friends who die first, it is true, So if not raised up strong with our mice, from a kitten, Then a cat, like a man, will by sorrow be smitten. 79. There is no other way, mark my words to be sure, Yet the preachers and teachers continue to lure, Men to leave Nature's path seeking false destination, But they find only pain to their own consternation. 80. Yet again, I remind you, look to Nature only! And leave the word games to the sick and the lonely. Shun those men who enjoy playing games with illusions, And spreading to others their fears and confusions. 81. So commit this to heart and to mind as you're able: You have no way to know what is fact and what's fable, Without using what Nature provides as your tool, To rise up and see better - your three legged stool! 82. Once again, I must leave you, and this is your cue, To apply what I've told you, for all of it's true. But for now we must part, with this method to cure us, Repeat with me, learn from the great Epicurus: 83. It is Nature I seek, and of Her I am smitten; I love Her no less than I love my own kitten. In those questions where "trust" is the only right answer, I trust Nature to lead me through life like a dancer! And thus purred Catius’ Cat on the Forty Mice. Glad is the cat who laughs and sings, and studies and learns the Nature of Things.
Other Books By Cassius Amicus
Ante Oculos – Epicurus and The Evidence-Based Life
The Tripod of Truth – An Introduction To The Book That Fell From The Heavens
Lion of Epicurus – Lucian and His Epicurean Passages
On Three Legs We Stand – Epicurus and the Dialogues of Jackson Barwis
A Life Worthy Of The Gods – The Life and Work of Epicurus
The Doctrines of Epicurus – Annotated
An Introduction to the Nature of Things
The Same Span of Time – The Major Works of Thomas Cooper M.D.
Thus Purred Catius’ Cat
And coming soon:
Catius’ Cat And The Four-Paw Cure
All available at most major ebook distributors.