“Sic fac omnia tamquam spectet Epicurus!” [So do all as though watching were Epicurus] (from Seneca’s letters XXV.5 )
This website has been prepared by a recent student of Epicurus as a means of organizing and presenting my studies for my own use, with the hope also that my work may be helpful to others who are interested in learning more about Epicurus.
I am not a professional philosopher, and I do not know a word of Greek. I know only a little Latin, so as I build the site I invite corrections, suggestions and constructive criticism. In addition to the comments section, I am setting up a forum to assist in those communications. I intend for the site to be rigorously documented and to strive for accuracy and clarity by including as frequently as possible citations to the published work of Epicurus or his authoritative followers (primarily Lucretius).
I will seek to minimize unfounded speculations or tangents into other philosophies (particular modern philosophies), as such diversions would inevitably end up consuming too much time and effort when the task at hand is to prepare a useful resource on the ideas of Epicurus. The purpose of this site is to first and foremost identify the core positions and facts of Epicureanism, leaving all other matters for consideration elsewhere. In so doing, I will seek to approach Epicurus on his own terms and exactly as he represented himself to be — as a man who sought wisdom, who discovered certain truths that must be understood and applied if one is to live a happy life, and who devoted his life to promoting those truths to the best of his ability.
My first milestone for this site will be to post here a succinct outline of the core principles of Epicurus. Although the outline will necessarily be my own paraphrase, each aspect of the outline will be annotated to the original texts which support each point.
My second milestone will be to provide an organized forum for feedback and comments on the outline, and I will also also appreciate any constructive and the opportunity to interact with other like-minded persons friendly toward Epicureanism.
Before I close this initial post, I want to be sure to express my appreciation to those who have established the leading Epicurean internet web sites, Epicurus.info and Epicurus.net, which have been invaluable to me in my initial study of Epicurus.
I must also mention the resource that has been the greatest single aid in my understanding of this subject: the excellent audiobook version of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura by Charlton Griffin available at Audible.com. For decades I had been aware of De Rerum Natura, but I could never get far into reading any translation without becoming discouraged by the unfamiliar phrasing. Charlton Griffin’s verbal performance of Rolfe Humphries’ English translation is what finally cut through the haze for me. Hearing Mr. Griffin recite Lucretius reproduces a teacher/student atmosphere, so if you are a new student of Epicurus and you really want to catch the nuances of Epicurean thought, the Griffin audiobook is invaluable. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
In closing, let me repeat that I have very modest goals, which come down to (1) improving my own understanding of the principles of Epicurus, and (2) improving my application of those principles to my life and (3) helping others with the same interest.
So the website is now open; let’s see where this takes us.