Epicurus, the founder of this happiness believed that pleasure is a great good but that we can find much more goods if we search for them. Pleasure does not ultimately come our way meaning it isn’t something we need every day. We can have the pleasure of fame and you think that those people who are “celebrities” are happy but that isn’t everyone’s case. They are people who acquire everything they have ever wanted and yet there comes a point in their life that all the riches doesn’t fulfill who they are. These people look in all the wrong places to bring them pleasure.
An example of this is the famous singer Amy Winehouse who passed away because of her drug addiction. This singer was famous for her song “rehab” that dealt with going to rehab and how she didn’t need it, but was this true? There are people who believe being rich and famous would make their lives so much better, but this wasn’t the case for this singer or many others. It is true money can buy you a better life but it can’t buy your happiness. Happiness is based on your originality and not what you think or show others you are.
Epicurus also explains that we need wisdom to guide us into seeing what really is pleasurable, and which pains are necessary to produce pleasure. Some pleasures lead to greater pain, for example an alcoholic can find pleasure through drinking and drinking but what is this person doing with their life? Nothing, or if they have a family they are not giving them the attention they need but rather focusing on their daily “drinking”. The person can gain satisfaction for a couple of minutes but along the road they will look at their life and realize this pleasure prevented them from being an architect or a professor.
Was it worth? Can one minute of pleasure give your everlasting happiness? It is true we will not always be happy but if we take advantage of what life gives us and what we take from it we will not have a benefit in the long run like this man who’s life passed by without him realizing it. We are all eager humans that want what we want when we want it. We are impatient with the results of our works that we find different; not always the right ways to achieve our desires. Epicurus also argues for moderation in all things.
One example is when we eat, one should not eat too richly, for it could lead to dissatisfaction later, such as indigestion or the grim realization that one could not afford such delicacies in the future. We might be satisfied by the food but sometimes people keep eating just to do so and this is a sin. We overindulge in something we don’t want and underestimate the consequences of it. When we eat too much we don’t realize that we can get food poisoning, eating too much sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity. Food and sweets are great but we must find a limit and understand that some products are not necessary in our every day meals.
In epicureanism the idea of pain, is not something we want but rather something that helps us grow. Pain is a terrible experience for everyone but one eventually surpasses this emotion and learns a valuable lesson through it all. As crazy as it seems a person who wants to find happiness needs to experience and understand pain. Why should this be? How can pain give you happiness? According to psychologist Tal Ben- Shahar, happiness is the overall experience of both pleasure and meaning. Pleasure is the opposite of pain which wouldn’t make sense that happiness can involve pain but ultimately it does.
The “meaning” of happiness makes you realize that in order for your positive purpose in life you must experience some time of pain. You can struggle with deciding who you want to be in life and what are your main goals in order to achieve this. Setting a goal is the easy part but achieving it can lead to failures, setbacks, and struggles that can make you want to give up. This is hard work to handle but once you get through these stages whatever your goal was, once you accomplish it you will realize that pain can and does eventually lead to your happiness.
There are five major times to believe everything in your life happens for a reason according to David Wolfe. These five phases are: in times of struggle, in times of healing, in times of chaos, and in times of reflection. Every experience, even those that are negative, can be viewed as a lesson and an opportunity for growth. During a time of conflict, it is often difficult to keep moving. Instead of focusing on our struggles, we should concentrate on the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep your head up, find strength and keep moving forward.
We may not understand our struggles, but they allow us to feel even more gratitude when we finally pull through. The most difficult time to believe that everything happens for a reason can be in times of loss, when grief becomes part of our life experience. When this happens it impossible to see a blessing in disguise or understand the reason why, when all we feel is the pain. However, it isn’t until we reach the lowest points of our lives and feel it is over that we find new strength to pull through. Without loss, we would not be able to truly appreciate life, we must die in order to live.
That is the circle of life and we have to learn to live with it. Without grief, we would not truly appreciate real love, which is what makes having our loved ones close the biggest blessing we can ask for. The best feeling in the world is when everything in your life comes together in one moment. When you’ve finally achieved something you’ve worked hard for, when the people in your life are supportive, and real, when you feel love and self-worth. You get to experience that on-top-of-the-world feeling, and it is like no other.
When we reach our high point, after our struggles, the realization of what we have accomplished shines through, and we finally see the wisdom in the choices we’ve made, and the reasons behind the things that led us through our journey. We feel pride, happiness, peacefulness and clarity. Chaos is also an important part of our lives that can lead us to a state of confusion. This tends to occur when things seem to be happening for no reason, and we do not understand why, or feel that we have any control over them. Meaningful coincidences may be viewed as random events, but those events have a real purpose and meaning.
We may have a hard time understanding the “why” during a turbulent time, but once we pull ourselves out of any chaos that surrounds us, we are able to see more clearly. When things begin to come together, we can reflect on the pain, the chaos, the struggles and the victories as part of our journey. Each of these points teaches us a different lesson and help to mold whom we will become. We are always growing, learning and experiencing. Reflecting allows us to understand better why we’ve experienced what we have, and what it has taught us. Epicurus make a distinguish between higher and lower pleasures.
Higher pleasures are pleasures of the mind; intellectual and aesthetic. Lower pleasures are pleasures of the body like eating, drinking, having sex, etc. .Epicurus sought virtue, a condition of tranquility of soul. Although it is based on the individual’s pleasure (rather than duty). Epicurus put great stress on friendship because one’s own pleasure is dependent on others also. Peace of mind and mental well-being is achieved through philosophy, death is recognized to be merely the limit of experience and therefore having nothing to do with the quality of experience.
It is not to be feared since it is nothingness. Reason is the art of calculating our conduct of life. Reason is the ability to balance one thing with another in order to calculate future happiness. Great stress on practical reason (phronesis): something more to be prized than philosophy itself. Prudence: a person who knows how to conduct himself in the search for pleasure. Natural Science: All things in the world are atoms linked temporarily in constant motion. Understanding science (i. e. , how nature “works”) can overcome superstition and irrational fear.
The resulting outlook is something like the opportunity cost in economics: recognition of the necessary losses in life. The choices we make are important since each choice obviates all other choices at that moment. Epicurus taught a materialistic view of the universe: the whole of nature consists of matter and space. All matter is divisible down to the level of atoms (Greek for “indivisible”). They are eternal; neither created nor destroyed. They cannot be seen or felt with the senses but they do have size, shape, weight and motion. The atoms operate according to natural law. Thus there is no creation and no purpose in nature.
The Epicurean purpose of life is peace of mind, happiness and pleasure. But the Epicurean pursuit of pleasure was neither hedonism nor self-indulgence. Epicurus primarily promoted the pleasures of the mind, friendship and contentment. Epicurus noted that it is human nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain, and made this the basis of his guidelines for living. Happiness can be one of the hardest struggles in life but it is not impossible to reach. The epicureanism style by Epicurus helps us view the journey of happiness in being appreciative of what we have but of course strive to make your life better.
Making our life better doesn’t mean it should be through monetary value or materialistic possessions but through our acceptance of our destiny. We must keep our faith open even if the hardest of times because that’s what helps us get through it all. Lastly, it is vital to put a limit unto one’s desires. Having desires makes us human and it is normal to aspire to greater things but when we exceed the limit that doesn’t fulfill us, the one who is damaged the most is ourselves. Epicureanism teaches us that after a painful road there is a destination of happiness. We must stand strong in our beliefs and live life with passion and moral ambition.