Another it’s-summer-and-the–heat-makes-me-cranky post, but this one involves Epicurus who, if you didn’t already know, is probably your favorite ancient Greek philosopher.
Epicurus’s philosophical and life focus was regarding happiness. What it is, what it is not, and how we can all be more happy.
Not a bad thing to study, right? And this was from a guy born in 341 BC. Long before air conditioning, ice cream, or the Kindle
Today’s post was inspired by this great blog and also The Swerve, a pretty cool book about the discovery of Epicurus’s writings.
Right away this article suggests that Epicurus was really into practicing mindfulness.
The idea of ‘calmness” is really resonant with what we would today call mindfulness practices. If the opposite of happiness is generalized anxiety, Epicurus and Epicureans had a very old and now very popular tool to help lower anxiety symptoms we all can suffer from.
The three areas the School of Life blog points out as being problematic in Epicurus’s view of maintaining happiness are (as a therapist these are so not at all surprising): relationships, money, and keeping up with the Jones/consumerism/shopping addictions/etc.
I know I have a soft spot for any seemingly harmless potential social upheaval and/or paradigm shift that was viscously put down by organized religion. Maybe you do too. Rooting for the underdog is kind of my thing. But if people learned how to be happier on their own, they might not need so much Bible time or chasing down trinkets or have to work their fingers to the bone to feel successful. What a world that would be to live in.
And, to be fair and balanced, this past week Pope Francis gave a speech about happiness, and his suggestions sound down right Epicurean. Now that’s ironic.
That’s it for this one. Short and sweet, and I can in no way improve upon Epicurus.