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The Gods. Plato in the Republic(506d-507a; 6.506d) and and Theaetetus (172c1–177b7), and Kritias (460-403 B.C.), claimed the ethical-political purpose of religion 'to become like God, so far as this is possible' homoiôsis theôi katà to dynatôn [Stob.'s quote 2,49,17] and noticed some ineffectiveness of Olympus gods, too much coarsened by poets and folklore; "they say gods exist by creation, not by nature but on the strength of laws, they differ locally according to the way each lawmaker has autocratically legislated" [Laws, X, 889 D – 890 A]; he proposed astrological gods (meddling only at birth), who are still the second western religion: “maybe our [of his imaginary state, r.'s n.] rulers have often to resort to lies and trickeries in the interests of subjects " [Rep., V, 459 C-D]. Alexander's empire had started a still major importation from Asia of mystery/gnostic cult: man is god, or a child of god. The most passionate declarations of fraternal religion was those of lonely, armed, jealous shepherds. “The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful” [Edward Gibbon (1776), Chapter II: The Internal Prosperity In The Age Of The Antonines. —Part I. Second Paragraph]
The gods of Epicurus are more extraterrestrial living bodily beings, but they are a more realistic (they are superior than the humans and logically possible – as not almighty - like 'Andromeda' sci-fi inhabitants: almighty, i.e. cancelling themselves, for instance, is impossible also only by simple logical definition) paragon of human judicious aspirations intensified into the idea of god, and their supreme fulfillment : “Since we don't find rational faculties but the human one, it's patent to admit god as being anthropomorphous [...]" [Dem. Lac. God's Look Col. 14,11. 1-10 De Falco]; "not to think him [God] bad-tempered as (he is thought), for example, by the poets", “fabulous and terrible stories [...] as the sources of security to states” [Phld. Peri Eusebeias, On Piety. col 75, Obbink 's tr.]; “Homer's chats... adulterous, thieving, lame gods … who get mad at lucky people” [Diog. Oin. NF 115]; “those who believe our oracles about the gods will first wish to imitate their blessedness in so far as mortals can, so that, since it was seen to come from doing no harm to anyone, they [i.e.readers] will endeavor most of all to make themselves harmless to everyone as far as is within their power; and second to make themselves so noble [...] [ibid. col. 71]. In Aristotle god is an 'end-goal' also - by no means a meddler, a perfect object of moral emulation of all natural being' s becoming, but it is a "pure form", although extraterrestrial. [Epicurus [...] is of opinion there are Gods when he allows that there must be a nature excellently perfect, De Natura Deorum, II, 17: it's Balbus who attributes this ontological proof]. But the proof of the actual existence of these paragons could be no crux of the matter, insofar as they "can be grasped by the mind (logôi theôrêtous) ..." [Philod. On Methods of Inference PHerc. 1065. Frag. 8. De Lacy; Cic., Nat. Deor. II. 18], especially in dreams , which have a 'collage' memorized sense ground however, but no empirically cognitive one (no kath ayta, no substance, see Polystratus); even if gods exist, they do not care about us, or rather need imperfect beings for being wanted as a perfection (a value judgment, pros ti, relative: they need another thing for being there, see Polystratus); anyway they yield practical benefits though. "In On the Gods (E.) says without possible doubts that a being with a perfect nature must be grasped by intellect and may not be conceived as sensible" [U34. Phld. Peri Eusebeias, On Piety 117; Aetius, I, 7, 34; non senso sed mente cernatur, De Nat. Deor. I, 19, 49]: no empirically cognitive ground is given, because prolêpseis ("For we have ideas of them implanted, or rather innate, within us", Velleius in DNR. I. XVII) should be verified by sensory experience [Pherc 1065, item 54]. Only body or void may exist in itself... and everyone may infer, and keep it for himself. Epicurus was mimicking (ironically?) Aristotelian theology, as it seems. Thanks to a stable and propitious secluded space environment (they aren't immune to terrestrial forces of destruction) and a 'state-of-the-art' wisdom, oriented to assimilation, some of them are indeed so unerring as to be indistinguishable one from another [but they have made nothing better than a starfish, cut in two and become two starfishes (epimorphosis)]. In our poor earth differentiation from others is how one finds an identity, deeply felt as a superiority. As all atomic compounds are degradable, the Epicurean gods have reached a stable evolutionary equilibrium, replacing the parts which they lose (like crabs and lizards, that Epicurus had watched for sure as a child on strands of Samos). But we have no extant explanation on how. Robert Sapolsky reports cases of believing autistic persons, who imagine an asocial god entirely taken up to avoid atoms fluttering away... Perfect virtue entails complete internal and external atomic necessity, that is hardly Epicurean Physics: no reality outside the worlds (are metakosmia esoteric irony?). According Epicurean Velleius (in Cicero's De Natura Deorum (I, 43-5), belief in Gods is an “innate prolêpsis”. But some modern scientists hold too that belief in gods (or its condition, e.g. for Dawkins) is genetically motivated (emotionalism, gregariousness, throwing one's weigh about, innate archetype, etc.) for most persons. But Lucretius said innate conception of avenger god is bogus, after the flat denial of events, that like a lightning that strikes Jove's temple [II, 1100]... not its thieving sacristan.

"In Book XII of On Nature [... and] On Holiness [...] Epicurus makes clear that not only that thing which exists indestructibly, but also (that which) continually exists in perfection as one and the same entity, are termed in common usage 'unified entities' (henotês), some of which entities are perfected out of the same elements and others from similar elements [literally 'out of same things' and 'out of similar things']... " [Philodemus, On Piety P. Herc. 1428]. He hold atoms, void, infinity, similarities (homoiotêtes; Plato's ideas...?) as everlasting; these realities were named «homeomeries » and «élements ». The more homogeneous is a compound, the lesser is divisible (" what has no share of the void, endures"), like diamond. Epicurean gods liken enough to a source: a perennial dissipative system (see Prigogine). " that consists of elements similar to each other, and the natures of the images which take on a similar constitution or even one which may have become numerically a unity as a result of the transcendence of the intervening gaps" [ibid. Obbink's tr.; see also scholium of P.D. 1; sometime they mimicked a talk to hear one's own voice...]. Mental images are made up of the same atom type (homoiotêtes), and those are invisible [DRN II, 584: ”nil esse, in promptu quorum natura videtur, genere ex uno consistat principiorum”]. The idea is sci-fi (at present...), being related to today DNA, but 'invisibility' may be a parody of Plato too ...
If Idealists held gods immaterial (like their human soul) in order to be imperishable, out of time, self-regulated, so, when soul is 'slippery' matter , perhaps Epicurean parody needed to render gods image-like, 'mere' concepts, self-repairing without exertion, since their evils are opinions, rectifiable by another better opinion. But this theory of Gods being made up of mind's atoms - but speaking digesting and excreting... [Perì tes ton theon diagoges, On the Way of Life of the Gods, Pherc 152 157; what talk they about (in Greek ... how have they learned it?) since they are psychologically identical and with equivalent cultural level?] - smacks of irony against idealist competitors, a spoof of Lyceum, and one smiles knowingly when one talks, like Velleius about quasi corpus [Nat. Deor 1. 48]: soul's atoms "cannot stay out of nerves and blood" [Lucr. III,560, 789; Sextus considered that absurd; cfr. Adv. Math. IX 178; Posidonius and Cicero wrote of atheism ; a bit more malicious ones said they believed in Gods indeed; - in order to feel or make others have faith in themselves as Gods (or half-) ...; and Form out of Matter however is another Aristotle's aporia ... disregarded by Thomists. If a flow is continuous and henotês are more compact, that doesn't involve a lack of start and end. But someone took that seriously - or seemengly - even among the followers, prone to mystical hallucinations, perhaps Poliaenus and Lucretius. "Of all existing things it [the divine] is the best and most holy, most worthy of emulation" [On Piety]; if death is 'nothing for us', so imitating inimitable gods is needless. An exoteric Epicurean aporia... if they spoke bona fide.
The evolutionary human being (he/she must still reproduce...) tries to imitate the paragon of gods as much as he can [katastematic pleasure?], as "two sorts of happiness can be conceived: the one is the highest possible, such as the gods enjoy, which cannot be augmented; the other admitting addition and subtraction of pleasures" [kinetic pleasure?]; he is depending on inconstant environment and therefore on conjectural choices, so he can't be entirely free from care; nor can he imitate their prudence, a virtue that is useful only in insecure environment [Prudentiam deo tribuemus [...] cui mali nihil est, nec esse potest, quid huic opus est dilectu bonorum et malorum (De Nat. Deor., 3.38)].. For the Epicurean the niche of a secluded living is the safest (like gods "completely preoccupied with the continuance of his own happiness and indestructibility and so are not concerned with human affairs" (U631) and “they have no need of human things” [On Piety (P. Herc. 428), 40 Obbink]), like the Garden self-sufficient (with slaves) farming (an intermundia a space between worlds, metakosmia); the easiest is the most at hand, like the lentil proteins and porridge for food, less squandering than meat [192 square meters for 1 kilo of beef vs 3,5 sq. m. for 1 Kilo of vegetable proteins], or the alternative kinetic pleasures, so the sage is no longer so dependent on external circumstances. The most successful reproduction is the adoption/cooptation of valuable just persons: an assimilation as a matter of fact [see P.D. 39]: "But the just person [...] enjoys pleasures that are unalloyed and effortless. And once such a distinction between desires has been grasped, he [sc. the just person] enjoys even necessary ones [i.e. necessary duty pleasures], than which [pleasures] there are none greater, nor is it possible to derive from any enjoyment any gain equal to these [the pleasures that come from the satisfaction of necessary desires]" [On Piety, cit. Col. 76-77]. The gods affect humans as motivations, not as causes (and as friends only to be imitated), because their blessedness entails thinking only to themselves, i.e. to pleasurable and perfect subjects (see - for normalization... - the "thinking on the thinking" of Aristotle's "pure form" god: "if we ascribe luck [human inequalities] to god we'll make him be an inequitable and spiteful magistrate ” [Great Ethic, 8. 1207a, 5] ). Epicurean slating criticism of Providence seems to dilute any confidence on a fair justice in the world. Peripatetic school did already think that a Whole Being ('unified entity') was always being delighted always by the same pleasure: the thought, a stationary activity; and that the animated activities in any case are delightful if they find no hindrances, which is why the life of the virtuous person isn't the best if his activities are not delightful. "As the human intellect is a godlike thing, intellectual life does be nearly godlike compared to common human life"[Nic. Et. X, 7, 1177, 26-31].
In holy day time the contemplative Epicurean men also realized that foreseeable and repeatedly pleasurable ataraxy' s needs, philosophy, theoretical inward virtues were the ones which more brought him nearer to the prolêpsis of bliss and retreat, they called katastematic, and they practiced sternness and to be satisfied. Seneca reports that they did it repeatedly (monthly) as an exercise to scarcity. Arius Didymus reports an explanation of katastematic pleasure: “contentment is arranging oneself in natural way from oneself to oneself, leaving out every purpose to external things”[at Stobeus, Epitome]. The divine pleasure of living itself. If a wise person has this capacity, it means that he is of a divine nature [Diog. Laert. 7,119]. This pleasure is called 'katastematic' i.e. 'static' as divine perfect being cannot be improved, like our phylogenetic - but not perfect - body... A monthly ritual diversion? Promotion exaggerations of Epicurean school were a toll to competition.
The very E. refutes superiority of contemplative life (sophia), as practical wisdom (phronêsis) is "something even more valuable" [Men. L. 132 ]. A sage has to recollect the past without contemplation too: "At times [Epicurus] was remembering or catching an impression similar to blur; and looking into all what is fearful or involving utmost concerns" [...] [PHerc. 1056 [6] III Arr.; IV; [7] I. ]. But a certain 'divine' boast in school's texts, and an unrealistic divinization of self-control and solidarity which mirrored some yoga techniques and ('atomist') buddhist nirvana, via Pyrrho-Nausiphanes in Teos (Anatolia), were certainly known by some fanatic followers.

Leisurely I face my ink stone all day long, and without any particular object jot down the odds and ends that pass through my mind, with a curious feeling of slight exhilaration. [Kenko Hoshi (jap. bonze XIII cent.),Tsuregusa, Introd.]. If one appreciates being alive, should he not delight in it each particular day? But he who is foolish, forgetful of this joy, seeks laboriously for pleasures of another sort, and unmindful of this wealth his boundless ambition is ever coveting riches of a dangerous kind. While he lives, he does not value his life; yet, when on the point of death, he dreads it - which is inconsistent [ibid. sect. 93 ]. Happy is he who can live at peace without starving and without feeling the cold when attacked by wind and rain. [...] Adding medicine therefore (to the three others), he is poor who cannot attain these four thing. [ibid. sect. 123]. If you would learn the Way, it teaches you not to be vain of your own virtues and in no case to enter into competition with others [sect. 130].
Some millenarian before in a far-away place, same consideration: "Feeling that one is living is already a pleasure." [Arist. Nicom 9.1170 b1]. Epicurus included it into the katastematic pleasure.

Obviously working days are more variable, that is kinetic, and only possibly without hindrances. Testing new foods, exploring new regions was and is adaptive. Even today one must vary foods abroad. Originality of E. is suppleness, and no fixation of fundamentalism: body/soul, kinetic/katastematic, friendship/autarky, seclusion/law' s authority, dogmatic didactic/ polyvalent interpretations, etc..: each one of duality helps to control excesses of the other in a variable world. Zen Buddhism (a form of 'eastern Protestantism') admits contradiction too, and even temporary conventual life and martial arts; the very Kenko was a writer, unlike Buddha and someone else: he who doesn't write cannot be belied by opponents - dialogues excepted; he admits traditions and sexuality (at the age of sixty he had an affair with a girl who studied poetry with him): "Did not the sage Kumé lose his supernatural powers when he saw the white legs of a girl washing clothes? And well he might, at the sight of the bare unpainted skin of those arms and legs beautifully glossy and plump! [ibid.sect. 8]. To live apart therefore and to go and stay with her from time to time is the way to form a tie that the passing months and years can never dissolve; for it will be no affliction then for him to go and pay her a little visit." [sect. 190]. Idem for Epicureans...
The fundamentalist Buddhist 'final goal' – thought Epicurus - cannot exist; sure enough until we are living we are desiring - the very nirvana is a recurring and self-blaming desire - and each desire is another goal (kinetic variation). In order to free oneself from all desires, one has to desire. But functional limit of desire is pleasure, and pleasure is what resolves indeed desire (archê and télos(genetic completeness): Menoec. L. ). And nothing may be more trouble-making than complete removal demanding of troubles. Gustav Fechner and Freud wouldn't object. Satisfaction is possible on the term of being precarious. If desires were died, why should we go on thinking? Of course by considering variety, causality, subject-object distinction to be a simple illusion (mâyâ) one is cooling down inadequacy feelings, but one is becoming depressed too... a real suicidal mania to efface oneself into oneness (their 'meditation' turn often into nap, rapped by the standing overseer). Repeatable pleasures are the most stable, but variable ones are not minor, nor idle. They may involve improvement, that is duration of mastery. In order to rejoice one has to relax watchfulness. It's the sole original Greek ethic of ancient philosophy. Kinetic desires are a will of action on outside, katastematic ones on one's organism/mind; the latter trough endurance and reflection, the former through prudence virtue, that is activeness. Danger of religions is fatalism and passiveness [see Phld. Choice and Avoidances; Freud called it 'rationalization'], useful only for inevitable evils.
Just a 'Christian' Epicurean bewared of asceticism: «By deserting the world, we relinquish a working system for our imaginations about a desert, and we envisage to live in a site where our difficulties seem to earn virtues [...] [Saint-Evremond, Mr. Aubigny's Talk]. " I let these gentlemen at their grumbling, and I strive to get some sweetness from the same things they are moaning about. [...] After all, what pleasure soever we find in ourselves, let us take care not to dwell to long at home. It is an easy passage from these secret joys to inward griefs; so that there is no less good husbandry, required in the enjoyments of our goods, than in the use of those that are external. " [Saint-Evremond,About Pleasure, to Mr. Bernier].

In conformity with their doctrine Epicureans had no need of paragons (nor of 'deus' Epicurus) for feeling what is pleasurable, and they will resolve according to the result of one's own cells' plenary assembly, and were wholly uninterested in feelings of people who wave arbitrarily judgmental speeches, preferring gut decisions; gods' means/tricks and their environment were admirable but useless for many of them.
It'll be for you a relief and a gratification, if you will seize the opportunity, being practicing [perhaps among Venus temples' priestess too, why not?; ed.'s n.: see our Talk:Marriage], of enjoying innate body pleasures that you know moderate, but also with social rule spirit. [Poxy 215 , col. II, (II/I c. B.C.)]

The very Aristotle admitted that: “ Men shape the Gods in the likeness of themselves, not only about their shape, but also to their way of living”. Everyday 'menu' was : “to be grateful for past goods and to bear up against natural pains and death” [Phld. On Piety col. 72]. Variable (ecologically politically, familiarly) environment needs also variable desires. Locke, on the implicit line of Epicurus and explicit one of Polystratus (he didn't know) remarks: “Men may choose different things, but all make a good choice” [Essay concerning Human Understanding, Book II, chap.XXI ]; without that, democracy would be cant (demagogy ... for Plato). Whereas for dogmatic thinkers only a Sage can recognize another Sage, and each failure was a self-contempt (with the loophole of the 'indifferent'), so the acclaimed Sages number comes out to be very scanty, for Epicurus their number deregulates, and no Sage is more sage than another, so utilitarian friendship chains asserted themselves. "Photocopy" and unerring gods are an effective treatment/paragon against human erring competitive spirit, and their sole katastematic pleasure would attract emotionally our underlying palaeoreptile nervous system; but “absolute knowledge would be absolutely deterministic” [Gassendi]. Mammal in cage, in order to have some variety-stimulations gets to the point of hurting himself, like the poet who writes sad lines, and saints with cilice. A cat, taken by plane in a new apartment, will nose around previously, in the end it will eat his can and enjoy his ataraxia. One may renounce holidays but a daily walk desire in public space - territorial open-ended instinct (position and borders will be learned) - is generally felt ("I cannot stay shut-up at home the whole day!"; even if in town life: "all wretchedness of men comes mostly from not knowing how to sit quietly in a room" [Pascal, Pensées, n°126]). Why had Epicurus (often in wheelchair) a good time to sail (he was shipwrecked too) and to write three hundred books? A side effect on us is some downsizing of celestial life. Intentional? A working hypothesis 'ab absurdum'? Does Epicurus want to remember us life is structurally off balance (even in 'unified entities') and god's pleasure is qualitatively identical to the pleasure you and we feel, and must be moderate otherwise we would become absent-minded like love birds? Their pleasure is only chronologically longer but isn't augmented by duration, and Diog. L. would be wrong defining it “highest” : pleasure cannot increase (P.D. 18); therefore the boast would be lesser. If Gods are unconcerned, man is forced to deify oneself. Hero/dead' s cult exists after all today too (stars= astrological gods, war memorials= temples. Anyway Menoeceus' L. remain of course a protreptikos, a 'leaflet'.
For men, needs go back, satisfaction has to be complete, but it's repeatable: not permanent; 'kinetic' is postponable - but neurological ward guards. . "We regard self-sufficiency as a great virtue not so that we may only enjoy a few things, but so that we may be satisfied with a few things if those are all we have" [Men. L.]. "The risk of prudence is asceticism; of benevolence the badly addressed imprudence". [Bentham]. Kinetic pleasures and 'entrepreneurship' are expression of casualness turned toward freedom and improvement of long-term self-interest (whereas necessity and logic are fixed); lack of joys implies boredom (the 'sloth' of U230). If kinetic became unimportant (adiaphora) Epicureanism would coincide with fatalistic Stoicism. Philodemus' Pragmateiai, On Economy, On Frankness show a Garden very busy in estate managing, mailing, teaching, 'camouflaging'. "... during the long duration of his life. And when he (the Epicurean) encounters whatever can lead to an improvement, he spares no effort in the hope of surviving for a while. Indeed, he takes the greatest care of his health. And feeling confidence against illness and death, he endures with strength the therapies that can remove them". [Phld. On Choice and Avoidances § XXIII. 1995 Naples]. There isn't just the "thinking on the thinking".

Athenian citizens had to worship city and familiar gods, closely related to civil service: "not only did he (Epicurus) honor his parents as much as the gods, nor was he fondly disposed only towards his brothers"[On Piety], but they may follow sideways other cults too, like exotic or mystery cults. One may infer three forms of piety for the ancient good believer: the ritualized civic, the interiorized mysteries, the private honors of the dead/heroes/friends (Church, Meditation, All Souls Day): all good opportunities for Epicurean conviviality that renewed the solidarity of the family , and a kind of social solidarity. Without monotheistic holy scriptures no heresy, and no monotheistic fanaticism. But the very Epicurus found fault with theological astronomy in Pythocles Epistle as it was no official cult.
Gods were of no usefulness for Epicureans, who don't believed in divination (si fato omnia fiunt, nihil nos admonere potest) nor in miracles either: “If a miracle does happen in Nature, that petulant gods have nothing to do” [U363], since “what couldn't happen that shouldn't happen, if something somehow could happen it was no miracle” [Cic., De Divinatione 2.8].

An Egyptian Epicurean papyrus (perhaps esoteric) shows more mental reservation to conventionality:

It's is not true piety, in my opinion, complying common religious obligations - even if the offering of sacrifices is, as I have told, a natural need [some scientist say that's a genetic character need (herd instinct) of having a boss who resolves; r.'s n.] in suitable circumstances - nor there is way of speaking piety, by Zeus, when this man and another one keep repeating: "I fear all the Gods, and I respect them, and I want to spend my riches to make sacrifices and to consecrate offerings." Such sort of persons are perhaps more praised than common people, but they didn't put the basis of true piety. Hey friend! consider that the best talent you possesses is a correct conception of things; these are absolutely the best riches we are able to entertain in present life. Appreciate this mental power, value this godlike talent. Moreover, don't respect the Gods as you expect to find their favor, as well as you expect general opinion may reckon when you show yourself in that. In actual fact, for God's sake, as you say, what have you to dread? Do you think the Gods want to harm you? Like this you degrade them! Why not considering divine nature a pitiable condition, if it reveals itself lower than you? Do you think that with immolation of about thousand oxen you can appease divine nature? or that will it refund, if you appeal, his share of damages?

[...] All that seems to reveal people's vain hopes, in comparison with the doctrine of him who does believe that in the present is there already a good life, and who does not fancy that the dead people return to life: idle stories like those invented by Plato [Piety and people's cult, POxy 215, Passim, London, 1899; 150-75 B.C.; an archaeological garbage finding (but an important passage, not a letter) first attributed by Diels to Epicurean school, near Zeno of Sydon]. [It was necessary to mend the regional epistemology that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge"] [Prov. 1:7]; not surprisingly, the very Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans were questioning the necessity for temple ritual and priestly authority.

Epicurus was almost unknown (Sen. Ep 79, 16), but a sect ran mostly some risks: atheism, subversiveness, 'debauchery' (panderism) suspects. Athenian Assembly indicted Theodorus of Cyrene for impiety. In On Piety the stock phrase is found several times: "we must pray (at the rites of heroes too;... in social conformity with the laws; ... in accordance with the laws; ... the preservation of common beliefs". “In On Life courses he (Epicurus) says that to pray is natural for us, not because the gods would be hostile if we did not pray, but in order that, according to the understanding of beings surpassing in power and excellence, we may realize our fulfillments and social conformity with the laws” [Phld. Peri Eusebeias, cit.]. "let us observe] the customs [of our fathers in relation to them (gods) [Diog. Oin., Fr. 19, Smith]. One accorded even with bloody cults: Aurelius Belius Philippus , priest of Baal, was chief of Epicurean community of Apamea. Lucretius, the fundamentalist, is critical of these demonstrations [5.1198], and remained possibly cut off. Epicurus agreed to Gods, to Monarch, to autarky: he wrote even a Perì Basileia, (On Reigning Art) dedicated to Ptolemy Philadelphos, and bore relations with Demetrius Poliorcetes (who posed as demigod in Athens), Lysimachus of Thrace (patron of Idomeneus), Antigonus the Squinting, and "having proved to be in each case after conducting himself so many years in a manner not inactive towards the city" [On Piety]; nonetheless he didn't believe on politics as treatment for ataraxia, and preferred landed property; he had also his delicious meals, which are more tasty if not too frequent (Men.. 13), and liked perhaps better the chop than the smell which went up to gods sky.
In order to drive well we must handle right, left, forward, reverse motions; when we are sleepy we contradict all. For defining a line two spread apart points of reference at least are needed, as teaches analytical geometry and Aristotle's moral mesòtês, Latin mediocritas [Hor. Carm.. 2, 10, 5].
Both mesòtês and Epicurus' 'more or less' (expression dating back to Plato's Protagoras, and an esoteric doctrine we don't know - save 7th. Letter , that gave rise to later Academic scepticism of Arcesilaus and Philo of Larissa) perform through logistikos, relative to oneself, or more precisely nêphôn logismòs (Men..132; i.e. supple calculation) - i.e. praxis, not through dualistic logic (whether true or false). Let' s grant strictness to Cynic, definitions to Stoics, passivity to Middle and Eastern religions. Epilogismòs cannot control passions nor physical pain; watching one's anxiety ends by deepening it, it's better shifting attention to healthy organs, one can escape hypertrophy through diversion/variation which keeps in mind/calculates many-sidedness of human desire. With his awareness of physiologìa, the Epicurean escapes 'avalanche effect' (in this case panic) by leaving it to recycling nature (for us homeostasis). "Chance [can] befall [us] and do arm, but rarely; for it does not have fuel, like fire, which it may hold of" [Diog. Oin, Fr.71 Smith].
Horace says that nobody - come to the crunch - would choose only one between activeness/time off, miserliness/squandering [Serm. I,1]. "For this reason not even Epicurus believes that men who are eager for honor and glory should lead an inactive life, but that they should fulfill their natures by engaging in politics and entering public life, on the ground that, because of their natural dispositions, they are more likely to be disturbed and harmed by inactivity if they do not obtain what they desire". [U555, Plutarch, On Peace of Mind, 2 p. 465F]. Nature means idiosyncratic character too. "He who is eager for fame and power is instructed [by Epicurus] to cultivate kings and royal acquaintances; he who cannot bear annoyance to shun the palace" [U557, Lactantius, Divine Institutes, III.17.6]. Straight line is impossible, one arrives only through S-bends. Both self-centredness (for nourishment) and allocentricity (for pests), such as pragmatical and affective friendship, don't stand by oneself about pleasure and pain. Exactly, volition would be always compact (idealistic constantia sapientis) if one believed in a deterministic and stationary nature, or in an abstract Reason, and in the Book. By consistently developing only one among varied human requirements comes out an Epicureanism of encyclopedic dictionary. Actually, cognitive neurosciences say a proper 'self' - an homunculus, or rather a Platonic unified non-spatial soul - doesn't result. For Epicurus soul is scattered to entire body (like our peripheral nervous systems ), and he believes in evolution (not necessarily favorable), in usefulness, in variable desires for a variable nature and variable social agreement, if possible; a book Doubtful Cases for the most eager was there. The exoteric and the esoteric documentation clash together of course, but our legitimate desires too. Only for choice of ataraxia they are 'constant', but the very means are calculable: "Evaluate each of your desires [necessary ones too of course; ed.'s n.] by this question: "What will happen to me if what seeks this desire is attained, and what if it is not?" In particular case even some natural and necessary desires may be an evil (Men. 130; hence the need of prudence and calculation); e.g. eating when one must flee at once, or when is badly without drinking water.
Widespread and continuous altruism would render moral gratification enough bland, used to excess, just not welcome - as old maid aunts' visits ..., it would bring demographic increase to parasitic pets. Merit would get faint to hum if everyone was worthy of equal benefit. At the very end programmatic paternalism is 'racist' (genetic ineptness of losers). Why would a careful respectable person in favorable environment need assistance? The paragon of Gods teaches: "It isn't correct to say Gods lavish one another favor, partaking anything of their possession as though they needed it. They do be able to get by oneself complete satisfaction." [Phld. Perì tes ton theon diagoges On the Way of Life of the Gods, Pherc 152 157 Diels]. Cicero makes Torquatus agree that voluptates, quae ad amicum pertinerent, negant esse per se ipsa tam expetendas [... et (negat)] amicitiam posse a voluptate discedere [Fin.. 1.66] (a side of Epicureans hold that) "friends' pleasures are not to be nursed without ulterior motive [...and] friendship, like virtue, are not to be regardless of one's own pleasure". Epicurean ethic does not avoid flexibility.
Now, among men: cannot one be sure without a friend? [Fin. 1.67-8 ]. Affective ambivalence regards even motherhood (U528): it's difficult not to be doubting one is tempted to ride for free. If one's friend dies, travels (the very E. had moved), repeats oneself, one should lose ataraxy. If a friend is replaceable (more easily than the mother of one's children), why ought one to invest hard in a particular friend rather than in ordinary useful public relation? Why should a well-off Epicurean simulate to welcome a gift if it's more pleasurable to give? [U544]. If I remain unperturbed about torture and my death outlook, and I want to treat a sage friend like me, why should I worry on account of his death risk ? [Diog.L. 121b; V.S. 38; U546]. On the other hand, a true friend ought to reject a self-sacrifice from the friend, so idealism gets stuck. Charitable friendship works only if it is there inequality. Epicurus announced the loftiness (kalos) to be actively philanthropic on an extended scale, but a poor man in the street wouldn't increase his ataraxy, but more frequently frustration and guilt. Managing on one's own - when one was able - was more plain and less dull too (“he relies on his own capacities alone whenever there is need to do so” [Phld. On Choices and Avoidances XXI]), and having both feet on the ground, one chose immediate 'mutual' advantage by ceasing one's immediate individual pleasure and by favoring the someone else's one (weighted equally under civil code) in sight of the personal following stabler one (basic sage choice criterion of Menoec. L.).
All world societies have done everything in one's power in order to support charitableness through religions, civil and domestic: until welfare state ('every man for himself, State for all'). Their point is a foreseeable and easy subject. Epicurean ethic too, for a micro society, has succeeded only to some extent. But since one was compelled to worship and imitate some gods, an Epicurean idealized exoteric ethics together with the civic one was permitted to be forgivably flexible as by way of a plain human being: “to make themselves harmless to everyone as far as is within their power” [Phld. On Piety col. 71 and in several other]. In spite that life of founding sage of each school was idealized, from biographic insight comes out that utilitarian not passionate friendship was the most practiced in the real life by well known Epicureans (Epicurus, Metrodorus, Idomeneus, Philonides, Atticus, Aminias of Samos, Phaedrus, Philodemus, Popillius Theotimus, Apollophanes of Pergamos, Diogenes of Oin.), as it's impossible to get well-off by preferring to benefit... [cfr. Plutarch, Philosophandum esse cum principibus, 778 c (= Us.544); About that, for Bailey, E. is - and we forgive him ... - inconsistent. [Atom. and Epic. p.519]]. It is sensible a moralist not to be a saint, but a psychologist is expected to be realist. All pleasures don't grow beyond needs and individual interest and sense of the right are relative, it's common sense. Friendship lasting forever without need, never disappointing, without rows for dominance, a secret door to the Kingdom of Happiness: that seems fairly religious. Moreover, does the general pleasure of friendly relation come from reiterated experience that our neighbor will help us such as a brother, or just from down-to-earth relief he will not be hostile? [such as believes anthropologist C. Levi-Strauss, and of course realistic P. D. 39 & 14].
Once one had the usual protection of double philosophy, not cant but self-defense. “I urge you to be, and you have recognized the difference between philosophizing for oneself and for Hellas. I rejoice with you. ” [VS 76]. “no one has been prolific in finding [i.e. no one furnishes in abundance] convincing demonstrations for the existence of gods; nevertheless all men, with the exception of some madmen, worship them, as do we (28 words indistinguishable, + gap of 1 col., c. 90 words) [On Piety Col. 23 Obbink]. [Epicurus, Menoec. L. 133-4: perì theôn mythô katakolouthein]. Plato's Republic too was skeptical about gods (cit. above), and believability was held to be essential for keeping hierarchical order into the state. Atheism was consistently asserted by” Diagoras of Melos, Theodorus, and in a veiled manner by Protagoras of Abderas: Diog. Oin. writes about them, by criticizing, of course ... Perhaps Epicurean Gods have been thought to be like to life style Epicureans had chosen to show off. "It was not only the Pythagoreans and Plato [on his own admission in the 7th Letter, (what was like esoteric Plato we don't know? assuredly less Platonic...) ed.'s n.] then, that concealed many things; but the Epicureans too say that they have things that may not be uttered, and do not allow all to peruse those writings" [Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, V 58,1]. «Epicurus, according to somebody, admits the existence of god when he is speaking to the general public; but he doesn't admit it when he's accounting for natural science» [Sext. Emp. Adv. Math IX 58 and I, 25 and f.; same judgment by Cicéron, De Nat. Deor., I, xvii ; De divinatione, II, 1]. Patron and Torquatus said the same according to Cicero (De finibus, II, 74: "do you believe me so dumb as to speak this way with a blockhead?"), and Diog. L. (X,5 ) about Timocrates' betrayal. An exhorter to secluded life couldn't have no 'secluded' doctrine. The exoteric doctrine (to day the 'politically correct') helped as public image, through compromises with public and familiar religion, passed off as eternal verities. But Festugière, Epicure et ses dieux and W. Schmid, Reallexicon (“eine quasi-religiosen Gemeinschaft/community”) support Epicurus sincerity. Prepared Epicurean knew gods eidôla and prolêpseis are sound only if reinforced by reason; the sole katastematic pleasure isn't possible in irregular world; Platonic Aristotelian friendship aping the gods is professionally conceited, Epicurean empirical pluralism entails religious tolerance, by atheist minorities too... some state-of-the art technological beings could exist, but accidental destruction is unaivodable; we cannot counterfeit them and should reciprocate their lack of interest in us.
What we knew about Epicureanism was a least selection of a screening, sometime a cosmetic exercise. A less 'religious' and more subdivided Epicureanism was an issue of fact; personal residence and budget were not prohibited, (e.g. Epicurus at Melites' home, with unfailing women, slaves (Phaedria) or metic/concubine (Leontion) or young favorite pupils (Pythocles, Nicanor), but for charisma a certain separation from simple followers was of use; in On Frankness of Speech the teacher seems also required to conceal his own annoyances and be actuated solely by the good of the instructed); that was obvious for married person in view of gynaeceum apartness; so, as Metrodorus perhaps had sometime cohabited together with Leontion at Melites (who for a time was also a sort of katêgemôn or in charge of prostasia (directorship) [Phld. De Vitiis col. II. Jensen]), Epicurus was under suspicion of polyandry (but after all stood up by Plato too); perhaps in the Garden common meals were there for young beginner, and almost at feasts for others. As a contrary evidence, under siege of Demetrius Poliorcetes in 294 Epicurus had to count out individual fava beans (dried of course) to his associates to sustain them: no refectory [Plut. Demetr. 34]. There are no evidences the various Gardens were inhabited. Like in English colleges of Victorian age, unmarried easy-going tutors were more accessible and sometime resident, married seniors and deans lodged in undisturbed individual houses: bosom friends, circles, traditionalism, hierarchies didn't run short. Getting out of archaism (resumed unequivocally by Adam Smith) was preferable: "The noble man is a good manager agathos chrematistes, whereas the mediocre one is careless, as Metrodorus has displayed" [Phld. On Economy col. XXI Jensen]. "The Epicurean philosopher can live a frugal life, but he chooses to live a more prosperous life" [bid., col. XVI 4-6]. Differently certain ancient Romans (and not one-off) would have his own way, who seized odd virtuous persons' goods in order they reached virtue and Kingdom of Heaven... or fathers who looked down to wealth but didn't give it as a gift in order to make no new disappointed spendthrift. The Epicurean has no God to commend his soul; if he has no neurosis nor aesthetic nor metaphysical hobbies, he has plenty of time in order to assure his own economical defense. But, why not a State by oneself? Epicureans, not responsible, because not makers, like gods, let go people having right to act on their customary and religious ideas. Pragmatist friendship - based on individual agreement and creditworthiness - imposes itself as "absolute justice does not exist" [P. D. XXXIII]; “ wisdom towards injustices for the reasons which I demonstrated (one word missing) to suspend judgment (epochê)” [On Piety col. 73, i.e. justice is no moral science]: the condition of laissez-faire.

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