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Philodemus' On Death. IV Book [PHerc 1050 (something in PHerc 189 and 207 too)] is a valid help to understand death‘s necessity and inevitability, and the first acquisition for a satisfied life: "About all other goods think people that a little is better than nothing: why would it be different about a broken life?" A body has no need of guarantee of infinite repeatability in order to feel pleasurable a meal , when it is hungry, so the mind must do the same in relation to his own pleasures. "The pleasantness lies in propensity nor in excess fruition": without needs no pleasures, without death no needs [parallel reflection on DRN 3. 843-6]; "The one who is getting sage and unrelated to how much time he is going to live has acquired the end-goal [...] and even thought he is losing some following pleasures, he wouldn't lose the past ones"; "when the sage realize the final dash is on, he mentally covers the whole repertoire of pleasant and taken goods".
It's an enough extensive philosophical work, but literary too (sketches of satirical story), in spite of climax falls of unbroken break. Lucretius' Book III was its predecessor; L. Varius Rufus' On Death (c. 40 B.C. : alas lost work) and A. Bassus' interview (Seneca, U503) were some imitators; Epicurus' On Life's Ways is quoted, where was tackled the wish of immortality and indicated subjective everlasting time: "during a time which won't ever have death" ( Phld.'s epigram). Death is death of the death, removing life it is removing itself. It exist before itself, not after... “Death would have been estimated very less than nothing, if a more void nothing was possible ” [Lucr., DRN, III, 926-927]. It's a phenomenon for audience, soon forgotten. This papyrus has been not much brought out indeed for the same reason which pushed daddy to answer his son: "I suppose we'll be delighted by God's contemplation... but let's not talk of sad matters at lunchtime!".
Actually fear people the curtailment of existing projects and attachments, and some process of dying' s troubles without "remembering its limitations and adding nothing to it by imagination"[U447]. Afterlife isn't tempting for the objection Philodemus rises to Platonics: "Their idea of deduction of wrong, if they die in youth, and of acquisition of merits if they reach old age, is meaningless, as their souls won't be the same, becoming different in the absence of organic substance which characterized them". In such case we will be a different animal, not otherwise to be devoured and metamorphosed in the same old process of corruption of each life. What yields life so exciting is that: " We should regard an amazing thing not that one dies, but that one is successful to live out [...] taking profit day by day from an experience which disregards time's amount". [If by eternity is understood not endless temporal duration but atemporality, then he lives eternally who lives in the present (Wittgenstein, Tract. 6.4311)]. "They who aim only at time's addition, whether in this life or hereafter, are persons who live pitifully enough [...] No young man of ours will crave for adding the farthest old age, or, even more ludicrously, an endless time." Unlike conventional time of days, seasons and events, only the present time is real, the past life's recollection is lived as selected and accommodated in present too: one loses ever the same minimum time present at the age of twenty like at ninety: "Every man passes out of life as if he had just been born " [V.S. 60; U495]. A longer and satisfactory life has to be accepted but not craved, as it isn't under our discretionary power. It has to be made of many-sided bounded desires. "Any length of time naturally produces pleasure for all - provided one recognizes pleasure's limits - and because of the fact that at the same time the flesh immediately receives the amount of pleasure equal to what an unlimited length of time provides..." [On Death, 111.32-IIIa.i Gigante]
We fear deadly pains when they are present after instinct, our dear ones' death or their future lot after natural or cultural feeling, we become depressed after future planning frustration for neocortical mistake (and this is not what it was planned for): "What of service is knowledge to, if we are losing the calm of animals about death?" (see the archaeological finds of Epicurean pig mascots). "People mourn close relatives' death as if was it there some suffering for them; others run relentlessly after pleasures for fear of regrets, i.e. again some supposed pain after death..." For final real pains point out Ph. opportunity of alcohol and poppy juice, of the natural free anaesthesia of habituation, of extreme old or young ages, of faint, of transition during orgasm or epilepsy... "Necessity is an evil; but there is no necessity for continuing to live subject to necessity" [V.S 9; cf. also DRN 3.862-4. ]. "Epicurus admitted death to be (welcome) and in a sense he met it willingly" [Phild. On Epicurus. Pherc 1418 Col. XXXI: last day]: wine and hot bath induced congestion and "the very intensity found means of ending it". In the absence of assurance were there godfathers and friends. Funeral banquet (and popular usage of grave's hole..) defused the situation (like Halloween). Epicureans, more than other ancients practiced the private piety for the dead, with memorial days and dedicated monographs (hero's cult renewed the solidarity of the sect; see The Philista) and accepted a temporary sadness "mixed to amiable recollection". But Lucretius talked big: deus ille fuit. Ph. clarify, with a certain ambiguity: "it could be comforting our consciousness that friends will remember us, but their friendship will give really pleasure when we are living". The one's recollection of performed life is more important than the extraneous persons' one, grounded on appearances.
About stupidity: the fretting of healthy unfriendly people who chats on our disease is "like fretting for the views of pest"; the one who dies without heir will hear his name remembered during succession lawsuit... The one who strives for spending money which would go into the pockets of heirs, "taking large mouthfuls".
About philosophical stupidity. "The one who believes that the longer the lifespan, the bigger will be one's wisdom increase, is precluding himself from an immediate wisdom, because his mind is losing present wellbeing in order to estrange itself vainly in the future." It's fruitless that one didn't fear not to live enough if one fears not to be sage enough. Conceitedly supervising oneself and world's course does cause frustrations, guilty feeling about 'wasted' time for enjoyments and belief that what's important has not shown up yet, with worry of no reaching it, and of no good choice done. "Wisdom isn't got as time goes by, but by presence of mind of ataraxia attained by eradicating wrong opinions." A first wrong opinion is that pleasure is difficult, secondly that egghead are the most happy persons. Knowing an unlimited universe with limited mind and time may become an intemperance, a not natural desire. The very wisdom has to get natural and human dimensions, with days which foolishness is mimed in too: "as I'm seeing to be there into you some other kind things, I wouldn't you to shrink from a certain spontaneous craziness" ['Pragmatiae'. PHerc. 1418.
Our former not-existence is nothingness, the one at a future time is neither nothingness: two time nothing ... (Lucr. III, 927). As personally he cannot realize if he is dead, and awareness is for the creature like some horizon for sight: not removable, so his own death is only imagination, because it cannot be subjectively apprehended, and thinking about isn't worth it, and death's meditation is inconsistent. "one breathes one's last as if thinking about it never ceased" [End of On Death]. "The Epicurean sage uses a cyclic distraction from ineliminable negative emotions, by practising pleasures and warmth: in comparison with the Stoics a sort of upside down meditation. As ready to die the Epicurean searches for comfort from past pleasures and (without sharp pain) would prefer to live [cfr. Sext.E. Math. 1.285 ], "death is nothing" means "we cannot represent it indeed" rather than 'we are unmoved';anaistheton, is also unimaginable, in Philodemus' Tetrapharmakos: aisthesis is foundational, a blind cannot imagine a painting.
In the mornig nobody would feel the interests' collapse of the night. But with old age and critical handicaps: energy, self-sufficiency, kinetic pleasures decrease, it gets more easy to meet It, as Epicurus and Aufidius have gone though. For a dying man and a healthy/intact one perceived values are different. Contrary to ethical intellectualism of Socrates and epigones, Epicureanism appeals to sensitivity and nature, that is instincts. Beyond rational persuasion Epicurus said “accustom ourselves”[Men.' L. 24]. A death instinct (Freud) - which acts out of place in neurosis - help us to die. Death acceptance as a natural event is not only a rational outcome but also an experience to show, to "place in front of eyes", to sense. After catching all these facets, a real 'satori' for the Epicurean, he "goes around already buried", and enjoys the single day as if it were eternity". Sure enough - as is written in many Epicurean gravestone - the dead... with esoteric nonsense testifies: "I'm not any more, I don't take care".

Philodemus' On Household Management. (Peri oikonomias : PHerc. 1424); On Wealth (Peri ploutou PHerc. 163); fragments of On avarice (Peri philargusias). In ancient world the intellectuals and writers had no copyrights and are there no media. The most part of them sold hope, illusions, or got respect and offices through occult fears and faculties' pretence. So they addressed most works to a patron or to Muses and Gods, who got renown and spread conformism. Philosophical schools were despised by opponents, the 'guru' had undoubtedly ascendancy, the troop paid one's shares and benefited ... reciprocal self-esteem. All praised autarky and poverty, but the career of client was more frequently taken up. [see Horace, Epist. I. 16 and 17 and Phld. On Flattery].
Epicureans and Phld. thought on the contrary that there are lesser troubles in the possession of property by the gentleman farmer, than in the waste of time caused by the lack of it, like in case of Cynics and also Stoics, poor, wandering, begging for daily bread. Epicurean school, Greek or Roman, didn't involve divestment of one's assets. Metrodorus, Idomeneus, Mithres, Heliodorus of Antioch, Philonides, Albucius, Saufeius, Atticus, Vestorius, Amynia of Samos, Apollophanes of Pergamos, Diogenes of Oenoanda, Popillius Theotimus were well-off persons. More tricky was the situation of the skilled amasser of wealth, like entrepreneurs, who were up to local politicians, judges, taxation assessors, and "awake as a start in order to watch over their ownership". Of course the philosophical way of life suited "the ones who need mutual talk more frequently than several current competitions of the town, and whose assets keep with lesser tenseness than those of greedy persons, which frequently stake big losses".
In order to avoid stress the Epicurean has to "renounce growth with the view to get (at once) the goal, which they wanted to make just money for". The sage has to work hard or to establish public relations only if he is in necessity, but: "The most acceptable job is getting fees from well inclined and grateful learners, provided that one has no demagogic nor charlatan faculties and talents, but some experiences to share with independence and without flattery". The Epicurean refuses interiorized code of conduct and "considers if he is in financial situation to treat himself to what is beyond the necessary things", and suggests certain persons to have "a recurrent carefree income if they place their estate on trusteeship of qualified friends", and "maintaining that from other persons cannot derive usefulness is a feeling of a psychotic".
Phld. concludes maintaining that household management concerns anyway on lesser goods and evils; "a good manager is he who takes care of his estate following usefulness" not following efficiency, and regrets that historians "assign successes to politicians and to men of action, and one may ask what may be left over them who develops a deep interest for truth". But he set out also the ostensible interest for truth of them who "are able to be dragged by common abstract words, to deny perceivable things and hence to exhibit themselves as persons who strive to amend the large crowd who think otherwise, and this way they [the idealists] are teaching things which they can tell nought about" [PHerc. 1424, col. 21].

Herc.1251 [On Choices and Avoidances, or Comparetti's Ethics] (attributed to Hermarcus, next to Philodemus) is rendering more living (although incomplete) the schematism of Principal Doctrines, and comes out more realistic than the inciting Menoeceus letter, an actual "protrepticon", with his accentuation of tranquillity of the mind, pleasure, and therefore happiness. Summaries may involve over-simplification and even distortion: (this applies to this writing too...). Epicurus wrote surely Doubtful Cases (Problems) and On Life's Ways [plural, ed.'s n.] (Life-courses) (4 Books). We can read somewhere else that the sage is prone to instincts and emotions like all people, even though he get out of there better. One ought not confine oneself to fundamental tenets as "some have clumsily interpreted it". But thank Diogenes L. anyway...
This ethical treatise redefines the hedonic calculus techniques. The knowledge of oneself and of the world is under the phrase "one would go to infinity" - an expression which is frequent in the informal On Nature, so as "to go astray". The working method is the focusing of the logismos: "he also establishes the congenital ends , which yield the most conspicuous evidence and by which the calculations concerning choices and avoidances are performed." Philodemus expound in the Rhetoric: "Since no thing is on the whole praiseworthy or censurable by itself, but becomes so, to the extent that it corresponds to the rank of the goods, and censurable insofar as it corresponds to the rank of the evils, the one who does not consider this knowledge through analogic calculation (epilogismós) will not be able to distinguish the things taken up with a view toward commendation according to the standard applicable to them... " [Rhet. I 218, 4. PHerc. 1007].
In an human world which is partially free, is there, beyond necessities, a personal creativeness (in the more conventional persons only a cookery and living one): we cant know now in detail what will keep us mentally engaged some years hence, so we need "distinction between what directly procure pleasure and what does not hinder it (is under our feasibility, if we choose it)". Everybody has to find day by day with dialog and meditation one's wisdom's lane, even after he has understood general first principles. The author redefines more in detail the causes of desires and the conduct about the organic necessary and the external variable ones. The former have to be sought and - if possible - the way has to be calculated, the latter have to be calculated and eventually not rejected (but not sought far-off), because they improve our life only under that condition.
After empty desires (stupidity, conformism), are set out traumatic desires too, "a sort of wound ", with psychotherapeutic meaning about their compulsive attraction. The character desires (e.g. privacy, hyperactivity, hyperemotivity -desires. ed.' n.) aren't distinguished (or they are deteriorated on papyrus: he just wrote On Characters and Ways of Life), unlike in Polystratus, Demetrius Lacon, Lucrece.
The author exposes religion as cause of fatalism and renunciation, and depicts irrational behaviours of his contemporaries. Moreover religion is a "deterrence (of crime) for a short period of time"; "(by) the principles of philosophy (...) alone it is possible to act rightly". The sentence "One must positively draw the moral arguments regarding both choices and avoidances from the study of nature", does not turn Epicureanism in a deterministic ethics of duty (like Stoicism): in order to choose something or avoid it, that thing has to be existing in nature, not only in our fancy. All the same, conforming oneself to natural and social order is a necessity, but also it will bring the aesthetic/intellectual pleasure (kalos, beautiful means also moral in Greek, a trait of in sight persons) of an atomistic not-self-centredness: not a means for pleasure but a pleasure concomitant with virtue [see similarly: "pleasure does not follow learning; rather, learning and pleasure advance side by side (V.S. 27)]. Morality helps to avoid troublesome egocentric greed (a sin against intelligence, so to speak) for an harmonious state of mind. " The one who is spurred by very personal self-interest is dependent on chance and cannot get ataraxia" [Epicurean Ethics PHerc 346 (Polystratus?)] "

For a deep influence in therapeutic guidance, one has to make use not only of logic arguing, but of epibolè too, that is plain speech (parrhesias). The trope of "placing in front of eyes" (Phld., De ira I, 23) trace back to diatribe form, and coincide with satirical literature. In this respect PHerc 1251 can't be summarized, all the more so because it's fragmentary. The prosopopoeia of Nature in Lucr. III°, of pathologically restricted persons about self-analysis or tight with money in Philodemus and Horace are more effective than a rational proof. Certain life-styles are chosen or avoided by vocation more than by demonstration.
For instance a passage with estrangement effect for our public relation custom: "The natural charmer is a sort of person who, greeting a man from far away and calling him 'Mister', after expressing him his admiration feeling by holding with both hand, he won't let him go off but after he walked with him along a stretch of road, and after he requested when he might meet him; and he goes off going on praising him. [...] Constantly he cuts beard and hair, he whitens teeth, he wears new suits and use up deodorizers [...] he runs to seat down in the neighbourhood of VIP" [Phld., On Flattery (Kolakeia) (it was in seven books!)]

On Flattery (Kolakeia) PHerc. 222, 1008, 1457, 1675; On Plain Speech (Parrhesias): PHerc. 146, 1082, 1471. In pre-industrial societies, mostly, having an escort was the best status symbol. "Powerful persons want one to be poor; and I will say why: so one learns and identifies them as patrons" ['On Plain Speech']. It was a sort of uneven friendship. The patron lied about promises, the clients about approval and praises. "Aiming a trouble-less life we don't want to be plagued by major frustrations and we look down with firm belief on them who are in troubles owing to one another; political dealers do feel the stress, we shun them and differ from them about many points, getting fed up about their rituals of presents and honours" [On Flattery, PHerc. 1675].
Friends' groups lie with flattery, which strengthens self-esteem, because one grant esteem in return for esteem; philosophical groups flatter themselves, strengthen shared value judgements, built upon bold slogans and backward conformism. Moving about alone was rather risky. A scholarch demanded payment, and had bodyguards in addition.
Epicureans considered it a fatuous gratification and preferred the parrhesias, the reciprocal constructive criticism, which encouraged the very self-criticism. “...there is nothing so grand as having one person to whom one will tell what is in one’s heart and who will listen when one speaks. For our nature strongly desires to reveal to some person what we think.” [Parrh. fr. 28]. So they became vulnerable and inseparable, sheltered by an human barrier from dissensions with the group; but the flatterer was a real enemy without uniform, who staked reputations when he had recourse to slander in order to put in the shade a favourite. No wonder that seven books were dedicated to kolakeia and as many to parrhesias, as part of On ways of life (Peri ethon kai bion). Phld. was in dispute with Nicasicrates, who didn't understand a fine distinction between cordiality and flattery, and distinctions of various kind of flatterers. The Garden did not offer big advantages, nor sumptuous banquets, but some pupils were forced to attend by relatives (perhaps Timokrates), and - besides - some rich Epicurean was there all the same. "Let's not hurry nearby the masters to an ostensible agreement only" [On Plain Speech]. A modest fighting spirit was considered a good vaccine against servile flattery [On Anger]. Pindar compared flatterers to octopus for their colour changing.
Some masters flattered too, exaggerating pupils' improvements, inflating the goal. "The sage often arouses suspicion too, as he is able to captivate minds more than sirens" [PHerc. 222, col. II 7]. Some speakers flattered the citizens; the rhetorician did it with artistic conceit. But it was an acknowledged component of a society without competitive examination, with ubiquitous connections and bribes. The more a region is underdeveloped, the more 'cordial' are people at every street corner. By us, instead, somebody does it at every 'spot'.
The teaching of the Garden was at the same time a true group psychotherapy, the first in western civilization (Antiphon was initiator of analytical anti-depressive therapy); it distinguished "both affections' explanation, and causes' explanation- method"[On Nat. Book XXV] and " two kinds of philosophical inquiry: one concerned facts, the other mere words." [Diog. L. X, 34]. Common research (syzetêsis) "consent don't disregard debate". Chats kept up where inference had to stop: plain speech after formal speech. PHerc 873 Perì Omilìa ('On Talk') divides talks from chats; the former " cling more to actions than intonations ". But learning how one has to speak or to be silent is made by speaking, so "it is better experiencing only to chat, whereas by being silent one doesn't learn it" [col. 8]. Here begun 'plain speech' and group interpersonal) psychotherapy.

On Anger (Perì orgès Pherc 182; 20 pages approximately) deals with the absurdity of indulgence with impatient persons.
In philosophical and mystery circles one was under the idealistic illusion of the invulnerable sage and of the tame brotherhood. Philodemus explains the P.D. 1: anger is surely called a weakness, but 'weak' is a gradable ('always' comparative) adjective, and “the one who may be heading for pain and death “ is of course weaker than the gods; “so the sage is definable as prone to anger” [col. XLIII]. Epicurus is reported as strict a lot of times (in portraits too). But a 'natural (useful) anger' also is defined: the one which is limited to prevent an immediate tangible damage. Revenge is not the trick. “Actually Epicurus explains in 'Enunciations' what is turning up anger and to fall prey of it with temperance [ibid.] ”
As an adrenergic emotion, anger is a dope, but it damages health, safety and social relations. “Physicians are reproaching faults linked with sickness and outbursts of anger. Timasagoras (a dissident: 'ungrateful blowhard'), who preached with firm belief to restrict ardour of dispute, suffered painful unthought after-effect of his anger against Basileides and Thespis” [col. VI]. Enraged persons come to blows with very larger guys too, as by Metrodorus young Timokrates is said to do it with Mentorides, the oldest among his brothers. “Disturbed enraged persons do not succeed in progressing, as they don't tolerate neither teachers nor colleagues [...] they get leaved out of search teams (syzethesis) and their advantages [...] they have glowering looks, trivial and slanderous language, they overemphasize insignificant deeds in order to justify their anger, disclosing hidden reasons and events. ”
“In order to remove psychological affections which are after-effect of our unfounded opinions, it's basic to work out size and lastingness of damages which are involved” [col. VI]. Anger is the correlate reverse of gratefulness and they are affected by reciprocal intensity (but also by glory wish, and falling in love): “We believe that the sage cannot have deep emotions of gratefulness, because he don't consider very decisive the advantages which come from other persons”. Nor for wisdom counsellors is due exaggerated gratefulness! [col. XLVI]. Epicurus denied to have had masters, because wisdom - what is the top - is found by oneself through personal understanding and training to choices and avoidances.
"Only the reason which realizes that nature produces no horrible or dreadful thing, and that none of its productions has a great consequence, when it reaches its cycle, (only the reason) come off to tame us" [On Music, book IV; and therefore more unbuttoned to the others: cfr P.D. XXVIII].

More and more is revealed a discerning Epicureanism, different from, however understandable, Diogenes L.' s 'catechism'. Difficulties about job, health, human relations, fancies, are better resolved by personal strength of mind, industriousness, intuition (epibolè) than by precepts. "courageousness [...] otherwise, even though some hope or delectation lure us with a smile, anxiety suddenly breaks forth, like a sea storm appearing in fair weather and the soul is overwhelmed and confounded" [Epic apud Plut. De virtute et vitio 3.101b]. As we must obtain wisdom day by day from ourselves (see Herod. ' s. Lett. 082; Pherc. 1251), so the transference-dependent pupil shows not to be yet sage. Nor Epicurus cult... Let's consider Colotes's incident. "It isn't advisable to be happy or sage more than others, as it's difficult, because we believe others to be such more than they are actually" [Montesquieu].
Individual and collective (fanatical) anger are 'fuel' for disorders into families and nations, and for wars among them. Classic example was and is absurd terrace violence - portrayed also on Pompeii walls (Noceria- Pompeii 'local derby', with dead supporters and stadium's close). Tests show that group anger is more unrestrained than individual one. Control (not an impossible removal) of it passes through our estimation of good and damages, but also of our feeling of gratitude, of love, of group commitment. An individual into a small group went with the tide for fear of loneliness - a predictable death or sterility in ancient savannah. But in mass society, does the prudent man stress himself or risk his life for a rabid imprudent group? It was a current principle also among Roman Epicureans: "Among Brutus' [the plotter against Caesar] friends Statillius, the Epicurean, [...] considered that a wise man oughtn't to put himself at risk, and to let himself be involved by worthless and imprudent people"[Plutarch, Brutus 12, 3].

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