Vatican Saying 25

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Template:Vatican Saying 25


This Saying is yet another summary iteration of Epicurean oligarkeia, the ability to be satisfied with little. As is common with Epicurean teaching, there is a significant revisionary element at play: what most people consider "poverty" is in fact great wealth, if measured against the end-goal of nature. By this, Epicurus clearly means one's ability to satisfy the natural and necessary desires, thereby relieving the basic "pains" of hunger, thirst, and cold.

Thus if one can satisfy these basic requirements for the "natural" life Epicurus advocated, one need not feel poor. In fact, counter-argues Epicurus, such "poverty" is great wealth. Quite on the contrary, the sort of wealth that is not limited (i.e. not circumscribed by a rational judgment of what is, and what is not essential to our well-being) turns out to be great "poverty", in the sense that it leads us to a frantic, incessant quest for ever more than we currently have.

This theme is closely related to Vatican Saying 68, whereas the laudatory Vatican Saying 77 describes the Epicurean desideratum of feeling "wealthy" by virtue of feeling free.

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