Vatican Saying 35

From Epicurus Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

<<Prev | Vatican Sayings | Next>>


Template:Vatican Saying 35


This Saying encapsulates a warm, human, psychologically astute "consolation of philosophy": one ought not spoil what one has by pining over what one does not; one ought instead to cherish and appreciate what one has, as precious desiderata that have in fact materialized in the present.

This is yet another elaboration on the crucial "time dimension" of Epicureanism. Always focusing on the present, Epicurus insinuates a penetrating, insightful diagnosis: many people do in fact exactly what he advises against, spoiling present joys by lamenting pointlessly things unavailable to them at present, or past, or unattainable altogether.

Those philosophically enlightened, however, ought to "reason out" (epilogizesthai) that those good things they have today are the very same things they had so fervently wished for yesterday. This is precisely the Epicurean notion of gratitude: not to some gods (who are uninvolved in human affairs, anyway) but thankfulness for the simple fact of having what one needs.

As Vatican Saying 33 outlines and delimits the "quantitative" aspect of the desires, this one outlines and delimits the "temporal" one. We ought to comprehend how little we truly need in order to be perfectly happy, and be grateful to have it before us in the present.

Personal tools