Vatican Saying 42

From Epicurus Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

<<Prev | Vatican Sayings | Next>>


Template:Vatican Saying 42


Despite more complicated readings of this Saying by Bailey and Bignone (with complex references to Platonic idealism and metaphysics, or Cyrenaic objections to Epicureanism), it may simply refer to the Epicurean doctrine of the desires: pleasure is produced just as pain is relieved, e.g. the very moment we drink to satisfy our thirst, we both experience the pleasure of refreshment and are relieved of the discomfort of thirst.

In general, Epicureanism is carefully calibrated to both the temporal and the quantitative dimension of the human experience. In this case, pleasure and pain (alias "good" and "evil") are posited in a clear-cut, self-explanatory zero-sum quantitative relationship, and in a parallel temporal one: attainment of pleasure is perfectly simultaneous with the relief from pain; we quench thirst by "filling" in pleasure, at the same time commensurately "emptying" pain. It all works in tandem, simply, naturally.

This may (or may not) be an indirect reply to the Cyrenaics, who generally set a higher standard, expecting a more extraordinary, scintillating experience before they would term something "pleasure". Yet Epicurean hedone is no such thrilling experience --at least not necessarily so-- and can consist of simply satisfying those humble, daily, "1st category" desires, a act that is clearly and obviously simultaneous with the relief of their corresponding "pains".

Personal tools