Vatican Saying 53

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Template:Vatican Saying 53


This Saying articulates the need for a deeply philosophical detachment from a common, and potentially harmful pattern of human behavior: envy. One should envy no one, admonishes Epicurus. The virtuous are not worthy of envy, because they justly deserve all the good things they have attained. That should certainly not rouse our indignity, or offend our sense of justice. The vicious, on the contrary, should also not be envied, because they are inevitably self-destructive. The more success their exploits may be met with temporarily, the more surely and rashly they ruin themselves.

In either case, the enlightened Epicurean need not harbor such a negative and unhealthy sentiment as envy. One should go one's own way, gladly acknowledging the well deserved successes of some, while quietly anticipating the inevitable downfall of others.

In this respect, Epicureanism is a complete antithesis to religion: one of the basic premises of virtually all religions is the fundamental belief and expectation that specifically divine justice will befall wrong-doers, while rewarding the virtuous. In the Epicurean "ethical model", on the contrary, both the virtuous and the vicious enjoy and suffer respectively the consequences of their own actions "internally". In either case, no external force is brought to bear upon them, nor should an Epicurean give this matter any further concern, less yet feel envy.

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