The Art of Happiness

By George Strodach

Eat, drink, screw and be happy.

Most people think Epicureanism is all about hedonism. It’s all about speaking pleasure. I mean, after all, Epicurus did create the first hippy communes where people screwed all day.

This translation of Epicureanism is only partly true. Epicurus did push pleasure above all else, but pleasure in the long-term sense. Eating and drinking all day will make you fat and being fat can lead to long-term pain. So does fathering a bunch of children or catching diseases. So yeah, all that stuff can be pleasurable in the moment but it can lead to mental anguish and less freedom, two things that Epicurus put above all else in the search for pleasure. More than anything, Epicurus believed that pleasure can only be found when we rid ourselves of the anxiety of death, the most common of all anxieties.

I enjoyed this book in my continued journey through philosophy. There are definitely some good items here that I can adopt in my life, but not nearly as many as I find in stoicism. This is definitely a must-read for anyone interested in philosophy. But unlike the writings of Seneca or Epictetus, I don’t see a lot of useful information that I would recommend to most people.

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