Lucretius’ epicureanism still relevant

Epicureanism according to Lucretius.

Lucretius first evokes the pleasure that one feels to avoid torments, then the pleasure, the happiness that knowledge brings. He pities those men who are only attracted by wealth and power, and who do not understand that the soul needs only one thing, the absence of worry: ataraxia.

Extract from original work

“Epicurean Serenity” — Lucretius

It is sweet when the winds torment the waves on the great sea

to contemplate from the land the great torment of others,

not because there is a pleasant pleasure in seeing someone suffer

But because it is sweet to understand what trials one avoids oneself.

It is also sweet to watch the great warlike combats

Unfold on the plains without taking part in the danger.

But nothing is sweeter than to hold well

fortified positions were established by the serene science of the wise

from which one can contemplate the other men

to see them wander in all directions and seek the path of life by wandering

compete with talent, fight for fame,

work night and day

By a remarkable effort to rise to the height of wealth and to seize power.

O poor human souls, O blind hearts!

In what darkness and in what danger

To spend the little time of their lives whatever it may be! Don’t you see

that nature claims nothing else for itself but that

that pain is absent and far from the body, and that the soul

Enjoy pleasant sensations, free from worry and fear?

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Even today, everything is similar. Man is confronted with exactly the same ambitions: to seek fame – examples of reality shows – , wealth – always more growth, more money – , power – to be elected, to control others.

This behavior denounced by Lucretius thus appears as an incessant fight; it is necessary to find the true pleasure – that of avoiding these temptations, these torments – to be led to true happiness, to let oneself be enlightened by the science of the wise, to keep it as a treasure in order not to fall blind again.