Epicureans – Survival Ethics



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Epicureans – Survival Ethics

  • Negative Hedonism
  • Advocated against gluttony and excess
  • Suggest we make 3 mistakes when thinking about happiness.
  • Looking for love instead of friends.

2. Materialism – we have to make sacrifices to get it and lack a sense that we “make a difference”.

  • 2. Materialism – we have to make sacrifices to get it and lack a sense that we “make a difference”.
  • Mistake luxury for calmness (security)
  • There are only 3 things you need for a happy life.
  • Friends
  • Sense of personal accomplishment
  • Meditation to seek calmness rather than the pursuit of luxury.

Epicurean Communes were very common even up until the 5th century.

  • Epicurean Communes were very common even up until the 5th century.
  • At its peak there were 400,000 people living in communes.
  • Christianity wiped them out, but converted them to monasteries.

Stoicism

  • Anxiety - Expect the worst and you will not be disappointed.
  • We are each stronger than we think.
  • We will be able to survive what ever hardship makes us anxious . . . and if we cannot, there is always the option of suicide.

Preached that we should regularly practice the worst possible scenario to remind oneself that almost nothing material is needed for a happy life.

  • Preached that we should regularly practice the worst possible scenario to remind oneself that almost nothing material is needed for a happy life.
  • Anger
  • Argue it is not a natural tendency but is the result of ignorance about the nature of life.
  • Keeping low expectations will keep us from getting hurt.
  • Rise of Christianity
  • Christianity began in 1st century AD Jerusalem as a minor jewish sect. It spread initially in the Near East, ultimately becoming the
  • state religion of Armenia in either 301 or 314, of Ethiopia in 325, of Georgia in 337, and then the state religion of the Roman Empire in 380. During the Age of Exploration (15th to 17th cent.), Christianity expanded throughout the world, becoming the world's largest religion.
  • St. Paul (10 – 64)
  • Born in Tarsus (Turkey)
  • Trained as a Rabbi in Jerusalem
  • Combined Greek and Jewish theology with
  • Christ’s teachings.
  • Dualist
  • Human body is evil
  • Human soul (spirit) divine
  • Like Plato saw the body as our major source of problems
  • Unlike Plato he said faith in God (rather than reason) as the
  • solution to the conflict..
  • 60 BC
  • 180 AD
  • Between 1st and 4th century – Growth of Christianity
  • Pagan Philosophers were replaced by Patrists (Fathers of the Church)
  • 3rd Century – Constantine adopts Christianity
  • Battle of Milvian Bridge 2 3 4 5 6
  • (Parts 1 and 2)

Roman Culture

  • “The Romans invented no art forms, constructed no original system of philosophy. And made no scientific discoveries. They made good roads. Systematic legal codes, and efficient armies: for the rest they looked to Greece.” Bertram Russell, History of Western Philosophy.
  • Video beginning to 19:50
  • After Constantine restart at 53.00
  • Autocracy - political power is held by a single self-appointed ruler.

Edict of Milan

  • In February 313, Constantine I, emperor controlling the western part of the Roman Empire and Licinius, controlling the Balkans, met in Milan and, among other things, agreed to treat the Christians benevolently.
  • Plotinus – 205 – 270
  • Neo-Platonism
  • Combined Plato with ethical concepts from
  • Christianity, Judaism and Near Eastern
  • Mysticism
  • Like Plato – Idealist
  • To get closest to the One, each individual must engage in divine work.
  • Each individual as a microcosm reflects the gradual ordering of the universe referred to as the macrocosm. In mimicking the divine mind, one unites with it.
  • Thus the process of unification, of "The Being", and "The One", making each man a God by replacing the concept of God as creator with themselves as creators, builders, craftsmen of their own lives.

Orthodoxy & Heresy

  • 1st & 2nd Century – no authority = no Heresy
  • 3rd Century – Bishop of Lyons
  • Refutation of Heresies
  • -

One of the earliest heresies to arise in the Christian church was Gnosticism

  • Gnostics were dualists, teaching that there are two great opposing forces:
  • good versus evil
  • light versus darkness
  • knowledge versus ignorance
  • spirit versus matter.
  • Since the world is material, and leaves much room for improvement, they denied that God had made it.

How can the perfect produce the imperfect, the infinite produce the finite, the spiritual produce the material?

  • How can the perfect produce the imperfect, the infinite produce the finite, the spiritual produce the material?
  • Gnostic’s solution was to say that there were thirty beings called AEons, and that God had made the first AEon, which made the second AEon, which made the third, and so on to the thirtieth AEon, which made the world.

They taught that Christ did not really have a material body, but only seemed to have one. It was an appearance, so that he could communicate with men, but was not really there.

  • They taught that Christ did not really have a material body, but only seemed to have one. It was an appearance, so that he could communicate with men, but was not really there.

They said that Jesus had had two doctrines: one a doctrine fit for the common man, and preached to everyone, and the other an advanced teaching, kept secret from the multitudes, fit only for the chosen few, the spiritually elite. They, the Gnostics, were the spiritually elite, and although the doctrines taught in the churches were not exactly wrong, and were in fact as close to the truth as the common man could hope to come, it was to the Gnostics that one must turn for the real truth.

  • They said that Jesus had had two doctrines: one a doctrine fit for the common man, and preached to everyone, and the other an advanced teaching, kept secret from the multitudes, fit only for the chosen few, the spiritually elite. They, the Gnostics, were the spiritually elite, and although the doctrines taught in the churches were not exactly wrong, and were in fact as close to the truth as the common man could hope to come, it was to the Gnostics that one must turn for the real truth.
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