Epicurus Principal Doctrines

| segunda-feira, 28 de dezembro de 2009
1. A happy and eternal being has no trouble himself and
brings no trouble upon any other being; hence he is exempt
from movements of anger and partiality, for every such
movement implies weakness

2. Death is nothing to us; for the body, when it has
been resolved into its elements, has no feeling, and that
which has no feeling is nothing to us.

3. The magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the
removal of all pain. When pleasure is present, so long as it
is uninterrupted, there is no pain either of body or of mind
or of both together.

Principal Doctrines

1. A happy and eternal being has no trouble himself and
brings no trouble upon any other being; hence he is exempt
from movements of anger and partiality, for every such
movement implies weakness

2. Death is nothing to us; for the body, when it has
been resolved into its elements, has no feeling, and that
which has no feeling is nothing to us.

3. The magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the
removal of all pain. When pleasure is present, so long as it
is uninterrupted, there is no pain either of body or of mind
or of both together.

4. Continuous pain does not last long in the body; on
the contrary, pain, if extreme, is present a short time, and
even that degree of pain which barely outweighs pleasure in
the body does not last for many days together. Illnesses of
long duration even permit of an excess of pleasure over pain
in the body.

5. It is impossible to live a pleasant life without
living wisely and well and justly, and it is impossible to
live wisely and well and justly without living pleasantly.
Whenever any one of these is lacking, when, for instance,
the person is not able to live wisely, though he lives well
and justly, it is impossible for him to live a pleasant

6. In order to obtain security from other people any
means whatever of procuring this was a natural good.

7. Some people have sought to become famous and
renowned, thinking that thus they would make themselves
secure against their fellow-humans. If, then, the life of
such persons really was secure, they attained natural good;
if, however, it was insecure, they have not attained the end
which by nature's own prompting they originally sought.

8. No pleasure is in itself evil, but the things which
produce certain pleasures entail annoyances many times
greater than the pleasures themselves.

9. If all pleasure had been capable of accumulation, --
if this had gone on not only be recurrences in time, but all
over the frame or, at any rate, over the principal parts of
human nature, there would never have been any difference
between one pleasure and another, as in fact there is.

10. If the objects which are productive of pleasures to
profligate persons really freed them from fears of the mind,
-- the fears, I mean, inspired by celestial and atmospheric
phenomena, the fear of death, the fear of pain; if, further,
they taught them to limit their desires, we should never
have any fault to find with such persons, for they would
then be filled with pleasures to overflowing on all sides
and would be exempt from all pain, whether of body or mind,
that is, from all evil.

11. If we had never been molested by alarms at
celestial and atmospheric phenomena, nor by the misgiving
that death somehow affects us, nor by neglect of the proper
limits of pains and desires, we should have had no need to
study natural science.

12. It would be impossible to banish fear on matters of
the highest importance, if a person did not know the nature
of the whole universe, but lived in dread of what the
legends tell us. Hence without the study of nature there was
no enjoyment of unmixed pleasures.

13. There would be no advantage in providing security
against our fellow humans, so long as we were alarmed by
occurrences over our heads or beneath the earth or in
general by whatever happens in the boundless universe.

14. When tolerable security against our fellow humans
is attained, then on a basis of power sufficient to afford
supports and of material prosperity arises in most genuine
form the security of a quiet private life withdrawn from the

15. Nature's wealth at once has its bounds and is easy
to procure; but the wealth of vain fancies recedes to an
infinite distance.

16. Fortune but seldom interferes with the wise person;
his greatest and highest interests have been, are, and will
be, directed by reason throughout the course of his life.

17. The just person enjoys. the greatest peace of mind,
while the unjust is full of the utmost disquietude.

18. Pleasure in the body admits no increase when once
the pain of want has been removed; after that it only admits
of variation. The limit of pleasure in the mind, however, is
reached when we reflect on the things themselves and their
congeners which cause the mind the greatest alarms.

19. Unlimited time and limited time afford an equal
amount of pleasure, if we measure the limits of that
pleasure by reason.

20. The body receives as unlimited the limits of
pleasure; and to provide it requires unlimited time. But the
mind, grasping in thought what the end and limit of the body
is, and banishing the terrors of futurity, procures a
complete and perfect life, and has no longer any need of
unlimited time. Nevertheless it does not shun pleasure, and
even in the hour of death, when ushered out of existence by
circumstances, the mind does not lack enjoyment of the best

21. He who understands the limits of life knows how
easy it is to procure enough to remove the pain of want and
make the whole of life complete and perfect. Hence he has no
longer any need of things which are not to be won save by
labor and conflict.

22. We must take into account as the end all that
really exists and all clear evidence of sense to which we
refer our opinions; for otherwise everything will be full of
uncertainty and confusion.

23. If you fight against all your sensations, you will
have no standard to which to refer, and thus no means of
judging even those judgments which you pronounce false.

24. If you reject absolutely any single sensation
without stopping to discriminate with respect to that which
awaits confirmation between matter of opinion and that which
is already present, whether in sensation or in feelings or
in any immediate perception of the mind, you will throw into
confusion even the rest of your sensations by your
groundless belief and so you will be rejecting the standard
of truth altogether. If in your ideas based upon opinion you
hastily affirm as true all that awaits confirmation as well
as that which does not, you will not escape error, as you
will be maintaining complete ambiguity whenever it is a case
of judging between right and wrong opinion.

25. If you do not on every separate occasion refer each
of your actions to the end prescribed by nature, but instead
of this in the act of choice or avoidance swerve aside to
some other end, your acts will not be consistent with your

26. All such desires as lead to no pain when they
remain ungratified are unnecessary, and the longing is
easily got rid of, when the thing desired is difficult to
procure or when the desires seem likely to produce harm.

27. Of all the means which are procured by wisdom to
ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the
most important is the acquisition of friends.

28. The same conviction which inspires confidence that
nothing we have to fear is eternal or even of long duration,
also enables us to see that even in our limited conditions
of life nothing enhances our security so much as friendship.

29. Of our desires some are natural and necessary
others are natural, but not necessary; others, again, are
neither natural nor necessary, but are due to illusory

30. Those natural desires which entail no pain when not
gratified, though their objects are vehemently pursued, are
also due to illusory opinion; and when they are not got rid
of, it is not because of their own nature, but because of
the person's illusory opinion.

31. Natural justice is a symbol or expression of
usefullness, to prevent one person from harming or being
harmed by another.

32. Those animals which are incapable of making
covenants with one another, to the end that they may neither
inflict nor suffer harm, are without either justice or
injustice. And those tribes which either could not or would
not form mutual covenants to the same end are in like case.

33. There never was an absolute justice, but only an
agreement made in reciprocal association in whatever
localities now and again from time to time, providing
against the infliction or suffering of harm.

34. Injustice is not in itself an evil, but only in its
consequence, viz. the terror which is excited by
apprehension that those appointed to punish such offenses
will discover the injustice.

35. It is impossible for the person who secretly
violates any article of the social compact to feel confident
that he will remain undiscovered, even if he has already
escaped ten thousand times; for right on to the end of his
life he is never sure he will not be detected.

36. Taken generally, justice is the same for all, to
wit, something found useful in mutual association; but in
its application to particular cases of locality or
conditions of whatever kind, it varies under different

37. Among the things accounted just by conventional
law, whatever in the needs of mutual association is attested
to be useful, is thereby stamped as just, whether or not it
be the same for all; and in case any law is made and does
not prove suitable to the usefulness of mutual association,
then this is no longer just. And should the usefulness which
is expressed by the law vary and only for a time correspond
with the prior conception, nevertheless for the time being
it was just, so long as we do not trouble ourselves about
empty words, but look simply at the facts.

38. Where without any change in circumstances the
conventional laws, when judged by their consequences, were
seen not to correspond with the notion of justice, such laws
were not really just; but wherever the laws have ceased to
be useful in consequence of a change in circumstances, in
that case the laws were for the time being just when they
were useful for the mutual association of the citizens, and
subsequently ceased to be just when they ceased to be

39. He who best knew how to meet fear of external foes
made into one family all the creatures he could; and those
he could not, he at any rate did not treat as aliens; and
where he found even this impossible, he avoided all
association, and, so far as was useful, kept them at a

40. Those who were best able to provide themselves with
the means of security against their neighbors, being thus in
possession of the surest guarantee, passed the most
agreeable life in each other's society; and their enjoyment
of the fullest intimacy was such that, if one of them died
before his time, the survivors did not mourn his death as if
it called for sympathy.

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