Saturday, 21 November 2009

Stoicism & Epicureanism

I've just been reading about the tenets of Stoicism, and realised that it broadly expresses my views on things. The idea of aligning one's will to that of the universe; the idea that both good and evil reside in the human soul, and are not intrinsic properties of matter; the focus on the here and now. I am not a determinist, but other than that, Stoicism makes a lot of sense to me.

Apparently Epicureanism, which also attracts me in some ways, was a rival school to Stoicism. Epicurus said that the highest pleasure (tranquility and freedom from fear) was obtained by knowledge, friendship and living a virtuous and temperate life. He lauded the enjoyment of simple pleasures - though these included refraining from bodily desires (well that's no fun at all).

Perhaps the opposition between the two schools was partly because Stoicism was rationalist and Epicureanism was empiricist.

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