Tired of that daily digital grind? Want to take a different approach to life? Why not try out these awesome tips from the Ancient Greek self-help guru Epicurus!
First a little background information. Epicurus was a Philosopher who lived from 341 BC until 270 BC. He founded a school of thought known (unsurprisingly!) as Epicureanism. The basic idea of Epicureanism is that what is ‘good’ brings us pleasure and what is ‘bad’ brings us pain. The theory has received a lot of bad press over the past couple of thousand years – Some have argued that Epicurus encouraged us all to be hedonists, drinking and having sex all the time. That might not be such a bad theory, but it’s not Epicureanism! Let’s take a closer look at what he actually said…
‘Everything we do is for the sake of freedom from pain and anxiety. Once this is achieved, the storms in the soul are stilled. Nothing else and nothing more are needed to perfect the well-being of the body and soul’
Epicurus thought that the main reason people are unhappy in life is because they worry too much. We are haunted by big questions about Death and God. And on an everyday level, we worry about work, what to have for dinner, what to watch on TV, what clothes to wear, what the next car we want to buy is etc. Epicurus came up with a simple solution. Relax! Once we realize that none of these things matter as much as we think they do, we can free ourselves from all that pain and anxiety and get on with the truly important things in life!
“Of all things that wisdom provides for living one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.”
Epicurus thought that Friendship is essential to happiness. Material things like money can only get us so far – It is Friendship and companionship that bring us a special kind of happiness. Epicurus set up a school called ‘The Garden’ where his friends lived and studied together – It kind of reminds me of the Lomography community, a group of great people sharing ideas!
The Simple Life
‘Understand that true wealth is having what you really need for a happy life and you will find out how easy it is to be completely satisfied; mistakenly believe that wealth consists in possessing all that one could possibly imagine and dream up and there will never be an end to your toil and sweat’
Epicurus believed that we don’t need lots of material things to be happy – We just need a few essentials. Beyond these necessities like sufficient food, water and shelter, we don’t need anything to have a rewarding life – Epicurus said that “It is better for you to be free of fear lying upon a bed of straw, than to have a golden couch and a lavish table and be full of trouble”. So it’s the way we think about the world and the people we surround ourselves with that are the most important things, not the material possessions we own.
Obviously there are objections that can be raised to Epicurus’ ideas but, all in all, it seems like a refreshingly simple way of thinking about life and happiness in these hectic modern times. We don’t need all the technology around us to enjoy life – The important things are easy to get, nothing to worry about and priceless! There may not be anything radical in this view, but Epicurus’ theory is all too easily forgotten amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday existence in the 21st Century – So take heed and follow his lead, leave that Digital grind behind and join us in making the 10 Prophecies of the Analogue Future come true!