A new, public-domain translation of the Letter to Menoikos of Epicurus, including the original Greek text along with notes on the translation. Letter to Menoeceus By Epicurus. Translated by Robert Drew Hicks. Greeting. Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search. Letter to Menoeceus. EpicurllĀ«1 (TranAated by Brad Inwo(Jd and L. R Geraon). Let no one delay the study of philosophy while young nor weary of it when old.

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It is, however, by measuring one against another, and by looking at the conveniences and inconveniences, that all these matters must be judged. In epicjrus, whom do you consider better than someone who holds pious opinions about the gods, who is always fearless in the face of death, who has reasoned out the natural goal of life, and who has understood that the limit of good things is easy to fulfill and easy to achieve, whereas the limit of bad things is either short-lived or causes little pain?

And he considers it better to be rationally unfortunate than irrationally fortunate, since ro is better for a beautiful choice to have the wrong results than for an ugly choice to have the right results just by chance. This web edition published by eBooks Adelaide. It is the starting-point of every choice and of every aversion, and to it we come back, inasmuch as we make feeling the rule by which to judge of every good thing. No keywords specified fix it. Having been born, to pass through the gates of Hades as soon as possible.

I have chosen “the standard of how that thing affects us” as a more neutral translation. Someone who says that the time to love and practice wisdom has not yet come or has passed is like someone who says that the time for happiness has not yet come or has passed.

Rein Gold – unknown. By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. A Friendly Letter of Complaint. And since pleasure is our first and native good, for that reason we do not choose every pleasure whatsoever, but will often pass over many pleasures when a greater annoyance ensues from them.

But in the world, at one time people shun death as the greatest of all evils, and at another time choose it as a respite from the evils in life. Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not.

Believe about him whatever may uphold both his blessedness and his immortality. Destiny which some introduce as sovereign over all things, he laughs to scorn, affirming rather that some things happen of necessity, others by chance, others through our own agency. He who has a clear and certain understanding of these things will direct every epicudus and aversion toward securing health of body and tranquillity of mind, seeing that this is the sum and end of a happy life.


Therefore, both old mehoeceus young alike ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come. When we are pained because of the absence of pleasure, then, and then only, do we feel the need of pleasure.

Giulio Einaudi Editore, and of A. Discussion Summary on Epicurus. Foolish, therefore, is the person who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect. The one holds out some faint hope that we may escape if we honor the gods, while the necessity of the naturalists is deaf to all entreaties.

Therefore, both old and young ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in ldtter that, while he is young, he ldtter at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come.

I lean toward the former interpretation. Sign in Create an account. If he speaks only in jest, his words are foolishness as those who hear him do not believe.

Thus we need pleasure only when we are in pain caused by its absence; but when we are not in pain then we have no need of pleasure. There is also some sort of base line necessities that everyone needs and the goal of having these necessities is the live happy and with pleasure.

And because this is the primary and inborn good, we do not choose every pleasure. For the end of all our actions is to be free from pain and fear, and, when once we have attained all this, the tempest of the soul is laid; seeing that the living creature has no need to go in search of something that is lacking, nor to look anything else epiccurus which the good of the soul and of the body will be fulfilled.

So practice these and similar things day and night, by yourself and with a like-minded friend, and you will never be disturbed whether waking or sleeping, and you will live as a god among men: The wise man does not deprecate life nor does he fear the cessation of life. Exercise yourself in these and kindred precepts day and night, both by yourself and with him who is like to you; then never, either in waking or in dream, will ,enoeceus be disturbed, but will live as a god among people.


Yet the wise man does not dishonor life since he is not set against it and he is not afraid to stop living since he does not consider that menoedeus be a bad thing. Wherefore we call pleasure the alpha and omega of a blessed life. For a pleasant life is produced not by drinking and endless parties and enjoying boys and women and consuming fish and other delicacies of an extravagant table, but by sober reasoning, searching out the cause of everything we accept or reject, and driving out opinions that cause the greatest trouble in the soul.

Discussion summary on : Epicurus Letter to Menoeceus

Other translators understand it as applying to “most people” from the previous sentence, with the sense that most people assume that immortal beings so different from themselves must letteg to interfere in human affairs.

It is proper to make all these decisions through measuring things side by side and looking at both the advantages and disadvantages, for sometimes we treat a good thing as bad and a bad thing as good. Immortality, Authenticity, and Living Forever in the Present. And we consider many pains to be better than pleasures, if we experience a greater pleasure for a long time mmenoeceus having endured those pains.

Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus – PhilPapers

We tried to quantify it as how long one could go without it. So death, the most terrifying of evils, is nothing to us, because as long as we exist death is not present, whereas when death is present we do not exist.

The things that most people say about the gods are based on false assumptions, not a firm grasp of the facts [ note ], because they say that the greatest goods and too greatest harms come from the gods.

Oxygen would be the most necessary and then water, food, shelter and so on. Epicurus in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy. Request removal from index.

Letter to Menoeceus / by Epicurus; translated by Robert Drew Hicks

Our every action is done so that we will not be in pain or fear. One group member brought up the idea of how addictions form. Not the person who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them is truly impious.

We must remember that the future is neither wholly ours nor wholly not ours, so that neither must we count upon it as quite certain to come nor despair of it as quite certain not to come.