Sunday, March 13, 2011

Epicurus' "Sovran Maxims": A Summary

Why the fuck are people so obsessed with what happens when you die? Look, once you're dead you can't feel a goddamn thing, so get over it. We have bigger, more important things to worry about: how to live the good. fucking. life. That's it - that's what is important. We're only here for so long, and if we fail to make the most of it, we have wasted our lives.


Some bros think they need billions of drachmas to live a pleasant life, but while they're off chasing money and women and conquest, I'm sitting in a comfortable chair, listening to beautiful music and getting my chess the fuck on with my bros. I'm happy as fuck on a philosopher's income, because it turns out that living the good life is easier than getting Socrates' friends to agree to something. Our very nature which drives us to seek pleasure also makes it easy to attain: we just have to get rid of pain. That's it. Remove anything that causes pain, chill the fuck out, high five everyone because you're awesome; fucking lather, rinse, repeat. The greatest source of pain is fear, and the secret to removing pain is to be wise, honorable, and just.




Wisdom is as important as shit because it lets us get rid of our fears and worries. It doesn't matter how much you have if you don't know how the universe works - if you're always worrying about your shit burning down or a storm ruining your party, or the gods being displeased with you over some bullshit, you'll never be happy; you'll always be wondering, "Did I sacrifice enough today? Was that mid-afternoon drizzle a sign of my imminent doom?" The wise get rid of all the stupid mythological bullshit our ancestors handed down to us; we can tame the elements, turning them to our comfort. Yeah, it's the tits, thanks for asking - but wait, there's more


People hear "The pleasant, pleasurable life is the good life" and they go running off without figuring out what that means. So they get hammered and have rampant, orgiastic sex with tons of hotties while gorging themselves on delicious foods. Yeah, that sounds fucking awesome, and I'm sure it feels great. What bro hasn't dreamed of that life? Except the next day they're hungover, bloated, and have to deal with a bunch of needy women. No pleasure is bad, but sometimes the source of pleasure is the source of even more pain. If you're trying to satisfy the flesh, good fucking luck - it can't be done. There isn't some magic number you have to reach and that's it - the more you feed it, the more it wants; if we can do without a pleasure, and not feel pain in wanting it, then cut it the fuck out; it's not worth the trouble, and eventually you'll regret it. Wisdom tells us what shit we can cut out, so we don't have to deal with those sorts of shenanigans.


Look, you don't have to believe me - let your own sensations be your guide. When have you been happiest? When you don't have shit to worry about. It's easy to think that money or stuff made that happen - sure, peace can be bought at a high enough price for some short time - but wake the fuck up, champ, it's really the security that you're so goddamned tickled about. The wise man knows this, and has control of his pleasures - he doesn't leave shit to chance, to the random dealings of the world, and he knows what he needs and doesn't need. He is rational, he understands the sources of his pain, and he eliminates them.


The wise man doesn't even leave his pleasures to dealings with men he doesn't know or doesn't trust, and that's where justice comes in. Justice is simple - if a deal benefits everyone involved, it's a just deal. Otherwise, no dice. If we do business justly, we make sweet fucking pacts with bros we trust, we secure our future, and we all agree to help each other out in case of need. That way everyone knows not to fuck with me, because my boys have my back and vice versa, and I don't have to worry about shit. Unjust bros betray each other which, whatever, but then they live in perpetual fear of being found out, and to the death they slink around full of worry. Does that sound pleasant? I didn't think so. But when I'm just in my dealings, I sleep like a baby after nursing at the bosom of Venus.


A wise man doesn't fear the elements, and a just man doesn't fear his friends, and an honorable man doesn't fear anything else. Look, I get it, not everyone sees things the way I see them, and not everyone wants what I want. Whatever, bros. But I deal with them honorably, treating them as friends instead of as strangers, and we agree to disagree. What benefit is fighting with them? Why bother antagonizing them? Spite isn't going to make me happy - better to leave them alone, to act honorably and charitably. After all, I have everything I need, and nothing bothers me.


So if you want to be happy, simplify your shit. Make enough money to be comfortable, then get comfortable, you and your best bros, and then live happily in their company for the rest of your goddamn life. When you finally die, they won't mourn you, as if your life was pitiable - they'll celebrate, because you, sir, were a fucking bross.  


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The Sorvan Maxims are actually a summary of Epicurus' philosophy, since we lost much of the original text - they're online, or available on Amazon along with a collection of his other writings and commentary: The Essential Epicurus: Letters, Principal Doctrines, Vatican Sayings, and Fragments

12 comments:

  1. Awesome bro. Keep it up, and keep it real.

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  2. "it turns out that living the good life is easier than getting Socrates' friends to agree to something. "

    fucking brilliant

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  3. Holy crap, every single word of that resonated. I think I have a new favourite philosopher. Thanks, Bro, for bringing that up.

    Hot damn, so this is what enlightenment feels like.

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  4. Thanks for reminding me why I'm an Epicurean :')

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  5. A bross? Does that involve a midget?

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  6. Epicurus was a wise bro.

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  7. This was very informative and extremely amusing, I laughed a lot.
    Thanks for the hard work, you are awesome.

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  8. your apparent extensive knowledge on philosophy paired with your hilarious sense of humor and writing skills would make for a great book.

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  9. Epictetus! One of my favorites cleverly interpreted. Awesome bro.

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    Replies
    1. epicurus. epictetus was a different bro.

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  10. Well done, sir...well done.

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  11. Thanks man. This is helping me a great deal with studying for my exam tomorrow. Keep it up.

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