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SpaceDog

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Epicureanism & Dudeism
« on: August 20, 2011, 05:09:09 AM »
It seems that a lot of Dudeist thoughts are based on the East side of town. Which is cool, which is cool but it seems that Duders are neglecting the Greeks & Romans somewhat.

If Dudes want to dig on the Western side of the tracks, here's a good place to start:

http://www.epicurus.net/
« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 05:10:53 AM by Reverend Dog »
"Those who realize their folly are not true fools" - Chuang Tzu

Rev. Marcus

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2012, 01:45:50 PM »
I agree, here's another good epicurean link: newepicurean.com

forumdude

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 01:40:02 AM »
Actually we regularly cite Epicurus and Lao Tzu as the main examples of ancient Dudeists. Maybe we need to add him to the Great Dudes in History page. I've been lazy about updating that.
I'll tell you what I'm blathering about...

Rev. Marcus

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 12:36:14 PM »
Dudely,

First off, you're doing a fucking fabulous job with everything. My thing is that before I even knew about or watched the big lebowski, I delved very deep into both Taoism and Epicureanism as my main guides in life which is why I was ecstatic to hear about Dudeism! But , well, you know after being privy to lots of epicurean shit I , uh, you know know think there's more to be said about it man.

For instance, the Tetrapharmakos (Four fold cure) has to do with how to attain ataraxia (pleasure through the absence of pain). Here is the tetrapharmakos:

1 - Don't fear gods or any supernatural retribution.
2 - Don't fear death because it is nothing to us.
3 - Happiness is easy to obtain
4 - Suffering is either chronic and bearable or acute and only lasts a short while, therefore don't fear pain.

In his own words:

Doctrine 1. Any being which is happy and imperishable neither has trouble itself, nor does it cause trouble to anything else.  A perfect being does not have feelings either of anger or gratitude, for these feelings exist only in the weak.

Doctrine 2. Death is nothing to us, because that which is dead has no sensations, and that which cannot be sensed is nothing to us.

Doctrine 3. The limit of quantity in pleasures is the removal of all that is painful.  Wherever pleasure is present, as long as it is there, there is neither pain of body nor of mind, nor of both at once.

Doctrine 4. Bodily pain does not last continuously.  The most intense pain is present only for a very short time, and pain which outweighs the body’s pleasures does not continue for long.  Even chronic pain permits a predominance of pleasure over pain.

Dudeist translation:

1 - Can't be worried about supernatural shit man. Fuck it!
2 - Life is short, just take it easy man. worried about death? Fuck it!
3 - That rug really ties the room together man. I'm content, Fuck it!
4 - Well, you know... The dude abides!

Also, Epicurus values friendship above all other virtues and had a celebration every 20th day of each month... the first 4/20?

It says in the abide guide that Epicurus may not have been ok with the dude smokin a j, but one of Epicurus' maxims are:

Doctrine 10. If those things which debauched men consider pleasurable in fact put an end to the fears of the mind, and of the heavens, and of death, and of pain; and if those same pleasures taught us the natural limits of our desires, we would have no reason to blame those who devote themselves to such pursuits.

Fuck man, Shit has come to light...

forumdude

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 09:59:23 PM »
marcus, you're the manifesto maker for our time and place! how about writing an article for the dudespaper? or even better, an essay for lebowski 101? there's still time and we could use a well researched article on epicurus and the dude.

www.dudeism.com/lebowski-101
I'll tell you what I'm blathering about...

Rev. Marcus

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 08:55:24 AM »
Far out... thanks man, I think I will submit some stuff. I'd be honored to contribute to dudeism, which IS the religion for our time and place. I personally know the guy who runs newepicurean.com and he can fact check all my shit cause he's a scholar.

BikerDude

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 12:31:58 PM »
The thing about all the eastern philosophies is that they always seem (on face value) so about the self.
Consider
Quote
Doctrine 1. Any being which is happy and imperishable neither has trouble itself, nor does it cause trouble to anything else.  A perfect being does not have feelings either of anger or gratitude, for these feelings exist only in the weak.

Doctrine 2. Death is nothing to us, because that which is dead has no sensations, and that which cannot be sensed is nothing to us.

Doctrine 3. The limit of quantity in pleasures is the removal of all that is painful.  Wherever pleasure is present, as long as it is there, there is neither pain of body nor of mind, nor of both at once.

Doctrine 4. Bodily pain does not last continuously.  The most intense pain is present only for a very short time, and pain which outweighs the body’s pleasures does not continue for long.  Even chronic pain permits a predominance of pleasure over pain.
Completely about the "self".
I understand that the ethos is mostly driven by experience which of course reduces to the self.
But I do find myself missing the Greeks.
Aristotle and Socrates.
The republic and Aristotle's stuff about virtue.
I just find the limits of self enlightenment.
I don't have a problem with me. But when it comes to Rug pissers and nihilists......
There is the rub said the Bard.


« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 12:34:03 PM by BikerDude »

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Rev. Marcus

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2012, 01:03:15 PM »
Dudely, I sent my submission to Lebowski 101, I hope you dig it man.

It's titled : Epicurus' place in the Yin-Yang of Dudeism

and meets the criteria coming in at 1300 words.

Keyword Density (for fun):

epicurus 16 (11%)
dude 13 (9%)
man 11 (7%)
pain 10 (7%)
time 7 (5%)
happiness 7 (5%)
pleasure 7 (5%)
easy 7 (5%)
things 6 (4%)
dudeism 5 (3%)

Rev. Marcus

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2012, 01:11:05 PM »
BikerDude,

I hear ya man... but only half of Epicureanism is about the self... the other big emphasis is on friendship, for example:

Doctrine 27. Of all the things which the wise man seeks to acquire to produce the happiness of a complete life, by far the most important is the possession of friendship.

Doctrine 39. He who desires to live tranquilly without having anything to fear from other men ought to make them his friends.  Those whom he cannot make friends he should at least avoid rendering enemies, and if that is not in his power, he should avoid all dealings with them as much as possible, and keep away from them as far as it is in his interest to do so.

BikerDude

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2012, 02:26:35 PM »
BikerDude,

I hear ya man... but only half of Epicureanism is about the self... the other big emphasis is on friendship, for example:

Doctrine 27. Of all the things which the wise man seeks to acquire to produce the happiness of a complete life, by far the most important is the possession of friendship.

Doctrine 39. He who desires to live tranquilly without having anything to fear from other men ought to make them his friends.  Those whom he cannot make friends he should at least avoid rendering enemies, and if that is not in his power, he should avoid all dealings with them as much as possible, and keep away from them as far as it is in his interest to do so.

Yeah but it still stands it on it's ear.
It's still about the person possessing friendship and friends as a route to tranquility.
Primarily concerned with the self.
I find that eastern philosophy use the experience as an entry to everything. Total introspection.
Siddhartha at the riverside finding himself a part of everything. It all goes from there.
Granted one does arrive at a humanism but it feels like an outgrowth of personal concerns.
Whereas the Greeks were fundamentally concerned with the individuals relation to others.
Aristotelian philosophy is entirely a function of an individual's relation to others.
The emphasis on ethics and virtue for instance.
Aristotle is pretty cool about that.
Virtue and vice being extremes with Virtue being that which is benificial and vice that which is corrosive.
I like the way the Greeks make a concrete science of this stuff. Like "go ahead and live with envy but as sure as 2+2 equals 4 it will hurt you. Living with the weight of being angered by other's success is absolutely corrosive."
I can dig ethics like that. It takes a god out of it and makes it a science.
Quote
with respect to acting in the face of danger,
courage is a mean between
the excess of rashness and the deficiency of cowardice;

with respect to the enjoyment of pleasures,
temperance  is a mean between
the excess of intemperance and the deficiency of insensibility;

with respect to spending money,
generosity is a mean between
the excess of wastefulness and the deficiency of stinginess;

with respect to relations with strangers,
being friendly is a mean between
the excess of being ingratiating and the deficiency of being surly; and

with respect to self-esteem,
magnanimity  is a mean between
the excess of vanity and the deficiency of pusillanimity.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 02:41:26 PM by BikerDude »

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BikerDude

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2012, 11:55:24 AM »
Quote
   Aristotle explores the connection of courage to friendship and loyalty to comrades. The man of good character, according to Aristotle, "does many acts for the sake of his friends and his country, and if necessary dies for them; for he will throw away both wealth and honors and in general the goods that are objects competition, gaining for himself nobility."18. Aristotle sees in the soldier's courage an active risk taking for the sake of the good. Action and choice are distinguishing marks of good character.

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Rev. Marcus

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 02:37:45 PM »
Aristotle, like socrates and plato were just plain wrong... man

http://newepicurean.com/?page_id=2533

http://socyberty.com/philosophy/where-aristotle-went-wrong/

The real Greek father's of modern science were, Democritus, Epicurus and Lucretius who were followers of the "atomic" theory of the universe. Aristotle treat objects like ideas man!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 03:31:39 PM by Rev. Marcus »

Rev. Marcus

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2012, 02:48:17 PM »
Quote
   Aristotle explores the connection of courage to friendship and loyalty to comrades. The man of good character, according to Aristotle, "does many acts for the sake of his friends and his country, and if necessary dies for them; for he will throw away both wealth and honors and in general the goods that are objects competition, gaining for himself nobility."18. Aristotle sees in the soldier's courage an active risk taking for the sake of the good. Action and choice are distinguishing marks of good character.

So do people do these things because they have "good character?" Hardly! Every action can be traced to either wanting pleasure, avoiding pain, or enduring pain for a greater pleasure. Does one die for a friend because of a "virtue" or because of the pleasure it gives them to sacrifice themselves for the beloved friend? Do soldiers sacrifice themselves for a "virtue" or because they know they are protecting thier country? Only dishonest fools hide behind made-up virtues to make themselves a barrier against their true motives. There is no vice and virtue... no good or evil... only pleasure and pain... and these are the unconscious informants of our behavior... dude...

Rev. Marcus

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Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 02:55:05 PM »
Norman DeWitt covered several important basics in Chapter 1 of Epicurus and His Philosophy:

“While it was in the role of moral reformer that Epicurus felt himself absolved from the duty of reverence for his predecessors, it was in the role of natural scientist that he became the antagonist of Platonism in particular.  It was his choice to revive the tradition of Ionian science, which had been interrupted by Socrates and Plato.

A few details will suffice to amplify this statement.  Greek philosophy had made its advances in two separate areas and exhibited two general trends; the earlier was confined to cities of the Aegean Sea, the later to cities of southern Italy.  The former trend was observational and speculative, the latter mathematical and contemplative.  The Aegean Greeks were familiar with all the industrial techniques of the time, such as spinning, felling, fermentation, ceramics, and metallurgy, and they were acute observers of seasons, climates, winds, waters, and storms.  Obsessed by the phenomenon of universal change combined with permanence of the whole, they devoted themselves to the task of discovering the unchanging something that underlay all changing things.  After propounding and rejecting or improving one solution after another, they finally arrived at the belief that the ultimate existences were invisible and indivisible bodies, which they called atoms.  It was this atomic theory that Epicurus espoused and revived.

The Greeks of Italy, on the contrary, were not greatly interested in physical change or in natural processes.  They were addicted to the sitting posture.  In art they are represented as comfortably seated with a slender rod or radius in the hand, with which they draw figures on a sanded floor.  Counters and writing tablets are also at hand.  The advances made by them were in the domains of geometry and arithmetic and these advances were so remarkable as to capture the imagination of the contemporary world and to overshadow for a time the progress which had been made by their Ionian brethren.  Geometry in particular, though itself a positivistic study, inspired in the minds of men a new movement that was genuinely romantic.

It was the romantic aspect of the new knowledge that captivated Plato, who was no more than up-to-date as a mathematician himself.  In geometry he seemed to see absolute reason contemplating absolute truth, perfect precision of concept joined with finality of demonstration.
He began to transfer the precise concepts of geometry to ethics and politics just as modern thinkers transferred the concepts of biological evolution to history and sociology.  Especially enticing was the concept which we know as definition.  This was a creation of the geometricians; they created it by defining straight lines, equilateral triangles, and other regular figures.  If these can be defined, Plato tacitly reasoned, why not also justice, piety, temperance, and other virtues? This is reasoning by analogy, one of the trickiest of logical procedures.  It holds good only between sets of true similars.  Virtues and triangles are not true similars.  It does not follow, therefore, because equilateral triangles can be precisely defined, that justice can be defined in the same way.  Modern jurists warn against defining justice; it is what the court says it is from time to time.

The deceptiveness of analogy, however, does not prevent it from flourishing, and Plato committed himself to the use of it unreservedly.  In this he was abetted by a happy coincidence.  The method of analysis by question and answer, developed by Socrates recently before, commended itself as the very technique that was needed for the quest of definitions in the domain of ethics.  By disposition Socrates was a gifted actor, staging semiprivate theatricals before small groups.  As for Plato, in an earlier age he might have become a dramatist.  Thus it is not astonishing that the fruit of their joint invention was the dramatization of logic which is called dialectic, best exemplified by the Platonic dialogues.

Yet this was only the beginning.  One false step invites another.  The quest of a definition, of justice, for example, presumes the existence of the thing to be defined.  If equilateral triangles did not exist, they certainly could not be defined.  Assume that justice can be defined and at once it is assumed that justice exists just as equilateral triangles exist.  Hence arose Plato’s theory of ideas.  The word idea means shape or form and he thought of abstract notions as having an independent existence just as geometrical figures exist, a false analogy.

The theory of ideas was rejected as an absurdity by the young Epicurus, because he was a materialist and denied all existences except atoms and space.  The theory once rejected, the instrument became useless; scientists have no use for dramatized logic; they depend chiefly upon their senses.

Plato became guilty of another error upon which the sharp-eyed Epicurus did not fail to place a finger.  From Pythagoras was inherited the belief in the repeated rebirth or transmigration of souls.  Along with this went the belief that the body was a tomb or prison-house, which blurred the vision of reason and prevented perfection of knowledge.  All that the human being perceived was the transient appearance of things as opposed to the eternal ideas.  This to Epicurus was virtually skepticism.

This error, moreover, was compounded and also aggravated.  Closely allied to geometry was the study of astronomy.  The latter, in turn, required the observation of heavenly bodies.  Thus Plato was in the position of assuming the validity of sensation in the case of the remoter phenomena and denying it in the case of the nearer terrestrial phenomena.  This was a glaring inconsistency.

The aggravation consisted in the belief that circular motion, which was in those days ascribed to heavenly bodies, was the only perfect and eternal motion and identifiable with Reason itself.  Reason, in turn, was identified with the divine nature.  Therefore the planets were declared to be gods.  This seemed both shocking and absurd to Epicurus; shocking because it meant having more gods to fear, absurd because august gods were assumed to become hurtling balls of fire.

These criticisms, plainly explicit or implicit in the writings of Epicurus, were as stinging and penetrating as any to be urged against Platonism in antiquity, and to men of the Academy they seemed nothing short of blasphemy.”

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Re: Re: Epicureanism & Dudeism
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 06:54:25 PM »
Biker Dude and rev Marcus,
Thanks for this. This debate put a lot of strands in the old Duders head. My thinking about the Greeks, beyond Donnie, has been way too uptight. I'm going to do some more reading on epicurean philosophy. Can you suggest a good entry point text?
The dad abides.

 

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