I’ve been re-reading Some Reflections on Ethics by my friend Ramendra Nath. His chapter on Epicurus is particularly interesting because of it’s discussion of pleasure and happiness.

Happiness, according to Epicurus is found “not so much in positive pleasure as in freedom from pain, and a calm and contented mind.”

Contrary to popular belief, Epicurus didn’t advocate pleasure as the sole goal of life. He was advocating using reason to help make our whole lives happy. To this end, he advocated a simple set of principles, which we can use to guide our decisions to help us lead a happy and contented life.

According to Ramendra, here is Epicurus’ recipe for happiness:

· Pleasure which produces no pain is to be embraced.
· Pain which produces no pleasure is to be avoided.
· Pleasure which prevents a greater pleasure, or produces greater pain is to be avoided.
· Pain which averts a greater pain or secures a greater pleasure is to be endured.

Yup, I think that about covers it.

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