The Neo-Epicureans

27 June 2013 at 02:11 | 5391 views

By Robert Grao

Epicureanism is a system of philosophy taught by Epicurus of Samos, a Greek philosopher who lived from 341 till 270 B.C.

Epicurus (photo) believed that the human being’s happiness consists of continually looking for pleasure. For him, pleasure, enjoyment, joy of life is the Supreme Good that assures happiness while pain or suffering is the Supreme Evil which prevents the human being from being happy.

This pleasure should not be limited to the body - sensitive pleasure - but should also be intellectual (or spiritual) covering, in this way, everything about the human being, including what they think and what they feel. Epicurus called this the ataraxia, an expression of the serenity of life. This is his doctrine summarized in a few lines.

Epicurus was not misguided when he said that pleasure is good and that pain is evil to the human being. This is an assertion which anyone at any time in history wouldn’t hesitate to acknowledge. What happens is that human life is very complex and no one can avoid pain and suffering: they appear at any time, especially when someone reaches old age or the end of life.

Today, we can say that Epicurus has got many disciples who follow his doctrine without knowing it; they are those I would call Neo-Epicureans, or new Epicureans. They are those who go after pleasure in their lives and reject pain with all kinds of arguments, and make that attitude one of the fundamental choices in their lives. They are those who justify the death of the innocent baby in the womb of his mother with various pretexts - rape, malformation or danger to the mother’s mental or physical health - and even speak of a mother’s right to kill his son; they are those who are shocked when someone calls this eventual elimination of a human being’s life, murder; those who try to justify euthanasia, which is the death of a human being in terminal situation rather than help and console him with all the soul, etc. Because, let us not deceive ourselves, pain is actually an evil, barely bearable while pleasure is a good thing that gratifies and ennobles human life when it is practised in moderation, of course.

Now, where is the mistake of Neo-Epicureanism? Well, it is a fact that the human being can never avoid pain and he must conform and accept it with more or less resignation, or he doesn’t sometimes conform in any way and he refuses it absolutely. Furthermore, if the human being decides to avoid pain at any price because it is an evil and seeks pleasure above all because it is good, he is moving away from God, he rejects the faith in Jesus Christ and his terribly bloody redemption on the cross and he loses the ability to make sense of this pain or suffering as a way to serenity and salvation, joining it with Christ’s sacrifice.

This explains that, nowadays, many people attempt to justify the murder called abortion, the terrible genocide of our time, the new slavery of some human beings who are deprived of all rights, including the Supreme right to come to this world. I call them the Neo-Epicureans, even though they don’t know that is who they are or they are unaware of it.