duminică, 12 februarie 2012

Epicurus: Pure Pleasure and Knowledge of Universe


It is impossible for someone to dispel his fears about the most important matters if he doesn’t know the nature of the universe but still gives some credence to myths, So without the study of nature there is no enjoyment of pure pleasure (Epicurus, Principal Doctrines, 12)

Because Epicurus holds that the right pleasures are especially the natural and necessary ones, an impure pleasure would be one that contradicts less or more naturalness and necessity.

It is also supposed that we feel pleasure, but also we can recognize ‘the most important matters’. They would come in the range of unnaturalness and possibility.

What kind of recognition? It can be that of apprehending the limits of nature and necessity we reach in our possession of pleasures.  

Thus, they are limits of our own person, if we consider pleasures as expressions of our individuality. Unnaturalness and possibility are outside us and come from the innermost feelings of individuality. If both of them become problems to be solved by the knowledge of the nature of universe, then it derives that the universe we place above us as the source of naturalness and necessity has its subjective origins in the contrary values.

Closer to us is the myth, which appears as a spontaneous reliance on what is higher than us. The myth will immediately embody the empty space left by the knowledge of the limits of our individuality.

Our fears raise from the knowledge of myths, but fears proves themselves to be other ways of expression of the same individuality as that affirmed in feelings of pleasure.

The myth creates a mythological world and that is the world closest to us. Therefore, if it is cleaned by the religious senses, the primary world of men is that that allows a chain of stories, places and incomprehensible facts, as it is currently known from the experience of life. The possibility and lack of naturalness lays in our contacts with other men.

On the other side, the knowledge of universe Epicurus recommends will stay outside of us, since it is acquired through ignoring the primary recognition of our limits, which we see manifested by fears.

If the knowledge of universe comforts our feeling of pleasure, it will do by an amputation of our natural tendency to come out of our individuality till to its limits. If it is adopted in the frame of individualistic feeling of pleasure, it still jeopardizes the free recognition of our limits.

When the man claims the possession of the basic truths about the nature of universe, he will be ever bent to shape the domain of the possible and unnaturalness he meets in his life among others according to the naturalness and necessity. It results that is an inadequate way of apprehending life.

The knowledge of universe can remain adequate only in the province of a closed subjectivity or, as Epicurus says, as a pure pleasure.