Epicurean Belief System and Conduct of Life
After my lecture on Epicureanism I was asked whether I think that Epicureanism is going to spread again. My answer was two pronged:
In the broad sense there are millions, and maybe billions, of part time unwitting Epicureans spread all over the world.
I call part time unwitting Epicureans all those who don’t know much or anything about Epicurus and his teachings but share, for the most part, the Epicurean belief system and behave most of the time as you’d expect an Epicurean to behave, i.e. they
- think, talk and work honestly
- manage their households rationally
- tend to communal self-sufficiency
- contribute to the sustenance of their smaller or larger communities
- try to make the best out of their lives without harming others
- refuse the use of force and coercion in spreading their ideas
- are tolerant with others’ world views and lifestyles
- do not believe in the force of destiny or supernatural powers
- accept the validity of scientific methods and results
- are reliable and committed friends, partners, parents, coworkers
- are friendly with their friends and polite with everyone else
- respect the written and unwritten laws of the country where they live
- base their interactions on the principles of mutuality and contractuality
In the narrow sense, however, there are no full time practicing Epicureans that I know of, as of 2011. There are no Epicurean schools, no Epicurean education system and no Epicurean communities to teach, practice and cultivate a communal Epicurean conduct of life.
As a member of a long time dormant Italian Epicurean mailing list I was pleasantly surprised these days to see that the members started naming the places where they live and whether they are able and/or willing to host Epicureans so that they can get to know each other personally.
This initiative could even develop one day into something like the Pasporta Servo (Passport Service, the hospitality service for Esperantists) as soon as the Epicureans develop something like a consciously practiced common culture (and choose a common language to interact with Epicureans coming from another linguistic background.)