During my early morning walk I heard Russian choir on radio WORT http://www.wort-fm.org/ . It was ravishing, it made my day.
It turned out what I actually heard was ‘ ‘Ravishingly Russian’ http://www.msrcd.com/catalog/cd/MS1311
No Epicurean is, should, or can be a great fan of Aristotle but we all are in the habit of quoting him. For instance on what he said about habit: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”
I am sorry to admit that I am no exception in my Epicurean happiness guide “From Pain to Pleasure: The Proven Pathway to Happiness” , in the just published paperback edition, too…
Because it is a misquote. I have just found it out from Jules Evans in an article entitled Fake quotes he published on Sunday, 18 December 2011 in his blog.
I also found out from Jules’ blog entry that I am not alone with this misquote. Others widely misquote, too, and not only Aristotle but also John Stuart Mill, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi.
Commenting on Jules’ article Greg Linser refers us to ‘Falser Words Were Never Spoken’ by Brian Morton, published in the New York Times who mentions Henry James, George Eliot, Picasso “all of them are being kept alive in popular culture through pithy, cheery sayings they never actually said.”
From now on I guess I’d better stick to quoting people I know firsthand, like myself:
“Check the source before you quote, or you risk to misquote and be exposed.”
Jules Evans, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Greg Linser, Brian Morton, New York Times, , From Pain to Pleasure: The Proven Pathway to Happiness, Henry James, George Eliot, Picasso
Finally, I can accommodate the wish of those friends of mine who demanded a paperback book they can lay back with on the sofa and read leisurely, instead of having to sit in front of their computer, or to print out the eBook.
My friends can buy the little funny Epicurean happiness guidance “From Pain to Pleasure: The Proven Pathway to Happiness” I wrote with my wife as a paperback either form Amazon or directly from my own eStore, also powered by Amazon through CreateSpace.
I encourage my friends to buy from my eStore, as the royalties paid by Amazon are less than one dollar per sold copy and will not contribute substantially toward paying my huge hospital bills.
I have also reminded my friends that life is too short to spend any minute of it worrying or stressing out ourselves and others and that stress can be deadly. (If they want to have the facts, they can read my stress report – downloadable for free here.)
The one question most people stress out over every year in December is “What presents to make whom?” Those of my friends who have not made a decision yet should seriously consider buying my little funny Epicurean happiness guidance “From Pain to Pleasure: The Proven Pathway to Happiness” as it it is the ideal present they can give anybody you love and care for, including their precious selves.
If they are on a lower budget this year, they can still get the downloadable eBook version for half of the price of the paperback here
In addition, they can still download the first chapter for free here
The most precious present I received came from my oncologist: as per last medical checkup: I am still cancer-FREE, no recurrence so far.
I gave a talk on Epicurus’s life, teachings, and influence in August this year in Madison, Wisconsin. The professional young man who made the video recording lost most of it. My son edited the footage I recorded myself from a silly angle and he uploaded the first two parts – Epicurus’s life and teachings – to his ownYouTube channel as it is 34 minutes long and I cannot upload to my own channel anything longer than 15 minutes.
As for the third part, Epicurus’s influence, I still have the slides and the sound recording and I plan to make more slides and record a presentation at home.
My recommendation to my friends was this year to enjoy every single day of their remaining lives in leisurely stress-FREEDOM, quoting Epicurus: “We have been born once and cannot be born a second time; for all eternity we shall no longer exist. But you, although you are not in control of tomorrow, are postponing your happiness. Life is wasted by delaying, and each one of us dies without enjoying leisure.”
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The Greek philosophers defined “happiness” as “the consequence of a deed and they drew two conclusions from this insight:
- first: if happiness consists of the fulfilling of human possibilities then there must be broadly applicable rules for attaining it.
- second: in this case we can “learn happiness” by following these rules.
They stressed rather the process and not one or the other event. A happy life meant for them a contented life a life lived in harmony with their values and tastes. The core elements of happiness were:
- inner peace and freedom (in the sense of not being disturbed by passions)
- physical and psychological independence
How did they achieve this state?
The ancient Greeks strongly believed in practice: “everything is practice” – they used to say. Philosophers ran in fact “happiness schools” to train the mind of their students. They believed that insight helped only when people were trained to apply it. Their goal was to form the student’s character so that he would live a happier and more balanced life. The key was the purposeful repetition of certain experiences.
The central thought of classical philosophy about happiness is today still valid and corroborated by modern science, especially neurobiology: positive feelings are not a matter of destiny. We can and must strive for them.
Do not confuse this concept of happiness with the modern – and unrealistic – idea interpreting it as a pleasure without a history and without costs.
You can find the results of modern scientific research on happiness in Stefan Klein’s book: The science of happiness. http://www.stefanklein.info/en/index_en.html
See also: http://www.gluecksformel.de/links.html – lots of relevant links, most of them in German but some also in English
Stephen Greenblatt, the author of “The Swerve” talking about the Epicurean attitude to pleasure, about Lucretius’s poem and about the Epicurean Thomas Jefferson in an interview with Charlie Rose:
the full interview (23 min): http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11977
a 5 minutes cut:
Here’s an idea for a bit more stress-FREEDOM in your life: