Philosophy in 300 B.C.
Philosophy in 300 B.C era became more focused on the art of living. This was because of the Peloponnesian war and the fall of the city of Athens by the Roman Empire, the people of Athens response to this was hopelessness. After the war Greek civilians felt a loss of purpose in their existence and their ability to control their lives socially and politically was steadily diminishing. These historically significant events is what brought up the philosophical theories of life that some disoriented Athenians came to adopt and live by in order to feel more in control, which was Epicureanism and Stoicism.
Epicureanism was founded by Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, his philosophy focused on an ideal for living through what they called ataraxia (102) meaning the tranquility of the soul. The basis for the creation of things was over the atomic theory, meaning objects were made of atoms. This helped to bring an understanding to life by Epicurus implying that God was not the creator of nature or things in general. This meant people had no greater being to fear, the individual had sole power over their own destiny. This was not an excuse for people to spoil themselves in their greeds but for us to have control over them. Epicurus concluded that pleasure was the standard of goodness (104) Our pleasures guides us to a happy life, and these pleasures were distinguished as natural or necessary. Epicureanism states that certain pleasures can never be fully satisfied, causing unhappiness in one’s life but a wise person is able to recognize how much one needs of their pleasures to be content in life. By measuring your desires, this could lead a person into repose which meant there was no pain in one’s life but pure bliss.
This could be achieved by scaling down desires, overcoming useless fears, and above all, turning to the pleasure of the mind.(105) Epicurus believed repose symbolized as what to be the ultimate pleasure in life.
Alike epicureanism, the stoics focused on happiness but not by means of pleasures but by wisdom. Wisdom in stoicism meant the ability to control one’s emotions and accept what is out of our control. We cannot control all events but we can control our attitude towards what happens.(106) Stoicism states that God is in everything; he is reason and controls everything in nature, giving purpose to all things that occur. The stoic theory of knowledge laid a foundation for their materialistic theory of nature and it provided the basis for their conception of truth.(107) In other words, our experiences and senses as an individual, gives us knowledge that forms our perception of life. Anything that gives us an impression or feelings has to hold some sort of materialistic form, proving God is that materialistic form that is providing us wisdom.
The wise person is the one who knows and accepts his or her role (110) Understanding these principles helped people accept that if we eliminate jealousy and hate towards negative events in our lives we can develop apathy and obtain blissfullness.
Both theories have an efficient method to attain happiness in life but I feel that Epicureanism is a more effective approach to the ultimate goal in life, happiness. I chose Epicureanism on the facts of the atomic theory, I agree that anything physically existing is made of atoms and I also believe that God is not the one controlling your life. That is where stoicism disagrees, they believe God controls our destiny while we just are filling in the position. In my opinion this ideology is close minded in the idea of God being the only authority in a humans life from birth till death. Another weakness that I believe to be in stoicism is where our wisdom comes from. I agree that we acquire knowledge from our experiences in life but not by the supervision of God only.
Epicurism is a philosophy which stresses the importance of training one’s desires’. (Stoicism vs. Epicureanism 2018) From my viewpoint the main idea of Epicureanism is more superior way of living over stoicism because if an individual can achieve this goal then all the points I argued in this essay will follow. I believe if an individual can fully grasp the concept of training one’s desires this will allow us to stay humble and not in greed, then we will experience events as wholesome person would and attain their own wisdom as we should. In conclusion, epicureanism is a more guaranteed way to guide a person to happiness.