One of the most famous philosophies of the Hellenistic world is epicureanism. This manner of thinking exposes the following.
While pleasure is its intrinsic good and pain its worst evil, it is ultimately based upon sensation. The things we feel are reality. No sensation is ever bad because it is in the end part of our nature. However, we don’t live a life purely out of our senses or else we would just be dumb animals doing things without purpose. This is where reason comes in.
Reason allows us to know that pleasure is our final good for which we endeavor and pain is the greatest evil from which we flee from. Therefore, all pleasures are good, but not all are convenient because some bring greater pain than the pleasure itself. For example, getting drunk might provide pleasure, but the hangover delivers a greater pain. Pleasures that don’t last are not worth seeking and sometimes painful things bring pleasant rewards, like working to satisfy needs.
The best life worth living is the one that is free from all pains, even the pain of want. Hence those who know how to limit their desires and through reason avoid pain or sacrifice some pleasures to gain better ones, have become perfect in living a pleasant life. Also those who have been freed from fear of death, fears of the mind of celestial and atmospheric phenomena (gods, the invisible, the immaterial, and eternity), and fear of pain truly understand a pleasant life.
You cannot have pleasure without living wisely, honorably, and justly and vice versa. The flesh has no limit in receiving pleasure so the mind when it uses reason establishes the limit by comprehending bodily pleasures. Pleasures of the grandest type are those alike to friendship, knowledge, music, and so on.
I don’t agree with this philosophy. As I said in Eudaimonia?, we must not believe something just because it sounds pretty or benevolent to our ears. Living according to pleasures that enhance our reason and lives can be challenging, due to the mere fact that we try to do everything for pleasure. If real pleasure comes when free from pain, then that becomes a potentially dangerous lifestyle. Pleasure in itself is not wrong, but living for and by it is.
I know epicureans intend to establish a balance that clearly shows that someone who kills for pleasure is not understanding pleasure because he is not living honorably, wisely, or justly. However, I believe it is impossible to not fall into some sort of “extreme” sin when you live about through pleasures. I think that most human beings will find it hard to not do something stupid with this way of thought as their doctrine. A good example is today’s society. Another example is watching pornography, does it cause annoyance or pain? Actually, many people today find it very pleasant and unlike drinking, it has no “hangover” unless you are married. Someone could limit themselves in their lusty eyes and find a “balance” in that sin, have pleasure, and still live honorably, wisely, and justly in nowadays popular reasoning.
See, let’s not go to far, the mere fact that this philosophy encourages you to lose consciousness of God to deliver you of worries and fear of Him, is already taking you the wrong way. Perhaps the very studious and experts of epicureanism might mock me in these words, but this is how I understand this philosophy; it’s dumb. I know it is not “as” hedonist as the Cyrenaic philosophy, but it is still hedonist. I have said it many times before, living just through our reason to do or find whatever, will limit us to never understand the wonders of the universe.
Just as saying that there is no immaterial realm, even science is disproving that. Atoms do form the universe, but it is invisible and immaterial energy that brings them together. Beliefs can vary here, but I believe that this energy is the power of God’s voice. Anyway, all of this to say that an epicurious way of life is one that ignores God and injures Him with undeniable sinful ways that derive from different sensations that proportion different lasting and non-lasting pleasures. In the end, the only true eternal pleasure is the certainty that you have pleased God, of course Epicurus would deny this last statement.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; Romans 8:5-6
That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. Luke 8:14