Epicurean Way of Living

James Altucher writes about his goals in life:

My only Goals in life:
A. I want to be happy
B. I want to eradicate unhappiness in my life
C. I want everyday to be as smooth as possible. No hassles.
That’s it. I’m not asking much. I need simple goals, else I can’t achieve them.

Sounds Epicurean. So I researched for it.

Art of Pleasure from Ancient Wisdom Project

Luxurious food and drinks, in no way protect you from harm. Wealth beyond what is natural, is no more use than an overflowing container. Real value is not generated by theaters, and baths, perfumes or ointments, but by philosophy.

– Epicurus

Epicurus was fundamentally a minimalist! In the Tetrapharmakos, Epicurus outlines a four-verse remedy to living a good and happy life:

“Don’t fear god,

Don’t worry about death;

What is good is easy to get, and

What is terrible is easy to endure”

You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself – without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat. For yoga is perfect evenness of mind. – The Bhagavad Gita

“To eat and drink without a friend is to devour like the lion and the wolf.

Of all the means which wisdom acquires to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is friendship.” 

– Epicurus

Mr. Money Mustache: The Modern Epicurean

A primary strategy Mr. Money Mustache advocates is foregoing luxury, not because he thinks they are inherently bad but rather, they don’t actually bring that much pleasure. Things like fancy restaurants, tech gadgets, and nice cars give you very little value for the price you pay.

How unhappy are the lives of men! How purblind their hearts! In what black ignorance and dark peril their small lives are spent! They do not see how little Nature cries out for. She demands only the secession of pain from the body; she requires only that the mind be secluded from anxiety and dread and enjoy feelings of pleasure. We see, then, that few things, all told, are necessary for the body’s well-being— in fact, only those that shut out pain. – Lucretius.

He doesn’t spend all his time outside, of course. But the things he chooses to do for fun are pleasure accessible to everyone. He spends time with his family, reads, learns new skills, writes on his blog, cooks and eats delicious home-made meals. His life seems full and purposeful. He could attempt to spend his way to happiness, as he is fairly wealthy at this point, but his wealth mainly buys him lots of time to enjoy the “simple things in life” (I apologize for the cliché).

He calls bikes the money-printing fountain of youth. He calls nature free entertainment. He says happiness does not come from indulging in luxury products, but from challenging yourself and growing personally. In fact, right now, he is in the process of downsizing his already frugal life to live in a house that is 1,000 square ft. smaller than his current one.





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