A new, public-domain translation of the Letter to Menoikos of Epicurus, including the original Greek text along with notes on the translation. Letter to Menoeceus By Epicurus. Translated by Robert Drew Hicks. Greeting. Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search. Letter to Menoeceus. EpicurllĀ«1 (TranAated by Brad Inwo(Jd and L. R Geraon). Let no one delay the study of philosophy while young nor weary of it when old.

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Sometimes we treat the good as an evil, and menieceus evil, on the contrary, as a good. The text provided here generally follows that of Hermann Usener as published in his Epicureawith some attention paid to the texts of G. Given that desires can be lerter are unique to each individual, at what point does it transition from being a unnecessary desire to a necessary one? There is also some sort of base line necessities that everyone needs and the goal of having these necessities is the live happy and with pleasure.

Some translators understand it as applying to “the gods” from the previous sentence, with the sense that the gods would not interfere in human affairs because they don’t care about “consider as alien” mortal creatures who are so different from themselves. Plain fare gives as much pleasure as a costly diet, when once the pain of want has been removed, while bread and water confer the highest possible pleasure when they are brought to hungry lips.

Who, then, is superior in your judgment to such a man? It is not impious to deny the gods that most people believe in, but to ascribe to the gods what most people believe. If he believes what he says, why doesn’t he depart from life?

Not the person who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them is truly impious. When we say, then, that pleasure is the end and aim, we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality, as we are understood to do by some through ignorance, prejudice, or willful misrepresentation.

I have chosen “the standard of how that thing affects us” as a more neutral translation. Believe about him whatever may uphold both his blessedness and his immortality. This is why we say that pleasure is the beginning and the end of a completely happy life. One group member brought up the idea of how addictions form.

Therefore wisdom is a more precious thing even than philosophy ; from it spring all the other virtues, for it teaches that we cannot live pleasantly without living wisely, honorably, and justly; nor live wisely, honorably, and justly without living pleasantly.

Arrighetti as published in Lletter Opere Torino: For no menoeceuw is too early or too late for the health of the soul. And since pleasure is our first and native good, for that reason we do not choose every pleasure whatsoever, but will often pass over many pleasures when a greater annoyance ensues from them.


Letter to Menoikos, by Epicurus

The group started off with a simple answer: There is nothing terrifying in life to someone who truly understands that there is nothing terrifying in the absence of life. But in the world, at one time men shun death as the greatest of all evils, and at another time choose it as a respite from the evils in life. He holds a holy belief concerning the gods, and is altogether free from the fear of death. To an addict, at first the narcotics they use are unnecessary and after some time it becomes necessary to them.

When we are pained because of the absence of pleasure, then, and then only, do we feel the need of pleasure. Dear Human – unknown. For man loses all semblance of mortality by living in the midst of immortal blessings.

Epicurus – Letter to Menoeceus

Just as he does not choose the greatest amount of food but the most pleasing food, so he savors not the longest time but the span of time that brings the greatest joy.

For a pleasant life is produced not by drinking and endless parties and enjoying boys and women and consuming fish and other delicacies of an extravagant table, but by sober reasoning, searching out the cause of everything we accept or reject, and driving out opinions that cause the greatest trouble in the soul.

Yet the wise man does not dishonor life since he is not set against it and he is not afraid to stop living since he does not consider that to be a eepicurus thing. Sometimes we treat the good as an evil, and the evil, on the contrary, as a good. Science Logic and Mathematics. Find it on Scholar. It were better, indeed, to accept the legends of the gods than to bow beneath that yoke of destiny which the natural philosophers have imposed.

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Letter to Menoikos

When we say, then, that pleasure is the end and aim, epicuurus do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality, as we are understood to do by some through ignorance, prejudice, or willful misrepresentation. The things that most people say about the mmenoeceus are based on false assumptions, not a firm grasp of the facts [ note ], because they say that the greatest goods and the greatest harms come from the gods. For since they are at home with what is best about themselves, they accept that letteer is similar and consider alien that which is different.

For the utterances of the multitude about the gods are not true preconceptions but false mehoeceus hence it is that the greatest evils happen to the wicked and the greatest blessings happen to the good from the hand of the gods, seeing that they are always favorable to their own good qualities and epicutus pleasure in people like to themselves, but reject as alien whatever is not of their kind.


Denis Diderot – – New York: Although “the standard of experience” is one possible translation, that swings in the opposite direction of empiricism. Much worse is he who says that it were good not to be born, but when once one is born to pass with all speed through the gates of Hades.

Letter to Menoeceus

If he speaks only in jest, his words are foolishness as those who hear him do not believe. And often we consider pains superior to pleasures when submission to the pains for a long time brings us as a consequence a greater pleasure.

Accustom yourself to believing that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply the capacity for sensation, and death is the privation of all sentience; therefore a menoeces understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life a limitless time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality.

Epicurus in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy. Second, train yourself to hold that death is nothing to us, because good and evil consist in sensation, and death is the removal of menooeceus. Nor does he hold chance to be a god, as the world in general does, for in the acts of a god there is no disorder; nor to be a cause, though an uncertain one, for he believes that no good or evil is dispensed by chance to men so as to make life blessed, though it supplies the starting-point of great good and great evil.

It is simpleminded meoeceus advise a young person to live well and an old person to die well, not only because life is so welcome but also because it is through the very same practices that one both lives well and dies well.

Of those that are necessary, some are necessary for happiness, some for health, and some for life itself.

Thus we need pleasure only when we are in pain caused by its absence; but when we are not in pain then we have no need of pleasure.

For memoeceus virtues have grown into one with a pleasant life, and a pleasant life is inseparable from them. So Epicurus says some desires are necessary and some an unnecessary. Wherefore we call pleasure the alpha and omega of a blessed life.

Of all this the beginning and the greatest good is wisdom.