To begin with, let’s get our concepts clear. What exactly does ‘Epicurean’ mean? It means ‘ pursuit of pleasure, especially in reference to food, comfort and other luxuries. All the concepts in the Epicurean Lifestyle are based on the teachings of ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus. He strongly believed that living a life full of simplicity was the way to achieve all the pleasures and comfort.
Is it worth knowing these principles and applying them in our life? Accepting this theory is a relative concept, you may agree with it, while others may wholly or partially disagree. The Epicurean doctrine asks us a straightforward question:
Where are you heading towards? All these hardships that you endure, where are they going to lead you?
And finding answers to this is probably what living this theory is. A lot of things that we have in our lives are definite add-ons. But are they “Value add-ons”? Take a simple example, you have four members in your family, and you own a home with 6 bedrooms. You slogged day and night, not able to devote time to your family, to make sure you achieve this state of comfort for yourself and your family. But are you really happy? Do you have that peace of mind? Or would it be better if you had a smaller but happier and connected home?
The Epicurean theory tries to emphasise on the need to adopt simplicity to live happily – which is the ultimate goal of humans. We can opt for a simpler, more easier to adopt a lifestyle that will allow us to look around, enjoy and assimilate the real pleasures of life.
Another example that is most relevant to us is Social media. Are we addicted to it? Yes. Can keep ourselves from continually updating? No. Is it really necessary? We say yes. Can we do without it? We say No, but in reality, we can. Social media, internet connectivity, are luxuries. Luxuries without which, we can survive happily. But are we ready to give it up? We’re bonded by it. We are enslaved by it.
This is not real happiness. True happiness is within yourself. You have to be able to sustain yourself even alone. Your happiness should not be dependent on the presence or absence of anything or yet, anyone. When we get habituated to unnecessary pleasures in life, we suffer anguish and pain when these pleasures are taken away from us.
Though this theory states that your pleasure is the ultimate goal, it also says that there are a manner and way in which your pleasure can be achieved. You love to smoke. It gives you pleasure. It gives you that high feeling which nothing else can give. So what, do you smoke? No, you don’t. Because this is a pleasure that is bundled with pain. It does not add any good to your life, which is why the Epicurean theory does not support such kind of painful pleasures.
In today’s world, there will be very few takers of the Epicurean lifestyle, because as the theory states, we are so used to unnecessary comforts and pleasure in life, that the mere thought of giving them up or of them being snatched away, brings in fear, pain, anger and a host of negative feelings.
Adopting the Epicurean lifestyle is tough. It’s a challenge. Are you up for it?