Epicurus (341-271 BC) was a philosopher of Ancient Greece, the founder of "Epicureanism" - a philosophical system that proclaims the pleasure gained through the practice of virtue as man's only superior good.
Epicurus was born on the island of Samos, Greece, in the year 341 BC. From an early age he became interested in philosophy. He attended the classes of Platonic philosopher Pfilo.
When he was 18, he traveled to Athens, where he listened to the teachings of Xenocrates, Plato's successor at the Academy. After several trips taught in Mytilene, Lampsaca.
In 306 BC he returned to Athens and bought a property and founded his own school which he called the "Garden", where he formed a community in which he lived with friends and disciples.
Preached a good relationship between teacher and student. He was a pessimistic philosopher, but a smiling pessimist.
He preached that life is at most a tragedy. That we are not the children of God, but the stepchildren of nature. "We are born and live by chance." "After death there is no other life."
Epicurus did not believe in immortality. "Why fear death and hell if the soul is but a set of atoms that disintegrate with the body?"
Historians assume that Epicurus was the first man in history to suggest Darwinian theory. He wrote an extraordinarily modern sketch of the evolution of the species 2,300 years before Darwin.
According to scholars, epicureanism is essentially the philosophy of Greece in crisis, and meant a moral for people afraid of the world, from which it fled to confine itself to narrow selfishness.
In Epicurus' philosophical system it was man's duty to make his present life as good as possible, where the supreme good is in pleasure.
Epicurus appears in history as the philosopher of pleasure, the quietest pleasures of thought. For him, the supreme good is in the authentic pleasure obtained through the practice of virtue, as the only supreme good of man.
He preached that the wise should turn away from the impetuous desires, full of violence and anguish, should avoid the erotic or political passions that will be sources of pain.
Men must disentangle themselves from fear of the gods and ambitions to obtain the rational and moderate use of pleasures.
According to Epicureanism, man must cultivate the happiness of the simple life. Learn to enjoy the little you have and avoid the excitement of craving more.
Epicurus' philosophy is based on the pleasure of friendship. For him, man should develop the talent of acquiring friends. He said, "You cannot be happier than when you share your happiness with your friends."
Epicurus proved to be such a devoted friend because he was a selfish man and preached the doctrine of selfishness, but an enlightened selfishness based on the rule of giving and taking:
“You must give pleasure in order to receive pleasure. You should not inflict any injury if you do not wish to suffer any injury. Live and let live, for the most sensitive way to be selfish is not to be selfish. You will be your best friend by being a good friend to others. ”
For epicureanism men should not fear death and hell if the soul is but a set of atoms that disintegrate with the body.
Epicurus elaborated on physics, astronomy, meteorology, theology and ethics, but from his work only three letters and a collection of moral sentences and aphorisms are known.
Epicurus passed away in Athens, Greece, in the year 271 a. W.