Entertainment / Literature / Epicureanism: The Greek philosophy of Epicurus, who espoused a life of gentle hedonism ameliorated by rational moderation. His idea of epicureanism was so refined as to almost be ascetic. For instance, he urged that pleasures should be best tasted one at a time, and strung out with slow relish. Gorging, over-indulgence, and excess defeated the point because it would lead to future miseries like indigestion, hangover, and exhaustion. Epicurus accordingly argued that the wise hedonist would balance immediate pleasure with long-term comfort. In common modern usage, however, the bit about 'rational moderation' usually gets left out, reducing the philosophy to one of unadulterated pleasure-seeking. Epicurus also advocated avoiding public life or stressful work. In late Roman times, aristocrats adopted and perverted the older Greek Epicurean doctrine. They focused on overindulgence. Food, wine, entertainment, and slave girls became the chief pleasures--and in the later days of the Roman Empire, social phenomena like the vomitorium and the orgy arose. See further discussion under Roman Stoicism. We can see an epicurean influence on Chaucer's 'General Prologue,' where the aging Franklin is described as a son of Epicurus.

Carpe Diem

Entertainment / Literature / Carpe Diem: Literally, the phrase is Latin for 'seize the day,' from carpere (to pluck, harvest, or grab) and the accusative form of die (day). The term refers to a common moral or theme in classical literature t MORE

Roman Stoicism

Entertainment / Literature / Roman Stoicism: The philosophy espoused by Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, 'Roman Stoicism' actually originates with earlier Greek thinkers, a specific school of philosophers that met at the stoa in Athens. Stoicism a MORE