Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I'm now thoroughly convinced that Epicureanism is THE antidote for the malaise we are experiencing in the present and will continue to experience especially in the US--the stress that stems largely from inequality, poverty, a sense of helplessness, lack of control, and the rest of the negative aspects of being at the bottom or middle of the status pole (where more and more people now or will find themselves). The strivers and achievers could benefit from this philosophy, but would largely find it mostly irrelevant.
The following article, which is hidden behind a paywall on the NY Times, so I have pasted the entire essay, summarizes the negative effect on health that comes from a feeling of low self esteem. Neuroscience research is clearly finding the link between brain malfunctioning caused by a socioecomic anxiety and physical maladies.
We are not going to shrink this gap like Finland has done largely because of its homogeneity. Instead we must learn to live with it, which is where Epicureanism comes in. There is an industry of self help books, videos, talks etc., but our alternative offers the greatest potential for offsetting the debilitating effects of inequality.
Can the general populace come to embrace Eism like Christianity and other forms of supersitition, which requires a fair amount of sophistication? Can it be made more digestible to the masses, or will it only be available to a few well educated elites?
We should think seriously about our philosophy as therapy ( a la Martha Nussbaum). Our way lies the truth and the light, but how to spread it is daunting, made all the more formidable since the conventional usage of the term is associated with fine dining--jut the opposite of what we are proposing.