Epicurus Quotes

Epicurus (341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher who founded a highly influential school of philosophy now called Epicureanism.

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia—peace and freedom from fear—and aponia—the absence of pain—and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends.

May these Epicurus Quotes on many subjects inspire you to never give up and keep working towards your goals. Who knows—success could be just around the corner.

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Epicurus

[A] right understanding that death is nothing
to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not because it adds to it
an infinite span of time, but because it takes away the craving for
immortality. For there is nothing terrible in life for the man who has
truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living. – Epicurus

Of all the means which are procured by wisdom to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends. – Epicurus, Principal Doctrines

[Our aim is] neither to achieve the impossible, even by force, nor to maintain a theory which is in all respects similar either to our discussions on the ways of life or to our clarifications of other questions in physics, such as the thesis that the totality [of things] consists of bodies and intangible nature, and that the elements are atomic, and all such things as are consistent with the phenomena in only one way. This
 – Epicurus, The Epicurus Reader

A beneficent person is like a fountain watering the earth, and spreading fertility; it is, therefore, more delightful to give than to receive. – Epicurus

A free life cannot acquire many possessions, because this is not easy to do without servility to mobs or monarchs. – Epicurus

A free man cannot acquire many possessions, because this is no easy feat without becoming a hireling of mobs or dynasts. And yet he has a constant abundance of everything, and if he should chance to gain many possessions, he could easily portion them out so as to win his neighbors’ good will. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

A man who causes fear cannot be free from fear. – Epicurus

A strict belief in fate is the worst of slavery, imposing upon our necks an everlasting lord and tyrant, whom we are to stand in awe of night and day. – Epicurus

Accustom yourself to believe that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply awareness, and death is the privation of all awareness; therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life an unlimited time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality. For life has no terror; for those who thoroughly apprehend that there are no terrors for them in ceasing to live. – Epicurus, Stoic Six Pack 3

Accustom yourself to the belief that death is of no concern to us, since all good and evil lie in sensation and sensation ends with death. Therefore the true belief that death is nothing to us makes a mortal life happy, not by adding to it an infinite time, but by taking away the desire for immortality. For there is no reason why the man who is thoroughly assured that there is nothing to fear in death should find anything to fear in life. So, too, he is foolish who says that he fears death, not because it will be painful when it comes, but because the anticipation of it is painful; for that which is no burden when it is present gives pain to no purpose when it is anticipated. Death, the most dreaded of evils, is therefore of no concern to us; for while we exist death is not present, and when death is present we no longer exist. It is therefore nothing either to the living or to the dead since it is not present to the living, and the dead no longer are. – Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus

Against other things it is possible to obtain security, but when it comes to death we human beings all live in an unwalled city. – Epicurus

All friendship is desirable in itself, though it starts from the need of help. – Epicurus

All other love is extinguished by self-love; beneficence, humanity, justice, philosophy, sink under it. – Epicurus

All sensations are true; pleasure is our natural goal. – Epicurus

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. – Epicurus, Letters to Herodotus and to Menoeceus

Any device whatever by which one frees himself from fear is a natural good. – Epicurus

Any device whatever by which one frees himself from the fear of others is a natural good. – Epicurus

Any man who does not think that what he has is more than ample, is an unhappy man, even if he is the master of the whole world. – Epicurus

As if they were our own handiwork, we place a high value on our characters. – Epicurus

Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance. – Epicurus

Being happy is knowing how to be content with little – Epicurus

Both old and young alike ought to seek wisdom: the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come. – Epicurus

Epicurus Quotes

But the universe is infinite.- Epicurus

By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. – Epicurus, Stoic Six Pack 3

Contented poverty is an honorable estate. – Epicurus

Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist. – Epicurus

Death is meaningless to the living because they are living, and meaningless to the dead… because they are dead. – Epicurus

Death is nothing to us, because a body that has been dispersed into elements experiences no sensations, and the absence of sensation is nothing to us. – Epicurus, Principal Doctrines

Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not. – Epicurus

Death is nothing to us. When we exist, death is not; and when death exists, we are not. All sensation and consciousness ends with death and therefore in death there is neither pleasure nor pain. The fear of death arises from the belief that in death, there is awareness. – Epicurus

Death is nothing to us: for after our bodies have been dissolved by death they are without sensation, and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us. And therefore a right understanding of death makes mortality enjoyable, not because it adds to an infinite span of time, but because it takes away the craving for immortality.

Death is nothing to us: for that which is dissolved is without sensation; and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us. – Epicurus

Death means nothing to us. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Death, the most dreaded of evils, is therefore of no concern to us; for while we exist death is not present, and when death is present we no longer exist. – Epicurus

Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and when death is come, we are not. – Epicurus

Do everything like someone is gazing at you. – Epicurus

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. – Epicurus

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. – Epicurus

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you have was once among the things you only hoped for. – Epicurus

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. – Epicurus

Empty is the argument of the philosopher which does not relieve any human suffering. – Epicurus

Epicurus as a moral empiricist felt that our immediate feelings are far more cogent and authoritative guides to the good life than abstract maxims, verbal indoctrination, or even the voice of reason itself. Hence he based his ethics on nature, not on convention or on reason. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Fools are tormented by the memory of former evils; wise men have the delight of renewing in grateful remembrance the blessings of the past. We have the power both to obliterate our misfortunes in an almost perpetual forgetfulness and to summon up pleasant and agreeable memories of our successes. But when we fix our mental vision closely on the events of the past, then sorrow or gladness ensues according as these were evil or good. – Epicurus, Stoic Six Pack 3

For a wrongdoer to be undetected is difficult; and for him to have confidence that his concealment will continue is impossible. – Epicurus

For if death is we are not,if we are death is not – Epicurus

Fortune seldom troubles the wise man. Reason has controlled his greatest and most important affairs, controls them throughout his life, and will continue to control them. – Epicurus

Freedom is the greatest fruit of self-sufficiency. – Epicurus

Furthermore, the universe consists of bodies in the void. That bodies do exist, our senses attest to; they also permit us to reason about what is beyond our perception. If there were nothing like the void, the empty space, a realm beyond what we can touch, then there would not be any room to locate bodies, to have them move the way we see them moving…Also the universe does not limit the amount of atoms it contains on the expanse of the Void…And what is more, there is an infinite number of Worlds, whether they resemble ours or not. – Epicurus

Gratitude is a virtue that has commonly profit annexed to it. – Epicurus

Happiness is man’s greatest aim in life. Tranquility and rationality are the cornerstones of happiness. – Epicurus

He who doesn’t find a little enough will find nothing enough. – Epicurus

He who has peace of mind disturbs neither himself nor another. – Epicurus

He who is not satisfied with a little is satisfied with nothing. – Epicurus

He who least needs tomorrow, will most gladly greet tomorrow. – Epicurus

He who needs riches least, enjoys riches most. – Epicurus

He who says either that the time for philosophy has not yet come or that it has passed is like someone who says that the time for happiness has not yet come or that it has passed. – Epicurus

He who understands the limits of life knows that it is easy to obtain that which removes the pain of want and makes the whole of life complete and perfect. Thus he has no longer any need of things which involve struggle. – Epicurus

How unhappy are the lives of men! How purblind their hearts! – Epicurus

I am grateful to blessed Nature, because she made what is necessary easy to acquire and what is hard to acquire unnecessary. – Epicurus, The Epicurus Reader

I am writing this not to many, but to you: certainly we are a great enough audience for each other. – Epicurus

I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know they do not approve, and what they approve I do not know. – Epicurus

I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding. – Epicurus

I spit upon luxurious pleasures, not for their own sake, but because of the inconveniences that follow them. – Epicurus

I was not, I was, I am not, I care not. – Epicurus

I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind. – Epicurus

I would rather be first in a little Iberian village than second in Rome. – Epicurus

If a little is not enough for you, nothing is. – Epicurus

if a person fights the clear evidence of his senses he will never be able to share in genuine tranquillity. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

If a person fights the clear evidence of his senses he will never be able to share in genuine tranquillity. In other words, a person who doubts his senses will either lose contact with the reality of the surrounding world, like the Skeptics, and become psychologically isolated and insecure, or he will fall prey, as do the religionists, to theological explanations which do not allay anxiety but foment it. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

If death causes you no pain when you’re dead, it is foolish to allow the fear of it to cause you pain now. – Epicurus

If death is we are not, if we are death is not. – Epicurus

If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. – Epicurus

If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. – Epicurus

If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires. – Epicurus

If you shape your life according to nature, you will never be poor; if according to people’s opinions, you will never be rich. – Epicurus

If you summarily rule out any single sensation and do not make a distinction between the element of belief that is superimposed on a percept that awaits verification and what is actually present in sensation or in the feelings or some percept of the mind itself, you will cast doubt on all other sensations by your unfounded interpretation and consequently abandon all the criteria of truth. On the other hand, in cases of interpreted data, if you accept as true those that need verification as well as those that do not, you will still be in error, since the whole question at issue in every judgment of what is true or not true will be left intact. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

If you wish to make Pythocles rich, do not add to his store of money, but subtract from his desires. – Epicurus

If you wish to make Pythocles wealthy, don’t give him more money; rather, reduce his desires. – Epicurus

If you would enjoy real freedom, you must be the slave of Philosophy. – Epicurus

In a philosophical dispute, he gains most who is defeated, since he learns most. – Epicurus

Injustice is not evil in itself, but only in the fear and apprehension that one will not escape those who have been set up to punish the offense. – Epicurus

It is better for you to be free of fear lying upon a pallet, than to have a golden couch and a rich table and be full of trouble.
 – Epicurus

It is better for you to be free of fear lying upon a pallet, than to have a golden couch and a rich table and be full of trouble. – Epicurus

It is impossible for someone to dispel his fears about the most important matters if he doesn’t know the nature of the universe but still gives some credence to myths. So without the study of nature there is no enjoyment of pure pleasure. – Epicurus

It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living pleasantly. – Epicurus, Principal Doctrines

It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly. And it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life. – Epicurus

It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and honorably and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely and honorably and justly without living pleasantly. Whenever any one of these is lacking, when, for instance, the man is not able to live wisely, though he lives honorably and justly, it is impossible for him to live a pleasant life. – Epicurus

It is not an unbroken succession of drinking-bouts and of merrymaking, not sexual love, not the enjoyment of the fish and other delicacies of a luxurious table, which produce a pleasant life; it is sober reasoning, searching out the grounds of every choice and avoidance, and banishing those beliefs through which the greatest disturbances take possession of the soul. – Epicurus, Stoic Six Pack 3

It is not possible for a man to banish all fear of the essential questions of life unless he understands the nature of the universe and unless he banishes all consideration that the fables told about the universe could be true. Therefore a man cannot enjoy full happiness, untroubled by turmoil, unless he acts to gain knowledge of the nature of things. – Epicurus

It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us. – Epicurus

It is not so much our friends help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. – Epicurus

It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth. – Epicurus

It is not the young man who should be considered fortunate but the old man who has lived well, because the young man in his prime wanders much by chance, vacillating in his beliefs, while the old man has docked in the harbor, having safeguarded his true happiness. – Epicurus

It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men all live in a city without walls. – Epicurus

It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls. – Epicurus

It’s a great thing learning how to die. – Epicurus

Justice has no independent existence; it results from mutual contracts, and establishes itself wherever there is a mutual engagement to guard against doing or sustaining mutual injury. – Epicurus

Justice is a contract of expediency, entered upon to prevent men harming or being harmed. – Epicurus

Justice is never anything in itself, but in the dealings of men with one another in any place whatever and at any time. It is a kind of compact not to harm or be harmed. – Epicurus

Justice… is a kind of compact not to harm or be harmed. – Epicurus

Launch your boat, blessed youth, and flee at full speed from every form of culture. – Epicurus

Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. – Epicurus

Let no one delay the study of philosophy while young nor weary of it when old. – Epicurus

Let no young man delay the study of philosophy, and let no old man become weary of it; for it is never too early nor too late to care for the well-being of the soul. – Epicurus

Let nothing be done in your life, which will cause you fear if it becomes known to your neighbor. – Epicurus

Live in obscurity–lathe biōsas (λάθε βιώσας) – Epicurus

Live your life without attracting attention. – Epicurus

Luxurious food and drinks, in no way protect you from harm. Wealth beyond what is natural, is no more use than an overflowing container. Real value is not generated by theaters, and baths, perfumes or ointments, but by philosophy. – Epicurus

Man was not intended by nature to live in communities and be civilized. – Epicurus

Many friends are the key to happiness. – Epicurus

Meditate then, on all these things, and on those things which are related to them, both day and night, and both alone and with like-minded companions. For if you will do this, you will never be disturbed while asleep or awake by imagined fears, but you will live like a god among men. For a man who lives among immortal blessings is in no respect like a mortal being. – Epicurus

Men are so thoughtless, nay, so mad, that some, through fear of death, force themselves to die. – Epicurus

Men inflict injuries from hatred, jealousy or contempt, but the wise man masters all these passions by means of reason. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Men, believing in myths, will always fear something terrible, everlasting punishment as certain or probable . . . Men base all these fears not on mature opinions, but on irrational fancies, that they are more disturbed by fear of the unknown than by facing facts. Peace of mind lies in being delivered from all these fears. – Epicurus

Misfortune seldom intrudes upon the wise man; his greatest and highest interests are directed by reason throughout the course of life. – Epicurus

Moreover, the universe as a whole is infinite, for whatever is limited has an outermost edge to limit it, and such an edge is defined by something beyond. Since the universe has no edge, it has no limit; and since it lacks a limit, it is infinite and unbounded. Moreover, the universe is infinite both in the number of its atoms and in the extent of its void. – Epicurus

Most beautiful is the sight of those near and dear to us when our original kinship makes us of one mind. – Epicurus

Most men are in a coma when they are at rest and mad when they act. – Epicurus

My garden does not whet the appetite; it satisfies it. It does not provoke thirst through heedless indulgence, but slakes it by proffering its natural remedy. Amid such pleasures as these have I grown old. – Epicurus

Natural justice is a compact resulting from expediency by which men seek to prevent one man from injuring others and to protect him from being injured by them. – Epicurus

Natural justice is a covenant for mutual benefit, to not harm one another or be harmed. – Epicurus, Principal Doctrines

Natural wealth is limited and easily obtained; the wealth defined by vain fancies is always beyond reach. – Epicurus

Nature’s wealth is limited and easy to acquire; but the wealth of vain fancies recedes to an infinite distance. – Epicurus, Principal Doctrines

Necessity is an evil; but there is no necessity for continuing to live subject to necessity. – Epicurus

Neither one should hesitate about dedicating oneself to philosophy when young, nor should get tired of doing it when one’s old, because no one is ever too young or too old to reach one’s soul’s healthy. – Epicurus

Never say that I have taken it, only that I have given it back. – Epicurus

No pleasure is evil in itself; but the means by which certain pleasures are gained bring pains many times greater than the pleasures. – Epicurus

Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance. – Epicurus

Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little. – Epicurus

Nothing is sufficient for the person who finds sufficiency too little. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Of all the gifts that wise Providence grants us to make life full and happy, friendship is the most beautiful. – Epicurus

Of all the means to insure happiness throughout the whole life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends. – Epicurus, A Guide To Happiness

Of all the things that wisdom provides for the happiness of the whole man, by far the most important is the acquisition of friendship. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Of all the things which wisdom provides to make life entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship. – Epicurus

Of all things which wisdom provides to make life entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship. – Epicurus

One who understands the limits of the good life knows that what eliminates the pains brought on by need and what makes the whole of life perfect is easily obtained, so that there is no need for enterprises that entail the struggle for success.
 – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Only the just man enjoys peace of mind. – Epicurus

All things are in flux, – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Pleasure and pain moreover supply the motives of desire and of avoidance, and the springs of conduct generally. This being so, it clearly follows that actions are right and praiseworthy only as being a means to the attainment of a life of pleasure. But that which is not itself a means to anything else, but to which all else is a means, is what the Greeks term the telos, the highest, ultimate or final Good. – Epicurus, Stoic Six Pack 3

Pleasure is our first and kindred good. It is the starting point of every choice and of every aversion, and to it we always come back, inasmuch as we make feeling the rule by which to judge of every good thing. – Epicurus

Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily. Epicurus taught: Pleasure, defined as freedom from pain, is the highest good. – Epicurus

Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily. – Epicurus

Pleasure is the first good. It is the beginning of every choice and every aversion. It is the absence of pain in the body and of troubles in the soul. – Epicurus

Remember that the future is neither ours nor wholly not ours, so that we may neither count on it as sure to come nor abandon hope of it as certain not to be. – Epicurus

Riches do not exhilarate us so much with their possession as they torment us with their loss. – Epicurus

Self-sufficiency is the greatest of all wealth . – Epicurus

Send me a pot of cheese, so that I may be able to indulge myself whenever I wish. – Epicurus

Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempest. – Epicurus

Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. – Epicurus

So death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist. It does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more. – Epicurus

So long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist. – Epicurus

Some men spend their whole life furnishing for themselves the things proper to life without realizing that at our birth each of us was poured a mortal brew to drink. – Epicurus, The Essential Epicurus

Stranger, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure. – Epicurus

Thanks be to blessed Nature that she has made what is necessary easy to obtain, and what is not easy unnecessary. – Epicurus

The acquisition of riches has been for many men, not an end, but a change, of troubles. – Epicurus

The art of living well and the art of dying well are one. – Epicurus

The blessed and indestructible being of the divine has no concerns of its own, nor does it make trouble for others. It is not affected by feelings of anger or benevolence, because these are found where there is lack of strength. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

The conquest of fear, especially fear of unaccountable divine beings who meddle in nature at will, means a reduction in the sum total of human pain and suffering and opens the door to the calm acceptance of a new picture of the world—a world in which nature is autonomous and where there are ideal beings who never meddle. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

The cry of the flesh bids us escape from hunger, thirst, and cold; for he who is free of these and expects to remain so might live in happiness even with Zeus. – Epicurus, Vatican Sayings [Annotated]

The flesh believes that pleasure is limitless and that it requires unlimited time; but the mind, understanding the end and limit of the flesh and ridding itself of fears of the future, secures a complete life and has no longer any need for unlimited time. – Epicurus

The flesh endures the storms of the present alone, the mind those of the past and future as well as the present. – Epicurus

The flesh endures the storms of the present alone, the mind those of the past and future as well. – Epicurus

The fool, with all his other faults, has this also, he is always getting ready to live. – Epicurus

The fool’s life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future. – Epicurus

The greater difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. – Epicurus

The greater the Difficulty the more Glory in surmounting it, and the loss of false Joys secures to us a much better Possession of real ones. – Epicurus

The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. – Epicurus

The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it. – Epicurus

The greatest fruit of self-sufficiency is freedom. – Epicurus, The Essential Epicurus

The guilty man may escape, but he cannot be sure of doing so. – Epicurus

The honor paid to a wise man is a great good for those who honor him. – Epicurus

The impassive soul disturbs neither itself nor others. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

The just person enjoys. the greatest peace of mind, while the unjust is full of the utmost disquietude. – Epicurus, Principal Doctrines

The knowledge of sin is the beginning of salvation. – Epicurus

The magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the removal of all pain. When pleasure is present, so long as it is uninterrupted, there is no pain either of body or of mind or of both together. – Epicurus, Principal Doctrines

The man least dependent upon the morrow goes to meet the morrow most cheerfully. – Epicurus

The man who says that all events are necessitated has no ground for critizing the man who says that not all events are necessitated. For according to him this is itself a necessitated event. – Epicurus, Epicurus: Letters Principal Doctrines and Vatican Sayings

The mind that is much elevated and insolent with prosperity, and cast down with adversity, is generally abject and base. – Epicurus

The misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool. – Epicurus

The most important consequence of self-sufficiency is freedom. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

The noble man is chiefly concerned with wisdom and friendship; of these, the former is a mortal good, the latter and immortal one. – Epicurus, Letters and Sayings of Epicurus

The noble soul occupies itself with wisdom and friendship. – Epicurus

The pleasant life is not produced by continual drinking and dancing, nor sexual intercourse, nor rare dishes of sea food and other delicacies of a luxurious table. On the contrary, it is produced by sober reasoning which examines the motives for every choice and avoidance, driving away beliefs which are the source of mental disturbances. – Epicurus

The purpose of all knowledge, metaphysical as well as scientific, is to achieve what Epicurus called ataraxia, freedom from irrational fears and anxieties of all sorts—in brief, peace of mind. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

The risings and settings of the sun, the moon, and the other heavenly bodies may come about from the lighting up and quenching of their fires…; for nothing in our sensory experience runs counter to this hypothesis. Or the said effects may be caused by the emergence of these bodies from a point above the earth and again by the earth’s position in front of them; for nothing in our sensory experience is against this.45 Here two alternative explanations of risings and settings are offered; both are of equal value and equally true, since neither is contradicted by anything in our experience. On the contrary, we have all seen fires die down from lack of fuel, and lights obscured or blacked out by objects coming in front of them. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

The summit of pleasure is the elimination of all that gives pain. – Epicurus

The term “incorporeal” is properly applied only to the void, which cannot act or be acted on. Since the soul can act and be acted upon, it is corporeal. – Epicurus

The things you really need are few and easy to come by; but the things you can imagine you need are infinite, and you will never be satisfied. – Epicurus

The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd. – Epicurus

The time when you should most of all withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd. – Epicurus

The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure; but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity. – Epicurus

The wise man neither rejects life nor fears death… just as he does not necessarily choose the largest amount of food, but, rather, the pleasantest food, so he prefers not the longest time, but the most pleasant. – Epicurus

The wise man thinks of fame just enough to avoid being despised. – Epicurus

The wise man who has become accustomed to necessities knows better how to share with others than how to take from them, so great a treasure of self-sufficiency has he found. – Epicurus, Epicurus: Letters Principal Doctrines and Vatican Sayings

The wise man who has become accustomed to necessities knows better how to share with others than how to take from them, so great a treasure of self-sufficiency has he found. – Epicurus

The words of that philosopher who offers no therapy for human suffering are empty and vain. – Epicurus

There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men. – Epicurus

There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men in their various relations with each other, in whatever circumstances they may be, that they will neither injure nor be injured. – Epicurus

There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men. – Epicurus

There is no such thing as justice or injustice among those beasts that cannot make agreements not to injure or be injured. This is also true of those tribes that are unable or unwilling to make agreements not to injure or be injured. – Epicurus

There is nothing terrible in life for the man who realizes there is nothing terrible in death. – Epicurus

Therefore, foolish is the man who says that he fears death, not because it will cause pain when it arrives but because anticipation of it is painful. – Epicurus

Those desires that do not bring pain if they are not satisfied are not necessary; and they are easily thrust aside whenever to satisfy them appears difficult or likely to cause injury. – Epicurus

Those who tell the young man to live well and the old man to die well is nothing but a fool, not only for what life has in happiness to both young and old, but also for one must be careful in live honestly as well as die honestly. – Epicurus

Thus that which is the most awful of evils, death, is nothing to us, since when we exist there is no death, and when there is death we do not exist. – Epicurus

To be rich is not the end, but only a change, of worries. – Epicurus

To eat and drink without a friend is to devour like the lion and the wolf. – Epicurus

Today the doctrine of metaphysical free will appears to us as one of those archaic relics of traditional religion that Epicurus and Lucretius should have done their utmost to combat. Moral freedom and determinism are by no means incompatible. Man is himself a causal agent in nature and is morally responsible when he acts freely, i.e., from his own settled character and in his own capacity as an individual, provided he is exempt from external force or pressure. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Tranquil pleasure constitutes human beings’ supreme good – Epicurus

Two of Epicurus’s early influences, Democritus and Pyrrho, had actually journeyed all the way to what is now India, where they had encountered Buddhism in the schools of the gymnosophists. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Unlike at the Academy or the Lyceum, women, some of them concubines and mistresses, as well as a few slaves, joined the conversation; further, many of the students here had arrived without academic credentials in mathematics or music, de rigueur for entry to the other Athenian schools of higher learning. Everyone in the Garden radiated earnestness and good cheer. The subject under discussion was happiness. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man. For just as there is no profit in medicine if it does not expel the diseases of the body, so there is no profit in philosophy either, if it does not expel the suffering of the mind. – Epicurus

Vain is the word of that philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man. – Epicurus

Virtue consisteth of three parts,–temperance, fortitude, and justice. – Epicurus

We begin every act of choice and avoidance from pleasure, and it is to pleasure that we return using our experience of pleasure as the criterion of every good thing. – Epicurus

We cannot live pleasantly without living wisely and nobly and righteously. – Epicurus

We do not so much need the help of our friends as the confidence of their help in need. – Epicurus

We have been born once and there can be no second birth. Fir all eternity we shall no longer be. But you, although you are not master of tomorrow, are postponing your happiness. – Epicurus

We must consider both the ultimate end and all clear sensory evidence, to which we refer our opinions; for otherwise everything will be full of uncertainty and confusion. – Epicurus

We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it. – Epicurus

We must laugh and philosophize and manage our households and look after our other affairs all at the same time, and never stop proclaiming the words of the true philosophy. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

We must meditate on what brings happiness, since when it has, it has everything, and when he misses, we do everything to have it – Epicurus

We must, therefore, pursue the things that make for happiness, seeing that when happiness is present, we have everything; but when it is absent, we do everything to possess it. – Epicurus

We need to set our affections on one good man and keep him constantly before our eyes, so that we may live as if he were watching us and do everything as if he saw what we were doing. – Epicurus

We ought to be thankful to nature for having made those things which are necessary easy to be discovered; while other things that are difficult to be known are not necessary. – Epicurus

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink. – Epicurus

What men fear is not that death is annihilation but that it is not. – Epicurus

What was most important in Epicurus’ philosophy of nature was the overall conviction that our life on this earth comes with no strings attached; that there is no Maker whose puppets we are; that there is no script for us to follow and be constrained by; that it is up to us to discover the real constraints which our own nature imposes on us. – Epicurus, The Epicurus Reader

What will happen to me if that which this desire seeks is achieved, and what if it is not? – Epicurus

Whatsoever causes no annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation. Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not. It is nothing, then, either to the living or to the dead, for with the living it is not and the dead exist no longer. – Epicurus

When we exist, death is not present, and when death is present, we do not exist – Epicurus

When we exist, death is not yet present, and when death is present, then we do not exist. – Epicurus

When we say that pleasure is the end, we do not mean the pleasure of the profligate or that which depends on physical enjoyment–as some think who do not understand our teachings, disagree with them, or give them an evil interpretation–but by pleasure we mean the state wherein the body is free from pain and the mind from anxiety. – Epicurus

When we say that pleasure is the end, we do not mean the pleasure of the profligate or that which depends on physical enjoyment–as some think who do not understand our teachings, disagree with them, or give them an evil interpretation–but by pleasure we mean the state wherein the body is free from pain and the mind from anxiety.

When you die, your mind will be gone even faster than your body. – Epicurus

When, therefore, we maintain that pleasure is the end, we do not mean the pleasures of profligates and those that consist in sensuality, as is supposed by some who are either ignorant or disagree with us or do not understand, but freedom from pain in the body and from trouble in the mind. For it is not continuous drinkings and revelings, nor the satisfaction of lusts, nor the enjoyment of fish and other luxuries of the wealthy table, which produce a pleasant life, but sober reasoning, searching out the motives for all choice and avoidance, and banishing mere opinions, to which are due the greatest disturbance of the spirit. – Epicurus

Where I am death is not, where death is I am not. – Epicurus

Where I am death is not, where death is I am not.

Why are you afraid of death? Where you are, death is not. Where death is, you are not. What is it that you fear. – Epicurus

Why should I fear death
If I am, Death is not
If death is, I am not
Why should I fear that which could not exist when I do? – Epicurus

Why should I fear death?
If I am, then death is not.
If Death is, then I am not.
Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?
Long time men lay oppressed with slavish fear.
Religious tyranny did domineer.
At length the mighty one of Greece
Began to assent the liberty of man. – Epicurus

Without confidence, there is no friendship. – Epicurus

You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity. – Epicurus

Epicures’ Quote on God

Epicures’ Quote on God

An irreligious man is not one who denies the gods of the majority, but one who applies to the gods the opinions of the majority. For what most men say about the gods are not ideas derived from sensation, but false opinions, according to which the greatest evils come to the wicked, and the greatest blessings come to the good from the gods. – Epicurus

Can he not stop evil and doesn’t care? Then why call him God? – Epicurus

Don’t fear the gods,
Don’t worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure. – Epicurus,  The Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can and does not want to. – Epicurus

God is all-powerful. God is perfectly good. Evil exists. If God exists, there would be no evil. Therefore God does not exist. – Epicurus

If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another – Epicurus

If the gods have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not all-powerful. If they are neither able nor willing, they are neither all-powerful or benevolent. If they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, why does it exist? – Epicurus

If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all humankind would quickly perish since they constantly pray for many evils to befall one another. – Epicurus

If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another. – Epicurus

If, as they say, God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world? – Epicurus

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
 – Epicurus

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. – Epicurus

Is he able to stop evil and would if he could? Then where the hell does evil come from? – Epicurus

Is he able to stop evil, but doesn’t want to? Then he is evil. – Epicurus

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. – Epicurus

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? – Epicurus

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? – Epicurus

It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself. – Epicurus

It is vain to ask of the gods what man is capable of supplying for himself. – Epicurus

The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are able and willing.
If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can but will not, then they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent.
Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, why does it exist? – Epicurus

The opinions held by most people about the gods are not true conceptions of them but fallacious notions, according to which awful penalties are meted out to the evil and the greatest of blessings to the good. – Epicurus

There is nothing to fear from gods, There is nothing to feel in death, Good can be attained, Evil can be endured. – Epicurus

What does that mean exactly? Well, I’m hoping to dissect it piece by piece and let you “believers” try to come up with some kind of rebuttal. Unfortunately this will not be easy, as this quote takes care of about 99% of “faith” based arguments. – Epicurus

Would God prevent evil if he could, but not able to? Then he is not an all powerful being, or God. – Epicurus

What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure.

Science Quotes by Epicurus

With the Epicureans it was never science for the sake of science but always science for the sake of human happiness. – Epicurus, The Art of Happiness

A world is a circumscribed portion of sky… it is a piece cut off from the infinite. – Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles, in Epicurus: The Extant Remains (1926), trans. C. Bailey, 59.

Earthquakes may be brought about because wind is caught up in the earth, so the earth is dislocated in small masses and is continually shaken, and that causes it to sway. – Epicurus

There are infinite worlds both like and unlike this world of ours. For the atoms being infinite in number… are borne on far out into space. – Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus

This science explains to us the meaning of terms, the nature of predication, and the law of consistency and contradiction; secondly, a thorough knowledge of the facts of nature relieves us of the burden of superstition, frees us from fear of death, and shields us against the disturbing effects of ignorance, which is often in itself a cause of terrifying apprehensions;
 – Epicurus, Stoic Six Pack 3 

When someone admits one and rejects another which is equally in accordance with the appearances, it is clear that he has quitted all physical explanation and descended into myth. – Epicurus

Epicurus Quotes

  • The greatest reward of righteousness is peace of mind.
    • Attributed to Epicurus by Clement of Alexandria in Stromata
  • Luxurious food and drinks, in no way protect you from harm. Wealth beyond what is natural, is no more use than an overflowing container. Real value is not generated by theaters, and baths, perfumes or ointments, but by philosophy.
    • From the esplanade wall at Oenoanda, now in Turkey, as recorded by Diogenes of Oenoanda
  • Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. And to say that the season for studying philosophy has not yet come, or that it is past and gone, is like saying that the season for happiness is not yet or that it is now no more. Therefore, both old and young alike ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come. So we must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed towards attaining it.
    • “Letter to Menoeceus”, as translated in Stoic and Epicurean (1910) by Robert Drew Hicks, p. 167
    • Variant translation: Let no one delay to study philosophy while he is young, and when he is old let him not become weary of the study; for no man can ever find the time unsuitable or too late to study the health of his soul. And he who asserts either that it is not yet time to philosophize, or that the hour is passed, is like a man who should say that the time is not yet come to be happy, or that it is too late. So that both young and old should study philosophy, the one in order that, when he is old, he many be young in good things through the pleasing recollection of the past, and the other in order that he may be at the same time both young and old, in consequence of his absence of fear for the future.
  • Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not.
    • “Letter to Menoeceus”, as translated in Stoic and Epicurean (1910) by Robert Drew Hicks, p. 169
  • He who is not satisfied with a little, is satisfied with nothing.
    • The Essential Epicurus : Letters, Principal Doctrines, Vatican sayings, and fragments (1993) edited by Eugene Michael O’Connor, p. 99
  • Self-sufficiency is the greatest of all wealth.
    • The Essential Epicurus : Letters, Principal Doctrines, Vatican sayings, and fragments (1993) edited by Eugene Michael O’Connor, p. 99

Epicurus Quotes

Sovereign Maxims

  • A happy and eternal being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being; hence he is exempt from movements of anger and partiality, for every such movement implies weakness. 
    • Variant translations: 
      What is blessed and indestructible has no troubles itself, nor does it give trouble to anyone else, so that it is not affected by feelings of anger or gratitude. For all such things are signs of weakness. (Hutchinson)
      The blessed and immortal is itself free from trouble nor does it cause trouble for anyone else; therefore it is not constrained either by anger of favour. For such sentiments exist only in the weak (O’Connor) 
      A blessed and imperishable being neither has trouble itself nor does it cause trouble for anyone else; therefore, it does not experience anger nor gratitude, for such feelings signify weakness. (unsourced translation)
  • It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and honorably and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely and honorably and justly without living pleasantly. Whenever any one of these is lacking, when, for instance, the man is not able to live wisely, though he lives honorably and justly, it is impossible for him to live a pleasant life.
  • No pleasure is in itself evil, but the things which produce certain pleasures entail annoyances many times greater than the pleasures themselves. (8)
    • Variant translation: No pleasure is itself a bad thing, but the things that produce some kinds of pleasure, bring along with them unpleasantness that is much greater than the pleasure itself.
  • It is impossible for someone to dispel his fears about the most important matters if he doesn’t know the nature of the universe but still gives some credence to myths. So without the study of nature there is no enjoyment of pure pleasure.
    • Variant translation: One cannot rid himself of his primal fears if he does not understand the nature of the universe, but instead suspects the truth of some mythical story. So without the study of nature, there can be no enjoyment of pure pleasure.
  • The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure; but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity.
  • Chance seldom interferes with the wise man; his greatest and highest interests have been, are, and will be, directed by reason throughout his whole life. 
  • The just man is most free from disturbance, while the unjust is full of the utmost disturbance.
  • The flesh receives as unlimited the limits of pleasure; and to provide it requires unlimited time. But the mind, intellectually grasping what the end and limit of the flesh is, and banishing the terrors of the future, procures a complete and perfect life, and we have no longer any need of unlimited time. Nevertheless the mind does not shun pleasure, and even when circumstances make death imminent, the mind does not lack enjoyment of the best life.
  • We must consider both the ultimate end and all clear sensory evidence, to which we refer our opinions; for otherwise everything will be full of uncertainty and confusion.
  • If you reject absolutely any single sensation without stopping to discriminate with respect to that which awaits confirmation between matter of opinion and that which is already present, whether in sensation or in feelings or in any immediate perception of the mind, you will throw into confusion even the rest of your sensations by your groundless belief and so you will be rejecting the standard of truth altogether. If in your ideas based upon opinion you hastily affirm as true all that awaits confirmation as well as that which does not, you will not escape error, as you will be maintaining complete ambiguity whenever it is a case of judging between right and wrong opinion.
  • Of all the means which wisdom acquires to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is friendship.
  • Of our desires some are natural and necessary, others are natural but not necessary; and others are neither natural nor necessary, but are due to groundless opinion.
  • Natural justice is a symbol or expression of usefulness, to prevent one person from harming or being harmed by another.
    • Variant: Natural justice is a pledge of reciprocal benefit, to prevent one man from harming or being harmed by another.
  • Those animals which are incapable of making binding agreements with one another not to inflict nor suffer harm are without either justice or injustice; and likewise for those peoples who either could not or would not form binding agreements not to inflict nor suffer harm.
  • It is impossible for a man who secretly violates the terms of the agreement not to harm or be harmed to feel confident that he will remain undiscovered, even if he has already escaped ten thousand times; for until his death he is never sure that he will not be detected.
  • Among the things held to be just by law, whatever is proved to be of advantage in men’s dealings has the stamp of justice, whether or not it be the same for all; but if a man makes a law and it does not prove to be mutually advantageous, then this is no longer just. And if what is mutually advantageous varies and only for a time corresponds to our concept of justice, nevertheless for that time it is just for those who do not trouble themselves about empty words, but look simply at the facts.
  • Where without any change in circumstances the things held to be just by law are seen not to correspond with the concept of justice in actual practice, such laws are not really just; but wherever the laws have ceased to be advantageous because of a change in circumstances, in that case the laws were for that time just when they were advantageous for the mutual dealings of the citizens, and subsequently ceased to be just when they were no longer advantageous.
  • Those who were best able to provide themselves with the means of security against their neighbors, being thus in possession of the surest guarantee, passed the most agreeable life in each other’s society; and their enjoyment of the fullest intimacy was such that, if one of them died before his time, the survivors did not mourn his death as if it called for sympathy.

Disputed

  • Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
    • This attribution occurs in chapter 13 (Ioan. Graphei, 1532, p. 494) of the Christian church father’s Lactantius’s De Ira Dei (c. 318):
“God,” he [Epicurus] says, “either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, 
or can but does not want to,
or neither wishes to nor can,
or both wants to and can.
If he wants to and cannot, then he is weak and this does not apply to god.
If he can but does not want to, then he is spiteful which is equally foreign to god’’s nature.
If he neither wants to nor can, he is both weak and spiteful, and so not a god.
If he wants to and can, which is the only thing fitting for a god, where then do bad things come from? Or why does he not eliminate them?
Lactantius, On the Anger of God, 13.19
  • Charles Bray, in his 1863 The Philosophy of Necessity: Or, Natural Law as Applicable to Moral, Mental, and Social Science quotes Epicurus without citation as saying a variant of the above statement (p. 41) (with “is not omnipotent” for “is impotent”). This quote appeared in “On the proofs of the existence of God: a lecture and answer questions” (1960) by professor Kryvelev I.A. (Крывелёв И.А. О доказательствах бытия божия: лекция и ответы на вопросы. М., 1960). And N. A. Nicholson, in his 1864 Philosophical Papers (p. 40), attributes “the famous questions” to Epicurus, using the wording used earlier by Hume (with “is he” for “he is”). Hume’s statement occurs in Book X (p. 186) of his renowned Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, published posthumously in 1779. The character Philo precedes the statement with “Epicurus’s old questions are yet unanswered.…”. Hume is following the enormously influential Dictionnaire Historique et Critique (1697–1702) of Pierre Bayle, which quotes Lactantius attributing the questions to Epicurus (Desoer, 1820, p. 479).
  • There has also arisen a further disputed extension, for which there has been found no published source prior to The Heretic’s Handbook of Quotations: Cutting Comments on Burning Issues (1992) by Charles Bufe, p. 186: “Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Quotes about Epicurus

  • For if they imagine infinite spaces of time before the world, during which God could not have been idle, in like manner they may conceive outside the world infinite realms of space, in which, if any one says that the Omnipotent cannot hold His hand from working, will it not follow that they must adopt Epicurus’ dream of innumerable worlds? with this difference only, that he asserts that they are formed and destroyed by the fortuitous movements of atoms, while they will hold that they are made by God’s hand, if they maintain that, throughout the boundless immensity of space, stretching interminably in every direction round the world, God cannot rest, and that the worlds which they suppose Him to make cannot be destroyed. … there is no place beside the world …no time before the world.
    • Augustine of Hippo, The City of God, Book XI, Ch. 5 “That We Ought Not to Seek to Comprehend the Infinite Ages of Time Before the World, Nor the Infinite Realms of Space”
  • So the vital strength of his spirit won through, and he made his way far outside the flaming walls of the world and ranged over the measureless whole, both in mind and spirit.
    • Lucretius, in De Rerum Natura, Book I, line 72

Roman marble bust of Epicurus

Epicurus (341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher who founded a highly influential school of philosophy now called Epicureanism. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by Democritus, Aristotle, and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as “the Garden”, in Athens. He and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects, and he openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. An extremely prolific writer, he is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him—the Letters to Menoeceus, Pythocles, and Herodotus—and two collections of quotes—the Principle Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings—have survived intact, along with a few fragments and quotations of his other writings. His teachings are better recorded in the writings of later authors, including the Roman poet Lucretius, the philosopher Philodemus, the philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the biographer Diogenes Laërtius.

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