By Hiram Crespo
Gods may exist, but they’re too far removed to care about humans. So our best purpose in life is not to please gods, but to be happy. Which is not as easy as it sounds, since short-term pleasures and selfishness create longer-term misery.
Thus taught Epicurus, 2,300 years ago. Hiram Crespo brings the Epicurean passion for maximum happiness into the modern age with this practical guidebook.
Step one in what Crespo calls the “hedonic calculus” is to rein in desires, so they become easier to satisfy – just the opposite of the luxurious indulgence so often incorrectly associated with Epicureanism. From there, he offers a blizzard of ideas, from healthy recipes that stimulate natural “feel-good” chemicals in the brain to the journaling of positive events, even on a bad day. The highest attainable happiness, though, is communing with friends – it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Being smart about being happy means using the best knowledge and tools available. Tending the Epicurean Garden is an excellent place to start.
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Hiram Crespo, a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University, is a blogger and founder of the Society of the Friends of Epicurus. His articles have appeared in The Humanist magazine and The New Humanist.
Hiram Crespo has done a masterful job in describing the teachings of Epicurus and making them relevant to modern life. He has offered practical advice and tasks that an aspiring Epicurean can undertake, and has linked them with Buddhism and modern research on happiness and the workings of the brain. He has worked hard and has a wealth of useful information for anyone wishing to enjoy a peaceful and pleasant life. Particularly good is the persuasive section on self-sufficiency, a subject that is not well addressed by other commentators on Epicureanism. …
One of the legitimate concerns about the decline of organized religion is that children are not being taught morals and ethics, and thus can fall into modes of selfishness and mindless consumerism. Religions can be inconsistent and even harmful in some cases. Epicureanism, focused on the full and pleasant life and wholesome relationships with others, is the rational answer, and “Tending the Epicurean Garden” offers practical advice on how children ( not to mention adults themselves!) can be brought up to live ethical and fulfilling lives. ...
“Tending the Epicurean Garden” is a breath of fresh air if, like me, you have tried to read the dull prose of some professional philosophers.