Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Rules for Happiness According to Epicurus

By María Paula Baquero Rey (The World in English elective)

Have you ever wondered how you can get to be truly happy? That is a question that most people ask themselves at some point throughout their lives. After all, human beings are constantly looking for the purpose of life, and we have come to the conclusion that one of those purposes is happiness. However, this is not an easy question to answer, in fact, if you were to ask several people for it, they would probably come up with very different responses and even hesitate on giving you one. We cannot deny it, the key to happiness is one difficult challenge to solve.

A couple of days ago I found myself wandering around this very specific topic, and I came to realize that I felt frustrated for not finding the “golden ticket” to a perfect answer. I have seen movies, talks, and books about it, but no one ever really has given us a perfect formula to feel truly happy. But then it hit me, if the modern form of what we called humans have been on earth for approximately 200.000 years, how come no one has found that secret ingredient. That is how my journey began, a journey of research and curiosity, which led me to bump into one great answer: there is indeed a magical formula, and Epicurus talks about it.

If you are wondering who Epicurus is, well I can solve that doubt for you. Essentially, Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher who had great influence in the study of practical Philosophy for the everyday life. He dedicated many years of his work to prove that the main purpose of human beings was to find happiness and avoid suffering. I know you could be thinking how clique this sounds, but if you are willing to take a risk then you should pay close attention to what he called “The rules for happiness”.

Epicurus listed four rules that will guarantee your happiness once you follow them: 1. Seek the pleasure that does not generate pain, for example, do not seek pleasure on drinking or smoking, because this will create pain eventually 2. Accepting a pain that will prevent you from a greater pain, for example, getting vaccinated to prevent future illnesses (it is a small pain that will prevent you from a greater pain later on) 3. Seek spiritual pleasures, such as music and friendship, and lastly 4. do not fear death. Reinventing our own standards of life, and following these simple steps could be our golden formula to happiness. I share this because I believe it is worth the try, I personally Know I will, and I hope many of you also take your chances on trying.  

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