Epicurus vs Epictetus
True happiness is state of being that each and every human has the ability to experience. It can either come from indulging desires or come from mental and or spiritual happiness in which two great philosophers have studied and mastered in great depth. Although Epicurus and Epictetus both had very strong opinions to this argument, Epictetus showed that it is necessary to have a knowledgeable understanding of what is giving you that satisfaction.
With his idea we see that it is important to see the big picture in order to be happy rather than Epicurus’ simple stand of satisfying your basic desires. In my personal opinion I believe that you should not go out of your way to make yourself happy if it consists of hurting others. To begin we must understand that there are many types of happiness. Happiness that come from pleasures such as eating tasty food or taking warms baths. Happiness that comes from engagement, for example trying something challenging and succeeding in doing so.
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Happiness that comes from meaning, in other words being religious and belonging to a higher being. Last but not least happiness that comes from accomplishments, achieving a lifelong goal or dream. As you can see there are many different ways to be happy and if you are living happy then you are living a good life. Epicurus and Epictetus have some of the same view on the achievement of the good life. Epicurus believes that nothing is created out of nothing, in other words everything has a reason for existing.
He believes that knowledge is the key to finding true pleasure and without pain there is no pleasure, so both pain and pleasure must coexist. He says people should not have fear in God because God does not interfere with their lives and people cannot control their destiny but they can control their happiness, so they should live their lives not with the fear of dying because the anticipation of it is considered to be painful, but rather they should pursue knowledge and pleasure and take appropriate measures that will make the most of pleasure and make light of pain.
In Epictetus’s view he believes that happiness is achieved only when people are able to get their wants or needs, so if someone desires something that is out of their power they will not be happy. He believes that in order to avoid unhappiness people should control their desires, that is with self discipline and self control which will help us change our view or attitude towards certain things. He believes that everyone has a obligation and a role towards others and God plays an important role in life.
Certain times God will let us make the decisions but in other circumstances it is not within our power and is prearranged for us. So unlike Epicurus, Epictetus believes that God controls everything and he says that people are a “fragment of God” so we as a whole have to look out for each other. For Epictetus the good life comes in compliance with reason and truth and basically believes in the power to self. Where for Epicurus the good life is a healthy, comfortable, and controlled life and the way to achieve it is by disciplining oneself by the use of reason and secondly to study philosophy, which Epictetus believes too.
Epictetus believes philosophy is the guide to achieving a peaceful mind, people have to control their desire. All displeasures is the result of a gap between our wills and the external world. People think that happiness is possible only when the external world comes up to their expectations, so in their minds they make up scenarios of their wants or needs. This builds up hope but will soon be a disappointment. So therefore people should only desire what is real. He says that the person who can master this can go on to doing what he set out to do.
Epicurus contends that composure is a condition of the good life. He says in order to have a peace of mind you must have a peaceful environment, escape distress from the sense of right and wrong and not worry about the future. In order to do this Epicurus explains that people must develop a quality that is considered morally good or desirable in a person. He states that . “The man who does not possess the virtuous life cannot possibly live pleasantly”. Epicurus declared that prudence is a virtue which all other virtues are derived.