If the word ‘epicurean’ brings to mind a porcine man in a toga reclining on a velvet couch and dropping fat juicy grapes into his open mouth, one by one, you are not alone.
But this caricature, probably the descendent of some ancient propaganda by rival philosophers, tells us very little in fact about Epicureanism – the worldview of the 4th century BCE Greek philosopher Epicurus and his later disciple Lucretius, whose ideas prefigured and shaped much of the modern world.
My guest today is philosopher Catherine Wilson, author of the book How to be an Epicurean: The Ancient Art of Living Well. At a confusing cultural moment where many people are looking for a guiding framework, she’s here with a strident defense of Epicureanism as a way of life. In its pragmatic approach to embracing pleasure and minimizing pain, she sees a saner way of living in the world. And maybe enjoying a few juicy grapes while you’re at it.
Surprise conversation starters in this episode:
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