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See our disclaimer. Larson, Cynthia Sue. Pothos, Emmanuel M. McAlpine, Fraser. Mind Matter Interaction , Science. And that MWI,infact,is responsible for all motion,analogous to movie reel where a frame is succeded by another. I stumbled upon this page when seeking an explanation of the Quantum Zeno Effect.
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About Cynthia. Live your best possible life. How good can it get? Cynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps. What is more, one must know something about the nature of pleasure in order to pursue it rationally, and likewise for pain. As for the rational part or mind, we have positive and negative experiences through it too. Most prominent among the negative mental states is fear, above all the fear of unreal dangers, such as death. Death, Epicurus insists, is nothing to us, since while we exist, our death is not, and when our death occurs, we do not exist LM —25 ; but if one is frightened by the empty name of death, the fear will persist since we must all eventually die.
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These states too depend on belief, whether true or false. But Epicurus does not treat khara as an end, or part of the end for living: rather, he tends to describe the goal by negation, as freedom from bodily pain and mental disturbance LM Although the precise nature of this distinction is debated, kinetic pleasures seem to be of the non-necessary kind see below , such as those resulting from agreeable odors or sounds, rather than deriving from replenishment, as in the case of hunger or thirst.
The philosophical school known as the Cyrenaics advocated increasing desires and seeking ever new ways of gratifying them. Epicurus objected that such pleasures are necessarily accompanied by distress, for they depend upon a lack that is painful Plato had demonstrated the problematic nature of this kind of pleasure; see Gorgias C—A, Philebus 31E—32D, 46A—50C. In addition, augmenting desires tends to intensify rather than reduce the mental agitation a distressful state of mind that Epicurean philosophy sought to eliminate.
Catastematic pleasure, on the contrary, is or is taken in a state rather than a process: it is the pleasure that accompanies well-being as such.
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The Cyrenaics and others, such as Cicero, maintained, in turn, that this condition is not pleasurable but rather neutral — neither pleasurable nor painful. For Epicurus, there are some fears that are perfectly legitimate; so too are some desires. Epicurus offers a classification of desires into three types: some are natural, others are empty; and natural desires are of two sorts, those that are necessary and those that are merely natural see Cooper Natural and necessary are those that look to happiness, physical well-being, or life itself LM Unnecessary but natural desires are for pleasant things like sweet odors and good-tasting food and drink and for various pleasurable activities of sorts other than simple smelling, touching and tasting.
Empty desires are those that have as their objects things designated by empty sounds, such as immortality, which cannot exist for human beings and do not correspond to any genuine need. The same holds for the desire for great wealth or for marks of fame, such as statues: they cannot provide the security that is the genuine object of the desire.
Such desires, accordingly, can never be satisfied, any more than the corresponding fears — e. Such empty fears and desires, based on what Epicurus calls kenodoxia or empty belief, are themselves the main source of perturbation and pain in civilized life, where more elementary dangers have been brought under control, since they are the reason why people are driven to strive for limitless wealth and power, subjecting themselves to the very dangers they imagine they are avoiding.
Although human beings, like everything else, are composed of atoms that move according to their fixed laws, our actions are not wholly predetermined — rather than entertain such a paralyzing doctrine, Epicurus says, it would be better to believe in the old myths, for all their perversities LM What enables us to wrest liberty from a mechanistic universe is the existence of a certain randomness in the motion of atoms, that takes the form of a minute swerve in their forward course evidence for this doctrine derives chiefly from later sources, including Lucretius and Cicero.
It is not entirely clear how the swerve operates: it may involve a small angle of deviation from the original path, or else a slight shift sideways, perhaps by a single minimum, with no change in direction. It did, at all events, introduce an indeterminacy into the universe, and if soul atoms, thanks to their fineness, were more susceptible to the effects of such deviations than coarser matter, the swerve could at least represent a breach in any strict predestination of human behavior.
According to Lucretius 2. This seems a curious idea: given that time, like space, was infinite according to Epicurus, he need not have imagined a time prior to collisions. In the beginning, human beings were solitary; they reproduced haphazardly, could not communicate verbally, had no social institutions, and survived because they were physically hardier than their modern descendants.
With time, the race softened, thanks in part to the discovery of fire, in part too to the emergence of the family and the gentler sentiments toward spouses and offspring to which the family gave rise. At this stage, human beings were in a position to unite in order to fend off natural dangers, such as wild beasts, and they developed various kinds of technical skills, such as agriculture and the building of houses, as well as language.
Upon this basis, people later, nation by nation, established certain terms by convention for the purpose of improving clarity and brevity in communication. Finally, certain individual experts further augmented the vocabulary by the introduction of new and specialized words, to explain the results of their theoretical investigations. Once language reached a developed state, people began to establish alliances and friendships, which contributed further to collective security.
This early form of social life had various advantages: among others, the relative scarcity of goods prevented excessive competition sharing was obligatory for survival and thereby set limits on those unnatural desires that at a later, richer phase of society would lead to wars and other disturbances. It would appear too that, before language had developed fully, words more or less conformed to their original or primitive objects, and were not yet a source of mental confusion.
But thanks to a gradual accumulation of wealth, the struggle over goods came to infect social relations, and there emerged kings or tyrants who ruled over others not by virtue of their physical strength but by dint of gold. These autocrats in turn were overthrown, and after a subsequent period of violent anarchy people finally saw the wisdom of living under the rule of law.
This might seem to represent the highest attainment in political organization, but that is not so for the Epicureans. For with law came the generalized fear of punishment that has contaminated the blessings of life Lucretius 5. Lucretius at this point gives an acount of the origin of religious superstition and dread of the gods, and although he does not relate this anxiety directly to the fear of punishment under human law, he does state that thunder and lightning are interpreted as signs that the gods are angry at human sins 5.
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While primitive people in the presocial or early communal stages might have been awed by such manifestations of natural power and ascribed them to the action of the gods, they would not necessarily have explained them as chastisement for human crimes before the concept of punishment became familiar under the regime of law. People at an early time knew that gods exist thanks to the simulacra that they give off, although the precise nature of the gods according to Epicurus remains obscure for contrasting intepretations, see Konstan and Sedley ; but the gods, for him, do not interest themselves in human affairs, since this would compromise their beatitude see Obbink — If one does not fear the gods, what motive is there for living justly?
Justice, for Epicurus, depends on the capacity to make compacts neither to harm others nor be harmed by them, and consists precisely in these compacts; justice is nothing in itself, independent of such arrangements KD 31— According to Epicurus LM , KD 5 , someone who is incapable of living prudently, honorably, and justly cannot live pleasurably, and vice versa.
This again sounds calculating, as though justice were purely a pragmatic and selfish matter of remaining unperturbed. Epicurus does not entertain the thought experiment proposed by Plato in the Republic C—D , in which Plato asks whether a person who is absolutely secure from punishment would have reason to be just.
Did Epicurus have an answer to such a challenge? He may simply have denied that anyone can be perfectly confident in this way.
Perhaps, however, he did have a reply, but it was derived from the domain of psychology rather than of ethics.