“So death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist. It does not the concern either the living or the dead, since the former it is not, and the latter are no more.” - Epicurus
The problem with the above quote from Epicurus is that our loved ones suffer, we suffer anticipating death and experiencing the death of our loved ones. Epicurus, however, was Epicurean and attempted, through philosophical thoughts to remain immune to the emotional dependency and love of others. Do you agree that self reflection is a social construct? This is axiomatic to culture and permeates society yet for some reason we run on autopilot for much of our daily experiences and interactions. For me, Epicurus took Epicureanism too far! I realize this sounds silly but the point is relevant. Eliminating emotional dependency is, in my humble opinion, too extreme. The value of social and kin-based support structures is educational. If these social mechanisms fail, society is sickly. Vulnerability and dependence versus independence produces a different quality of life. Autonomy is not a factor here and remains unscathed in a model of social interdependency. The flavor of emotion that grows and flourishes beyond the self formes stable and sustainable community structures. Placating acts of appeasement are insulting and disingenuous! Vulnerability is not the same as risk if we all have skin in the game (look up Taleb's website). Not to say that gestures are not appreciated but achieving harmony is much more systemic. We are a social species. Social flourishing is necessary for individual flourishing and living a life worth living. I value Epicurean thought and philosophy, however, the lack of group dependency and autonomy coupled with isolation produces elbow swinging miners. “Mine… mine… mine,” says the consumer of creature comforts. The fruits of our labour are only “ours” when “they” say so! This is a surrender of sorts and vulnerability of authority. Think of the fallacy of the same name. Dialectic, discourse and dependency is ideal. Let the argument live or die based on the evidence. Death is part of the process. Pulling the ideal from the utopian requires efficiency of information flow. Time is all we have. Finite and self similar, “ours” is defined in hours, not individual ownership. This Conservative pathology is contemporary to our present day Politique étrangère (foreign and domestic). Redistribution of wealth is one possibility but hard to achieve and even harder to enforce, hardest to re-enforce - flawed I would say, without destroying fundamental values of Western culture. “Mine” is cultural, “mine” is social, the ability of the individual to assess this value is essential to stability. Models of wealth redistribution must integrate individual autonomy to maintain robust models of utilitarian survival and not threaten capitalistic stability. Better yet make them organic. In some regard, consumerism functions as an equalizer. However much we despise the waste and environmental consequences of consumerism, eliminating our consumptive habits will not be realized without the severest of consequences. I believe materialism, in the consumer sense, functions like an economic exaggerator, spreading an ephemeral version of wealth. No class is immune to the temptations of the market economies, not even the offspring of our cherished liberal democracies.
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