Epicurus principal doctrines
throughout the course of his life.
17. The just person enjoys. the greatest peace of mind, while the
unjust is full of the utmost disquietude.
18. Pleasure in the body admits no increase when once the pain of want
has been removed; after that it only admits of variation. The limit of
pleasure in the mind, however, is reached when we reflect on the
things themselves and their congeners which cause the mind the
19. Unlimited time and limited time afford an equal amount of
pleasure, if we measure the limits of that pleasure by reason.
20. The body receives as unlimited the limits of pleasure; and to
provide it requires unlimited time. But the mind, grasping in thought
what the end and limit of the body is, and banishing the terrors of
futurity, procures a complete and perfect life, and has no longer any
need of unlimited time. Nevertheless it does not shun pleasure, and
even in the hour of death, when ushered out of existence by
circumstances, the mind does not lack enjoyment of the best life.
21. He who understands the limits of life knows how easy it is to
procure enough to remove the pain of want and make the whole of life
complete and perfect. Hence he has no longer any need of things which
are not to be won save by labor and conflict.
22. We must take into account as the end all that really exists and
all clear evidence of sense to which we refer our opinions; for
otherwise everything will be full of uncertainty and confusion.
23. If you fight against all your sensations, you will have no
standard to which to refer, and thus no means of judging even those
judgments which you pronounce false.
24. If you reject absolutely any single sensation without stopping to
discriminate with respect to that which awaits confirmation between
matter of opinion and that which is already present, whether in
sensation or in feelings or in any immediate perception of the mind,
you will throw into confusion even the rest of your sensations by your
groundless belief and so you will be rejecting the standard of truth
altogether. If in your ideas based upon opinion you hastily affirm as
true all that awaits confirmation as well as that which does not, you
will not escape error, as you will be maintaining complete ambiguity
whenever it is a case of judging between right and wrong opinion.
25. If you do not on every separate occasion refer each of your
actions to the end prescribed by nature, but instead of this in the
act of choice or avoidance swerve aside to some other end, your acts
will not be consistent with your theories.
26. All such desires as lead to no pain when they remain ungratified
are unnecessary, and the longing is easily got rid of, when the thing
desired is difficult to procure or when the desires seem likely to
27. Of all the means which are procured by wisdom to ensure happiness
throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is the
acquisition of friends.
28. The same conviction which inspires confidence that nothing we have
to fear is eternal or even of long duration, also enables us to see
that even in our limited conditions of life nothing enhances our
security so much as friendship.
29. Of our desires some are natural and necessary others are natural,
but not necessary; others, again, are neither natural nor necessary,
but are due to illusory opinion.
30. Those natural desires which entail no pain when not gratified,
though their objects are vehemently pursued, are also due to illusory
opinion; and when they are not got rid of, it is not because of their
own nature, but because of the person's illusory opinion.
31. Natural justice is a symbol or expression of usefullness, to
prevent one person from harming or being harmed by another.
32. Those animals which are incapable of making covenants with one
another, to the end that they may neither inflict nor suffer harm, are
without either justice or injustice. And those tribes which either