By Alanna Rose Whitney
Epicureanism gets overlooked and it really is a shame.
The first thing that comes to mind might be epicurious.com, a website for recipes – and thus the idea of epicureanism as it parallels the indulgence of a gourmand. Or maybe it is something you associate with hedonism and bacchanalia. Or maybe it’s something you have never heard of before at all…
Image Description: Cropped close; the author’s mouth partially open with her hand wearing red nail polish holding a raspberry next to it.
The truth is that epicureanism is a lot more fundamental than that. It’s not some gluttonous, materialistic, irresponsible philosophy based in decadence and excess. Epicures do value pleasure as the most important thing in life but it is essential to understand that in this context, the word pleasure does not imply ecstasy but rather an absence of pain.
The basic tenets of epicureanism declare that the foremost goal in life should be existing in a state free from any kind of significant suffering. Obviously you can’t prevent every bad possibility from ever occurring, but the point is more about preventing unnecessary ills than sheltering oneself from the hardships of our world. Fighting for human and civil rights is epicureanism in action.
I have never understood the vilification of pleasure as sinful, “everything in moderation” is a much better motto. The purpose of life has always been crystal clear to me; experience every new thing you possibly can while you’re still here and do your best to help make those opportunities available to everyone else – and never stop learning. Epicureanism was something I believed in long before I even had a name for what it was.
Image Description: A glass bottle made to look like a crystal skull filled with dried red and yellow/pink rose petals.
My hypersensitivity and sensory perception make it impossible for me not to see the value in both physical and mental satisfactions. The idea of “sins of the flesh” stems from the concept that physical pleasure is a distraction from God or academia or morality and that is entirely ridiculous because grounding oneself in sublimity frees the mind to invent and create in interesting ways. Yes, some people do their best work under stress, but in general a positively enjoyable atmosphere is far more conducive to progress and innovation.
The moral of the story?
Stop and smell the roses once in a while❤
Image Description: A wordsquare comprised of the words; rose, opal, says and else. On either side is an illustrated pink rose, one upright and the other facing down.
It’s the same basic idea as “self-care” is within the Disabled/Autistic/Neurodiverse/etc communities. You have to take care of yourself first because it’ll help you hold onto your spoons longer. When someone is tired, hungry, sad or angry, stressed out or worn down – then that person isn’t likely to get much done at all, which will, in turn, make them feel even worse.
So take the time to get a restful sleep, have a decadent and nutritious meal, engage in hobbies or activities that bring you pleasurable mental and/or physical stimulation. Overworking yourself is and endless cycle because the more you push the lower your stamina gets and then you have to try that much harder just to keep up.
Take a break and enjoy the spirit of #AutismPositivity2015
Image Description: “Autism Positivity 2015 Flash Blog” in black text over a colourful image; six hands of different colours, each rotated in a different direction. Each hand is against a background/rectangle of a different colour as well.