Category Archives: epicurus

Panhellenic Symposium of Epicurean Philosophy, Greetings from Hiram Crespo, Founder of SoFE

Dear Friends from Hellas,

I am writing this message of solidarity today, unfortunately, as the ultra-nationalist and strongly theocratic forces are rising to power in America, reminding us about how crucial it is to understand the important distinction between Platonic (that is, imaginary) communities and real, natural communities of friends that we can take refuge in. We do not know every individual that shares our race, our ethnicity, or our nationality, but we know our friends and family with intimacy, and we recognize them, and we choose them time and again because we find pleasure, familiarity, and safety in their association. The difference between Platonic community and natural community is that between unnecessary and necessary goods.

Epicurus taught his philosophy at a time when politics was synonymous to intrigue and in-fighting and back-stabbing, and it was impossible to live a life of pleasure while being involved in politics. Because of the polarized environment, political discussions today can be very heated and easily break friendships. While it is important to understand the dangers and the threats that come from the political realm, the next four years for us will be a great opportunity to practice the art of being apolitical, at least to the degree required to preserve our peace of mind, and also an opportunity to educate people on issues like the importance of providing children with a robust scientific education, and to teach them to think for themselves based on empirical evidence. A democracy can only function if the citizens are educated.

Everything that is happening in the world around us demonstrates that the teachings of the Epicureans today are just as relevant and as useful as they were when they emerged in the cradle of philosophy. Although Greece is still going through some financial difficulties, you must never forget the noble heritage that Epicurus gave you! That is a different kind of wealth, one that you should market and teach to the peoples of the rest of the world.

In friendship,

Hiram Crespo
Society of Friends of Epicurus

Read the full report form the 2017 symposium here

SoFE Journal Volume 11 – 2016-2017


Hiram Crespo
“Parallel Sayings” Buddhist Meme Series
January 23, 2016

Hiram Crespo
The Punctured Jar Parable
March 20, 2016

Hiram Crespo
Cyrenaic Reasonings
August 5, 2016

Alan Furth
Tending the Epicurean Garden, by Hiram Crespo
September 4, 2016

Friends of Epicurus
Dialogue on Virtue
September 5, 2016

Society of Epicurus
Society of Epicurus Publishes Epitome in Esperanto
September 20, 2016

Friends of Epicurus
Dialogue on the Search for Meaning
October 8, 2016

Hiram Crespo
Hermarchus on the Ethics of Vegetarianism and Treatment of Animals
October 24, 2016

Matt Jackson
The Gods of the Garden, the God of the Mount and the Absolute
February 5, 2017

Society of Epicurus
Panhellenic Symposium of Epicurean Philosophy, Greetings from Hiram Crespo, Founder of SoFE
February 24, 2017

Hiram Crespo
Essays About Nietzsche’s Will to Power
February 27, 2017

Hiram Crespo
The Bonobo and the Atheist Book Review
March 2, 2017

Hiram Crespo
The Taoist Hedonism of Yang Chu
March 7, 2017

Friends of Epicurus
Self-Guided Study Curriculum
March 20, 2017

Lucian of Samosata
Alexander the Oracle Monger
March 27, 2017

Hiram Crespo / Digenes of Oenoanda
Gleanings from Diogenes’ Wall
April 15, 2017

Friends of Epicurus
Self-Guided Study Curriculum
March 20, 2017


Happy Twentieth Piglet-Angels Meme Series!

Ever since the poet Horace proudly called himself a “well-fed pig from Epicurus’ sty”, and with the discovery of a leaping pig in the villa of Herculaneum together with some of the most important scrolls that have been preserved in our tradition, the official mascot of the Epicureans has been a celebrated source of inspiration.

In this meme series, we commission a series of winged piglet angels to remind us of the Principal Doctrines on the Twentieth of every month. Please feel free to share these on social media!


Twen2 Twen3 Twen4 Twen5 Twen6 Twen7


Cyrenaic Reasonings

Two great intellectual currents converged to create the great river of Epicurean philosophy. The first one is the atomist school founded by Leucippus and Democritus, the laughing philosopher, which concerned itself with the need for scientific and empirical certainly about the nature of things. This evolved into Epicurean physics. The second one was the Cyrenaic school of hedonism, which is the first Greek philosophy that posited that pleasure was the aim of life. This evolved into Epicurean ethics.

This blog series explores the threads that run through the Cyrenaic Schools and that make their way into the Epicurean one based on the highly-recommended book The Birth of Hedonism: The Cyrenaic Philosophers and Pleasure as a Way of Life, by Kurt Lampe.

I: Aristippus the Older and Aristippus the Younger
II: Hegesias and Anniceris
III: Theodorus the Godless
IV: Walter Pater’s Neo-Cyrenaic Philosophy
V: an Aesthetic Education

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Book Review of Epicurus and Apikorsim

The following is a review of the book Epicurus & Apikorsim. The Influence of The Greek Epicurus and Jewish Apikorsim on Judaism, by Yaakov Malkin.

Do not fear the Gods. – Philodemus of Gadara
Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. – Ecclesiastes 12:13

Apikorsim is the term used in the rabbinic Judaism for a heretic. The word originates in the term Epicurean, and testifies to the huge threat that Epicurus’ doctrine posed to the religious life of the Jews during the hellenistic era. In fact, it was the intense hellenization of Judea that prompted the radicalization of religious Jews under the Maccabees, and Philonides of Laodicea contributed to this process as an Epicurean missionary.

When I began reading the book, after watching a video where the author seems to refer to Apikorsim as just a euphemism for secularism, I wanted to know whether he had a clear understanding of Epicurean doctrine. I did not find an introduction to Epicurus’ canon, but I was very happy to find that, early in the book, Malkin accurately explains the physics and the ethics of Epicurus. After finishing the book, I believe that the lack of thorough familiarity with the canon was a minor weakness, as it would have helped him to much better articulate why we Epicureans believe what we believe, and it would have helped to more clearly express some of the ideas in the book. He mentions the “principles of justice”, for instance, but no clear details are given and no mention is made of hedonic calculus.

He also accentuates the importance of friendship, and even cites the moral example of Rabbi Sherwin Wine, the founder of the Secular Humanist Jewish denomination who beautifully embodied the ideals of friendship in his own life. This is in line with both Epicurean and Jewish traditions: in Israel, the rabbis are frequently treated as pop celebrities. Like other Jewish denominations, SHJ also boasts compilations of traditions, interpretations, anecdotes and teachings by humanist rabbis which comprise their own separate wisdom tradition within Judaism.

After doing this, he is concerned to show Apikorsim not always as Epicureans in the full doctrinal sense, but as a sister historical tradition to hellenistic Epicureanism, one descended from it yet distinct, and characterised by being an affront to orthodox Jewish religious views, as well as by the tension between being part of a people and being an individual with views that are at odds with the majority of one’s people. Like many other aspects of Judaism, concerned as it was initially with God’s supposed role in history, the Apikorsim identity for Malkin is a historical narrative, an atheistic counter-history of Judaism. When detailing the specific beliefs of the Apikorsim, Malkin cites three main points.

  1. Belief in free choice and in man’s sovereignty
  2. The importance of enjoyment and in bettering life; in fact, elsewhere he characterizes Epicureanism as a philosophy that improves life
  3. Belief in the prudent pursuit of pleasure

Concerning this last point of Apikorsim doctrine, Malkin defends it and says that happiness is anti-religion, that it is un-Christian, a provocation of the church. Hedonism is recognized as another key point of contention with religion.

Apikorsim can in theory be as orthodox as any other Epicurean, although they do not strictly have to be Epicurean in Milken’s narrative–he cites the rabbis arguing that Spinoza was “the greatest of the Apikorsim”, which again reminds us that the Apikorsim label originates with the rabbis. Orthodox or not, they are kindred spirits, and the cross-fertilization of Epicurean and Jewish ideas is facilitated by a shared iconoclastic (idol-smashing) attitude in both traditions, which encouraged the Apikorsim to smash the Jewish god like the last idol standing long before Nietzsche and Richard Dawkins made the clarion call to do so.

One key argument the author makes is that Jewish culture has always been diverse and boasts a lively non-religious and anti-clerical intellectual tradition, one that was at one point greatly influenced by the ideas of Epicurus, that replaced the centrality of God in Judaism with the laws of nature, and that sees orthodox Judaism as “a mythological culture”.

It becomes clear as we read this book that apikorsim is a label and identity that was initially imposed by hostile religious Jews with derision, that is it is imposed from outside by rabbis (the so-called “sages of the Talmud”) who cursed and argued against the Apikorsim amongst them, but then the author takes the historical label used generically for atheistic Jews throughout history, and wears it proudly. He argues that atheistic Jews have always existed, and that they’re also part of Judaism, that Jews are not a people of only one religion or only one philosophy. Apikorsim are now out and proud as one of the philosophical tribes who have always existed at the margins of Judaism for millenia, as attested in ancient writings.

Some of the assertions of the book seem a bit forced. Ecclesiastes and Job are characterized as Epicurean works. Judging from the initial quotes in my review, it’s easy to admit similarities and influence, but difficult to argue that Ecclesiastes is an Epicurean book in the strict sense. It does say that this is the one life, and that we should enjoy and be merry, and it does deny the existence of an afterlife. As for Job, Malkin argues that it rejects that god is just and says nature is neutral, that it is an existentialist and atheistic book where God makes a pact with the devil to destroy the life of Job. It depicts God as an anti-hero, a villain. This, again, seems forced as an argument that it’s an Epicurean work, as the teachings consider such evil fairy tales as impious.

Not the man who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them is truly impious. – Epistle to Menoeceus

One strong point of Epicurus & Apikorsim is the severe critique of Plato, who is frequently characterized as a totalitarian philosopher who has left a heinous legacy which influenced the Christian Empire during the Dark Ages and many other evil and authoritarian regimes throughout history. The author also frequently cites Norman DeWitt, and says that his “book is one of the most comprehensive” on the subject of Epicurus. DeWitt is, indeed, considered one of the most important scholars by traditional Epicureans, and a good one to read if we want to get a glimpse of Epicurus on his own terms.

One interesting thesis presented by the author says that Epicurean principles guide the way in which we approach the tensions between free market economy and the welfare state. He cites consumerism as an example of Epicurean influence in modern culture, which it is not, in fact it’s a sign of lack of Epicurean insight within the culture. Epicurus gave us a curriculum for controling our desires, and former Uruguayan president Jose Mujica specifically cites Epicurus as a role model against consumerist values. Malkin is right, however, to antagonize traditional religion’s irresponsible doctrine that unbridled reproduction without fighting poverty is a good idea. A healthy model of economic growth is always needed.

The thesis is interesting, and we concede many of his points. In fact one letter by the Epicurean American founding father Thomas Jefferson was recently dug up where he argued that capitalism required protections against war-profiteering. This has been a recent topic of discussion in the Epicurean facebook group.

Towards the end of the book, Malkin discusses the legacy of Hiwi Al-Balkhi, one of the great Apikorsim cultural heroes. His writings were preserved only by hostile sources arguing against the anti-religious points he made.

Afterthought and Conclusion: a Covenant of Friendship

One afterthought that occured to me, having read this great volume, has to do with Epicurean contractarianism and what it may contribute to SHJ’s way of articulating its own identity within a legalistic, covenant-based tradition such as Judaism. In religious Judaism, the covenant comes from God and is imposed against the will of the “chosen”. A secular appropriation and re-interpretation of the covenant might be what Michel Onfray calls the “hedonic covenant”, where “I promote your pleasure in order to secure my own”. Might the secular humanist denomination of Judaism be able and willing to apply the contractarian theory to develop a working model of communitarian ethics, and to articulate in contractarian terms what kind of community it seeks to become?

Mitzvot (duties, commandments) are a central concept in Judaism, however they cannot emerge from God in a secular covenant of free men and women, but only from free agents engaging in binding contracts and oaths, so that if someone makes an agreement with others to follow this or that rule, then Apikorsim mitzvot are born. Otherwise, it is problematic to argue for a duty-based ethics without God or some kind of (potentially oppressive) caste system. A covenant of friendship might set the terms not only for what courtesies the members of SHJ owe each other, but also for what celebrations and traditions they will carry forward as choosing Jews, and can also serve to explore the nature of egalitarian friendship in clear terms. It would be an opportunity to philosophize around the pleasures of friendship. What could be more Epicurean?

Epicurus & Apikorsim is an important contribution to the history of Epicurean ideas, and unfortunately also the history of the persecution and violence that these ideas have encountered by the religious authorities. It’s also a proud affirmation of their value, and even reaffirms the theory that Epicureanism is, indeed, a kind of religious identity on par with Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and the rest. And like all identities, it is reinforced when for its sake people experience violence and abuse from others, as has been the case with the Apikorsim.

Finally, the book is also an affirmation of Jewishness, and of Jewish resilience and survival. Ataraxia here becomes Shalom, and natural philosophy syncretizes with cultural traditions unique to one people, seeking to reconcile the unending tension between nature and culture.

Judaism is unique in that it’s not just a religious tradition: it’s also ethnic and cultural, the product of a complicated history. Non-religious Jews have frequently felt like strangers in a strange land governed by superstition and religion, oftentimes hated by their religious peers. In fact, the author of Epicurus & Apikorsim recently received threats as a result of his work promoting secularism in Israel. In the end, Malkin’s work and the work of the SHJ denomination is meant to preserve the culturally-Jewish identity of secular Jews, whom the orthodox Jewish authorities oftentimes scare away. Apikorsim is, after all, part of the Jewish experience.

Further Reading:

Epicurus & Apikorsim. The Influence of The Greek Epicurus and Jewish Apikorsim on Judaism
Tending the Epicurean Garden


Synopsis of Epicurus’ “On Nature”, Book 25: On Moral Development

The following is based on the French translation found in the best Epitome of all things Epicurean in the French language: the 1550-page tome titled Les Epicuriens [Bibliotheque de la Pleiade] (French Edition).

A central concept here is the problem of causal responsibility, and whether this responsibility can be attached to our initial constitution (our nature, our physiology), to the environment, or to our agency.

If one’s nature is responsible for actions, we attach less praise and blame to actions. Epicurus says that there are people who are, by nature, “solidified” and lack malleability (changeability), ergo one does not try to encourage or incite that person to the accomplishment of the most opportune actions, as his or her nature does not allow us to assign causal responsibility.

F. Massi suggests that this malleability or softness, which is hated by the Stoics, is praised as good by Epicurus because it aids against solidification: one who is malleable, flexible, or soft, can make progress and become morally better through education. As a side note, this subject of how being flexible and malleable is a virtue in naturalist philosophy was elaborated during our Taoist Contemplations.

Yet, because of his evil nature, we denigrate and often hate a man so that in the end, in practice our reaction is frequently non-different from blame. The example given in the French-language book Les Epicuriens is that of a shark: we hate the creature, but we do not blame the shark for eating a man because the shark’s initial constitution and the developed product (of the shark’s character) are non-different.

This is the case even if we separate to some degree the first (initial) constitution (or nature) of a man from his product in the course of development, because the initial constitution (a man’s nature, no matter how evil) may sometimes make a way for it to be possible for other things (non-nature, culture, environment, education) to build a developed product, a wholesome character.

This is why we still admonish people who by nature are evil, and we do not fully absolve them of their crimes, we are merely more lenient with them. We do not treat them as we would wild beasts (in the words of Epicurus) because men are not sharks. Members of our species are domesticated creatures. Therefore, we have a bit more expectations of even the least morally developed of our fellow humans than we do of wild beasts.

Many of Epicurus’ reasonings in this book might be (and have been) interpreted to include cats, dogs, horses, and other animals whom we have domesticated, and whose behavior therefore departs from their initial constitution to some extent.

Therefore, there is a correlation between the initial constitution (or nature) of a creature, who may have anti-social or vicious tendencies, and the attribution of causal responsibility.

But as man matures, it ceases to be the case that he acts purely on impulse. This is moral development, and it transforms the initial constitution. We can therefore evaluate and describe man’s moral evolution.

According to Epicurus’ early theory concerning our instinctive, subconscious drives, we carry within us certain tendencies, or dispositions, which in turn inform our actions. Epicurus claimed that, in the process of moral development, one has the power to change one’s beliefs, and even to atomically change one’s mind. This, today, is being researched under the science of neuroplasticity. The goal of Epicurean therapy is, therefore, to transform our dispositions in order to have a final developed product, which is a good and happy character that experiences ataraxia and is free from irrational or superstitious fears.

People have, from the beginning, the germs of good, bad, and neutral tendencies. There comes a time when these seeds bear fruit, and that depends absolutely on us. We admonish, combat, and transform each other as if we had the causal responsability in ourselves and not just in our initial constitution.

Causal responsibility resides on agents, not merely on actions that are caused by previous movements, for it is agents who are observed to stop themselves from doing the evil things of which their nature is capable.

If a determinist argues against this, he can choose to continue admonishing and praising others, but will still leave intact our anticipation of responsibility–upon which our judgements of praise and blame are constructed–and will only have re-named it.

And, if all things are by necessity, then the determinists must not give themselves the responsibility for reasoning soundly, and give us the blame for reasoning unsoundly, therefore attributing to their adversaries the causal blame for their own wrong reasoning.

If all actions are determined by atoms (by nature), then our moral and social practices of admonition would make no sense. Therefore, Epicurus’ (determinist) adversary would have to renounce his moral, social and educational practice due to the incompatibility of theory and action.

In fact, the determinists’ actions and opinions would constantly be in contradiction, because we constantly stop ourselves and others from doing bad or stupid things, in spite of our own impulses and desires.

Our contribution (to our actions) consists on perceiving that, if we do not clearly understand the rules and criteria of all the things done by virtue of our opinions, and instead we follow our impulses irrationally, all is lost to excess and fault. – Epicurus

There are many things that are done with the contribution of nature, as well as many things which are done without its contribution; and also many things which are done by putting our nature in order (via restraining, educating, or training our initial constitution), and many other things are done where nature herself serves as guide.

Both causal responsibility and necessity procure each other. We are causally responsible to seek out the principle, rule and criterion by which to act, little by little.

Further Reading:

Les Epicuriens [Bibliotheque de la Pleiade] (French Edition)

Moral Responsibility and Moral Development in Epicurus, by
Susanne Bobzien

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Ĉefaj Doktrinoj

1. Sankta kaj nedetruebla estaĵo ne havas malfacilaĵojn nek kreas problemojn por aliaj estaĵoj; do ĝi liberas je kolero kaj partieco, tio implikas malforton.

2. Morto estas nenio al ni; ĉar tio, kio estis solvita en ties elementoj ne spertas sentojn, kaj tio kio ne havas sentojn estas nenio al ni.

3. La grando de plezuro atingas sian limon kiam ĉia doloro estas forigita. Kiam tia plezuro ĉeestas, kiam ajn sen interrompo, neniu doloro ekzistas korpe aŭ mense.

4. Kontinua korpa doloro ne daŭras longe. Kontraŭe, doloro, se ekstrema, daŭras mallongan tempon, kaj eĉ tia nivelo de doloro kiu surkreskas ete la korpan plezuron ne daŭras multajn tagojn. La longtempaj malsanoj permesas troon de korpa plezuro super doloro.

5. Estas neeble vivi agrablan vivon sen vivi saĝe, honore kaj juste, kaj estas neeble vivi saĝe, noble kaj juste sen vivi agrable. Kiam ajn unu el tiuj mankas–ekzemple, se homo ne povas vivi saĝe kvankam li vivas noble aŭ juste–, estas neeble vivi agrablan vivon.

6. Ajna metodo serĉata por protekti sin de aliaj homoj, estas natura bonaĵo.

7. Kelkaj homoj volas famon kaj rangon, pensante ke tiel ili sekuriĝos kontraŭ aliaj homoj. Se la vivo de tiaj homoj vere sekuras, ili akiris naturan bonaĵon. Tamen, se ĝi ne sekuras, ili ne akiris la celon ke la naturo mem origine faris ilin serĉi.

8. Neniu plezuro estas malbona afero en si mem, sed aferoj produktitaj de iaj plezuroj enhavas tumultojn multfoje pligrandajn ol la plezuroj mem.

9. Se ĉia plezuro estus amasigebla, ne nur tratempe sed tra la tuta korpo aŭ almenaŭ tra la plej gravaj partoj de nia naturo, tiam la plezuroj neniam diferencus inter ili.

10. Se la aferoj kiuj plezurigas la homojn senregajn vere liberigus ilin el la mensaj timoj pri la ĉielaj kaj atmosferaj fenomenoj, la timo de morto kaj la timo de doloro; ja, se plue ili instruus al tiuj homoj pri kiel limigi siajn dezirojn, ni neniam devus trovi erarojn en tiaj homoj, ĉar ili tiam estus plezurplenaj el ĉiu fonto kaj neniam havus doloron korpan aŭ mensan, kiu estas la malbonaĵoj.

11. Se ni neniam ĝeniĝus pri la ĉielaj kaj atmosferaj fenomenoj, nek pri’l timo de morto aŭ pri nia nescio de’l limoj de doloroj kaj deziroj, ni ne bezonus sciencon naturan.

12. Estas neeble forigi la timojn pri la plej gravaj aferoj se oni ne konas la naturon de’l aĵoj, sed ankoraŭ donas ian krediton al la mitoj. Do sen studi la naturon ne ekzistas ĝuo de’l pura plezuro.

13. Ne ekzistas avantaĝo en akiri protekton kontraŭ aliaj homoj dum ni alarmiĝas pri la okazaĵoj sub kaj sur la tero, aŭ ĝenerale per ia ajn okazaĵo en la senfina universo.

14. La protekto kontraŭ aliaj homoj, atingitaj iagrade per la povo forpeli kaj per materiala prospero, en ĝia plej pura formo devenas el trankvila vivo for de la homamaso.

15. La riĉeco nature bezonata estas limigita kaj facile havebla; sed la riĉeco volata per vantaj idealoj etendas senfine.

16. Sorto malofte sin intermetas kun la saĝulo; liaj plej grandaj kaj plej altaj interesoj estis, estas kaj estos direktitaj per la rezono dum sia tuta vivo.

17. La justulo estas la plej senĝena, dum la maljustulo esta la plej ĝenplena.

18. La korpa plezuro ne pliiĝas kiam oni forigas mankodoloron; poste ĝi nur subtenas variadon. La limo de la mensplezuro tamen atingeblas kiam oni pripensas tiajn korpajn plezurojn kaj siajn rilatajn emociojn, kiuj kutimis kaŭzi al la menso la plej egajn alarmojn.

19. La tempoj limigita kaj senlima ambaŭ donas egalan kvanton de plezuro, se oni mezuras la limojn de’l plezuro rezone.

20. La karno ricevas kiel senlimaj la limojn de’l plezuro; kaj por ilin postuli oni bezonas senliman tempon. Sed la menso, komprenante la celon kaj limon de la karno, kaj forigante la terurojn pri’l estonteco, havendas kompletan kaj perfektan vivon, kaj oni ne plu bezonas senliman tempon. Tamen, la menso ne rifuzas la plezuron, kaj eĉ kiam cirkonstancoj faras la morton tuja, la menso ne mankas ĝuon de’l plejbonvivo.

21. Tiu kiu komprenas la limojn de’l vivo scias ke estas facile atingi kion forigas la mankodoloron, kaj kompletigas kaj perfektigas la tutan vivon. Tiel oni ne plu necesas l’aĵojn kiuj postulas lukton.

22. Ni devas konsideri la finfinan celon kaj repacigi ĉiujn niajn opiniojn kun la klara sensa evidenteco; alie ĉio estos plena je necerteco kaj konfuzo.

23. Se oni luktas kontraŭ siaj sentoj, oni ne havas normon al kiu rilati, kaj do neniel povas juĝi eĉ tion, kion asertas esti falsa.

24. Se oni malakceptas ajnan percepton sen halti por distingi inter siaj opinioj sur tio, kio jam estis konfirmita kiel ĉeestanta ĉu en emocioj aŭ sentoj aŭ ajna alia apliko de’l intelekto al la prezentoj, oni konfuzas la reston de siaj perceptoj kaŭze de opinioj sen fundamento kaj malakceptas ĉian normon de vero. Se oni rapide konkludas, ke estas konfirmataj la ideoj bazataj je opinio, ĉu oni atendas konfirmon aŭ ne, oni eraros, ĉar oni daŭrigos ĉian kialon por dubo en ĉia juĝo inter la prava kaj malprava opinioj.

25. Se oni ne ĉiam rilatas ĉiajn siajn agojn al la finfina celo establita de’l naturo, sed en siaj decidoj kaj nefaroj elektas alian celon, siaj agoj ne estos konsekvencaj kun siaj teorioj.

26. Ĉiuj deziroj kiuj ne kondukas al doloro kiam ili restas nesataj estas nenecesaj, sed la deziro estas facile forigebla kiam la afero dezirata estas malfacile akirebla aŭ kiam la deziroj ŝajnas kunporti la eblon damaĝi.

27. El ĉiuj rimedoj kiujn akiras la saĝeco por feliĉon certe havi tra la vivo, senkompare la plej grava estas la amikeco.

28. La sama konvinko kiu inspiras konfidon, ke nenio timenda estas eterna aŭ eĉ longdaŭra, ankaŭ montras al ni, ke el la limigitaj malbonoj de tiu ĉi vivo, nenio pli sekurigas nin ol la amikeco.

29. El niaj deziroj, kelkaj estas naturaj kaj necesaj, aliaj estas naturaj sed nenecesaj; kaj aliaj estas nek naturaj nek necesaj, sed estas pro senbazaj opinioj.

30. Tiaj naturaj deziroj kiuj alportas neniun doloron se oni ne satigas ilin, malgraŭ esti serĉataj intenspene, ankaŭ kaŭzatas pro senbazaj opinioj; kaj homoj malsukcesas forigi ilin, ne pernature sed per la opinioj senbazaj de’l homamasoj.

31. Natura justeco estas reciproke utila interkonsento por eviti ke oni estu damaĝata aŭ ke oni damaĝu la aliajn.

32. Tiuj estaĵoj kiuj estas nekapablaj fari interkonsentojn kun aliaj por ne kaŭzi suferadon nek vundiĝi konas nek justecon nek maljustecon; kaj la sama por tiuj kiuj estis nekapablaj aŭ nevolaj eniri en ĉi tiujn interkonsentojn.

33. Neniam ekzistis ia absoluta justeco, nur reciprokaj interkonsentoj inter homoj de malsamaj lokoj kaj tempoj kiuj evitis esti damaĝataj aŭ damaĝi la aliajn.

34. Maljusteco ne estas malbono en si mem, sed nur en konsekvenco de la timo asociita kun esti eltrovota per administrantoj por puni tiajn agojn.

35. Estas neeble por homo kiu sekrete malobservas la kondiĉojn de interkonsento ne damaĝi aŭ esti damaĝitaj, ke li sentu certecon ke li restos neeltrovota, eĉ se li jam eskapis dekmil fojojn; sed eĉ ĝis sia morto oni neniam certiĝos ke oni ne estos detektata.

36. Ĝenerale, la justeco estas la sama por ĉiuj, ĉar ĝi estas bazita sur reciproka avantaĝo en homaj aferoj, sed en sia apliko al apartaj lokoj aŭ cirkonstancoj, la justeco ne nepre estas la sama por ĉiuj.

37. Inter la aĵoj kiujn la leĝo konsideras justaj, ĉio kio estas pruvita avantaĝa en la homaferoj havas la stampon de justeco, ĉu tio estas la sama por ĉiuj; sed se homo faras leĝon kaj ne pruvas ke ĝi reciproke profitas, ĝi ne plu estas justa. Kaj se tio, kio reciproke avantaĝas, varias kaj nur mallonge samas al nia koncepto de justeco, tamen dum tiu tempo estas justa laŭ tiuj kiuj ne sin koncernas kun malplenaj vortoj sed nur rigardas la faktojn.

38. Kie, sen ekzisti ŝanĝo de cirkonstancoj, aperas ke aferoj konsideritaj justaj per la leĝo ne samas al la koncepto de justeco en praktiko, tie tiaj leĝoj ne vere justas; sed kie ajn la leĝoj ĉesis esti avantaĝaj pro ŝanĝo de cirkonstancoj, tiukaze la leĝoj estis justaj dum la tempo ke ili estis reciproke utilaj por la civitanoj, kaj ĉesis esti justaj kiam ili ne plu estis avantaĝaj.

39. La homo kiu plej bone scias alfronti eksterajn minacojn faras familion el ĉiu ajn kiun li eblas familiigi; kaj tiuj, kiuj oni ne povas unuigi al si, oni tamen ne ilin havu kiel fremduloj; kaj kiam oni trovas ke eĉ tio neeblas, oni evitu ĉian kontakton kun ili, kaj dum la tempo kiam tio avantaĝos, ekskludas ilin el sia vivo.

40. Tiuj kiuj havas la povon defendi sin kontraŭ minacoj de siaj najbaroj, havante la plej certan garantion de sekureco, vivas la plej agrablan vivon unu kun aliaj; kaj tia estas sia ĝuo kompleta de intimeco, ke se unu el ili mortas antaŭtempe, la aliaj ne lamentos sian morton kvazaŭ tio postulus domaĝon.