What follows is the report on the 10th Panhellenic Symposium of Epicurean Philosophy, February 8-9, 2020, Cultural Center of Pallini, Athens, Greece by Dr. Christos Yapijakis.
A top-of-the-world cultural event, the 10th Panhellenic Symposium of Epicurean Philosophy took place on the weekend of 8 and 9 February 2020 with the participation of a record number of more than five hundred Greeks inspired by the enlightening and humanistic philosophy of Epicurus. This is a unique philosophical conference, as it is the only one organized worldwide dedicated exclusively to Epicurean philosophy. It is also the largest national philosophical conference and the only one in Greece that has been established since 2011 as an institution from the people rather than from the university philosophers. It is organized annually with free entrance for the public by the Municipality of Pallini and the Friends of Epicurean Philosophy Garden of Athens; and Garden of Salonica; at the Cultural Center of Gerakas, located within the ancient area of Gargettus, from which the philosopher Epicurus originated from.
The commencement of the Symposium was held by the Mayor of Pallini, Athanasios Zoutsos, followed by greetings from friends of Epicurus from all over the world and Greece. In this year’s 10th anniversary Panhellenic Symposium, Epicurus’ timeless contribution to human thought was highlighted by distinguished scientists and philosophers in a roundtable discussion coordinated by Christos Yapijakis, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Athens and founding member of the “Garden of Athens”. Theodosis Pelegrinis, Professor of Philosophy and Former Rector of the University of Athens, referred to the humanistic philosophy of Epicurus; George Chrousos Professor of Medicine at the University of Athens, highlighted the Epicurean psychotherapeutic approach to stress management; Evangelos Protopapadakis, Assistant Professor of Philosophy of the University of Athens, discussed Epicurean ethics as based on human biology (bioethics); Anastasios Liolios, Professor of Physics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and CERN researcher, presented Epicurean atomic physics as the ancestor of modern particle physics and quantum physics; Dionysis Simopoulos, Director Emeritus of Eugenides Planetarium, discussed the Epicurean perception regarding the existence of many worlds in the universe as confirmed by modern astronomy; Stamatios Krimigis, Professor of Space Physics and renown NASA scientist, described modern exploration of the possible existence of life on other planets, as predicted by Epicurus.
Distinguished members of the “Gardens” made important speeches, among which it is worth mentioning “a new fragment of Diogenes of Oenoanda” by Yannis Avramidis of the Garden of Thessaloniki, and “Epicurean philosophy and nutrition” by Klea Nomikou-Tsantsaridi of the Garden of Athens.
In the artistic part of the Symposium, the presentation of one scene from Christos Yapijakis’ new theatrical play A Happy Greek, regarding Epicurus’ life and work, stood out. Directed by Stavros Spyrakis, the four amateur actors thrilled the audience with their performance and were rewarded by a particularly warm applause.
The 10th Panhellenic Symposium of Epicurean Philosophy has allowed hundreds of Greeks who have a need for learning and a desire for a better world to experience the timeless utility of Epicurean philosophy, which offers a mental shield to putative individual and social deadlocks. The scientific, humanistic and psychotherapeutic message of Epicurus on one hand expresses the simplest and most profound way of approaching a happy life with friendship and solidarity, even in difficult times, and on the other hand it differs fundamentally from the fashionable superficial message of “prosperity” propagated in Greece and internationally.
Dr. Christos Yapijakis, DMD, MS, PhD.
Associate Professor of Genetics