“In the 19th century some archaeologists discovered in Oenoanda (present Turkey) the remains of a great wall, with an inscription. It included teaching excerpts carved by Diogenes of Oenoanda, who intended to show to any wanderer, man, woman or child, from any nation, a summary of human wisdom in four statements, a medical prescription for the soul, a TETRAPHARMAKON [τετραφάρμακος] which read: 1 – There’s nothing to fear about the gods, 2 – It is unnecessary to fear death, 3 – Happiness is possible, 4 – Pain can be avoided.”
Although the tetrapharmakos is not completely feasible, this blog is an attempt to make it true and feasible.
As a biologist and an atheist, I would like to run this attempt in vivo: based on science and reason and taking on the complexity of life. _____
The apparent paradox above demands further explanation.
When I say that it is not feasible, but even so I will persist on it, what I have in mind is that I am not directly endeavouring to convince anyone that gods should not be feared.
Many systems of belief have done precisely the opposite of what they proposed when trying avidly to change attitudes and thoughts. Much evil blossomed amid desperate attempts to establish touchstones of what should be judged as goodness.
My chief interests concern solely acquiring knowledge, questioning, and enunciating rational arguments. The outcomes of these, I believe, may sow upon us the principles of the Tetrapharmakos. In searching the scientific amorality and trying to bring it to Philosophy, our conclusions can get rid of contamination by our wishes and our model of the world can be disinfected from naïve hope or despair. Furthermore, we can possibly meet a wise resignation to the indifference of the universe, a lively beholding of nature not subservient but respectful to its strength. Epicurus inspires healthy mental attitude, for he embodies a man who awakens and sees himself as a rational simulacrum; who sees Nature not as a benevolent mother, nor as an evil stepmother, but as an inert cradle at the same time comfortable and uncomfortable. And yet, a perceptive mind, that uses multiple hypotheses and probabilistic intuition to try and explain phenomena and impressions, who has a sympathetic attitude towards other minds, and that expurgates the daily triviality giving rise to a succession of spectacular events.
This philosophical attitude, a by-product of a way of thinking and not a holy grail worthy of thirsty craving, allows the relief from fears of death and gods, and a new way to endure pain and enjoy happiness - this one also a by-product, not a coveted jewel.