File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 129

Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 22:49:29 -0600
Subject: Re: Ataraxia


Yes, that is a fair interpretation of the teachings. Epicurus delivered
the one-two punch to religion with those doctrines.  

Yes, historically, they were apolitical, but along the lines of hippie
dropouts forming their own commune, to speak anachronistically.

I think it is possible today to be Epicurean and pratice politics. In
fact, in these capitalist end times simply to be Epicurean is to be
political. Ataraxia is the silent refusal of work and speed.

By the god, I think Epicurus meant simply images of bliss, something we
would meditate on in order to merge into.  The whole radical teaching of
Epicurus was really this in a nut shell.  

He didn't want us to obey the gods.  He wanted us to become the gods. 

Think of it as the Ubermensch without the usual Nordic proclivities,
Rilke's angels or Orpheus, Rimbaud's Genie, even Beckett's Unnameable
with his head in a jar is full of the divine fury. Two tramps on a
lonely cladestine road at nightfall taking matters into their own hands.



Fuller wrote:
> Eric,
> I have read up a (very) little on Ataraxia. The most succint interpretation
> I have found so far is that there are two axioms.
> 1. No fear of the Gods (or the workings of the world are actually the
> workings of the Gods). So no divine retribution.
> 2. No fear of death. (To worry about the afterlife is like worrying about
> the before-life.)
> I have been thinking about what a translation these axioms into present day
> equivalents would be like. I don't think the death drive has changed much,
> but the notion of present day 'Gods' I found interesting, what would be
> 'their' form? (I am assuming 'Gods' take the form of the motivatory force
> behind any interpolatory practice.) The logic of capital? Badiou mentions
> this.
> Also, something else that I found to be interesting in my reading was that
> the Epicureans did not actively participate in politics, rather 'they stood
> to the side and observed'.
> Glen.


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