The “Epicurus Experiment” believes poverty is not easy to tackle. We believe `poverty’ is
too complicated to just solve, or even begin to solve. Even defining poverty is difficult.
It’s generally agreed you are living in poverty if you are homeless, or cannot afford to clothe or feed yourself.
However, some people are seen to be in poverty if they struggle with daily living expenses; can’t go on holiday each year; earn under a certain yearly income or live in a particular area. If we can’t agree who is living in poverty how can we tackle it? The Epicurus Experiment puts all the debates aside, it believes the main thing in life is to be happy. It takes philosophy of Epicurus and looks at how it can be used to support people to have a happy life.
For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain a happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia—peace and freedom from fear—and aponia—the absence of pain—and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends.
Epicurus’ philosophy can be simply broken down into 3 beliefs:-
1. The first of these is friends. No life can be happy without friends, and no life will be miserable with them. Epicurus bought a large house in Athens which he shared with his best friends. He recommended that one try never even to eat alone. “Before you eat or drink anything, consider carefully who you eat or drink with rather than what you are to eat or drink: for feeding without a friend is the life of a lion or a wolf.”
2. The second ingredient of a happy life is financial self-sufficiency. “We can’t be happy if we’re at the mercy of odious and unpredictable superiors. It is better to have little money and be free, than be rich and vulnerable to the whims of others.” So Epicurus and his friends dropped out of regular employment and started a commune, growing their own fruit and vegetables.
3. And the last ingredient of happiness is to lead a thoughtful life, analysing anxieties on a regular basis – writing them down and talking them through with friends.
“If you have these three goods in your life”, asserted Epicurus, “however poor you may be you will always be happy; without them, you will almost certainly be sad.”