Just a quick note to say that I now consider my Epicurean dialogue on happiness to be finished, thus completing a journey of exploration that began five years ago when, thanks to my friend Manuel, I decided to start translating the ethical writings of Epicurus (although in fact I have been interested in Epicurus ever since I read and responded to Ray Shelton's paper "Epicurus and Rand" back in 1997).
It always feels great to conclude a big project -- especially one that has brought me closer to true wisdom about life. As Howard Roark says in The Fountainhead, this is a point reached. But I'm not standing still, because I'm already hard at work on the next two projects in my series of books on the philosophy of happiness: they are code named Songs of Zarathustra and Walking with Thoreau.
In closing this chapter of my intellectual history, I find it appropriate to quote from the letter that Epicurus wrote to his friend Menoikos some 2300 years ago:
Let no one put off the love and practice of wisdom when young, nor grow tired of it when old. For it is never too early or too late for the health of the soul. Someone who says that the time to love and practice wisdom has not yet come or has passed is like someone who says that the time for happiness has not yet come or has passed. Young or old, it is necessary to love and practice wisdom, so that in old age you can be youthful by taking joy in the good things you remember, and likewise in youth you can be mature by not fearing what will come. Reflect on what brings happiness, because if you have that you have everything, but if not you will do everything to attain it.
Although I'll continue to ponder and absorb the wisdom of Epicurus in the years ahead, I'm now moving along to working actively on Nietzsche and Thoreau (and, after that, Aristotle). As always I'll be certain to share whatever of value I find in this continuing voyage of discovery...
While working on the second draft of my dialogue Letters on Epicurus, I've been thinking about the Epicurean analysis of where human beings go astray in the pursuit of happiness. According to Epicurus, a "vice" or "sin" is a pattern of thought and behavior that is driven by a specific fear and that leads to an unnatural or unnecessary desire, thus taking you off the path to happiness.
Consider the following examples:
I'm sure that entire books have been written about envy, anger, and the desire for power, fame, honor, and luxury, but Epicurus was probably the first person to have analyzed these vices in a unified way. I need to ponder this analysis more deeply and then see if I can weave it into the dialogue I'm rewriting.
Today the RFC Editor published RFC 6869, which defines a new kind of vCard for devices. This document, which I co-authored with two of my colleagues at Cisco, complements RFC 6473. During the working group discussions that led to publication of RFC 6473, we decided to split software applications from hardware devices in the general category of things (as opposed to people, locations, groups, and organizations, which are defined in the core vCard spec). We considered "thing" too generic, but we also didn't want to begin the endless task of defining a detailed taxonomy of things, thus the middle ground of defining devices and applications to start with. We can always add more kinds if needed. :-)
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