Gods may exist, but they’re too far removed to care about humans. So our best purpose in life is not to please gods, but to be happy. Which is not as easy as it sounds, since short-term pleasures and selfishness create longer-term misery.
Thus taught Epicurus, 2,300 years ago. Hiram Crespo brings the Epicurean passion for maximum happiness into the modern age with this practical guidebook.
Step one in what Crespo calls the “hedonic calculus” is to rein in desires, so they become easier to satisfy – just the opposite of the luxurious indulgence so often incorrectly associated with Epicureanism. From there, he offers a blizzard of ideas, from healthy recipes that stimulate natural “feel-good” chemicals in the brain to the journaling of positive events, even on a bad day. The highest attainable happiness, though, is communing with friends – it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Being smart about being happy means using the best knowledge and tools available. Tending the Epicurean Garden is an excellent place to start.
Hiram Crespo, a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University, is a blogger and founder of the Society of the Friends of Epicurus. His articles have appeared in The Humanist magazine and The New Humanist.