Over the last few years my wife and I have landscaped our backyard from a sterile and sun-baked wasteland of lawn into a beautiful oasis of colour and calm. I have my breakfast outside nearly everyday and my wife and I eat outside about two or three times a week throughout most of the year. Even in the cooler weather we light up the chiminea and sit out and enjoy the enviroment we have created for ourselves.
Recently I’ve been counting my blessings (doing the old “be here now” thing) and I feel that I’ve got it made. I’ve got a lovely wife; a great circle of friends; a nice little house that’s nearly paid off; my freedom and I live in a prosporous stable country. I think that the mood of Jamiroquai song “Corner of the earth” from the album “A Funk Odyssey“best describes how I feel when I’m blissed-out about such things.
I’ve also been thinking about Epicurus lately and how what he has to say has so much relevance to my life. He is quoted as saying ” It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing ‘neither to harm nor be harmed’). And it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.”
Epicurus promoted ethical reciprocity (treat others as you would like to be treated) 300 years before Christianity appeared and started to claim credit for such a concept. He also came up with a very useful little list (for this confusing consumerist, status driven, hero worshipping world we live in) of what is necessary
- A life free of pain
unnecessary but nice
- A big house
- Meat every day
and what is totally unnecessary
If you’d like to know a little more about Epicurus and a few other philosophers I like to recommend the following book by Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy