We learn about it from Plutarch, who tells us that Epicurus was famous for the maxim “live unnoticed”…To “live unnoticed” means to live a completely private life, with no involvement, beyond what might be obligatory for all citizens, in the public life of one’s community or country, and also with no ambitions for making a mark in any other public realm — in any of the arts or professions, for example.
…It seems obvious that the more exposed one’s life is to the attentions of the public, and, in general, to those of any wide circle of nonintimates, the more one risks one runs of potential harmful interference from them. The general run of people are more inclined to envy and ingratitude than honoring honest good service, or simply reciprocating favors…
Thus for Epicurus the default position is to live a life of devotion to one’s private affairs, letting public and political interests take care of themselves, or rather letting them get taken care of by those foolish enough to go in for such things. The hope is that by keeping out of the limelight one can live happily, in peace and quiet, surrounded, and both protected and advanced in one’s pursuit of pleasure, by one’s family, and by a circle of intimate, like-minded friends.
August 9, 2013 @ 5:16 pm
Except this of course means that the public sphere is dominated by the sociopath. Not to go all Godwin, but how well did this work out in 1930s Germany?
Of course, some people (and I include myself) are more suited for such a life. But to imply that such privacy and narrow focus is superior is very problematical to me. even if one wants to ignore the public realm, the public realm may not ignore you.
August 10, 2013 @ 1:02 am
Epicurus might consider some minimal public involvement to be part of that "obligatory for all citizens" thing. As for me, I don't see a problem if Kant's categorical imperative isn't being assumed.
August 12, 2013 @ 7:55 pm
But the problem is…"minimal" involvement may not be enough. Because the cunning natural sociopaths will certainly do more than minimal.
Of course, to be "good" at it, means one might be of questionable character oneself. And, "the system" is designed in all its details to encourage sociopathic behavior and for the benefits of sociopaths.
So…what do I know? LOL
August 13, 2013 @ 1:36 am
August 13, 2013 @ 3:09 pm
LOL, Damian. And around and around we go!
August 13, 2013 @ 7:36 pm
"There are no political solutions." – The Police
But conditions can improve anyway, if that's the way the wind blows.
August 20, 2013 @ 6:30 pm
Can't leave it alone! LOL!
Idiot as a word derived from the Greek ἰδιώτης, idiōtēs ("person lacking professional skill", "a private citizen", "individual"), from ἴδιος, idios "private",
An idiot in Athenian democracy was someone who was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private — as opposed to public — affairs.
August 20, 2013 @ 10:11 pm
Haha, that's awesome. I did not know that. Well, cool, then I can reclaim the word. I'm a proud idiot!