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up for ages as absolute truth, because men have granted the
major premise. But granting and demonstrating are not
precisely the same thing, and that is why the whole scheme
of the metaphysics of all the schools is a crumbling and
abandoned ruin to-day. Science is not argumentative. It
is self-constructive and what it surely builds surely stands.

Aristotle's "Categories" are ten in number : Sub-
stance, quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, the
where, the when, position in space, possession. A category
is a summum genus, and it was Aristotle's delusion that



ARISTOTLE 123

his categories formed a classification to which all things
could be referred; that in some one of them any object
or any state of mind could be placed. These categories
were later called Predicables, but the change of nomen-
clature did not alter their essential inadequacy. They are
totally useless as instruments of investigation. They are
not highest genera, and they are redundant when they are
not incomplete. Aristotle's syllogism is as useless as his
categories. The truth of the conclusion and of the minor
premise is demonstrated with the demonstration of the
major premise. When we know, for example, that all
bodies attract one another with a force that varies in direct
ratio to the mass and in inverse ratio to the square of the
distance, we have no need of a syllogism to prove that
the moon, being a body, so attracts and is so attracted.
Both minor premise and conclusion are stated in the for-
mula in which the law of gravitation is laid down.

Were it not that Aristotle's philosophy is upheld to-day
by no inconsiderable body of men, much space need not be
given it here. He is interesting to us in a measure almost
as great as is Gautama, for his philosophy is taught in
hundreds of colleges and universities to men who go out
into the world with no clearer conception of the Baconian
Method and its application to scientific investigation than
is derived from the jugglery of the majors and minors of
the Aristotelian syllogism. If such schools do not call
their philosophy by its honest Greek name it is none the
less true that Aristotle and his categories and predicables
are the root of it. Floating high up in the dim mists of
metaphysical misconception, that philosophy is blind to
the running river of progress that flows forward past it on
the earth below.



EPICURUS, ZENO, PYRRHO

With Aristotle Greek philosophy reached its culmina-
tion. The men who came after him created no system and
did nothing to develop his doctrines. Attention has been
already called to the lasting influence of Aristotelian
thought. When the time came for Christian theologians
to enter the arena of dialectics and to establish a philoso-
phy, they took what they found prepared for them by the
celebrated Stagyrite and built up around it a theologico-
philosophical system that is maintained to-day by the
learned men who still cling to metaphysics. Christian phi-
losophy was the application of the Aristotelian method to
the vindication of dogma.

But the Greeks who were contemporary with Aristotle,
and some who followed, set up new doctrines and founded
schools of their own. Some of these retain keen interest
for us to-day, if for no other reason than that their
thoughts live with us, their names are synoymous with
types of men, and their philosophies, too often misunder-
stood, abide with us in imperishable fame.

Epicure, Stoic, Sceptic? Who does not make use of
these words almost daily? And it is by no means an
exaggeration of the truth to say that these three words
have all but lost their original significance, and that not
one in a thousand who is glib enough in that use ever
thinks of its source or doubts that the commonplace is the
classic meaning that attaches to the words themselves.
Yet we shall presently see how far usage has varied the
ideas that were in the minds of the men who gave these
words to civilization.

124



EPICURUS, ZENO, PYRRHO 125

No doubt it will surprise all those who are not well
informed in ancient Greek philosophy to hear that Epi-
curus, the founder of Epicureanism, lived upon bread and
water and upon the simple fruits and vegetables that grew
in his own garden. Water-cress, a radish, a fig, made a
substanital meal for the greatest of all the epicures, Epi-
curus himself. Now and then the philosopher called for
a portion of milk or for a little cheese, saying at the same
time, "I must occasionally make merry !" Diogenes Lser-
tius, that mine of philosophical anecdote, writing of this,
is moved to say: "Behold the manner of his living, he
who has been misrepresented as the greatest voluptuary."
And Cicero says : "Ah ! With how little was Epicurus con-
tented." All of the Epicureans in that day, in the day of
Epicurus, fared as did their master. They ate pulse, drank
milk, and smiled at the folly of men whose palates were
placed above their reason.

How comes it then (and the question thrusts itself
upon us) that Epicurus has been so outrageously
maligned? The answer is conveyed in the orthography
of the modern word : for an epicure is one kind of a man,
and an Epicurean is another, and both exist to-day. When
we come to the doctrines of Epicurus we will inquire into
this distinction more fully. Here it will not be amiss to
say who and what was Epicurus, and how he was regarded
among the people of his own day.

If Socrates is fortunate in his biographers, Epicurus
is no less the reverse. Almost everything that was to his
derogation was said of him. Most of these slanders — if
indeed not all — are to be traced to Diotimus, a follower
of Zeno, and a Stoic. Diotimus manifestly hated Epicurus
for what the Stoic probably considered the affectation of
simplicity on the part of the founder of Epicureanism. It
is said that Diotimus published fifty letters of the most



126 GREAT PHILOSOPHERS

obscene character and attributed all of them to Epicurus.
Diotimus had a number of imitators among the members
of his own school, and the most outrageous sentiments
were attributed by these to the hated one.

Posidonius, Nicolaus, and Sotion have abused him
roundly. It was said that the mother of Epicurus was a
scrub-woman, and that the son assisted her in her work.
It was charged that he was a most immoral man and a
profligate; that he lived with a notorious Athenian cour-
tesan; that he claimed to be the originator of the atomic
theory of Democritus; that he had no right to Athenian
citizenship; that he was a base flatterer of tyrants and of
the minions of tyrants; that he crawled before men of
wealth and literary reputation; that he was a betrayer of
friendships and dishonorable to the wives of his bene-
factors; that he advised his young admirers to eschew
education of all kinds, and that he was in correspondence
with three or four of the most flagrant women in Greece.

Epictetus accuses him of being a base debauchee, and
Timocrates charges him with excesses of all kinds, pre-
senting Epicurus as a habitual drunkard and ignorant
pretender. The latter biographer likewise says that
Epicurus had so debauched himself that for years he was
unable to rise from his couch, in which he had served
him daily the most sumptuous banquets. These men
denounce him as a slave, as a slanderer, as a ribald who
spat upon Plato's followers. They say he called Aristotle
a glutton ( !) and an apothecary, Protagoras a valet, Her-
aclitus a disturber of the peace, Democritus a silly fellow,
the Cynics enemies of Greece, and Pyrrho an ignoramus.
So much for the slanderers of the good and great man.

To all this may be opposed one sentence from Fenelon,
the celebrated French poet, and an incomparable scholar.
In his superb little work, "Lives of Ancient Philosophers,"



EPICURUS, ZENO, PYRRHO 127

the author of "Telemachus" says : "Epicurus taught that
virtue is the most efficient means of making life happy in
so far as there can be nothing more satisfactory than to
abide by the rules of wisdom and righteousness; to have
no occasion for self-reprobation; to be stained with no
crime; to injure no one; to do all the good that is within
us; in short, to fail in none of the duties of life, and from
this he infers that it is only the good can be happy and
that without virtue there can be no pleasure." The judg-
ment of Fenelon is the judgment of all who have carefully
weighed the evidence for and against the noble Greek phi-
losopher.

Such vile slanders as have been heaped upon Epicurus
bear their own condemnation. Had he lived as men say
he lived, did what they say he did, taught as they say he
taught, would Athens have reared statues of bronze to his
memory, his pupils have clung to him as we know they
clung to him, and his simple and sweet philosophy have
survived to see contemporaneously sprung schools die and
be forgot by men ?

So numerous were the friends of Epicurus that it
was said that whole cities would not contain them.
His supreme tranquillity of mind, the Arcadian repose
and sweet temper of his philosophy, his public example,
his unostentatious probity and piety, the spotlessness of
his private character, and the winning sunshine of his
presence — all these give the lie to the malicious libels
of his enemies. He was grateful to his parents, kind to
his pupils, liberal with his relations, considerate to his
servants (who were his slaves and whom he emancipated
in his will), and benevolent to all men. He did not desert
Greece in her most difficult time, and to his other virtues
we may add that of true patriotism. It is men such as this
to whom nations raise monuments. Epicurus might have



128 GREAT PHILOSOPHERS

been prominent in affairs of state, but his innate modesty
forbade.

As against the obscene letters reputed to him we may
consider the epistle he indited just before his death to
Idomeneus : "We have written this letter to you on a
happy day to us, which is also the last day of our life.
For strangury has attacked me, and also a dysentery, so
severe that nothing can be added to the agony of my suffer-
ings. But the cheerfulnes of my mind, which arises from
the recollection of all my philosophical contemplations,
counterbalances all these afflictions. I beg of you to take
care of the children of Metrodorus in a manner worthy
of the devotion shown by the youth to me and to phi-
losophy."

Epicurus was born about 341 B.C. and died about 272.
He was drawn into philosophy naturally, for philosophy
was then the fashion in Athens. His first attempt at
founding a school was a failure, why, is not known. Per-
haps he changed his mind and his doctrines when he saw
in the highly colored and passionate brilliance of Aristip-
pus the germ of a noble and temperate way of life. The
hedonism of Epicurus is not the hedonism of Aristippus.
Pleasure with Aristippus meant everything from the sen-
sualism of the eye to the sensualism of the appetites. With
Epicurus it meant the mental repose and quietude that
come with the more deeply-seated satisfactions of the intel-
lect. Epicurus took the kernel of the Aristippian philos-
ophy and cast away the burr. The ideal of the civilized
man is found in the teachings of Epicurus. His philos-
ophy is open to all. It asks no subscription to creed or
cosmogony. Pagan, Jew, Mohammedan, Buddhist, or
Christian can find therein a safe harbor. His entire phi-
losophy can be summed up in the apothegm, "Be virtuous
and you will be happy." It is to this insistence on happi-



EPICURUS, ZENO, PYRRHO 129

ness, or pleasure, that the distorted image we have of Epi-
curus is due. The real "epicure" of the Greeks was Aris-
tippus — Aristippus, who could pay out of hand fifty
drachmas for a partridge because his palate demanded the
outlay.

But the pleasure of Epicurus was not to be purchased
with coin. "It is impossible," he says, "too carefully to
avoid those indulgences which destroy the health of the
body and debase the soul. And though pleasure in itself
be desirable, we should resolutely stand aloof when the
pains which flow from it surpass the enjoyment it yields ;
and for the same reason that it is eligible to suffer an evil
which we are sure will produce a greater good." "The
body feels present pain only ; but the mind feels also the
past and the future."

Among the maxims of Epicurus the following may be
quoted as typical :

Pleasure is never bad per se, intrinsically. But the
causes of some pleasures involve reactions that are by no
means pleasurable.

Power and wealth may give us security and peace so
far as men are concerned; but the security of men gen-
erally depends upon the tranquility of their minds and
their freedom from ambition.

It is impossible to live pleasantly without living pru-
dently, honorably and justly; nor to live prudently, honor-
ably and justly without living pleasantly.

The unparalleled success of Epicurus may be attrib-
uted to the contrast his teachings presented to the mystic
metaphysics of Plato on the one hand, and to the dry
logic of Aristotle on the other. He did not tear men's
theories to shreds, as did Socrates; flay them with his
cynicisms, as did Diogenes ; or make use of men's vanities

as a vehicle for his selfish enjoyments and indulgences, as
Voi,. 4—9



130 GREAT PHILOSOPHERS

did Aristippus. Young men were drawn to him by his
magnetic personality and the extreme respect and con-
sideration he showed for youth ; older men by his serenity
and complacence. He did not pose in an Academy or a
Lyceum as the grand magister. He talked in his own
garden to his friends, and his friends were all those, young,
middle-aged, or old, who entered. Wealth or place had
little influence upon his judgments, and the poor youth,
after speaking with Epicurus, felt that he could be an
Epicurus himself. Epicureanism was the democracy of
philosophy. Its psychology and its metaphysics were
simple. It did not shatter the gates of religion, nor did
it hamper philosophy with a high-sounding theology. It
taught that virtue was its own reward, and that the bal-
ance-sheet of a man's merits and demerits was struck in
this world and the account settled here and now.

It is not to be wondered at that the fame of this novel
and remarkable philosophy and its teacher spread beyond
the confines of Athens, of Greece. From all parts of the
country came disciples. A most heterogeneous assembly
must have been that which gathered in the garden of the
master. Here were all the dialects of the archipelago;
brown-skinned scholars from Egypt, turbaned pundits
from India, strange faces from far Asiatic countries, fire-
worshiping philosophers from Persia, Jews from Syria,
and others from various climes and cities who came to
listen to the wise words that issued from the mouth of the
celebrated hedonist. Let us hear Seneca (who was a
Stoic) : "I the more freely quote the excellent maxims
of Epicurus in order to convince those who become his
followers from the hope of screening their vices, that to
whatever sect they attach themselves, they must live
virtuously. Even at the entrance of the garden they will
find this inscription, 'The hospitable keeper of this man-



EPICURUS, ZENO, PYRRHO 131

sion, where you will find pleasure the highest, will present
you liberally with barley cakes and water from the spring.
These gardens will not provoke your appetite by artificial
dainties, but satisfy it with natural supplies. Will you
not then be well entertained ?' "

The following of Epicurus differed from that of most
of the other Greeks, with the exception, perhaps, of
Pythagoras, in that his pupils were united in a fraternal
body but in nowise a secret society. Communism was not
practiced among them, systematically at least. Epicurus
would not permit a common fund, saying that such a cus-
tom reflected upon the integrity and generosity of the indi-
vidual rather than distinguished the school for its liberality
in worldly affairs. A common purse smacked of mutual
distrust rather than of the reverse. Each member of the
fraternity was thrown upon his own instincts of kindness
and helpfulness, and the result is said to have been most
exemplary. Those who had plenty readily and eagerly
supplied the wants of a less fortunate brother, while the
needy ones were relieved of all embarrassments by the
spontaneity with which those who had to give gave.
Their needs were slight and easily satisfied and content-
ment reigned supreme. According to Cicero, the Epicu-
rean community — a community based on individual man-
hood — was unapproached by aught of its kind.

As Epicurus was guiltless of the disgusting intemper-
ance of which he was accused by his libelers, so was he
innocent of their charges of incontinence. In order that
he might pursue his philosophical studies more pertinently
he lived the life of a celibate. He taught his pupils that
subjection of all the passions promoted clarity of thought
and made easy the way to that serenity of soul most to be
desired by the wise ones.

Owing to the violently contradictory accounts of



132 GREAT PHILOSOPHERS

his character that have come down through the cen-
turies, scholars have been at great pains to establish
the veracity of his eulogists and of his detractors.
The result has been all that one who admires probity
and purity can desire. There is internal evidence in
the charges against him of their slanderous nature. In
all of them there is manifest animus. As the Stoics were
his principal enemies it may be that their attacks were
prompted by jealousy of the garden philosopher's great
and abiding success. But even Zeno praised the personal
character of Epicurus if he did not agree with Epicurean
doctrine; and when Plutarch, Cicero, Valerius Maximus,
Galen and numerous clear-sighted and exacting fathers
of the Christian Church, men who were conspicuous for
their virtues and their wisdom, find reason for thrusting
aside his accusers as base maligners, there is no good rea-
son for believing that Epicurus was not what his phil-
osophy makes him out to have been. Indeed, his deroga-
tors overreached themselves in their animosity and hate;
they overshot the mark, and their shafts fell spent on the
ground. These slanderers were as much inconsistent as
were certain Europeans who taught the people that
Napoleon was a hideous monster whose Gorgon aspect
was calculated to frighten the beholder into spasms. Such
calumnies are common enough even in these times, but
those who credit them are indeed the ignorant.

Xo other Greek philosopher was so highly honored
after death as was Epicurus. His birth anniversary was
celebrated as a festival. His followers committed his
maxims to memory, and many memorized even great sec-
tions of his writings in order that no corruption of his
teachings might be possible. His philosophy was pre-
served pure longer than that of any of his predecessors or
successors. But slanders live and outface truth, and if the



EPICURUS, ZENO, PYRRHO 133

name of Epicurus carries its own condemnation nowa-
days that condemnation is none the less unjust.

Apart from his doctrine of Pleasure Epicurus taught
little that was original. He followed Democritus in the
latter's physics and his theory of sensation was cloudy and
incomplete.

As Epicureanism was the refinement of Aristippianism,
so was Stoicism the refinement of Cynicism. Zeno, the
founder of the Stoic school, was for long a pupil of a Cynic
master. He was born at Citium, in Cyprus, about 340
B. C, and died about 265. The school derived its name
from the Porch ( <?to8 ) in which Zeno taught — a place
that had been frequented by the poets. The modern con-
ception of the heart of the Stoic philosophy is not far
wrong, but Zeno built up about it an elaborate scheme of
theology, psychology, and physics. If one were called
upon to describe Stoicism in three words he could well say,
"Indifference to pain."

Zeno, as his after-life amply proves, was most serious
in his youth and possessed of a gravity that was
certain to make his influence felt when he matured.
This is evinced by his anxiety as a youth to learn
and realize his proper sphere in life. To this end he
consulted the Delphian Oracle and was enjoined to make
himself one color with the dead. Taking the oracular
advice literally he undertook the study of the writings of
the ancients. How far he might have succeeded in this
somewhat problematical quest will never be known, for he
was soon to be diverted into other channels of thought that
were to lead him to Stoicism and a state of mind much in
accord with the oracle's counsel if we accept the definition
of Stoicism already given. It should be stated, however,
that Zeno had asked the oracle what he must do to be
happy and we are justified in doubting whether, after all



136 GREAT PHILOSOPHERS

And Crates was persuaded. Zeno spent another ten
years under Stilpo, Xenocrates, and Polemo, but these
teachers satisfied him even less than did the Cynics. He
decided that he would establish a sect of his own, and so
we have the Stoics.

The portico or colonade in which Zeno taught men was
called the Prisanactium. It was beautifully decorated
with the superb paintings of Polygnotus, and was an ideal
city site for a school. The poets, as we have seen already,
had been frequenters of this portico and they, too, were
called Stoics for the same reason. This was, perhaps, the
occasion of Zeno's school being at first called the Zenon-
ians, but the name of Stoics triumphed and soon the Zen-
onians overshadowed the poets and Stoicism because syn-
onymous with Zenoism. The new doctrines and the new
master achieved a world-wide reputation and men came
from all parts of Greece to hear the lectures in the Stoa.

Possibly from the extreme severity of his philosophy
the life of the Stoic is lacking in many of those theatrical
situations that are so common in the lives of most of the
Greek philosophers. Of Zeno numerous anecdotes are
told, but most of them lack the pungency of those related
of Diogenes, Socrates, and Aristippus. An interesting
episode of his career was his contact with King Antigonus
and the clever manner in which he escaped the hazardous
life of the court. Antigonus was deeply inpressed with
Zeno's wisdom and fortitude and enrolled himself among
the Stoic's pupils. But although urgently pressed to go
to the court, Zeno courteously declined. After pleading
the larger uses of his site in Athens, he concludes his com-
pliments to the King by calling attention to the impair-
ments of age and the great risk of travel ; but that the King
might not be left entirely without consolation, Zeno sent
him Perseus and Philonides, both able men and wise.



EPICURUS, ZENO, PYRRHO 137

That he might not go to the extent of incurring the King's
displeasure Zeno frequently supped with Antigonus, but
avoided any public familiarity with the monarch.

The Stoic shrank from crowds. Often when the porch
was uncomfortably full of listeners the master would beg
of some to retire. When he walked in the streets followed
by importunate admirers he used every device to rid him-
self of the bores, and when he could accomplish his purpose
in no other way he deliberately paid them money to go
elsewhere. Unlike his contemporary, Epicurus, Zeno had
no hesitancy in telling men what he thought of them in
unmistakable words, and his aspect was as frigid as his
reproofs. He was tall, very thin, swarthy of complexion
and although it is said that he was afflicted with a defor-
mity whereby his neck was bent to one side, he was com-
monly called the "Palm Tree of Egypt."

His way of life was in keeping with the rigor of his
philosophy. He ate little. Honey, figs, a glass of sweet
wine, some simple vegetables, these were sufficient for his
keep. He was not ostentatious in dress, but he never
reduced himself to the filthy level of the Cynics. Juvenal,
the Satirist, said of the Stoics that the only difference
between them and the Cynics was in dress; but Juvenal
probably had the Romans in mind when he relieved him-
self of this irony. Zeno despised the luxury of the Greeks
and despised, too, all floridity of speech. He was terse
and concise, even to the point of affectation. "The sylla-
bles of the wise," he would say, "are brief."

The anecdotes related of him are for the most part
commonplace. Some of the brightest may be quoted.
Sitting at table one day with a noted glutton, Zeno appro-
priated the whole of an extraordinarily large fish to his
own plate. The glutton stared. "What!" exclaimed
Zeno, returning the stare. "Do you desire a monopoly



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