Six months ago, I created the Facebook group "Epicurean Philosophy" as a replacement for an older group, intended for critical and intelligent discussion of the philosophy of Epicurus.

This philosophy has several revivalists around today. Unfortunately, I have evidence that many of them have decided to ape religious fundamentalism in their revival of this secular humanist philosophy.

I left the group I had created a while ago, as I had perceived it as becoming increasingly cultish and dogmatic, and also had some serious problems with the behaviour of one dominant group member. I discuss this in this 15 minute video:

Link to video

Things have gotten even worse since, however. For a supposedly scientific tradition, the group has begun banning people for expressing disagreement with the orthodox dogmas of their 2300-year-old Master, Epicurus.

First they banned a long-term contributor for asking for a reference for their assertion that modern science collaborates Epicurus' belief in contra-causal free will.

Then they decided to ban me, the group creator and founder, from re-joining, following a blog I put up in which I gave a rational critique of the aspects of Epicurus I disagreed with. Again, including the dogma of free will. I hasten to add, banned by the very admins I had appointed, who originally had no issues with my expressions of disagreement - I was clear from the start I was not "orthodox".

I was told that I was not welcome back in the group as my views were not "orthodox", as defined by their Master, and I disagreed with what the group leaders I appointed considered "core tenets" of the philosophy, and thus that my presence would somehow be detrimental to group morale and harm the integrity of the group. The fact that my views were expressed on a private blog didn't matter. Essentially, I was branded a heretic for disagreeing with their Master and excommunicated from what had become their little cult. Said decision made behind my back with me kept in the dark. No different from how groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses behave (which I was raised in).

I exchanged some very harsh words with the former "friend" responsible for the decision, whom I had been working with online before on several projects, including that group and an attempted Epicureanism forum. Let's just say that I am well past the point of reconciliation.

It boggles the mind, but Epicurean fundamentalism really is a thing in the 21st century, and there are Internet cults based on applying the philosophy of Epicurus - championed as a secular humanist hero - in such a dogmatic way to give fundamentalist Christians a run for their money.

It's also clear, though, that the seeds of the dogmatism and authoritarianism I described above were found in Epicurus himself, who despite having many progressive and early secular humanist views, was also a dogmatist and authoritarian revered as a guru (and god!) and who insisted on making his followers swear oaths on his core dogmas. This is the form of Epicureanism which many revivalists want, complete with purges of heretics treated with hostility for daring to resort to calm, rational, reasoned critique of their ideas.

And this is something I am determined to speak out about. Such illiberal authoritarianism and crass dogmatism goes against everything I stand for, and what attracted me to the positive side of Epicurus in the first place.

Satirical blog entry on the events: "Round Earth Theory is Platonist Claptrap!"

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Oh, dear.  I do my best to keep any group I'm in non-cultish, by disagreeing with prevailing beliefs when suitable :)

The fact you emphasize the gender of these people suggests you have something else going on here. 

No, the fact that you're talking about a woman admin excluding you and male admins going along with her, makes it apparent that you're viewing this through the lens of your ideas about relations between the sexes.

And it brings up the question of whether the woman admin excluded you because you were saying things that antagonized her as a woman. 

It seems from watching your video, that all this is a personal reaction to things you say and to your way of saying them.  Not about intellectual dissent. 

And perhaps it does involve your beliefs about relations between the sexes - since you mention a woman admin.  It doesn't take being a radical feminist to notice that. 

I didn't reply because your critique is ad hominem. I was hoping for a different quality of discussion. Our ultimately authority, as you should well know, is the Canon, the evidence before the senses. There is no question of authority of "masters" here because we do not have Hegemon and kathhegemones like in antiquity. Having a conviction does not mean having authority. It means having a conviction, and if you have a different conviction and you do not resonate with a group, then that group does not have to invite you in. I would never try to join a Catholic, or Baha'i group knowing the differences of opinion I have with them can not be reconciled, and I would never join them to change their minds. Anything claimed must pass the test of canon. You should know this.A philosophy of life that does not recognize our freedom can not be practiced. It is useless. This is why this issue matters to us.




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