Comment by Dr. Allan H. Clark
The problem I find with Epicureanism is that once you form an attachment to a lover, spouse, child, or friend, you can become anxious about their welfare. When they fall ill or lose a job or have a breakup, it becomes in part your problem because you care about them.The problem I find with Epicureanism is that once you form an attachment to a lover, spouse, child, or friend, you can become anxious about their welfare. When they fall ill or lose a job or have a breakup, it becomes in part your problem because you care about them.

Comment by Richard Goscicki

Dr. Clark I don’t see human empathy as a problem, especially for someone you love.  Even lower mammals like seals, sheep and dogs show empathy toward others.  In biology this is called kinship altruism.  Some species even show (tough rarely) non-kinship altruism.  To my mind there’s not enough of it because it conflicts with Darwinist forces of natural selection.

I find your statement disturbing.  Humans need more empathy to create a better world, not less.

Comment by Maruli Marulaki

It does not happen often, that someone outrightly calls attachment a problem.  There are many people, who have and recognize it as a problem, if they lack the ability to get attached.   

I consider the ability to get attached as a basic human quality.   Personally, I even consider the mutual caring attachment with a bonded monogamous partner as something, which makes life worth living.  Attachment makes the difference between living and existing.    

I am using the web for my quest to find a mindmate.    This means I need the attachment that comes with the intellectual intimacy with a likeminded partner.    Promiscuous predators, who want to use a haphazard woman's body without attachment, are so many, that they cause nausea.    Men with an own need to get attached are so rare, that it is disheartening.   

Hedonistic men are driven by their physiological needs to get infatuated with a female body and abuse women without getting attached.   The women get hurt.    I am scared of hedonists.    
Epicurean men are much less a hazard, because of the higher probability, that Epicurean men get themselves also attached.   The lower risk of being abused makes them so attractive to me.     

Comment by Dr. Allan H. Clark

Epicureanism is in part a cure for the anxieties of life. My point was that attachment is apt to bring anxieties about the welfare of others. I am not deploring attachment in any way, but suggesting a particular kind of anxiety is hard to avoid completely.

Comment by Maruli Marulaki

There real and decisive difference is the one between pathological, unfounded anxiety and realistic apprehensions of future hazards.    Realistic apprehensions are valid and beneficial as enabler for prevention.   
One person alone may only have half as much anxiety and worries compared with a reciprocally caring couple.   But one person alone is also only protected by one person's limited competence of foresight and prevention, while a couple caring for each other doubles each partner's total protection.    Thus any additional anxiety for another is rewarded by additional protection for oneself.  

Comment by Maruli Marulaki

When a relationship is a safe haven for a couple, it can even reduce the total anxiety, because feeling protected by the caring and competent partner can even take away more anxiety than caring for him adds.  

Comment by Dr. Allan H. Clark

No doubt relationships provide security as well as many other desirable things. Epicurus argument against possessions was that they add anxiety about their potential loss. That also seems to be the case for relationships. If the benefit of relationships can outweigh the fear of their possible loss, why isn't the same thing true of possessions? Clarify the logic for me.

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Replies to This Discussion

The logic in people's behavior is not absolute but it depends upon their individually different needs.    

1.  There is a difference between worries about those material possessions, which serve basic necessities compared with those, which only serve greed, power or luxurious indulgence.    I assume that Epicurus had sufficient legal rights as the owner of his garden community.   I am convinced that in the case of a real threat of being evicted and made homeless, he would have worried and considered this as a legitimate reaction and emotion.   

2.  I consider Epicureanism neither as a conscious choice nor as a result of education and culture, both influences are only magnifying a predisposition of a brain already predetermined for non-material pleasures and preferences.    A person with a high need for human attachment is prone to become an Epicurean, even in the case that he has never heard of Epicurus.   

I just came across an article about research on how men's attachment problems can be connected to sexism:


"Attachment style refers to the way people relate to others in the context of intimate relationships, defined by two personality traits: attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance. Both traits reflect different kinds of relationship insecurities; people who are low in both traits are considered secure."

The focus of the research is about sexism as men's method of coping with their attachment problems.    But coping is the second step after first perceiving differently any prospect, possibility or option to get attached. 

Generally looking at the issue, people tend to consider something the more as a desirable goal without ambivalent emotions, the less they doubt their ability to achieve the goal.   

I assume, that those people, who are able to get attached and who have an innate need to get attached, experience and perceive attachment very differently from those, who are afflicted with attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance.  





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