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Letters on Happiness: An Epicurean Dialogue Paperback – May 28, 2013
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About the Author
After completing formal studies in philosophy and ancient Greek, Peter Saint-Andre embarked on a career in information technology and is currently chief technology officer of an internet startup. In his spare time, he composes guitar music and writes about philosophy. He lives in Parker, Colorado, with his wife and a very spoiled Golden Retriever.
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Top customer reviews
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This is not a comprehensive presentation of the original texts (the author does provide a link to his website for translations of many of them). I've already read many of the texts from other sources and the beauty of this book for me is in helping me to organize my thoughts and make use of the philosophy.
Yoking your horse and chariot: gorgeous swift
Sparrows carried you over the coal-black earth,
Thickly whirling their feathers through the midst of
This from his translation of "Deathless Aphrodite on your lavish throne" (Sappho, Fragment 1). So he is supremely equipped to translate these letters with accuracy and verve, in the demotic. As well as the elegant translation, he adds interesting and informative commentary on Epicurus' thought. For example:
Essentially, he holds that if the lack of something causes you pain, then it is a necessary part of life, whereas if not then it is superfluous, idle, trifling, and unnecessary.
I strongly recommend this book to anybody interested in Epicurus - or, more widely, to anybody interested in happiness and how to live a good life. That should include everybody!
The author has achieved to concentrate Epicurus's essential philosophical teachings into thirty pages, including all the relevant quotations. Peter Saint-Andre even tackles the subdivision of the necessary and natural desires, a slippery subject avoided by most interpreters of and commentators on Epicurean philosophy. (The only two exceptions I know of are Epikur. and [...])
Peter Saint-Andre has re-translated the original text fragments bringing them closer to us: the Greek verb 'melete' has traditionally been rendered into English as to 'meditate', or 'study', but it used to refer to a mental training or exercise and it is felicitously translated by him as 'to train': "Train yourself to hold that death is nothing to us, because good and evil consist in sensation, and death is the removal of sensation."
Peter Saint-Andre's dialog is the easiest first step you can take if you plan to eliminate fear and stress from your life.