150 Quotes by Epicurus

Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher who founded the school of philosophy known as Epicureanism. Contrary to the modern association of the term "Epicurean" with extravagant pleasures, Epicurus's philosophy centered on achieving a tranquil and content life through the pursuit of moderate pleasures, avoidance of pain, and cultivation of friendship and intellectual pursuits. He believed that the fear of death and the fear of gods were the main sources of human anxiety and advocated for the study of nature to dispel these fears. Epicurus's philosophy emphasized the importance of attaining a state of ataraxia, or tranquility of the soul, by embracing simplicity and living in harmony with nature. His teachings have left an enduring legacy, influencing discussions on ethics, happiness, and the pursuit of a well-balanced life.

Epicurus Quotes


The noble man is chiefly concerned with wisdom and friendship; of these, the former is a mortal good, the latter an immortal one. (Meaning)

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We must free ourselves from the prison of public education and politics. (Quote Meaning)

If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all humankind would quickly perish. (Meaning)

He who least needs tomorrow will most gladly greet tomorrow. (Quote Meaning)

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?

You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity. (Meaning)

Happiness is man's greatest aim in life. Tranquility and rationality are the cornerstones of happiness.

The things you really need are few and easy to come by; but the things you can imagine you need are infinite, and you will never be satisfied.

Of all the things which wisdom provides to make us entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship. (Quote Meaning)

Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance. (Meaning)

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.

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Being happy is knowing how to be content with little (Quote Meaning)

Live your life without attracting attention.

If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another.

Men, believing in myths, will always fear something terrible, everlasting punishment as certain or probable . . . Men base all these fears not on mature opinions, but on irrational fancies, that they are more disturbed by fear of the unknown than by facing facts. Peace of mind lies in being delivered from all these fears.

He who has peace of mind disturbs neither himself nor another.

The pleasant life is not produced by continual drinking and dancing, nor sexual intercourse, nor rare dishes of sea food and other delicacies of a luxurious table. On the contrary, it is produced by sober reasoning which examines the motives for every choice and avoidance, driving away beliefs which are the source of mental disturbances.

Pleasure is the first good. It is the beginning of every choice and every aversion. It is the absence of pain in the body and of troubles in the soul.

Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist. (Meaning)

In a philosophical dispute, he gains most who is defeated, since he learns most.

The misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool. (Quote Meaning)

The greater the Difficulty the more Glory in surmounting it, and the loss of false Joys secures to us a much better Possession of real ones.

Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not. (Meaning)

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The noble soul occupies itself with wisdom and friendship.

A man who causes fear cannot be free from fear. (Quote Meaning)

We have been born once and there can be no second birth. Fir all eternity we shall no longer be. But you, although you are not master of tomorrow, are postponing your happiness.

Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempest. (Meaning)

Luxurious food and drinks, in no way protect you from harm. Wealth beyond what is natural, is no more use than an overflowing container. Real value is not generated by theaters, and baths, perfumes or ointments, but by philosophy.

Riches do not exhilarate us so much with their possession as they torment us with their loss.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. (Quote Meaning)

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

He who understands the limits of life knows that it is easy to obtain that which removes the pain of want and makes the whole of life complete and perfect. Thus he has no longer any need of things which involve struggle.

The man least dependent upon the morrow goes to meet the morrow most cheerfully.

Freedom is the greatest fruit of self sufficiency. (Meaning)

There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men in their various relations with each other, in whatever circumstances they may be, that they will neither injure nor be injured.

A free life cannot acquire many possessions, because this is not easy to do without servility to mobs or monarchs.

There is nothing terrible in life for the man who realizes there is nothing terrible in death.

What will happen to me if that which this desire seeks is achieved, and what if it is not?

If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.

"Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can and does not want to.
If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent.
If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked.
If, as they say, God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?"

It is better for you to be free of fear lying upon a pallet, than to have a golden couch and a rich table and be full of trouble. (Quote Meaning)

It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. (Meaning)

It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself. (Quote Meaning)

I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind. (Meaning)

The art of living well and the art of dying well are one. (Quote Meaning)

Man was not intended by nature to live in communities and be civilized.

But the universe is infinite.

Launch your boat, blessed youth, and flee at full speed from every form of culture.

All friendship is desirable in itself, though it starts from the need of help

Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance. (Meaning)

A strict belief in fate is the worst of slavery, imposing upon our necks an everlasting lord and tyrant, whom we are to stand in awe of night and day.

Misfortune seldom intrudes upon the wise man; his greatest and highest interests are directed by reason throughout the course of life. (Quote Meaning)

If death causes you no pain when you're dead, it is foolish to allow the fear of it to cause you pain now.

The summit of pleasure is the elimination of all that gives pain.

We must, therefore, pursue the things that make for happiness, seeing that when happiness is present, we have everything; but when it is absent, we do everything to possess it.

Of all the means to insure happiness throughout the whole life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends.

Do everything like someone is gazing at you. (Meaning)

I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know they do not approve, and what they approve I do not know.

It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly. And it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.

Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily. Epicurus taught: Pleasure, defined as freedom from pain, is the highest good.

Justice is a contract of expediency, entered upon to prevent men harming or being harmed.

He who is not satisfied with a little, is satisfied with nothing . (Quote Meaning)

The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd. (Meaning)

Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul.

It is not the young man who should be considered fortunate but the old man who has lived well, because the young man in his prime wanders much by chance, vacillating in his beliefs, while the old man has docked in the harbor, having safeguarded his true happiness.

Death is meaningless to the living because they are living, and meaningless to the dead… because they are dead.

A blessed and indestructible being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being; so he is free from anger and partiality, for all such things imply weakness.

The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure; but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity.

Only the just man enjoys peace of mind. (Quote Meaning)

Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily. (Meaning)

All other love is extinguished by self-love; beneficence, humanity, justice, philosophy, sink under it.

For a wrongdoer to be undetected is difficult; and for him to have confidence that his concealment will continue is impossible.

An irreligious man is not one who denies the gods of the majority, but one who applies to the gods the opinions of the majority. For what most men say about the gods are not ideas derived from sensation, but false opinions, according to which the greatest evils come to the wicked, and the greatest blessings come to the good from the gods.

We begin every act of choice and avoidance from pleasure, and it is to pleasure that we return using our experience of pleasure as the criterion of every good thing.

To be rich is not the end, but only a change, of worries.

The fool’s life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future.

Don't fear god, Don't worry about death; What is good is easy to get, and What is terrible is easy to endure

We must consider both the ultimate end and all clear sensory evidence, to which we refer our opinions; for otherwise everything will be full of uncertainty and confusion.

Self-sufficiency is the greatest of all wealth . (Quote Meaning)

The wise man neither rejects life nor fears death... just as he does not necessarily choose the largest amount of food, but, rather, the pleasantest food, so he prefers not the longest time, but the most pleasant.

When we exist, death is not yet present, and when death is present, then we do not exist.

There is no such thing as justice or injustice among those beasts that cannot make agreements not to injure or be injured. This is also true of those tribes that are unable or unwilling to make agreements not to injure or be injured.

Empty is the argument of the philosopher which does not relieve any human suffering.

He who needs riches least, enjoys riches most.

We cannot live pleasantly without living wisely and nobly and righteously.

I spit upon luxurious pleasures, not for their own sake, but because of the inconveniences that follow them.

Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little. (Meaning)

The acquisition of riches has been for many men, not an end, but a change, of troubles.

We must meditate on what brings happiness, since when it has, it has everything, and when he misses, we do everything to have it

He who says either that the time for philosophy has not yet come or that it has passed is like someone who says that the time for happiness has not yet come or that it has passed.

Any man who does not think that what he has is more than ample, is an unhappy man, even if he is the master of the whole world.

To eat and drink without a friend is to devour like the lion and the wolf. (Quote Meaning)

The wise man thinks of fame just enough to avoid being despised.

He who doesn't find a little enough will find nothing enough.

The mind that is much elevated and insolent with prosperity, and cast down with adversity, is generally abject and base.

The fool, with all his other faults, has this also, he is always getting ready to live.

Let nothing be done in your life, which will cause you fear if it becomes known to your neighbor.

A beneficent person is like a fountain watering the earth, and spreading fertility; it is, therefore, more delightful to give than to receive.

Most beautiful is the sight of those near and dear to us when our original kinship makes us of one mind.

The knowledge of sin is the beginning of salvation. (Meaning)

Accustom yourself to believe that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply awareness, and death is the privation of all awareness; therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life an unlimited time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality. For life has no terror; for those who thoroughly apprehend that there are no terrors for them in ceasing to live.

Of all the gifts that wise Providence grants us to make life full and happy, friendship is the most beautiful.

Gratitude is a virtue that has commonly profit annexed to it.

My garden does not whet the appetite; it satisfies it. It does not provoke thirst through heedless indulgence, but slakes it by proffering its natural remedy. Amid such pleasures as these have I grown old.

Tranquil pleasure constitutes human beings' supreme good

"No pleasure is evil in itself; but the means by which certain pleasures are gained bring pains many times greater than the pleasures."

Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man. For just as there is no profit in medicine if it does not expel the diseases of the body, so there is no profit in philosophy either, if it does not expel the suffering of the mind.

If you would enjoy real freedom, you must be the slave of Philosophy.

Nothing is sufficient for the person who finds sufficiency too little

Why are you afraid of death? Where you are, death is not. Where death is, you are not. What is it that you fear.

There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men.

Any device whatever by which one frees himself from the fear of others is a natural good.

There is nothing to fear from gods, There is nothing to feel in death, Good can be attained, Evil can be endured.

It is vain to ask of the gods what man is capable of supplying for himself.

Let no one delay the study of philosophy while young nor weary of it when old.

If you wish to make Pythocles rich, do not add to his store of money, but subtract from his desires. (Quote Meaning)

Death is nothing to us: for that which is dissolved is without sensation; and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us.

It is impossible for someone to dispel his fears about the most important matters if he doesn't know the nature of the universe but still gives some credence to myths. So without the study of nature there is no enjoyment of pure pleasure. (Meaning)

The flesh believes that pleasure is limitless and that it requires unlimited time; but the mind, understanding the end and limit of the flesh and ridding itself of fears of the future, secures a complete life and has no longer any need for unlimited time.

Some men spend their whole life furnishing for themselves the things proper to life without realizing that at our birth each of us was poured a mortal brew to drink.

Whatsoever causes no annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation. Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not. It is nothing, then, either to the living or to the dead, for with the living it is not and the dead exist no longer.

There are infinite worlds both like and unlike this world of ours. For the atoms being infinite in number... are borne on far out into space.

Fortune seldom troubles the wise man. Reason has controlled his greatest and most important affairs, controls them throughout his life, and will continue to control them.

Neither one should hesitate about dedicating oneself to philosophy when young, nor should get tired of doing it when one's old, because no one is ever too young or too old to reach one's soul's healthy.

Natural wealth is limited and easily obtained; the wealth defined by vain fancies is always beyond reach.

Death, the most dreaded of evils, is therefore of no concern to us; for while we exist death is not present, and when death is present we no longer exist.

So death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist. It does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more.

What men fear is not that death is annihilation but that it is not.

Moreover, the universe as a whole is infinite, for whatever is limited has an outermost edge to limit it, and such an edge is defined by something beyond. Since the universe has no edge, it has no limit; and since it lacks a limit, it is infinite and unbounded. Moreover, the universe is infinite both in the number of its atoms and in the extent of its void.

Justice... is a kind of compact not to harm or be harmed.

Thanks be to blessed Nature that she has made what is necessary easy to obtain, and what is not easy unnecessary.

Stranger, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure.

Pleasure is our first and kindred good. It is the starting point of every choice and of every aversion, and to it we always come back, inasmuch as we make feeling the rule by which to judge of every good thing.

The honor paid to a wise man is a great good for those who honor him.

I would rather be first in a little Iberian village than second in Rome.

Most men are in a coma when they are at rest and mad when they act.

It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and honorably and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely and honorably and justly without living pleasantly. Whenever any one of these is lacking, when, for instance, the man is not able to live wisely, though he lives honorably and justly, it is impossible for him to live a pleasant life.

A strong belief in fate is the worst kind of slavery; on the other hand, there is a comfort in the thought that God will be moved by our prayers.

The wise man who has become accustomed to necessities knows better how to share with others than how to take from them, so great a treasure of self-sufficiency has he found.

As if they were our own handiwork we place a high value on our characters.

The guilty man may escape, but he cannot be sure of doing so.

Men are so thoughtless, nay, so mad, that some, through fear of death, force themselves to die.

Injustice is not evil in itself, but only in the fear and apprehension that one will not escape those who have been set up to punish the offense.

The words of that philosopher who offers no therapy for human suffering are empty and vain.

Without confidence, there is no friendship.

The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?

Never say that I have taken it, only that I have given it back.

A world is a circumscribed portion of sky. it is a piece cut off from the infinite.

Those desires that do not bring pain if they are not satisfied are not necessary; and they are easily thrust aside whenever to satisfy them appears difficult or likely to cause injury.

― Epicurus Quotes

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