January is always a thoughtful time. Looking back over the previous years achievements and planning for the year to come; before our thoughts are dominated by the pre-season to do list. Last year we posted a blog about three scandi words we thought epitomised our philosophy.
Hygge, enjoying the simple pleasures in life.
Lykke, Togetherness, Health, Money, Freedom, Trust and Kindness, the six categories of happiness.
Flygskam; literally ‘flight shaming’ but more generally balancing journey need and sustainability.
A lot more words come to mind to describe 2020, most of them not particularly polite. Like many we have had our fair share of struggles this year though fortunately not as bad as some. We are still here and 'Good to go' for the new season. When that can begin and under what restrictions we have still to see. Hopefully a mixture of vaccination and testing will allow us to welcome guests aboard again soon.
In the meantime we try to rise above the above the doom-scrolling and lockdown fever, the social distancing and bubble buddies' and think how we might reset and build back better.
I know, the new jargon comes thick and fast these days.
So for our 2021 words we are retreating 2300 years to the equally turbulent times when Epicurus lived in ancient Greece. He did not believe in an interventionist god/s or in an afterlife and so has been actively discredited by most establishment religions. He was often misrepresented as a proponent of hedonistic excess while he was in fact an advocate of a simple life lived in harmony with nature. Like many philosophers he believed that the pursuit of happiness was the highest virtue and that this was possible only by achieving the state of;
ataraxia, meaning "untroubledness", a state in which the person is completely free from all anxiety, pain or suffering, both mental and physical.
To get there, his vision wasn't very different from the scandi words we blogged last year with maybe the addition of another scandi word Lagom; not too little and not too much, which captures the idea of honest modesty and sustainability that he espoused. He would have added one more category to the requirements for Lykke, which would be true knowledge of the world or perhaps more accurately wisdom. He would however have approved of the idea that togetherness was the first and foremost category. A quote from one of his letters reads,
'Of the things wisdom acquires for the blessedness of life as a whole, far the greatest is the possession of friendship.'
Today was the inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the USA with a speech that draws much from the philosophy of Epicurus, something he has in common with the founding father Thomas Jefferson, a self proclaimed Epicurean. Jefferson's immortal phrase 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' is a direct reflection of Epicurean philosophy, happiness as ataraxia, the freedom from pain and suffering rather than the opposite of sadness.