First, let me say thanks for sharing your knowledge of Epicurus.

Hi, and thanks again for the great discussion! I believe that you are right that we cannot entirely avoid pain. But I think what Epicurus would point out is that sometimes we act in ways that are more likely to cause long-term pain rather than pleasure, and we do this because we don’t understand how pleasure and pain work. For example, we follow our endless desires, trying to satisfy them, not realising that a desire for the newest iPhone (for example) is likely to satisfy one only for a few days, while it is likely to cause anxiety and stress for a much longer time (because we need to earn the money, the iPhone will eventually break or become obsolete, it might be stolen, fall into the toilet, etc). So, although life inevitably contains both pleasure and pain, we do have some influence over their exact balance in our individual lives. Rejecting the iPhone, Epicurus might say, and concentrating on developing a cheap and lasting source of happiness (for instance, taking up drawing as a hobby), is more likely to lead to a long-term positive balance of happiness over pain, and would therefore be the rational thing to do.

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