As 2008 draws to a close, I've been thinking about what's happened to me over the past 12 months. In doing so, I can't seem to get my mind off of one of my favorite philosophers.

Epicurus lived in Samos, in Greece, in the 3rd and 4th Century BC. His philosophy of life, in its simplest form, boiled down to this:

In order to best honor this life, in order to best live a good life, one minimizes pain and fear and maximizes joy, love and friendship. It turns out, according to Epicurus, that one excellent way to maximize the amount of joy and love in one's life is to cultivate friendships. And about friendship, Epicurus wrote:

"It is not so much our friends' help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us."

This has been a particularly complex and difficult year for me. But were it not for the confident knowledge that my friends would help me if I needed it, 2008 would have been a very bad year for me. But because of that confident knowledge that I have, 2008 turns out to be a very good year for me, despite all that has passed.

Having thought about this, it turns out that my resolution for 2009 and my wish for all Fermentation readers is the same.


Happy New Year

Posted In: Personal


13 Responses

  1. Eric - December 31, 2008

    Hear, hear, Tom. With this kind of thinking we’ll all have a great 2009!

  2. Joe Dressner - December 31, 2008

    Happy New Year!
    I’m looking forward to dining with Tom and Mel Dick in mid-January!

  3. Nick - December 31, 2008

    Ringing in 2009 with Cava Tom. Happy New New Year!

  4. KenPayton - January 1, 2009

    Happy New Year, Tom!

  5. Epicuria - January 1, 2009

    Epicurus, as you no doubt know tom, strongly advised engaging in political action which leads to compromises and stresses that undermine tranquility. This is the unEpicurean component of your “difficult” life. I don’t think Mr. E considered that friends can offset the pains of such engagement. And yet we must do what we must do.
    Ideally, in the Epicurean approach, we take on challenges that we can handle. It’s all about one’s capacity and making a difference. Which means grappling with issues in one’s immediate work or neighborhood environment (one’s own “garden”) with assistance of those friends.
    Those interested in this philosophy should surf over to http://epicurus.info/.

  6. Philip James - January 1, 2009

    Happy New Year Tom
    — Philip

  7. J.C. Costo - January 2, 2009


  8. Dylan - January 3, 2009

    Happy New Year. Take care and take heart in ’09.

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  10. Epicuria - January 5, 2009

    That should be “… strongly advised ~against~ engaging in political action…”
    Keep on truckin’ Tom

  11. larry schaffer - January 5, 2009

    I could not agree more with your sentiments. At the end of the day, what we are left with are relationships – family, friends, neighbors, etc. It is from these that our days are hopefully enriched . . . .

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