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Sherwin Nuland on Love
“Looking Outward Together”

Epicurus on Love

Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher who lived between 341 and 270 BC. He had some unconventional ideas on love, summarised here in an article from the Montreal Review:

“Love, for Epicurus, falls under the category of desires that are both unnatural and unnecessary. It is not anything in nature that makes us desire to have one sex partner to ourselves, but rather dictates of the society around us… Basically, we would not consent to the arrangement known as love if we had never heard of it before. It is essentially to make oneself obsessed with fulfilling a desire that can never be fulfilled, therefore condemning oneself forever to unhappiness.”

Epicurus saw love as a combination of friendship and sex, but crucially, considered the whole to be less than the sum of its parts:

“Whereas friendship and sex are both, to varying extents, worth pursuing, love is nothing more than mental disturbance... As Stephens writes, "Sex satisfies the body and is a natural pleasure. Love crazes the mind and leads to heartache."”

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