Principal Doctrines of Epicurus

The “Principal Doctrines” (also sometimes translated under the title “Sovran Maxims”) are a collection of forty quotes from the writings of Epicurus that serve as a handy summary of his ethical theory:

1. 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.

2. Death is nothing to us; for that which has been dissolved into its elements experiences no sensations, and that which has no sensation is nothing to us.

3. The magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the removal of all pain. When such pleasure is present, so long as it is uninterrupted, there is no pain either of body or of mind or of both together.

4. Continuous bodily pain does not last long; instead, pain, if extreme, is present a very short time, and even that degree of pain which slightly exceeds bodily pleasure does not last for many days at once. Diseases of long duration allow an excess of bodily pleasure over pain.

5. 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.

6. In order to obtain protection from other men, any means for attaining this end is a natural good.

7. Some men want fame and status, thinking that they would thus make themselves secure against other men. If the life of such men really were secure, they have attained a natural good; if, however, it is insecure, they have not attained the end which by nature’s own prompting they originally sought.

8. No pleasure is a bad thing in itself, but the things which produce certain pleasures entail disturbances many times greater than the pleasures themselves.

9. If every pleasure had been capable of accumulation, not only over time but also over the entire body or at least over the principal parts of our nature, then pleasures would never differ from one another.

10. If the things that produce the pleasures of profligate men really freed them from fears of the mind concerning celestial and atmospheric phenomena, the fear of death, and the fear of pain; if, further, they taught them to limit their desires, we should never have any fault to find with such persons, for they would then be filled with pleasures from every source and would never have pain of body or mind, which is what is bad.

11. If we had never been troubled by celestial and atmospheric phenomena, nor by fears about death, nor by our ignorance of the limits of pains and desires, we should have had no need of natural science.

12. 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.

13. There is no advantage to obtaining protection from other men so long as we are alarmed by events above or below the earth or in general by whatever happens in the boundless universe.

14. Protection from other men, secured to some extent by the power to expel and by material prosperity, in its purest form comes from a quiet life withdrawn from the multitude.

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

16. Chance seldom interferes with the wise man; his greatest and highest interests have been, are, and will be, directed by reason throughout his whole life.

17. The just man is most free from disturbance, while the unjust is full of the utmost disturbance.

18. Bodily pleasure does not increase when the pain of want has been removed; after that it only admits of variation. The limit of mental pleasure, however, is reached when we reflect on these bodily pleasures and their related emotions, which used to cause the mind the greatest alarms.

19. Unlimited time and limited time afford an equal amount of pleasure, if we measure the limits of that pleasure by reason.

20. The flesh receives as unlimited the limits of pleasure; and to provide it requires unlimited time. But the mind, intellectually grasping what the end and limit of the flesh is, and banishing the terrors of the future, procures a complete and perfect life, and we have no longer any need of unlimited time. Nevertheless the mind does not shun pleasure, and even when circumstances make death imminent, the mind does not lack enjoyment of the best life.

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. If you fight against all your sensations, you will have no standard to which to refer, and thus no means of judging even those sensations which you claim are false.

24. If you reject absolutely any single sensation without stopping to distinguish between opinion about things awaiting confirmation and that which is already confirmed to be present, whether in sensation or in feelings or in any application of intellect to the presentations, you will confuse the rest of your sensations by your groundless opinion and so you will reject every standard of truth. If in your ideas based upon opinion you hastily affirm as true all that awaits confirmation as well as that which does not, you will not avoid error, as you will be maintaining the entire basis for doubt in every judgment between correct and incorrect opinion.

25. If you do not on every occasion refer each of your actions to the ultimate end prescribed by nature, but instead of this in the act of choice or avoidance turn to some other end, your actions will not be consistent with your theories.

26. All desires that do not lead to pain when they remain unsatisfied are unnecessary, but the desire is easily got rid of, when the thing desired is difficult to obtain or the desires seem likely to produce harm.

27. Of all the means which wisdom acquires to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is friendship.

28. The same conviction which inspires confidence that nothing we have to fear is eternal or even of long duration, also enables us to see that in the limited evils of this life nothing enhances our security so much as friendship.

29. Of our desires some are natural and necessary, others are natural but not necessary; and others are neither natural nor necessary, but are due to groundless opinion.

30. Those natural desires which entail no pain when unsatisfied, though pursued with an intense effort, are also due to groundless opinion; and it is not because of their own nature they are not got rid of but because of man’s groundless opinions.

31. Natural justice is a pledge of reciprocal benefit, to prevent one man from harming or being harmed by another.

32. Those animals which are incapable of making binding agreements with one another not to inflict nor suffer harm are without either justice or injustice; and likewise for those peoples who either could not or would not form binding agreements not to inflict nor suffer harm.

33. There never was such a thing as absolute justice, but only agreements made in mutual dealings among men in whatever places at various times providing against the infliction or suffering of harm.

34. Injustice is not an evil in itself, but only in consequence of the fear which is associated with the apprehension of being discovered by those appointed to punish such actions.

35. It is impossible for a man who secretly violates the terms of the agreement not to harm or be harmed to feel confident that he will remain undiscovered, even if he has already escaped ten thousand times; for until his death he is never sure that he will not be detected.

36. In general justice is the same for all, for it is something found mutually beneficial in men’s dealings, but in its application to particular places or other circumstances the same thing is not necessarily just for everyone.

37. Among the things held to be just by law, whatever is proved to be of advantage in men’s dealings has the stamp of justice, whether or not it be the same for all; but if a man makes a law and it does not prove to be mutually advantageous, then this is no longer just. And if what is mutually advantageous varies and only for a time corresponds to our concept of justice, nevertheless for that time it is just for those who do not trouble themselves about empty words, but look simply at the facts.

38. Where without any change in circumstances the things held to be just by law are seen not to correspond with the concept of justice in actual practice, such laws are not really just; but wherever the laws have ceased to be advantageous because of a change in circumstances, in that case the laws were for that time just when they were advantageous for the mutual dealings of the citizens, and subsequently ceased to be just when they were no longer advantageous.

39. The man who best knows how to meet external threats makes into one family all the creatures he can; and those he can not, he at any rate does not treat as aliens; and where he finds even this impossible, he avoids all dealings, and, so far as is advantageous, excludes them from his life.

40. Those who possess the power to defend themselves against threats by their neighbors, being thus in possession of the surest guarantee of security, live the most pleasant life with one another; and their enjoyment of the fullest intimacy is such that if one of them dies prematurely, the others do not lament his death as though it called for pity.

Customer Service 101

The Satanic Scriptures pre-order fulfillment went pretty well. We’ve gotten some great feedback on the book and only a few snafus. Some people sent illegible order forms (if we can’t read the address, it makes it hard to send something in the mail), some didn’t send the right amount of money, and I think we might have sent a hardback to someone who ordered a slipcase, but we’re fixing that now.

All in all, we sent hundreds of books out within two weeks, and that time included picking them up at the shipping center in a u-haul, unloading them at the offices, three days travelling to New York and having books signed by the high priest of the Church of Satan, special ordering shipping supplies and etc. etc.

I’m not complainging, but we usually do a dozen orders in two weeks, not a few hundred.

We had one pest though. One person who just demanded to know, every other day it seemed, what the progress was on his order. I’d been short in my responses, because how many times can I write “your order will be filled”?

It was really down to the wire with this release. At one point it looked like the books might not make it to the US until the 28th! Everyone would have gotten theirs late. It takes almost a month just to have the books shipped from our printer overseas. The original plan had the hardback book slated for Halloween of this year, but it was decided we wanted to release it on Walpurgisnacht, we had to work on a truncated time table (cutting 7 months out of the release schedual)!

The proverbial straw was a 3rd e-mail in the last two days that had a subject line of “dissapointed”. I couldn’t keep it to a one line sentence reply:

——————

I gotta tell you, you’ve sent us probably a dozen goddamn e-mails and numerous notices of address changes.

You will get your book, relax. We’ve done an amazing job at getting hundreds of orders filled in just a few days. Problem orders were pulled and filled last. You sent address changes and therefore yours was a “problem order”. You haven’t been neglected and if you’re disappointed then you’ve proven yourself terribly impatient and your constant e-mails have shown you’re also a pest. We were disappointed in you long before now.

On every order form and every website we asked people to wait until the 5th of this month to contact us. You disregarded this and have pestered us with multiple requests for address changes and updates.

“We respectfully ask that you abstain from e-mailing us for updates on the release of this book unless you have not heard from us or received delivery by May 5th.”

You have not received your book, but you have HEARD from us, right?! We have TOLD you that it was being shipped to you, RIGHT?!

WAIT FOR IT, IT WILL ARRIVE.

Scapegoat Publishing

Eternal Life After Death

My great uncle wrote this recently:

ETERNAL LIFE AFTER DEATH

Eternal Life After Death is the stock in trade of most religions. It is considered a Good Thing, without much further thought or analysis. Islam throws in 70 virgins if the (male) warrior dies in a jihad. This might explain some suicide bombers.

Eternal Life presumes a sentient entity (either virtual or as real as the Risen Christ) which continues after a physical death. I will not go into whether it applies only to humans or only to devout Christians or what happens to the 4 billion souls on Earth who are not Christians.

What sort of experiences would this sentient entity have? Would the Heavenly Ensemble be charged with entertaining all of them, forever? Would entities be able to interact with other entities? Let us make some parallels with our present life and suppose that they are able to interact with other entities. Then, after all entities have had extensive interactions with all the billions of other entities billions of times, then one moment of eternity will have passed. What then?

I understand that God is the God of infinite time and space, although humans are incapable of comprehending these infinities. The most devout Christian will understand that, in many millions of years, our Sun will eventually decay into a red ember, with all its planets frozen and incapable of supporting any kind of life. When this happens, then a second moment of eternity will have passed. What then?

The prospect of Eternal Life After Death (self awareness) scares me silly. If it be true, then I will opt, if possible, for a final and merciful physical death, thank you very much. If Eternal Life After Death be true, then surely bringing a new life into the world to face an eternity of self awareness is an act of unimaginable  cruelty.

Xxxxxx X. Slaughter

(yeah, edited by me to protect the innocent)

LA photos…

Descriptions come later.. having a great time.. hanging out with John Gilmore, Bryan and Heather from Arkham Studios, Carlos Batts, the Dwarves video shoot with 30 or so Suicide Girls… sitting in my hotel room blogging, the entire time missing my sweet lady… (yeah, I’m a sad sack in love, whattya goin’ a do)

Me and Selene

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Be on a plane in 24 hours..

San Fransisco, Sacramento – Art, Bowling

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Chris X, Steven Leyba, Goober

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Stephen Kasner
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The Black Lot – Satanic Tourist Photo-op
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Dave from Circle 9 and Dave D’Angelo (who was in the show with Stephen K.)
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Blag Dahlia, Naked Rob
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Chris X and poster artist Dirty Donny
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Stephen Kasner and Rebecca
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At the Squat & Gobble on Haight St. – good grub, smelly hippies and butch dikes

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Two goobers..
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Taking the Satanists bowling… I’ve got great style, but ultimately no game.

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Stephen Kasner KILLED us all on the lanes.
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Grandma blood on my hands….

This morning, my gal and I stopped at a grocery store. She had to run in and pick something up. We were running a little late, it was 12:15 and she’s supposed to open her store by noon and I SHOULD be at my desk by the same time (I know, it’s a hard life).
While waiting in my car, sipping an iced coffee from the D&D (a habit I picked up from her – I’m really a Krispy Kreme man myself, being raised in the same town that birthed the doughnut franchise) and two delightful old ladies came stepping out of the store. The younger of the two white haired lasses stepped down from the curb and started off to the car parked nearby in a handicap space, the other, very old (and very “sweet old grandmother” type) was trying to step down herself… but even with a cane she looked uncertain.
Because I’m Southern man, and she was a kind looking woman in a fairly nice but working collar suburb of Baltimore, I started to rise from my seat to help her down from the curb. As I got the door all the way open, I see her start to lose balance and down she went, head hitting the curb before I could traverse the 15 feet I was from her.
I step up, look in her eyes and ask if she is okay, she responds and seems a but suprised, but not dazed. Her head was bleeding and a second person who saw what happened volunteered to call an ambulance. My gal just walked out the door and I tell her to get a towel or something and she spins around to take care of it.
Ambulance called, towel in my hand and pressed to the back of her neck, she was sitting up and I was supporting her with my knees while I was crouched behind her. My dear girl held her hand and spoke to her, as well as I until the ambulance came.
The paramedics came over and took the towel holding from me and escorted her in the ambulance, I look down and see blood all over my left hand and wrist and the cuff of my coat.
I don’t need a pat on the back, I didn’t ask that woman for any money and nobody thanked me. If she were a crackhead, or someone undesirable, I would have just called the ambulance from the warmth of the running car. She seemed like someone who just had an accident.
Basically, there’s more going on than books and porn and eugenics, though I don’t write about it as much. When I talk about statistics and groups of people, I’m talking just about that – generalities. I don’t think people are just two-dimensional, but I take individuals as just that. When they’re strangers, I judge them based on appearance and behavoir, when they aren’t anymore, I judge them based on my interactions with them.

Kevin I. Slaughter on Nerve.com

Some of the images you’ve seen on my blog are now a feature on Nerve.com, an online sex ‘zine. They’re a premium gallery, so you have to have a subscription to see them.

Some of the introductory text is a little wrong (I never traveled TO Baltimore since I live here, but what does it matter really? When was the last time you expected a media outlet to report accurately?

Kevin I. Slaughter on Nerve.com

Kevin I. Slaugther on Nerve.com

“Satanic” Joke and Halloween debauch..

This morning, I thought up this funny “in” joke:

Two Satanists are hanging out, one says to the other “Who was that hot dame I saw you with earlier?”

To which the second says “Oh that was my wife, or as she’s known about the house – ‘The every day altar.’”

And the one laughs and says, “Well that’s funny, but since she’s the every day altar, does that mean you have a special occasion altar?”

To which the second replies, “Not that she knows about!”

Okay, maybe I should have put the quotes around funny instead of in.

As well, there’s this gret photo from the Bruiser’s Ball at the Ottobar. I was, of course, dressed up like a slighly more eccentric me:

I’ve always liked the concept of photographs of people in photo booths taken from the outside.