Ataraxia is peace and freedom from fear and aponia means absence from pain.
The Greek philosopher Epicurus believed the goal in life was happiness and pleasure, he defined pleasure as the absence of pain.
Aponia is the pleasure one has when they are free from want or pain. He advocated a simple life, this is more like Minimalist, than Hedonism.
A couple of hundred years before Epicurus the Buddha found freedom from pain and suffering in a similar way.
Epicurus school of thinkers met in a garden and were the first to admit women into their school and he emphasised friendship as an important ingredient to happiness. Like The Buddha he said nothing should be believed till tested by practice and logical deduction.
The Buddha never entered into the God debate. Whereas to Epicurus fearing and worshiping gods did not fit in with ataraxy.
To quote Epicurous, ‘It is preferable not to commit crimes, even secret ones, since there will always be anxiety over the possibility of detection, and this will disrupt the tranquility or ataraxy that is the chief basis of happiness in life.’ Gods were unnecessary in his opinion, gods were useful only as an example in life.
Like Democritus he believed in the atomic theory. That matter is made up of tiny particles called atoms, from the Greek word indivisible.
Our understanding of atoms has come a long way since then. The cathode ray tube the basis of television, x-ray and nuclear fission.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1945 is a long way from ataraxy.
Can we get back to Ataraxia, a state of freedom from anxiety and distress, to
tranquility and a peaceful state of mind?
It will take some education in understanding the true nature of things.
If we have not got the self-control to stay thinking and acting decently.
We need an ethical personal trainer in the gym of life,
May be this is where the God-fearing idea originated.
We should be able to live without fear, fear is a poison that kills loving kindness.
We are made up of atoms that will one day disperse and become part of the cosmic eternal oneness.
As we all bleed the same colour we all decompose to feed the circle of everlasting life, There is no need to fear death while enjoying life and when dead sentient beings feel nothing. Dead men don’t cry.
Death is going home to where we came from before birth, at one connected with all.
Get with it! Live life with respect and appreciation, savour the taste of this passing experience. Delight in friendship, relish the nourishment that sustains you, love life and it will love you. I hope after this somewhat heavy meal you do not suffer indigestion.