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Epicurus And Marx’s View On Meaningful Life

992 words - 4 pages

In Marx’s theory of “alienation” it highlights on his analysis of alienated labor carried out by political economy, and sees worker as a misery tool for commodity production .This paper will examine the contrasting perspective given by Marx and Epicurus for a good and meaningful life, and will suggest that Marx’s view is more persuasive than Epicurus, in particular because Marx’s concept relates to our contemporary social phenomena which are much more alike in what we are experiencing today. Indeed, this paper will emphasize two arguments which distinctly are different between Marx and Epicurus’ view on life. First, Marx’s sees the point of life has tied into some kinds of activity like work and materialistic consideration, where Epicurus focuses on one’s experience such as pleasure, contemplation and friendship. Secondly, Marx does not consider wisdom is important, where Epicurus thinks wisdom is a key to achieve happiness in life.
Marx’s view of alienation is a response to political economy and capitalism, and which has developed an important relation among human, production, and reality with human nature.
He sees workers choose work to maintain life; work is not a voluntary thing. People create products that do not belong to them, and they work to satisfy the other’s need (eg. factory owners), not their own, and were considered to be “forced labor”. Therefore, in a sense work becomes a way people disconnect from their human nature. (p. 51,52) The act of production in a way alienates workers from their activities. Workers are alienated from the object they were produced, the more productivity a worker achieves the more he or she loses the nature of human beings. Since the product is not the creation of their own, workers become unhappy and denies their freedoms being as their creativity and achievement is taken away in the production process. Marx believes life is tied into some sort of activity; the essence of human being is the ability to pursue freedom and be able to be creative in our own production. Therefore, economic and capitalism takes away the chance from being a human. Indeed, the meaning of life in Marx’s opinion is somehow connected to materialistic considerations, and alienation of labour develops into another kind of alienation in life. If a production is one man’s creation, it is intrinsically good for the man, and the man would be happy after all. We should not work just to keep our physical body alive, but be freely expressing our creativity in activities and production is the main goal to achieve our happiness. (Jackman 2013 (1))
According to Epicurus, ultimate good for a meaningful life is to pursue pleasure, and to minimize pain. To Epicurus, wisdom is seen as the most valuable virtue in life, and friendship is one of the main components besides wisdom, “of all the means which wisdom acquires to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is...

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