Epicurean swerve

Swerve theory
Left: an artistic reconstruction (Ѻ) of clinamen or ‘atomic swerve’, which Epicurus used as an ontic opening loophole to insert free will choice theory into Democritean determinism. Right: another take (Ѻ) on Epicurean swerve theory.
In hmolscience, Epicurean swerve (257 GB hits), ‘Lucretian swerve’ (215 GB hits) or clinamen from the Latin clīnāre ‘to incline’, is an atomic theory based logic, espoused by Epicurus (307BC), in his Epicurean philosophy, or "Epicureanism", a choice flow chart of which is shown below: [5]
as told by Lucretius (55BC), that "pleasure" is the greatest good, and that the way to attain such pleasure is to “choose” to live modestly and to gain knowledge of the workings of the world and the limits of one's desires, but that in order for humans, as atomic-void structures, to have the so-called ability to freely ‘choose’ the greatest good, in a physically predetermined atomic motion universe, the atoms of the soul (or mind), yielding the property of animus or anima, are ‘tiny bodies, round and quick to roll’, with the peculiar property that they ‘swerve’ unpredictably, which gives people the property of freedom of the will or the power (see also: will to power) to wrest with fate in forward movement. [1] As explained by Lucretius, gist of the explanation, written in poetical-like philosophy terms, is as follows: (Ѻ)

“Again, if ev'r all motions are co-linked,
And from the old ever arise the new
In fixed order, and primordial seeds [atoms]
Produce not by their swerving some new start
Of motion to sunder the covenants of fate,
That cause succeed not cause from everlasting,
Whence this free will for creatures o'er the lands,
Whence is it wrested from the fates,—this will
Whereby we step right forward where desire
Leads each man on, whereby the same we swerve
In motions, not as at some fixed time,
Nor at some fixed line of space, but where
The mind itself has urged? For out of doubt
In these affairs 'tis each man's will itself
That gives the start, and hence throughout our limbs
Incipient motions are diffused”

American organic chemist George Scott explains the Epicurean swerve theory as follows: [2]

Lucretius had two similar words, ‘animus’ and ‘anima’ which he identified with mind and soul and they sometimes create confusion. However, since Epicureans are materialists, they believe that for animus or anima to be real, they must be made of atoms and they must be located somewhere. Lucretius believed they form a union centered, not in the brain, but in the breast, though part of the soul moves throughout the body. Because thoughts and feelings move quickly, and because no change in form or weight is observed upon death, atoms of the soul and mind must be ‘tiny bodies, round and quick to roll’.

This is all well and good so far as the speed and location of thought, feeling, and life itself are concerned. However, if no thing is real but atoms in a void, what difference does the mind or soul make to free will and what do they contribute to survival? How can an Epicurean choose the correct Epicurean way of life if the atomic motions of the mind and soul are mathematically predestined from the eternal past?”
The Swerve (2011)
American historian Stephen Greenblatt, in his 2011 The Swerve, wherein he argues that Epicurus' swerve theory revival launched the renaissance. [4]

Said another way: [3]

Epicurus for the most part follows Democritean atomism but differs in proclaiming the clinamen (swerve or declination). Imagining atoms to be moving under an external force, Epicurus conceives an occasional atom 'swerving' for reasons peculiar to itself i.e. not by external compulsion but by 'free will'. In this his view absolutely opposes Democritean determinism as well as developed Stoicism. Otherwise he conceives of atoms as does Democritus – in that they have position, number and shape. To Democritus' differentiating criteria Epicurus adds 'weight' but maintains Democritus' view that atoms are necessarily indivisible and hence possess no demonstrable internal space.”

American historian Stephen Greenblatt, in his 2011 The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began, seems to credit the start of the renaissance to the discovery of Epicurean swerve theory, via discovery LucretiusOn the Nature of Things, the abstract of which is as follows: [4]

“One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man [Poggio Bracciolini] in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was [known at that time] the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions. The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.”

(add discussion)

The following is the flow choice model of standard Epicureanism, according to Irish humanities scholar Damian Gordon: [5]











Merely (natural)




For lifefor easefor happiness

Here, of course, we see the so-called "problem of evil", first addressed by Epicurus, not being clearly addressed. In modern chemical thermodynamically neutral terms, we can indeed divide choice resulting from desires resulting from an external force/internal force interaction combination into "natural" (dG < 0) and "unnatural" (dG > 0), but, as Goethe pointed out (1809), there is no "free will" involved when, e.g. the molecule H2 reacts with the molecule 02, hence the same applies to human molecules (people), which are but evolved (metamorphized) versions of the former, whereby subsequently, as defined by modern coupling theory (1941), both natural and unnatural processes will always exist within a system (society), the former driving the latter (see: human free energy theory), example outlines of which can be found Freud-Schiller drive theory and or Schopenhauer-Nietzsche will to power theory, and hence the so-called Epicurean dilemma, of conceptually how one "chooses" the correct way or path in a deterministic universe, is resolved, with recourse to ontic openings, according to cybernetic-like action of the feedback affect knowledge assimilation (reading) and knowledge production (writing) has on one's nervous system in going from the knowledge store centers of the brain (see: walking encyclopedia) to the belief system center storage areas of the brain, modifications to the latter resulting in evolved reactionary "decision" adjustments towards more accurate or natural choice, as one might say, given the present and or evolving state of the system. [6]

This upgrade logic, might seemingly be called Goethe-modified Epicureanism or "Goethean-Epicureanism" for short, a predominate mixture of Goethean philosophy and Epicureanism.
Soul weighing

judicial system (modern) m
2700 BC

A depiction of the Anunian theology (2700) judgment system according to which judgment comes in the afterlife, according the weighing (see: soul weight) of the soul theory; which Epicurus objected to, in its place formulating his ideal good of pleasure attraction pain avoidance natural morality, within which the mechanism of "choice" between good (natural) or evil (unnatural) desires, in his view, accrues via the "swerving" atoms that comprise the anima (soul or mind) of the person, i.e. the animation principle; which, as depicted right, serves as the backbone principle of the modern judicial system which assigns innocence and or guilt to the free will theory based "choice" of a person's action, whereas correctly, in the post animate thermodynamics logic based era, the guilt (unnaturalness) and or innocence (naturalness), e.g. as discussed in Goethean philosophy terms, should be assigned to an external force/internal force coupling interaction logic theory, guilt assigned per consensus + educated ruling, which will vary per accordance with the given state of dynamics of the universe, which changes per decade and or century.

Judicial system | Reform
In 1995, Belgian cytologist and biochemist Christian de Duve pointed out that: [7]

“If neuronal events in the brain determine behavior, irrespective of whether they are conscious or unconscious, it is hard to find room for free will. But if free will does not exist, there can be no responsibility, and the structure of human societies must be revised.”

One of these structural revisions that must inevitably accrue is revision to the criminal justice system. In America, as American biologist Anthony Cashmore, in his 2010 article “The Lucretian Swerve”, points out: [8]

“The [American] judicial system is based on a belief in the notion of free will.”

Cashmore, from here, goes on to argue that this is “nothing other than continuing belief in vitalism”, or neovitalisms as it would be classified, which is about right, neglecting the sideline fact that Cashmore, a “professor of biology” (see: defunct theory of life), calling the “judicial system professors of free will” as vitalism practitioners is but an example of the the pot calling the kettle black.

Zeno | Stealing slave parable
In any event, the question punishment in a deterministic universe was first addressed in the so-called "stealing slave parable" of Zeno of Citium. [2] A 1942 rendition of the parable is as follows: (Ѻ)

“Long, long ago, before we were governed by Christian morality, the Eleatic Zeno, preached fatalism, which is very much like determinism. One day he caught his slave stealing and thrashed him for it. Eimasto moi klephai ("It was destined that I steal from you”), said the slave, “and also to be trashed” was the laconic answer of Zeno.

In other words, unnatural process are by definition "exergonic" which means that the absorb energy from the surroundings in order to make them work and processes of this, by classification, are non-spontaneous, which means they won't go on their own, but have to be driven into existence via coupling; in short, unnatural processes tend to be destroyed, short-lived (short reaction extent), or "trashed" as Zeno put it, in the course of the reactions or destines of the universe, because they are actions that move upwards on the potential energy scale, and hence are inherently and increasingly unstable.

1. (a) Scott, George P. (1985). Atoms of the Living Flame: an Odyssey into Ethics and the Physical Chemistry of Free Will (§3: Atoms of the Soul: the Epicurean Swerve, pgs. 33-69). University Press of America.
(b) Cashmore, Antony. (2010). “The Lucretian Swerve: the Biological Basis of Human Behavior and the Criminal Justice System” (Ѻ), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(10):4499-4504.
(c) Epicureanism – Wikipedia.
2. Scott, George P. (1985). Atoms of the Living Flame: an Odyssey into Ethics and the Physical Chemistry of Free Will (§3: Atoms of the Soul: the Epicurean Swerve, pgs. 33-69). University Press of America.
3. (a) Epicureanism – Wikipedia.
(b) Clinamen – Wikipedia.
4. (a) Greenblatt, Stephen. (2011). The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began (abs). Random House.
(b) The Swerve: How the World Became Modern – Wikipedia.
5. Gordon, Damian. (c.2010). “Epicureanism”, Humanities I: GSt 201-B, Lecture, Dublin Institute of Technology.
6. (a) Thims, Libb. (2011). Thermodynamic Proof that Good Always Triumphs over Evil”, Journal of Human Thermodynamics, 7: 1-4.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2013-14/15). Chemical Thermodynamics: with Applications in the Humanities (85-page version: pdf). Publisher.
7. de Duve, Christian. (1995). Vital Dust. Basic Books.
8. (a) Cashmore, Anthony. (2010). “The Lucretian Swerve: the Biological Basis of Human Behavior and the Criminal Justice System” (Ѻ), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(10):4499-4504.
(b) Anthony Cashmore – InformationPhilosopher.com.
(c) Anthony R. Cashmore (profile) – PNAS.org.

External links
Atomic swerve – Epicurus wiki.
Epicurus on Freedom – Georgia State University.

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