Replacing God With Pleasure

Laura Miller reconsiders pleasure-seekers, in a review of Stephen Greenblatt's Swerve: How the World Became Modern:

If you think Epicureanism means extravagant self-indulgence, think again. [First-century Roman philosopher] Lucretius was a follower of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, who did indeed argue that pleasure is a sign of the good. But Epicurus also wrote, "we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality."

… Above all, Epicurus and his followers conceived of an ethos that required no supernatural enforcer threatening to condemn the wicked to eternal torment. The Epicurean good life is a good life in both respects — enjoyable because it is moral, prudent and honorable. It is also a life devoted to celebrating this world, not the next.