What is the Kynere (Kirene) School, Cyrene PhilosophyJune 29, 2021
The Cyrene School or the Cyrene School is the Socratic Greek school of philosophy, which asserts that everything that gives pleasure is good and everything that hurts is bad, and that sees the only goal of the will as pleasure, which is the most natural feeling for man.
The Cyrene (Kyrene) School was founded by Aristippos of Cyrene. They have been the advocates of a soft, comfortable and pleasant life understanding against the rejectionist and rigid moral attitudes of the philosophy of cynicism.
In this context, the first example of an approach based on pleasure for a good and happy life is the Kyrene School. The basic idea advocated by this school, also known as the Hedonistic School or Hedonism, is this: Pleasure in life is an end in itself and for itself, therefore, pleasure is good. “What is good?” The answer to the question is given as “good is pleasure”.
Pleasure is the most basic thing in life and the main purpose of the living being’s life. Therefore, the only thing that a living thing is actually directed towards is pleasure. In this case, only pleasure is good for a living thing. So pleasure in itself is something that is worth wanting for itself. All other things are good to the extent that they provide pleasure, give pleasure. What makes them desirable is that they provide the attainment of pleasure. In this case, the measure of a right or happy life can be expressed as:
“What gives pleasure, brings pleasure is good; What hurts is bad. Other things are things that should be ignored and not paid attention to.”
What is understood by pleasure here is the pleasure felt at that moment, the pleasure obtained at that moment. The pleasure felt at that moment is of a material, that is, of a sensual nature. According to Aristippus hedonism, this pleasure takes precedence over the intellectual or spiritual pleasure, that is, the pleasure related to our inner world. So it doesn’t matter where the pleasure comes from. Because pleasure is good in any situation and condition, no matter where it comes from.
Although Aristippos builds his hedonism doctrine on the sensuality of the sophists, he says that the only tool that leads to real pleasure is knowledge (Socratic element). Aristippus is also one of Socrates’ disciples, asking “What is the right living?” He developed his philosophy on the question. According to him, the goal to be achieved and to be achieved is only pleasure.
The sole purpose of our will is pleasure, and according to Aristippus, pleasure is therefore the good itself. With the conclusion that everything that gives pleasure is good, this philosophy becomes the main point of the hedonism movement. With the interpretation of this school, the Socratic concepts of good and happiness take on a new meaning. Previously, good was not clearly defined in Socrates, and happiness was evaluated differently, as the permanent health and well-being of the soul.
Aristippus makes no distinction between the types of pleasure, making pleasure a philosophical category; According to him, pleasures are not separated from each other in terms of quality, but in terms of quantity, and pleasures, whether physical or mental, are important. Sensory pleasures are considered superior to spiritual pleasures because they are direct. On the other hand, this concept of pleasure is somehow associated with the Socratic understanding of knowledge. Knowledge is seen as a condition for attaining pleasure. In a different way, happiness is again stated as something that can be reached through knowledge. Because, according to this understanding, knowledge is the only power that can save people from prejudices, superstitions, and tendencies that distract people from pleasure. Thanks to knowledge, people gain self-confidence and will enable them to eliminate the conditions of the outside world that prevent pleasure. The Cyrenean school, in this sense, seeks liberation in order to reach the pleasure of the world, unlike the cynics in the opposite way, that is, the idea that man will be self-sufficient and liberated by getting rid of the blessings of the world.
He who enjoys life and seeks pleasure is wise according to this school. It is to lead a wise life, always calmly and in control, trying to dominate the conditions one is in and to achieve pleasure. Like the Cynics, the Cyrene School is one of the schools that influenced the development of individualism and individuality. They approach religion like cynics, believing that it is necessary to get rid of its delusions.
Inspired by Socrates, the Kyrene School perceives the true purpose of life as escaping pain and finding pleasure. Philosophy according to the Kyrene school; It is a smart life skill, a technique to avoid pain as much as possible. With the help of this art, one learns how to live skillfully, how to deal with permanent pleasures that do not end in pain and that do not come and go.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım