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The Epicureans did believe in the existence of the gods, but did not see them as central to living or being happy, which made them different from many other philosophers. However, the danger that Epicurus realized is that this pursuit can lead to indulgence that then leads back to pain. While satisfying oneself may seem harmless enough, it's pursuit could become an obsession that leads to pain. Therefore, moderation is key so that one does not become over zealous, or essentially addicted, to the pursuit of pleasure where they are unable to function and pursue a balanced life.
Interest in simple pleasures is key, as interest in goals such as conquest or wealth could potentially lead to ruin. Minimizing pain and suffering are critical to maximize pleasure. It is also not the pursuits of lusts or desires so much but it is seeking knowledge, developing good friendships, and banishing ideas that bring difficulty and problems to our lives is how one attains pleasure. The tranquility of the mind is what Epicurus would see as the greatest pleasure. He stated that one should never fear death, as death simply means the end of what one can feel and not something that would be painful. Epicurus also warned against being involved in politics, as that also could lead to the diminishment of happiness, something that Epicurus noticed in his own lifetime during the tumultuous politics of Athens after the death of Alexander the Great.<ref>For details of what pleasure means in the Epicurus' philosophy, see: Johnston, Derek. 2006. A Brief History of Philosophy: From Socrates to Derrida. London ; New York: Continuum.</ref>