Short Essays: Knowledge & Ancient Greece

There is a grotesque mistake made by many, many academics: their interpretations of history are made through the lens of the present. When people use the word ‘Mythology’ they are referring to Mythology in the sense of fiction, not taking into account that for people in Ancient Greece – Mythology was a reality, not fairy tales.

Great myths, tales of the conquering of great cities by people who came from the sea – from a place Plato referred to as ‘Atlantis’ which, after angering the gods, was sunk deep into the sea. Homer’s ‘Illiad’ was not fiction for the Ancient Greeks, emotions where not cognitive functions but the work of supernatural forces, for example, Eros (Love) in Plato’s Symposium was characterised as a daemon (neither a divine God, nor mortal, but a spirit that influences humans). This was their way of explaining a powerful emotion that captures and individual entirely, is capable of changing them and driving them towards thoughts and actions unusual to their character.

The Ancient’s had questions but only the power of the mind for developing answers. If we were stripped of all technology, of all the texts we have today with empirical answers to life’s questions, we would have to return to what is called ‘The Socratic Method’ (posing a question and then debating as a group to find answers as the Ancient Greeks did in the Agora). We would have to resort to drawing conclusions from observations of physical and psychological phenomena just like the Ancient Greeks.

The mind is powerful, but just the mind alone is limited. What was beyond explanation needed an answer, Gods/archetypes filled those voids: this great storm, this terrifying lightning, all beyond their ability of scientific explanation – Gods: “If I die in battle against an enemy it is not not the end, I will spend eternity in Valhalla!”

All they had to work with is previous knowledge, debate in the Agora and ‘pure reason’. The real question is, for all the knowledge we have acquired now, are we really better off? What we have gained through empirical science may have lead to cures for diseases, various methods for curing cancer; but also the Atomic Bomb; excessive pain killers – like fentanyl – which are ruining more lives than they are improving; our unhealthy obsession with social media – masked as a useful tool, yet it creates division between everything from personal relationships to national relationships.

The explanations for all worldly-phenomena may seem absurd when viewed from the lens of 2019, however, 2019 would probably look not just absurd but grotesque when viewed through the lens of Heraclitus, Socrates, Aristotle and even Nietzsche. We may say they had a lack of empirical knowledge, but they chased after essential knowledge. We have attained an excess of useless knowledge and have now returned to an age filled with pseudoscience.

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I have had issues with WordPress un-publishing my essays critiquing thing such as liberal democracy, egalitarianism, immigration policies and so-on. For me to return to tackling these subjects I need to relocate to another platform. At this point, uploading essays attacking these Idols (for what are they but Idols?) on this page is becoming nought more than an annoyance. I will make sure my essay Progress & Egalitarianism remains, others I am refining will go up on the next page along with some more short stories and such (no, I have not ceased Gloria). The end of my subscription here is approaching its end, and I have no intention on renewing it. But to move to another page costs money, and a new – reliable – computer for writing the content does as well. Money I do not have. And so, I must ask for help so I can continue this project, to continue a presence online, to continue taking a hammer to the ridiculous and unrealistic notions instilling utopian desires and fictitious ways of viewing the world – the collective Mauvaise foi we are thrown into unknowingly by those whom benefit from our ignorance.

 

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