|1 Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves||2299-2303|
|2 A Social History of Greece and Rome||2304-2304|
|3 Aspects of Antiquity, Discoveries and Controversies||2305-2308|
|4 Passion and Criminality in France||2309-2311|
|5 The Natural History of a Savant||2312-2314|
|6 Religion Explained, The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought||2315-2317|
|7 God The Invisible King||2318-2320|
|8 Radical Wrongs in the Precepts and Practices of Civilized Man||2321-2322|
|9 Love, Evolution and Religion||2323-2329|
|10 Consilience, The Unity of Knowledge||2330-2333|
|11 The Religious Ape in Crisis||2334-2336|
|12 Even Jefferson Needed an Editor||2337-2337|
|14 Rudolph Rummel||2348-2349|
|15 Death by Government||2350-2353|
|16 The Republic of Plato||2354-2354|
|17 Plato's Forms||2355-2356|
|18 Plato's Gift to Christianity||2357-2364|
|19 Poets' Gods, Philosophers' Gods||2365-2366|
from: Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves, Women in Classical Antiquity, Sarah B. Pomeroy, Schocken, 1975.
'"A professor of the classics at Hunter College, [Pomeroy] has consulted archaeological data, documents, historical writing and, of course, the literature of the high civilization of Greece and Rome with minute attention; her bibliography runs to nine closely-spaced pages. Her book is splendidly free of anachronistic speculation abut what women must have felt, speculation projected back from our age onto a blank page of the past....Dr. Pomeroy's book leaves us in her debt. She does not draw large conclusions or form sweeping generalizations, but the details she has gathered here speak for themselves and do not readily leave the mind."—Elizabeth Janeway in The New York Times Book Review' [back cover].
'"Extremely useful...comprehensive and interesting."—Library Journal' [back cover].
The Role of Women
in the Religion
of the Romans
My dear, I truly desire to see you as soon as possible, and to die in your arms, since neither the gods whom you have piously worshiped nor the men whom I have always served have shown us any thanks.
—Cicero to his wife, Terentia
Brundisium, April 29, 58 B.C.1
["1. Cic. Letters to His Friends 14.4." ] [Amusing! Compare the dating of this letter ("April 29, 58 B.C."), with, no (significant) dating in the New Testament]
This division of the labor—the cultivation of the heavenly powers by the woman and the care of the mundane by the men—would not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Italian customs even today. But it is necessary to point out at once that Cicero has simplified the facts for rhetorical effect, and that the dichotomy is more ideal than real, for the life of a Roman man was also fraught with religious duties, while a woman like Terentia was primarily concerned with the management of her family and finances. For Terentia, participation in religion could be both an obligation and a pleasure....' ["205"].
'The central myth of the Isis cult combines peculiarly Egyptian antecedents with Greco-Roman elements. According to one version, Isis and her brother Osiris had loved one another even within their mother's womb. Their marriage provided the paradigm for the brother-sister marriages common among Egyptian rulers. But Osiris, commonly identified with the sun, was killed and dismembered by his brother Set, god of darkness. Isis mourned and searched for the fragments of Osiris' body, and through her agency he was restored to life. But before his resuscitation Isis bore a child, and thus she is often depicted in visual representations nursing a baby. These
portraits have led to comparisons between Isis with her infant Horus and the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus. However, while Christian theologians held up Mary as a model of virginal maternity, the child Horus was clearly seen in the cult of Isis as being the offspring of his parents' union. The Isis myth also relates that when she searched for the pieces of Osiris' body, she failed to recover his phallus. Perhaps to compensate for that critical loss, Osiris is often represented as a phallus.
The emotional appeal of a divinity who has herself suffered such inestimable loss is undeniable. Worshipers could feel sympathy for and closeness to Isis, while they experienced only awe and fear in their distant relationships with most of the Olympian deities. Moreover, the worshiper could readily identify with Osiris—as Osiris suffered death and was born again, so the devotee of Isis could anticipate his own renewal after death. This appeal must have been especially potent among the most wretched members of society. Women were attracted, too, to the promises of exotic religions, as Juvenal disparagingly pointed out in his diatribe on women:
[Juvenal 55 - 127 C.E.] And watch out for a woman who's a religious fanatic: in the summer, she'll fill the house with a coven of worshipers of strange oriental deities. Their minister will be a weird apparition, an enormous obscene eunuch, revered because he castrated himself with a jagged hunk of glass. He'll use his prophetic powers and solemnly intone the usual warning:
"Beware the Ides of September!
Beware the arrival of December!
Protect yourself! pledge me one
hundred eggs and a warm woolen cloak."
He ["Their minister"] claims that whatever dangers threaten will be absorbed by the cloak and promises protection for the coming year.
In the middle of winter, at dawn, she'll go down to the Tiber, break through the ice, and piously immerse herself three times to purify her body, and then she'll crawl on her bleeding knees halfway across Rome—to atone for having slept with her husband the night before: this is the ritual prescribed by the deity in favor this month. If some Egyptian goddess instructs her to make a pilgrimage to the Nile, she'll leave at once, follow the river to its source, and return with a phial of sacred water to sprinkle on the temple (which, as you can see, desecrates one of our oldest historical landmarks). She actually believes that Isis speaks to her! As if any god would bother to talk with such a fool.
Women like this revere any Egyptian priest who cons his followers with elaborate rituals and meaningless taboos. He has them convinced that he has the power to obtain forgiveness for their sins. If they fail to abstain from marital relations on holy days, or if they owe a penance for violating the goddess' prohibitions, the goddess will reveal her displeasure by shaking her head; the priest, in tears, mumbling an empty litany, will intercede with the gods so that Osiris, bribed by a fat goose
and a piece of cake, will forgive them.35
Eroticism and asceticism were mingled in the cult. Isis herself was said to have been a prostitute in Tyre for ten years, and the phallic representation of Osiris has already been noted. Her temples were located near brothels and marketplaces, and they had a reputation for being meeting places for prostitutes. There is a long history of official suspicion of sexual license in secret societies and mystery religions. Among the Romans, the scandals of the Bacchanalia provide the obvious example. Among the Greeks, the behavior of Pentheus, king of Thebes, at the coming of Dionysus can be cited. As Euripides [c. 484 - 406 B.C.E.] dramatized the myth in the Bacchae, the women of Thebes followed Dionysus into the countryside, and Pentheus suspected that the new religion provided an excuse for sexual misconduct. The suspicion of the Romans was well founded; Pentheus' ["suspicion"] was not ["well founded"], at least in the Euripidean play. Nevertheless, the association of Dionysus with sexual license is clear from the vase paintings, from the god's entourage of satyrs and nymphs, and from the literary evidence of Euripides in the Ion and Phoenician Women. But the mystery cults also offered ample opportunity for abstinence, both from certain foods and from sexual intercourse, forever or for a limited period. A woman could devote herself to perpetual virginity in the service of Isis, and the elegiac poet Propertius complained of loneliness when his beloved Cynthia spent ten nights in the goddess' ceremonials.36' [220-222].
'The worship of Isis can be traced in Italy during the late second and early first centuries B.C. in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Greek cities of Campania, and a college of the priests of Isis was founded at Rome in the time of Sulla.39 Women as well were strong influences in the establishment of the cult. Nearly one-third of the devotees named in inscriptions in Italy are female.40 It is likely that the establishment of the cult was promoted by the agency of Oriental slaves and freedmen, a number of whom were prosperous businessmen. Some slaves converted their owners, but even after it spread to the upper classes the Isis cult never abandoned its associations with the lowly members of society.
Egypt and her deities were anathema to Rome. Five times during the late Republic the shrines of Isis were ordered torn down. In 50 B.C. when no workmen could be found to carry out the order, the consul himself took an ax and began the destruction.41 In 43 B.C. there was a temporary respite when the triumvirs, in a bid for popular support, ordered that a temple be built for Isis, but whether this temple was erected is not known.42
The hostility to Egypt was intensified by the confrontation between Cleopatra and Antony on the one hand, and Octavian on the other. Cleopatra was Isis incarnate. Octavian had seen Cleopatra, and had viewed Egypt. He recognized the lure that had turned Antony into a "slave of withered eunuchs."43 In 28 B.C. the triumphant Octavian, who became Augustus, forbade the building of temples to Isis within the boundaries of the city (the pomerium), and seven years later the prohibited territory was extended to the area close to the city of Rome. He intended thus to deprive the goddess of her worshipers, of whom the urban population constituted a large part. It is well known that in his settlement of Egypt, Augustus, for political and economic reasons, kept the country as a private possession, not to be administered like the other provinces of the Empire. There were moral reasons as well: Isis, like
Cleopatra, was seductive. The gods of Egypt threatened to undermine the new moral foundations of society which Augustus hoped to establish by legislation. From this vantage point, it may be suggested that Augustus might have been more successful if instead of requesting sophisticated women to worship archaic abstractions of female virtues, he had co-opted the cult of Isis and exploited her as an example of a faithful wife and loving mother.' [223-224].
" The worship of Isis apparently developed among those who had little stake in the rewards of a religion based either on male dominance or on class stratification. Egypt, where the cult was born, was a land in which women are known to have enjoyed high status. The cult then migrated in the Hellenistic period through the Mediterranean world settled by the Greeks. There are strong indications that there were fewer restraints on Greek women in this Hellenistic world than there had been during the Classical period. The two most influential Greek women of the Hellenistic period—Arisnoë II and Cleopatra—interestingly enough considered themselves to be incarnations of the goddess [Isis]. Further, some conclusion must be drawn from the fact that the establishment of the cult of Isis in Italy in the late Republic coincided with the growing emancipation of women. The cult continued to blossom among the Romans, especially those women and men who did as they pleased despite official prohibitions.
But Isis was not universally popular. One of her strongest rivals was Mithras, a male god whose worship was confined exclusively to men. The cult of Mithras stressed militant and masculine qualities and, as has been noted, became a favorite among the soldiers and officers of the Roman army. In some ways the existence of Mithras fostered the femaleness of the cult of Isis: those who might have diluted or changed the cult of Isis were actually siphoned off and diverted to their own god. Thus, in Isis-worship there remained latitude for uninhibited women, such as the mistresses of elegiac poets and others who are less well known now, to become both official magistrates and common devotees.
What can be said about a world in which two vastly different godheads—Mithras and Isis—were simultaneously popular, and in which the Mysteries of both this god and goddess and many competing cults, including Judaism and Christianity [only reference to the word Christianity, I have encountered in this book], could offer comparable promises of blessed immortality? ....
"What is of more interest in a way is the adherence of men to the cult [of Isis]. The hymns of Isidorus and the conclusion of The Golden Ass show that the relationship of the male to the mother figure is very pronounced. In psychological terms, the appeal of Isis is comprehensible: in an age of unrest the yearning for total maternal protection is indeed a basic impulse. It is uncertain whether any true idea of equality for women would inevitably emerge in such circumstances, for the adoration of female divinities has not improved the circumstances of the women who worship them, nor has it raised mortal women in the eyes of the men who cultivate them.
In this respect Isis was different from other mother goddesses. She did stand for the equality of women, and one cannot help wondering about the nature of the subsequent history of Western women if the religion of Isis had been triumphant."
[End of chapter X] .
Ancient Goddesses, The Myths and the Evidence, editors Lucy Goodison and Christine Morris, U. Wisconsin, ©The Trustees of the British Museum 1998.
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from: A Social History of Greece and Rome, Michael Grant, Charles Scribner's Sons, c1992.
'....Taking the empire as a whole, it has been calculated that, up to the time of Constantine I the Great (306–337), twenty-four emperors had been betrayed or killed by nearly thirty women.
The late Latin historian Ammianus Marcellinus [c. 330 - 395] did not think much of the women he saw around him in Rome. He, a foreigner, had been ejected from the city, but many disreputable females were not.
[Ammianus Marcellinus] The ultimate disgrace, not long ago, when foreigners were banished in headlong haste from the city because a famine was expected, [was that] the hangers-on of actresses and those who posed as such for the occasion, together with three thousand dancers with their choruses and the same number of dancing instructors, were allowed to remain without even being questioned. Wherever you turn your eyes you can see any number of women with curled ringlets, old enough, if they were married, to be mothers of three, skimming the floor with their feet to the point of exhaustion and launching themselves into the bird-like evolutions by which they represent the countless scenes which form the imaginary content of theatrical pieces... The women scream from cock-crow like a flock of starving peacocks.29
In the Christian world—in which the New Testament had sent out various complex signals about women, that cannot be discussed here—St. Jerome [c. 345 - 420], who suffered from sexual anxiety, marshalled the evidence against marriage and women, and Augustine [354 - 430], afflicted with deep sadness on the same subject, was the son of the dominating Monica [(St.) c. 331 - 387]. Melania the elder (c.340–before 410) and her granddaughter of the same name were enormously wealthy women. The learned pagan Hypatia [c. 375 - 415] was torn to pieces by a Christian mob, instigated by bishop (later Saint) Cyril of Alexandria [376 - 444] (415).' [End of chapter 2: "Roman Women"] .
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from: Aspects of Antiquity, Discoveries and Controversies, M.I. Finley, Viking, 1968 (copyrights to 1960).
"The Silent Women of Rome" 
"until fairly late in Roman history, women lacked individual names in the proper sense. Claudia, Julia, Cornelia, Lucretia, are merely family names with a feminine ending. Sisters had the same name and could be distinguished only by the addition of 'the elder' or 'the younger', 'the first' or 'the second', and so on. In the not uncommon case of marriage between paternal cousins, mother and daughter would have the same name, too. No doubt this was very confusing: a welcome confusion, one is tempted to suggest, since nothing could have been easier to eliminate. No great genius was needed to think up the idea of giving every girl a personal name, as was done with boys. It is as if the Romans wished to suggest very pointedly that women were not, or ought not to be, genuine individuals but only fractions of a family. Anonymous and passive fractions at that, for the virtues which were stressed were decorum, chastity, gracefulness, even temper and childbearing. They loved their husbands, to be sure—though we need not believe everything that husbands said when their wives were dead—but as one loves an overlord who is free to seek his pleasures elsewhere and to put an end to the relationship altogether when and if he so chooses.
'Family' comes from the Latin, but the Romans actually had no word for 'family' in our commonest sense, as in the sentence, 'I am taking my family to the seashore for the summer.' In different contexts familia meant all persons under the authority of the head of a household, or all the descendants from a common ancestor, or all one's property, or merely all one's servants—never our intimate family. This does not mean that the latter did not exist in Rome, but that the stress was on a power structure rather than on biology or intimacy. A Roman paterfamilias need not even be a father: the term was a legal one and applied to any head of a household. His illegitimate children were often excluded, even when his paternity was openly acknowledged, and at the same time his son and heir could be an outsider whom he had adopted by the correct legal formalities. Theoretically his power—over his wife, over his sons and daughters and his sons' wives and children, over his slaves and his property—was absolute and uncontrolled, ending only with his death or by his voluntary act of 'emancipating' his sons beforehand. As late as the fourth century A.D. an edict of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, still defined that power as the "right of life and death". He was exaggerating, but around a hard core of reality.' [131-132].
"There was no puritanism in the Roman concept of morality. Marriage was a central institution but it had nothing sacramental about it. It was central because the whole structure of property rested on it and because both the indispensable family cult and the institution of citizenship required the orderly, regular succession of legitimate children in one generation after another. There were neither spinsters nor confirmed bachelors in this world. It was assumed that if one reached the right
age—and many of course did not, given the enormously high rate of infant mortality—one would marry. Society could not pursue its normal course otherwise. But the stress was always on the rightness of the marriage from a social and economic point of view, and on its legitimacy (and therefore also on the legitimacy of the offspring) from the political and legal point of view. If the relationship turned out also to be pleasant or affectionate, so much the better. It was taken for granted, however, that men would find comradeship and sexual satisfaction from others as well, and often only or chiefly from others. They were expected to behave with good taste in this respect, but no more." [135-136].
"....the high probability of early death. On a rough calculation, of the population of the Roman Empire which succeeded in reaching the age of fifteen (that is, which survived the heavy mortality of infancy and childhood), more than half of the women were dead before forty, and in some classes and areas, even before thirty-five. Women were very much worse off than men in this respect, partly because of the perils of childbirth, partly, in the lower classes, because of the risk of sheer exhaustion. Thus, in one family tomb in regular use in the second and third centuries, sixty-eight wives were buried by their husbands and only forty-one husbands by their wives. A consequence, intensified by the ease of divorce, was the frequency of second and third marriages for both sexes, especially among men. This in turn complicated both personal and family relationships, economically as well as psychologically, and the prospect, even before the event, must have introduced a considerable element of tension in many women. Many, too, must have been sexually frustrated and unsatisfied [true? a modern, culturally induced, projection?]." .
'This brings us back to the silence of the women of Rome, which in one way speaks loudly, if curiously. Where were the rebels among the women, real or fictitious—the George Sand or Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Hester Prynne or Tess of the D'Urbervilles? How, in other words, did 'respectable' women of breeding, education and leisure find outlets for their repressed [once again: true? a modern, culturally induced, projection?] energies and talents? The answers seem to lie within a very restricted range of activities. One was religion. It is a commonplace in our own civilization that, at least in Latin countries, women are much more occupied with their religion than are men. But it would be wrong to generalize too quickly: the same has not been true for most of Jewish history nor for most of antiquity. Much depends on the content and orientation of doctrine and ritual. Traditional Roman religion was centred [commonly, centered] on household (the hearth and the ancestors) and on the state cults, and the male played the predominant part in both—as paterfamilias and as citizen, respectively—notwithstanding that the hearth was protected by a goddess, Vesta, and not by a god. To be sure, the public hearth, with its sacred fire which must never be allowed to go out, was in the charge of six women, the Vestal Virgins. Other rituals were reserved for women, too, such as the cult of Bona Dea, the 'good-goddess', or such exceptional ones as the formal reception at the harbour, towards the end of the war with Hannibal, of the statue of Mater Idaea brought from Asia Minor in response to a Sibylline prophecy which guaranteed victory if that were done. However, the procession was led by a man,
"the noblest in the state", as required by the same prophecy. And the Vestal Virgins were subject to the authority of a man, the Pontifex Maximus.
For most of Roman history, then, to the end of the Republic in fact, women were not very prominent even in religion. The change came under the Empire and with the great influx into the Roman world of various eastern mystery cults, carrying their new element of personal communion and salvation. Some of these cults—notably that of Mithras, the soldier's god par excellence—were closed to women. Others, however, offered them hope, ultimate release, and immediate status unlike anything they had experienced before—above all, the worship of the Hellenized Egyptian goddess Isis. She became (to men as well as women) Isis of the Myriad Names, Lady of All, Queen of the Inhabited World, Star of the Sea, identifiable with nearly every goddess of the known world. "You gave women equal power with men," says one of her hymns. In another she [Isis] herself speaks: "I am she whom women call goddess. I ordained that women shall be loved by men; I brought wife and husband together, and invented the marriage-contract."
It was no wonder, therefore, that of all the pagan cults Isis-worship was the most tenacious in its resistance when Christianity ascended to a position first of dominance in the Roman world and then of near monopoly....' [139-140].
'Even Isis-worship had a long struggle with the state before achieving official recognition. Anyone who reads the hymns or the detailed accounts of the cult in Apuleius or Plutarch may well find that hard to understand, but the fact is that Isis, though she attracted all classes, was particularly popular in the demi-monde.
Sublimation through religion was not the only outlet for pent-up female energies and female rebelliousness. There was another in quite the opposite direction. In the amphitheatres, among the spectators, the women achieved equality with their men: they relished the horrible brutality of the gladiatorial shows (and of the martyrdoms) with the same fierce joy. Gladiators became the pin-ups for Roman women, especially in the upper classes. And at the very top, the women became, metaphorically, gladiators themselves. The women of the Roman emperors were not all monsters, but enough of them through the first century of our era, and again from the latter part of the second century on, revealed a ferocity and sadism in the backstairs struggles for power that were not often surpassed—though they were perhaps matched in the contemporary court of the Idumaean dynasty founded by Herod the Great in Judaea. They ["The Silent Women of Rome"] were not struggling for the throne for themselves
—that was unthinkable—but for their sons, brothers and lovers. Their energy and, in a curious sense, their ability are beyond argument. The outlets they found and the goals they sought are, equally, beyond all human dignity, decency, or compassion.
Obviously Roman women are not to be judged by their worst representatives. On the other hand, there must be something significant, even though twisted, in that small group of ferocious and licentious royal females. Under the prevailing value-system, women were expected to be content with vicarious satisfactions. It was their role to be happy in the happiness and success of their men, and of the state for which they bore and nurtured the next generation of men. "She loved her husband....She bore two sons....She kept the house and worked in wool." That was the highest praise, not only in Rome but in much of human history. What went on behind the accepted façade, what Claudia [see 2305] thought or said to herself, we can never know. But when the silence breaks, the sounds which come forth—in the royal family at least—are not very pretty. Most of the Claudias no doubt fully accepted and even defended the values fixed by their men; they knew no other world. The revealing point is that the occasional rebellion took the forms it did.'
[End of: "The Silent Women of Rome"] [141-142].
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from: Passion and Criminality in France, by Louis Proal, One of the Presiding Judges at the Court of Appeal of Riom (Puy-De-Dôme), Laureate of the "Institut", Translated from the French by A.R. Allinson M.A. (Oxon.), Paris, Charles Carrington, 13 Faubourg Montmartre, 1901 (French 1892).
'But poison is the means an adulterous wife most usually adopts when she wishes to get rid of her husband: This has always been the chosen weapon of such women; "adultera, ergo venefica" ("an adulteress, therefore a poisoner"), the Romans used to say. When Medea passes in review the different ways of avenging herself that occur to her, it is poison she chooses, "Many means," she soliloquises, "are open to me of doing them to death.... Should I set fire to their nuptial palace or plunge a sharpened sword into their heart?... Better to assail them by the direct road we women excel in and kill them by poison."
The Roman women, like the Greek, were skilled in the use of poisons. If we are to believe Livy, not a single case of poisoning came up for trial at Rome for many years.1 [see footnote, 2310] But, after the submission of the Latins, the number of poisonings committed by women was so large, that the mortality among husbands was set down to an epidemic. The foremost citizens of Rome were dying fast, all of similar maladies and almost invariably with the same symptoms. A slave woman eventually came forward to reveal the fact to the Consuls that the city was being decimated by the perfidy of the women, and that a number of Roman matrons were manufacturing poisons. Acting on this information, they caught some women in the act of preparing noxious drugs and discovered poisons hidden in several spots. Discoveries of the sort were made in the houses of twenty matrons, two of the number being ladies of patrician rank; a hundred and seventy women were arrested in all.
According to Juvenal [c. 55 - c. 140], whose Satires chronicle all the scandal of his day and are veritable judicial records, there were many women guilty of adultery and poisoning among his contemporaries. "Here we have," he writes in his first Satire, "a rich matron, who handing the mild Calene wine to her thirsty husband, mixes snake poison in the cup, and a second and more artful Locusta, teaches her less experienced neighbours how to carry the livid corpses of their husbands to burial undeterred by ill-report and thronging crowds." In his famous Sixth Satire the same author tells of other poisonings committed by adulterous wives: "Patrician or plebian, all," he declares, "are alike depraved.... More destructive than the sword, luxury has burst upon us and avenges the world enslaved.... To-morrow, at break of day, each quarter of the city will have its Clytaemnestra. The only difference is that the daughter of Tyndarus, in frenzied desperation, brandished her murderous axe in both hands, whereas in our day the matter is quietly arranged with a small bit of a poisonous toad's intestine. Still the steel is there all the time, if the cautious Agamemnon has provided himself with an antidote in time."
Poisoning, common in Italy in the sixteenth century extended to France in the seventeenth. Nor was it only to open the way to inheritances that Brinvilliers and La Voisin kept open shop for the sale of poisons, it was likewise to end unwelcome
marriages and pave the road to others. These women dealt in love potions as well as in poisons for inconvenient relatives. In July 1682, Louis XIV. published an edict for the punishment of poisoners, pushing severity so far as to regard as accomplices all who, possessing information "of anyone's having manufactured poisons or been asked for and delivered such," failed to denounce such persons to justice. A special Court was instituted to exterminate the whole class of men and women who dealt in poisons. But the King was so horrified at the appalling revelations that ensued that he stopped the proceedings and had a number of documents burnt, notably those concerning the case of Mme. de Montespan, convicted of having asked La Voisin for powders to win her the King's good graces and kill Mlle. de la Vallière, and later on to destroy Louis XIV., who had by that time deserted her, and Mlle. de Fontanges, her successor in the Royal favour. The latter died at twenty-two, firmly persuaded she had been poisoned. Among women found guilty of poisoning were even magistrates' wives. Louis XIV. connived at the flight of a large number of great lords and ladies compromised by these revelations. When Mme. Tiquet, wife of a Counsellor of the Parliament, was condemned in 1699 to be beheaded for having killed her husband, her family earnestly besought the King's mercy; "However, the Archbishop of Paris represented to the King that the impunity this crime enjoyed was by way of making it extremely frequent; that husbands depended for the safety of their lives on Mme. Tiquet being punished; that already poisoning was very common and the Grand Penitentiary had his ears filled with continual confessions of women who accused themselves of having attempted their husbands' lives. This remonstrance decided the King to make a great and terrible example." When Mme. Tiquet was executed, her head after being severed from the body was left for some time on the scaffold, "no doubt in order that the sight might make a deep impression on the minds of the married women present at the said execution." ....' [230-232].
[footnote (see 2309)] "1Livy, bk. viii.—However the laws of the Twelve Tables contain a clause punishing the crime of poisoning.—Valerius Maximus records that Publicia wife of the Consul Postumius Albinus, and Licinia, wife of Claudius Asellus, convicted of having poisoned their husbands, were strangled in virtue of a sentence passed by their parents and relatives. (Bk. vi, ch. iii., §8.)" .
"INFIDELITY AND CHRISTIANITY ARE TURN AND TURN ABOUT LITERARY FASHIONS. In the seventeenth century it was the proper thing to begin with love and end with religion
[IN THE 20th - 21st CENTURY, COMMON FASHIONS HAVE BEEN: LOVE, DRUGS, CRIMES, ETC. (AND COMBINATIONS THEREOF)—THEN, CHRISTIANITY (CHRISTIANISM)].
In the eighteenth, Voltaire [1694 - 1778] brought hatred of revealed religion into vogue; while Chateaubriand [1768 - 1848] in the nineteenth made a drawing-room Christianity once more fashionable." .
'....we are appalled at the horrible cruelty profligacy leads to, and ask ourselves if man, who is more salacious and more cruel than other animals, is really made in the image of God or of the beast. It is obviously an exaggeration [strange comment by this author. Above and below (this page), the author makes comments like Taine] to define man with Taine as "a salacious and ferocious Creature," for side by side with these bestial appetites he possesses wondrous intellectual and moral faculties that connect him with a higher world. But still only theorists, ignorant of the realities of life, can assert human nature to be good fundamentally, and deny the existence in it of a sensual and cruel beast, ready at any moment to indulge in the wildest excesses, if it is not held down. This beast each man has within him may turn into a hog or a tiger, or even both together; some have within them a hog, others a tiger, others hog and tiger in one.1 [see footnote, below]' .
[footnote (see above)] "1The prisons constructed to lodge these lecherous and ferocious animals are neither less numerous nor less spacious since modern man has begun to boast of the progress of civilization. Below the good sentiments that education, family life and Religion instil into civilized men, there is always an underlying stratum of sensuality and cruelty closely connected with sheer animalism. Explain this as we may, by original sin or descent from brutish ancestors, there is no doubt about the fact. No doctor, or priest or magistrate of any experience can be unaware of how much sensuality and cruelty lies hid under civilized exteriors, and sometimes behind the most pleasing countenances." .
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from: The Natural History of a Savant, by Prof. Charles Richet, Membre de l'Institut, Translated from the French by Sir Oliver Lodge, London and Toronto, J.M. Dent & Sons Limited, 1927 (1923 French).
Dr. Julius Sendroy, Jr.
A Savant of
the Rockefeller Institute,
with the Compliments of
Frederick T. Gates"[bookplate].
"Thus we often see that certain savants, in spite of their merit, their virtue, and their genius, will sometimes do the most ridiculous things and commit grave errors. Yet, everything considered, savants represent the noblest part of the human race. They are not gods, and there are gaps in their armour; but they are without hatred and without greed. They love beauty, justice, and truth. They know that perhaps, thanks to them, some light may appear on the crests of the gloomy ocean in which humanity confusedly struggles. And all savants, all without exception, are buoyed up in their efforts by the magnificent hope that they may be useful to their fellow-men.
Jeer at savants: sometimes they deserve it. But take care: behind them stands truth. Truth, the goddess, the sovereign, the all-powerful, who will freeze with terror those who jeer at her!" [22-23].
"Alcidas [a fictional savant] lives in the clouds. Yet he is not a Meteorologist, but a Physicist....he is more platonic than Plato himself; for he lives and reasons as if there existed no concrete realities,—but only abstractions." [56, 57].
'Another Scientia ["periodical reunion"] dinner was offered to M. Pasteur; another, to M. Berthelot. On this occasion, Renan presided, as an intimate friend of Berthelot, and made a delightful speech. "Young men, young men!" said he, as he finished, "devote yourself to science. Therein lies everything of importance."' .
'Towards the middle of the eighteenth century, thanks especially to Voltaire, respect and almost admiration were accorded to men of science.
And savants themselves were transformed. The savant of the eighteenth century is not confined to his cell, nor does he perambulate the Universities. He no longer speaks Latin: he has become a man of the world: he writes to the papers. People listen to him voluntarily in the salons, where he loves to show himself and be sought after. Philosophically-minded great ladies, friends of Voltaire, of D'Alembert, of Diderot, of Fontenelle, were proud to think that they understood something of science. Their pretensions were perhaps more justified then than they could be nowadays. Astronomy especially, since Kepler, Copernicus, and Newton—astronomy,
whose horizons are so wide and of which the rudiments are so easy to understand—attracted these fair savantes who were wont to comment with enthusiasm on the Entretiens sur la Pluralité des mondes ['Literally: "Meetings on the Plurality of the Worlds" -- It's the title of a famous (pompous and overblown) essay.' (from: Art Madsen, Hong Kong; French translator, researcher, Professor)].
Physics and chemistry were as yet in a stage too rudimentary to attract. Mathematics, though it was progressing rapidly, was and is too dull and too difficult to be popular; yet unlearned people regard it from far-off with great respect, without daring to enter the temple [jungle?]. Medicine, with its dissection of men and its vivisection of animals, attracted but few. People were curious about it, but the discoveries were not sufficiently striking or sufficiently definite to inspire great enthusiasm.
All the same, in those days of philosophy, it was already understood that science must become mistress of the world. It was Voltaire especially, king Voltaire, who gave it [science] the impetus. Voltaire, without being too deeply learned in any one science, touched upon them all, and, thanks to his supple intellect, understood a great deal. Assuredly, despite his sagacity, he committed several grave errors; he made game of the eels of Needham (because Needham was a Jesuit); never took seriously palaeontological ["relating to extinct organisms" (O.E.D.)] discoveries; smiled at marine shells found on the summits of mountains; and would not admit the brilliant conceptions of Descartes on the mechanism of the universe. Voltaire was far from being infallible; but he introduced into the cultivated and civilized world of that time this main idea (which even to-day is not sufficiently dominant), that the future of humanity depends on savants; that the experiments of natural philosophers and naturalists, the observations of astronomers, the calculations of mathematicians, have as serious an importance as the most delicate literary diversions. Although he had a passion for poetry, he put Newton above all: and this lofty conception of the rôle of science is one of Voltaire's highest titles to fame.
Voltaire was not by any means the only prominent cultivator of science. Rousseau was a botanist. Buffon, whose high genius is much misconceived, was one of the principal personages of the time. Diderot, in "l'Encyclopédie" gave to science a place of honour. Euler was called to the court of Catherine. Helvetius formed part of Frederick's court. Science was no longer the Cinderella ["undeservedly neglected"] of earlier days.' [100-102].
'Finally, here is a precept which I consider fundamental, essential—so fundamental and essential that it dominates all others:—
"Young man," I would say, "if you would discover a new truth, do not seek to know what use will be made of it. Do not ask in what way medicine or commerce or industry may profit by the discovery; for if you do, you will discover nothing at all. You wish to find a solution to a problem that you consider important: tackle the problem without worrying about the consequences. Attack the question on its simplest side. Do not be stopped by the criticisms of journalists, hygienists, engineers, chemists, doctors. Let them talk. Go straight to the problem by the shortest road. Leave to practitioners the cumbersome care of consequences and industrial applications. Veritas lucet ipsa per se. Truth is sufficient unto itself.'
'there is not agreement about the word "civilization."
Is it the development of the monstrous military agglomerations, scientifically organized for pillage and massacre, in which entire nations become entangled? ....' .
"LET MAN...ABANDON HIMSELF TO THE GREAT JOY, ANCESTRAL AND EXCITING, OF MILITARY ORGIES—BATTLES, MASSACRES, EXPLOSIONS, SINKINGS, PLUNDERINGS. SINCE SUCH IS HIS PLEASURE, WE MUST NOT DREAM OF DEPRIVING HIM OF IT...." .
"Engineers, doctors, lawyers, professors, apothecaries, officers, bankers have professions which enable them to live. But, well informed as they are, they are not savants, for their calling absorbs the best part of their time. They can therefore only work at science as something extra, in their leisure moments.
Now science demands exclusive sacrifice. It admits of no sharing. It requires from devoted individuals the consecration of their whole existence, their whole intelligence, their whole labour
[I recommend some science, to everyone. This author (Prof. Charles Richet), is very demanding. Worth the sacrifices?]." .
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from: Religion Explained, The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought, Pascal Boyer, Basic Books, c2001. [See: 2334-2336, 2353 (The Religious Ape in Crisis)].
'Salvation is not always a central preoccupation. To people familiar with Christianity or Islam or Buddhism, it seems clear that the main point of religion is the salvation of deliverance of the soul. Different religions are thought to offer different perspectives on why souls need to be saved and different routes to salvation. Now, in many parts of the world, religion does not really promise that the soul will be saved or liberated and in fact does not have much to say about its destiny. In such places, people just do not assume that moral reckoning determines the fate of the soul. Dead people become ghosts or ancestors. This is general and does not involve a special moral judgement.
Official religion is not the whole of religion. Wherever we go, we will find that religious concepts are much more numerous and diverse than "official" religion would admit. In many places in Europe people suspect that there are witches around trying to attack them. In official Islam there is no God but God; but many Muslims are terrified of jinn and afreet—spirits, ghosts and witches. In the United States religion is officially a matter of denomination: Christians of various shades, Jews, Hindus, etc. But many people are seriously engaged in interaction with aliens or ghosts. This is also among the religious concepts to consider and explain.' .
"The idea of a universal religion that anyone could adopt—or that everyone should adopt—is not a universal idea." .
'If people tell you "Religion is faith in a doctrine that teaches us how to save our souls by obeying a wise and eternal Creator of the universe," these people probably have not traveled or read widely enough. In many cultures people think that the dead come back to haunt the living, but this is not universal. In some places people think that some special individuals can communicate with gods or dead people, but that idea is not found everywhere. In some places people assume that people have a soul that survives after death, but that assumption also is not universal. When we put forward general explanations of religion, we had better make sure that they apply outside our parish.' .
"....To sum up, then: Our evolution as a species of cooperators is sufficient to explain the actual psychology of moral reasoning, the way children and adults represent moral dimensions of action. But then this requires no special concept of religious agent, no special code, no models to follow. However, once you have concepts of supernatural agents with strategic information, these are made more salient and relevant by the fact that you can easily insert them in moral reasoning that would be there in any case. To some extent religious concepts are parasitic ["religious concepts" are "parasitic" in general] upon moral intuitions." .
'Religious guilds provide many contexts for acquiring consistent propositional messages through repetition and systematic teaching, but very few contexts where salient episodes—what Lawson and McCauley called "sensory pageantry"—can be recruited as an aid to memory. A consequence emphasized by Whitehouse is that the guilds may gradually lose their influence because of what could be called a tedium-based decay function. That is, people become gradually more and more familiar with the doctrine, but this very familiarity removes much of the motivation for taking part in the guild's rituals and other activities. As a consequence, the more religious institutions favor the doctrinal mode of transmission, the more vulnerable they are to periodic outbursts of imagistic [yours to define] dissent.11
Religious institutions are invariably keen to support the doctrinal activities and to contain the imagistic ones. Christian Churches have always been happy to accept past miracle-makers into their fold but rather reticent with new ones. Churches also embrace some displays of religious fervor but try to contain them as much as possible. Why should that be so?
Memory processes are not the only force driving religious institutions. The market for religious services also imposes particular constraints. The most important imperative for a religious guild is to make its own services stable and distinctive. Now imagistic practices challenge the stability of the services. Revelation, trace and other forms of enthusiastic ritual are all difficult to codify and control, which is why they are viewed by religious institutions with considerable suspicion. Also, such rituals offer great scope for enterprising individuals to set up their own particular cult in competition with the guild. Finally, the services of the guild are made stable and distinctive by the systematic use of written manuals and codified messages. But what makes the guild's brand recognizable—an intrinsically positive effect—also makes its rituals entirely predictable.
This, then, is the real tragedy of the theologian: not just that people, because they have real minds rather than literal memories, will always be theologically incorrect, will always add to the message and distort it, but also that the only way to make the message immune to such adulteration renders it tedious, thereby fueling imagistic dissent and threatening the position of the THEOLOGIAN'S GUILD.'
Some Fang people say that witches have an animal-like, extra internal organ that flies away at night and ruins other people's crops or poisons their blood. It is also said that these witches sometimes get together for huge banquets where they devour their victims and plan future attacks. Many will tell you that a friend of a friend actually saw witches flying over the village at night, sitting on a banana leaf or throwing magical darts at various unsuspecting victims.
I was mentioning these and other such exotica over dinner in a Cambridge college when one of our guests, a prominent Catholic theologian, turned to me and said: "This is what makes anthropology so fascinating and so difficult too. You have to explain how people can believe in such nonsense." Which left me dumbfounded. The
conversation had moved on before I could find a pertinent repartee—to do with kettles and pots. For the question "How can people possibly believe all this?" is indeed pertinent, but it applies to beliefs of all hues and shades.' .
"It does not require much effort to have religious beliefs. The Fang people who insist that there are witches flying about on banana leaves, like the Christians who assume that a hugely powerful agent is watching them, do not in general need to work hard to persuade themselves of such claims. Which is why only skeptics tend to see belief as a form of mental negligence. People are said to believe in supernatural agents because they are superstitious, they are led astray by their emotions, they are not mentally balanced, they are primitive, they do not understand probability, they are not scientifically trained, they are brainwashed by their culture, they are too insecure to challenge received wisdom. In this view, people believe because they fail to (or forget to, have no time to, are unwilling to, or just cannot) censure ill-formed or poorly justified thoughts. The beliefs would vanish if people were more consistent in applying commonsense [I prefer: common sense] principles of mental management like the following:
Only allow clear and precise thoughts to enter your mind.
Only allow consistent thoughts.
Consider the evidence for a claim before accepting it.
Only consider refutable [irrefutable?] claims." .
"This leads us back to a central question: Why do some people believe and not others? I have described religion in terms of cognitive processes that are common to all human brains, part and parcel of how a normal mind functions. Does this mean that nonbelievers are abnormal? Or to put a more positive slant on this question, that they
MANAGED TO FREE THEMSELVES FROM THE SHACKLES OF ORDINARY COGNITION?" . [See: 2334-2336, 2353 (The Religious Ape in Crisis)].
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from: God The Invisible King, H.G. Wells [1866 - 1946], Macmillan, 1917.
'A Note on a Lecture by Professor
Gilbert Murray [1866 - 1957]
Let me [H.G. Wells] now quote and discuss a very beautiful passage from a lecture upon Stoicism by Professor Gilbert Murray, which also displays the same characteristic of an involuntary shaping out of God in the forms of denial. It is a passage remarkable for its conscientious and resolute Agnosticism. And it is remarkable too for its blindness to the possibility of separating quite completely the idea of the Infinite Being from the idea of God. It is another striking instance of that obsession of modern minds by merely Christian theology of which I have already complained. Professor Murray has quoted Mr. Bevan's phrase for God, "the Friend behind phenomena," and he does not seem to realise that that phrase carries with it no obligation whatever to believe that this Friend is in control of the phenomena. He assumes that he is supposed to be in control as if it were a matter of course:
"[Gilbert Murray] We do seem to find," Professor Murray writes, "not only in all religions, but in practically all philosophies, some belief that man is not quite alone in the universe, but is met in his endeavours towards the good by some external help or sympathy. We find it everywhere in the unsophisticated man. We find it in the unguarded self-revelations of the most severe and conscientious Atheists. Now, the Stoics, like many other schools of thought, drew an argument from this consensus of all mankind. It was not an absolute proof of the existence of the Gods or Providence, but it was a strong indication. The existence of a common instinctive belief in the mind of man gives at least a presumption that there must be a good cause for that belief.
"This is a reasonable position. There must be some such cause. But it does not follow that the only valid cause is the truth of the content of the belief. I cannot help suspecting that this is precisely one of those points on which Stoicism, in company with almost all philosophy up to the present time, has gone astray through not sufficiently realising its dependence on the human mind as a natural biological product. For it is very important in this matter to realise that the so-called belief is not really an intellectual judgment so much as a craving of the whole nature.
"It is only of very late years that psychologists have begun to realise the enormous dominion of those forces in man of which he is normally unconscious. We cannot escape as easily as these brave men dreamed from the grip of the blind powers beneath the threshold. Indeed, as I see philosophy after philosophy falling into this unproven belief in the Friend behind phenomena, as I find that I myself cannot, except for a moment and by an effort, refrain from making the same assumption, it seems to me that perhaps here too we are under the spell of a very old ineradicable instinct. We are gregarious animals; our ancestors have been such for countless ages. We cannot help looking out on the world as gregarious animals do; we see it in terms of
humanity and of fellowship. Students of animals under domestication have shown us how the habits of a gregarious creature, taken away from his kind, are shaped in a thousand details be reference to the lost pack which is no longer there—the pack which a dog tries to smell his way back to all the time he is out walking, the pack he calls to for help, when danger threatens. It is a strange and touching thing, this eternal hunger of the gregarious animal for the herd of friends who are not there [see Appendix X, 826 (Mencken)]. And it may be, it may very possibly be, that, in the matter of this Friend behind phenomena our own yearning and our own almost ineradicable instinctive conviction, since they are certainly not founded on either reason or observation, are in origin the groping of a lonely-souled gregarious animal to find its herd or its herd-leader in the great spaces between the stars.
"At any rate, it is a belief very difficult to get rid of."
[H.G. Wells] There the passage and the lecture end.
I would urge that here again is an inadvertent witness to the reality of God.
Professor Murray writes of gregarious animals as though there existed solitary animals that are not gregarious, pure individualists, "atheists" so to speak, and as though this appeal to a life beyond one's own was not the universal disposition of living things. His classical training disposes him to a realistic exaggeration of individual difference. But nearly every animal, and certainly every mentally considerable animal, begins under parental care, in a nest or a litter, mates to breed, and is associated for much of its life. Even the great carnivores do not go alone except when they are old and have done with the most of life. Every pack, every herd, begins at some point in a couple, it is the equivalent of the tiger's litter if that were to remain undispersed. And it is within the memory of men still living that in many districts the African lion has with a change of game and conditions lapsed from a "solitary" to a gregarious, that is to say a prolonged family habit of life.
Man too, if in his ape-like phase he resembled the other higher apes, is an animal becoming more gregarious and not less. He has passed within the historical period from a tribal gregariousness to a nearly cosmopolitan tolerance. And he has his tribe about him. He is not, as Professor Murray seems to suggest, a solitary lost gregarious beast. Why should his desire for God be regarded as the overflow of an unsatisfied gregarious instinct, when he has home, town, society, companionship, trade union, state, increasingly at hand to glut it? Why should gregariousness drive a man to God rather than to the third-class carriage and the public-house ["saloon or bar"]
[in part, because many other members of the herd, believe in a God(s) (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc.)]?
Why should gregariousness drive men out of crowded Egyptian cities into the cells ["grottoes or huts"] of the Thebaid ["the territory belonging to (a) Egyptian, or (b) Boeotian Thebes" (O.E.D.) [search, on www.google.com: Thebaid + cells]]? Schopenhauer in a memorable passage (about the hedgehogs who assembled for warmth) is flatly opposed to Professor Murray, and seems far more plausible when he declares that the nature of man is insufficiently gregarious. The parallel with the dog is not a valid one.
Does not the truth lie rather in the supposition that it is not the Friend that is the instinctive delusion but the isolation? Is not the real deception, our belief that we are completely individualised, and is it not possible that this that Professor Murray calls "instinct" is really not a vestige but a new thing arising out of our increasing understanding, an intellectual penetration to that greater being of the species, that vine, of which we are the branches? Why should not the soul of the species, many faceted indeed, be nevertheless a soul like our own?
Here, as in the case of Professor Metchnikoff, and in many other cases of atheism, it seems to me that nothing but an inadequate understanding of individuation bars the way to at least the intellectual recognition of the true God.'
[End of section 5] [87-92].
[Comment: here, Gilbert Murray, is superb! H.G. Wells, with all the advantages of "going last", is a God apologist, sophist, mess!].
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from: Radical Wrongs in the Precepts and Practices of Civilized Man. By J. Wilson, A.M., Ph.D., Author of "Errors of Grammar"; "Practical Grammar"; "Comparative View of the Different Languages of the World;" "Religion and the Bible;" "Practical Life and the Study of Man," Etc. Newark, New York: J. Wilson & Son, Publishers, J. Wilson, successor, 1892. [See: 1895-1899 (Wilson)].
'What can be more unreasonable or unfounded than the substantial part of our RELIGIOUS BELIEF?
WE BELIEVE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, AND YET THERE IS VERY LITTLE OF IT THAT, TO THE MIND OF A SENSIBLE MAN OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, SEEMS ENTITLED TO ANY CREDENCE WHATEVER.
No one knows how much of it is spurious, and how much genuine. We do know, indeed, that much of it is based upon fraud, deceit or misconception. We know nothing of any of the authors, nor anything of their facilities for getting information of such an astonishing character. We do not even know who wrote the Gospels. We know that much of what appears in the Bible is incredible, and a large portion of it is opposed to our philosophy and convictions. And yet
WE PRETEND TO BELIEVE IT!
We assume to credit the story that God made the world out of nothing, when the truth is that we know that no man ever did or ever could know anything about the creation of the world. We affect to believe the story of Adam, Paradise, the rib, and the serpent; of Saul and the witch, Noah and the deluge, Joshua and the sun, the foxes and the tails, Samson and his strength, Elijah and his rising. We believe in the sacredness of the Sabbath, when we know it does not differ in the slightest respect from any other day, and that its observance as a holy day is the result of Constantine's ordinance 300 years after Christ, rather than of any ordinance from heaven. The reason we usually give is that God worked at one time six days, and rested on the seventh, but every one knows, or may know, that is no reason at all.
We believe in the mystery of the Trinity, three persons unaccountably united in one God. We believe in miracles, in things that we know could never have happened. We know that if they were contrary to the laws and possibilities of nature, they never could have transpired, and we are equally certain that if they did happen, they were not contrary to the laws and possibilities of nature, and so were not miraculous. We believe in the efficacy of prayer, when all reason teaches us that prayer can effect nothing. We believe in a personal God, outside of nature, who is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. We believe in sacrifices and their power, in ceremonies and forms, and their wonderful effects. We believe in the ordinance of baptism, and the wonderful power of a few drops of ordinary water.
WE BELIEVE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, AND ALL THAT IT LITERALLY CONTAINS. WE BELIEVE IN THE STORY OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, MORE WONDERFUL, MORE MONSTROUS, AND MORE UNBELIEVABLE THAN ANYTHING THAT HEATHEN MYTHOLOGY EVER CONTAINED. WE BELIEVE IT, AND WE FEEL THAT EVERY MAN MUST BELIEVE IT, IF HE HOPES TO BE SAVED.
We believe in the mysteries of conviction and conversion. We believe in the sacrament and feel that every time we thus eat bread and drink wine, we are actually eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior. We believe in devils and demons, in angels and spirits, and many of us believe in witches, which are only a class of demons. We believe in the mysteries of the resurrection. We believe that the body (we say the soul, but we mean the body) will revive in some strange and utterly impossible manner, and live and enjoy life hereafter. There is not the slightest evidence or reason for this strange belief, yet we earnestly believe it and make it an article of faith.
WHAT HAVE THE HEATHENS OF ANY QUARTER OF THE GLOBE THAT IS MORE MONSTROUS AND UNBELIEVABLE THAN OUR RELIGIOUS DOCTRINES [CHRISTIANISM ("CHRISTIANITY")]?
Can it be possible that we adopt the Old Testament as our oldest and most sacred book, endorsing all it contains and teaches, and yet condemn savage people for their brutalities, immoralities and unearthly proceedings? Have the heathens any hero with a worse character than that of David, who was known as "a man after God's own heart?"' [94-96].
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from: Love, Evolution and Religion, By George T. Hastings [1875 - 1964], The George T. Hastings Publishing Co., White Plains, New York, 1924. [found (never knew this author, or book, prior) 2/16/2002, Wahrenbrock's, San Diego].
"Dedicated to the women in this world upon whose shoulders have been thrust the heavy burdens due to the ignorance and intolerance of men" ["iii"].
'There is no religion higher than Truth.
—Motto of Theosophical Society.
"Adhesion, cohesion and attraction are properties of Mind. They belong to divine Principle, and support that thought-force, which launched the earth in its orbit and said to the proud wave, 'Thus far and no farther.'" [?]
—Mary Baker G. Eddy.
"I heartily disagree with what you have to say but shall defend to the death your right to say it."
"He who endeavors to control the mind by force is a tyrant, and he who submits is a slave."
—Robert G. Ingersoll.' [v].
'A famous scientist [Agassiz] once said that Truth passes through three stages.  "First, people say that it conflicts with the Holy Bible;  next, they say that it has been discovered before.  Lastly, they say they have always believed it."' [viii].
"That men steal, lie, cheat and commit crime, is due, not so much to inherent depravity, as to the teachings of the churches which erroneously declare that this world is evil, that it is temporary at best, and that there is another world, better than this, which is to be revealed after death, the only requirements for citizenship being, Faith, Baptism and Confession." [ix]. [See: Addition 37, 2035, 2038-2039 (Nietzsche)].
"There are thousands of good people whose lives have been blasted because of some religion or dogma which drove them either to insanity, or hopeless invalidism. It is for such people that these chapters are penned; for, it was not until the possibilities of healing loomed upon the horizon, due to several cases which came to the author's notice, that he decided to place the facts in such form as would make them of service to fellow pilgrims along Life's road.
The Author [George T. Hastings].
White Plains, N.Y., Dec. 31, 1923." [xii].
"The Bible, contrary to the teachings of the churches, is not any more sacred than a monkey or a sea shell, since all three but serve the purpose of proclaiming the great law of evolution upon which the universe depends for its development, and without which no progress, material or spiritual, could in any manner be made.
Naturally, to the devout Christian, the assertion that the Bible is not what it appears to be, calls forth a stern command to produce the evidence in support of such a melancholy fact. But THE CHRISTIAN DOES NOT REALIZE THAT HE IS HIMSELF THE PRODUCT OF HIS ENVIRONMENT, and that, had he been born in China or Mongolia instead of in America or England, he would have no more interest in the New Testament than a Chinaman or a Thibetian Lama.
For, assuredly these old and mighty nations have plenty of bibles of their own, just as sacred, just as reliable and just as much venerated. THE CHRISTIAN, TRAINED FROM YOUTH TO BELIEVE THAT HE IS THE CENTRAL SUN IN THE MORAL UNIVERSE ABOUT WHOSE MAJESTIC PERSON ALL THE OTHER LESSER STARS CIRCLE IN THEIR APPOINTED PATHS, MUST DIVEST HIMSELF OF THIS SELFISH EGOTISTICAL AND UNWORTHY BELIEF. He must realize that in a universe of whirling religious planets, he is but an atom of star dust, scarcely large enough to be seen in the cosmic telescope! At this point we may agree with George Eliot and other thinkers, that not only morality but Religion, is the direct product of environment or geography [see #4, 125, 552. ("accident of birth" (Dawkins))], controlled to a great degree by the birth rate." .
"It is indeed a singular fact that the clergy would have no case at all in a court of law.
Here they would come into court declaring that they held a chattel mortgage upon the souls of countless millions of individuals; yet, when asked to present their proof, all they have to show is four contradictory Gospels, not a single one of which bears a date or a signature, nor indeed anything that could be identified as an original affidavit properly attested to before a Notary or other Civil power!" . [See: Appendix X, 830-831 (Mencken)].
The Christian Bible Compared
with the Bibles of Other
I. The Bible of India.
The average churchman, deceived as he has been since childhood into believing the Christian Bible to be the infallible Word of God, has never had any inclination whatever to look into the teachings or moral principles inculcated in the twenty odd bibles belonging to other religious systems [see Appendix II, 693].
This is a very serious mistake, since a perusal of some of the older bibles of others lands, naturally makes one better acquainted with the life, customs, morality and general activity of those lands. This being admitted, it follows that our idea of
Christianity becomes changed, and, instead of it being the only religious system worth studying, we find it is only a fragment of the whole
["All Faith is false, all Faith is true: Truth is the shattered mirror strown In myriad bits; while each believes His little bit the whole to own." (from: The Kasîdah ["Arabic or Persian panegyric" ("elaborate praise", etc.)] of Hajî Abdû El-Yezdî (one nom de plume of Sir Richard Burton), Brentano's, MDCCCCXXVI, Book Six). This poetry, I first found, in Holmes bookstore, Market Street, San Francisco, 1964 (see Appendix VII, 793). It was included with: "The Histomap of Religion", John B. Sparks, Rand McNally, 1955 (1943)].
CHRISTIANS ARE EDUCATED NEGATIVELY; THAT IS, THEIR EDUCATION IS ONE OF IGNORANCE. Their teachers have taken care they shall not hear about any other religions but Christianity, lest they see how the religious dogmas, doctrines, ceremonies and sacraments of Christendom have been evolved out of the older and more superstitious religions. No Christian will admit having heard of any other bible except the Christian Bible; no Christian will recall having heard of any other cross except his own. Yet, there are a score of other bibles—NON-CHRISTIAN bibles; also in ages past there have been a score of miraculously conceived redeemers and personal gods who came to earth, performed miracles, were subject to temptations, died and rose again from the dead only to be received up into heaven to secure their reward!
The cross, as a religious symbol was carried by the Hindu and the Egyptian,* centuries before Christ...." [62-63].
'It will be noted that when we refer to Constantine, a cross is indicated, which has no figure of Jesus upon it; in other words, it is a regular pagan cross and NOT a CRUCIFIX. The Cross or LABARUM without a figure of Jesus upon it, was used by Constantine as an emblem or sign for his army. But, since Constantine was a Pagan and made use of pagan feasts, the Haruspex and other pagan rites or ceremonies, it is with difficulty that we in this age can discover his true motive in adopting this particular emblem, an emblem which, would probably receive but passing notice, had it not been for the eloquent panegyrics and advertising given the monogram by Nazarius and Eusebius in their glorification of the brute Constantine.
Practically the only history we have concerning this miraculous sign, is of Christian origin, and, KNOWING THE CUNNING OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS TO CONCEAL REAL FACTS AND BOLSTER UP THEIR OWN MYTHS, we may pass it over in the same manner as does Gibbon on pages 310-320 of his "History of Christianity."' .
The Christian Religion Compared
with the Religions
of Other Lands (Cont'd.)
One could not have come this far in the study of the Christian Religion without realizing that there is little that is new in it.
We know now that Christianity is part Mithraism, part Judaism and part Egyptian. Most of the prayers, forms, rituals, ceremonies and sacraments were borrowed from the last three. But THE MAIN POINTS OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY WERE BORROWED FROM THE GREEKS [see Addition 34, 1496-1644; etc.], of whom we shall now speak...." .
'We cannot undertake a complete exposition of the many beliefs and practices of the Greeks in connection with their worship of thousands of personal gods. Suffice it to say that they had as much proof of their actual existence in that day as the devout Catholic has in his worship of the thousands of saints [and Christian God] in the Catholic Pantheon!*
Furthermore, many of the Greek gods were at a later date given a place amongst the Catholic saints while at the same time statues of Apollo, Jupiter and Mercury were recognized as statues of Christ!*
Lundy [see #20, 403], in his "Monumental Christianity," pp. 141-143, shows clearly enough that there is a great resemblance between the pictures and sculptured works portraying "Apollo among the Muses" and those of "Christ and the Disciples," or "The Vine and its Branches." Apollo is represented as the "Good Shepherd" in many Greek works of art and is to be seen today in the museums, bearing a lamb on his shoulder.
This being a nice representation of ancient mythology, the Christians, running true to form, were quick to adopt this device into their own FAIRY TALE OF JESUS, and today we see Apollo dressed up in the garments of Christ, bearing a lamb, and labeled "The Good Shepherd" although any man of intelligence will tell you that the idea goes back centuries before Christianity.
It is strange to note in this connection that although the early Christians destroyed all the idols they could lay hands upon belonging to the pagans (believing them to be the work of Anti-Christ) in the first [evidence? apparently, the Fourth Century] century or so of the Christian era, they finally adopted the worship of pagan gods and idols into their own religion at a later date. (See Jameson's "Hist. of Our Lord in Art," and Dr. Inman's "Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism [see Appendix VI, 761-764 (Inman)])."
The bells which primitive races placed before their temples to scare away the devils and evil spirits, were adopted by the Christian churches for the same purpose; and the Catholic Church today washes and consecrates church bells with elaborate ceremonies because of the old belief that they exerted a magic influence in breaking the evil spell. Iron bells were in general use because iron was supposed to exert a magic charm over evil.' [120-121].
"By studying Seneca, Socrates, Plato and other of the philosophers of that day, as well as certain restored Jewish books, we can easily piece together the story, which shows unmistakably that the dogmas, doctrines and descriptions of Christ were
spun in the looms of the brain of man, out of the thread supplied by philosophy and Pagan or Oriental religions [see 1734]."
[End of Chapter VIII: "The Christian Religion compared with the Religions of other Lands"] .
"The Christian faith is the great enemy of Love. It stands today, the greatest destroyer of love between man and woman, that the world has ever known. Erected upon a foundation of lies and deceit, it would maintain its stronghold by denying to man his god-given birthright,—his desire to have and to hold the woman of his heart! It looks upon sex as intrinsically evil;* it holds woman up to the world as the work of Satan, as a temptress whose hold upon man must be broken. It proclaims to the world that through woman sin first came into the world, and that because of power to invite lust, she is the greatest tool of evil to be used in the ruination of men."
'Christianity is nothing short of a perverted worship of sex. It depends upon the immaculate birth-throes of a Virgin to get started; it lives by virtue of man's concupiscence and the lust engendered by women; its whole scheme of redemption depends entirely upon the false assumption that sexual intercourse is holy and sacred when performed by birds and Gods, beasts, prophets and Holy Ghosts; but is wicked when practiced by men and women! Without the factors of birth and death it ["Christianity"] could not exist five minutes. Its chief victims are children, which it admits are "conceived in sin," still it tells us that, "of such is the kingdom of heaven!" So much for Christian sex-dementia!' .
'Our investigation is now nearing completion; but before we close this brief outline, we must give our attention to another very important discovery which science has made in conjunction with the Key of Life [Ankh! "found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen" ].
In this connection we turn to page 538, Volume 4 of the CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, where, to our astonishment we find a full-page plate, marked off into squares,—40 in all—and in each square is a picture or drawing of an entirely different form of Cross—all of which were adopted by the Christians! Think of it! Forty types of ancient pagan crosses adopted by early Christians! Nos. 39 and 40 are shown to have been found in the Catacombs; they are the same as the monogram [chi-rho] on the banner or LABARUM of Constantine. The CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, admits that this same monogram [chi-rho] was common [?] to ancient Greek coins, "For," says this work, "we may add that some have claimed to find the Cross on Grecian monuments in the letter X (chi) which, sometimes in conjunction with P (rho) represented on coins the name of the coiner (Madden, "History of Jewish Coinage, London 1864)." On page 521 of the same work, they quote Tertullian, (Apol. xvi ad Nationes, xii) and Minucius Felix (Octavius ix, xii, xxxviii) to such length as to clearly proclaim the fact that the pagans taunted the Christians for worshipping, not only "what they deserved" but "that which all pagans also worshipped!"' [End of Chapter IX] .
The Key of Life that Unlocks
the Temple of Myths
Naturally, WHEN THE TRUTH GETS ABROAD THAT CHRISTIANITY IS NOTHING BUT 20TH CENTURY PAGANISM, the clergy will be the first to make vigorous efforts to deny the truth, as they have done in all ages whenever a fresh discovery of science has placed a new peg in the ladder that leads to a real understanding of God.
It must be understood that RELIGION IS A MENTAL DELUSION of some kind; it ORIGINATES ENTIRELY WITHIN THE BRAIN OF MAN, AND MUST DIE THERE. Religion never forced a human birth; religion never altered the course of death; having no connection at all with the real existence of man, it must always remain where it started, a spectre created by the imagination; alas, how cruel has been its reign, for, instead of a servant of the will, it has, through ignorance, been allowed to govern man and to destroy his individuality!*
Religion has never had anything but mythology to support it. True it is, that there are high moral principles taught by religious systems; in fact religion boasts that without her presence there would be no morality. But this is a lie, for morality depends, not upon religious dogma or faith, but upon intellectual development.
Since intellectual development is a matter of evolution, reduced to the last analysis, morality is solely dependent upon both heredity and environment. The proof of this fact is so overwhelming as to require no further exposition here. Those who have any doubts in the matter, may easily remove them by referring to but five authorities:*
1. History of European Morals, by William Lecky.
2. Rationalism in Europe, by William Lecky.
3. History of Civilization, by Henry Thomas Buckle.
4. History of Intellectual Development, by Professor John W. Draper.
5. Morals and the Evolution of Man, by Max Nordau.
That morality does not depend upon Christianity is proven by the large number of Chinese, Japanese, Indians and other sects, whose morality is on quite equal terms with our own, though they may not have even heard of Jesus.
What immorality they possess is open for inspection. The traveller cannot help but see it because it is not hidden.
On the other hand, CHRISTIANS BEING TRUE HYPOCRITES, OSTRICH LIKE—STICK THEIR PIOUS HEADS IN THE MUD AND SLAP EACH OTHER ON THE BACK, GLOATING OVER THEIR HOLINESS. While at the same time their jails bulge under the strain of tens of thousands of Christian convicts; everyone carries pocket flasks, and their prostitutes pass back and forth in taxi cabs from apartment to apartment, unnoticed.†
Judging from the fact that in the United States, unlike anywhere else, we have
over 500 humane societies, state militia, a police force in every city greater in the aggregate than that in China and Japan combined, while on the streets of New York alone, the new Roman chariots—the trucks—crush out the lives of over half a thousand helpless children a year, with nothing more than passing comment,—that would be a brave Christian indeed who would as much as dare brag about "Christian morality." (How about our "boot-leggers," rum fleets and highway men!)
Nor have we mentioned another matter—the Ku Klux (Christian) Klan, whose combined efforts, coupled with those of other Biblical idiots, have interposed such a state of mob and lynch law into our body politic as to warrant an admonition from President Coolidge in his very first speech to Congress!
IF CHRISTIAN "PURITY" AND CHRISTIAN "LOVE" MEAN ANYTHING AT ALL, THEY MEAN COLD, HEARTLESS, BRUTAL INHUMANITY AND WILFUL MURDER!
Religion makes many claims but few actual demonstrations. Everything must be accepted on faith....' [149-151].
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from: Consilience, The Unity of Knowledge, Edward O. Wilson, Knopf, 1998.
"Thus have I made as it were a small globe of the intellectual world, as truly and faithfully as I could discover.
Francis Bacon [1561 - 1626] (1605)". [See: Addition 39, 2118-2139 (Bacon)].
"....I found it a wonderful feeling not just to taste the unification metaphysics but also to be released from the confinement of fundamentalist religion. I had been raised a Southern Baptist, laid backward under the water on the sturdy arm of a pastor, been born again. I knew the healing power of redemption. Faith, hope, and charity were in my bones, and with millions of others I knew that my savior Jesus Christ would grant me eternal life. More pious than the average teenager, I read the Bible cover to cover, twice. But now at college, steroid-driven into moods of adolescent rebellion, I chose to doubt. I FOUND IT HARD TO ACCEPT THAT OUR DEEPEST BELIEFS WERE SET IN STONE BY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES OF THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO. I suffered cognitive dissonance between the cheerfully reported genocidal wars of these people and Christian civilization in 1940s Alabama. It seemed to me that the Book of Revelation might be black magic hallucinated by an ancient primitive. And I thought, surely a loving personal God, if He is paying attention, will not abandon those who reject the literal interpretation of the biblical cosmology. It is only fair to award points for intellectual courage [amusing!]. Better damned with Plato and Bacon, Shelley said, than go to heaven with Paley and Malthus. But most of all, Baptist theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God? Might the pastors of my childhood, good and loving men though they were, be mistaken? It was all too much, and freedom was ever so sweet. I drifted away from the church, not definitively agnostic or atheistic, just Baptist no more.
Still, I had no desire to purge religious feelings. They were bred in me; they suffused the wellsprings of my creative life. I also retained a small measure of common sense. To wit, people must belong to a tribe; they yearn to have a purpose larger than themselves. We are obliged by the deepest drives of the human spirit to make ourselves more than animated dust, and we must have a story to tell about where we came from, and why we are here. Could Holy Writ be just the first literate attempt to explain the universe and make ourselves significant within it? Perhaps science is a continuation on new and better-tested ground to attain the same end. If so, then in that sense science is religion liberated and writ large.
Such, I believe, is the source of the Ionian Enchantment: Preferring a search for objective reality over revelation [human fictions] is another way of satisfying religious hunger. It is an endeavor almost as old as civilization and intertwined with traditional religion, but it follows a very different course—a stoic's creed, an acquired taste, a guidebook to adventure plotted across rough terrain. It aims to save the spirit, not by surrender but by liberation of the human mind. Its central tenet, as Einstein knew, is the unification of knowledge [?]. When we have unified enough, certain knowledge,
we will understand who we are and why we are here [?].
If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and failure memorable. The ancient Greeks expressed the idea in a myth of vaulting ambition. Daedalus escapes from Crete with his son Icarus on wings he has fashioned from feathers and wax. Ignoring the warnings of his father, Icarus flies toward the sun, whereupon his wings come apart and he falls into the sea. That is the end of Icarus in the myth. But we are left to wonder. Was he just a foolish boy? Did he pay the price for hubris, for pride in sight of the gods? I like to think that on the contrary his daring represents a saving human grace. And so the great astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
[1910 - 1995 (my departed friend, Dr. Sripati Chandrasekhar 1918 - 2001 (demographer), was often confused with the astrophysicist. "Chandra" told me, they met once (and laughed). [see Addition 20, 1035])]
could pay tribute to the spirit of his mentor, Sir Arthur Eddington [1882 - 1944], by saying: Let us see how high we can fly before the sun melts the wax in our wings." [End of Chapter 1] [5-7].
'Consilience is the key to unification. I prefer this word over "coherence" because its rarity has preserved its precision, whereas coherence has several possible meanings, only one of which is consilience. William Whewell, in his 1840 synthesis The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, was the first to speak of consilience, literally a "jumping together" of knowledge by the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation. He said, "The Consilience of Inductions takes place when an Induction, obtained from one class of facts, coincides with an Induction, obtained from another different class. This Consilience is a test of the truth of the Theory in which it occurs."
The only way either to establish or to refute consilience is by methods developed in the natural sciences—not, I hasten to add, an effort led by scientists, or frozen in mathematical abstraction, but rather one allegiant to the habits of thought that have worked so well in exploring the material universe....' [8-9].
'....confusion was correctly identified by Francis Bacon [1561 - 1626] four centuries ago as the most fatal of errors, which "occurs wherever argument or inference passes from one world of experience to another."' .
"The unification agenda does not sit well with a few professional philosophers. The subject I address they consider their own, to be expressed in their language, their framework of formal thought. They will draw this indictment: conflation, simplism, ontological reductionism, scientism, and other sins made official by the hissing suffix [compare: Christianism]. To which I plead guilty, guilty, guilty. Now let us move on...." .
"In education the search for consilience is the way to renew the crumbling structure of liberal arts. During the past thirty years the ideal of the unity of learning, which the Renaissance and Enlightenment bequeathed us, has been largely abandoned. With rare exceptions American universities and colleges have dissolved their curriculum into a slurry of minor disciplines and specialized courses. While the average number of undergraduate courses per institution doubled, the percentage of mandatory courses in general education dropped by more than half. Science was sequestered in the same period; as I write, in 1997, only a third of universities and colleges require students to take at least one course in the natural sciences. The trend cannot be reversed by force-feeding students with some-of-this and some-of-that across the branches of learning. Win or lose, true reform will aim at the consilience of science with the social sciences and humanities in scholarship and teaching. Every college student should be able to answer the following question: What is the relation between science and the humanities, and how is it important for human welfare?
Every public intellectual and political leader should be able to answer that question as well. Already half the legislation coming before the United States Congress contains important scientific and technological components. Most of the issues that vex humanity daily—ethnic conflict, arms escalation, OVERPOPULATION, abortion, environment, endemic poverty, to cite several most persistently before us—cannot be solved without integrating knowledge from the natural sciences with that of the social sciences and humanities. Only fluency across the boundaries will provide a clear view of the world as it really is, not as seen through the lens of ideologies and religious dogmas or commanded by myopic response to immediate need. Yet the vast majority of our political leaders are trained exclusively in the social sciences and humanities, and have little or no knowledge of the natural sciences [in attempts to compensate for inadequate, (arduous) education (experiences) in the sciences, and the "mental travel" and feeling associated with a serious science background, political leaders, et al., employ entertainment, diversion, Bluff and "Bullshit", etc.]. The same is true of the public intellectuals, the columnists, the media interrogators, and think-tank gurus. The best of their analyses are careful and responsible, and sometimes correct, but the substantive base of their wisdom is fragmented and lopsided." [12-13].
'Scientific discourse, the focus of logical positivism, comprises the most complex of mental operations, and the brain is a messy place at best even when handling the most elementary of ideas. Scientists themselves do not think in straight lines. They contrive concepts, evidence, relevance, connections, and analysis as they go along, parsing it all into fragments and in no particular order. Herbert Simon, a Nobelist who has devoted part of his career to the subject, says of the complexity of concept formation: "What chiefly characterizes creative thinking from more mundane forms are (i) willingness to accept vaguely defined problem statements and gradually structure them, (ii) continuing preoccupation with problems over a considerable period of time, and (iii) extensive background knowledge in relevant and potentially relevant areas."
To put that in a nutshell: knowledge, obsession, daring.' .
"Rwanda is a microcosm of the world. War and civil strife have many causes, most not related directly to environmental stress. But in general,
OVERPOPULATION and the consequent dwindling of available resources are tinder that people pile up around themselves. The mounting anxiety and hardship are translated into enmity, and enmity into moral aggression. Scapegoats are identified, sometimes other political or ethnic groups, sometimes neighboring tribes. The tinder continues to grow, awaiting the old assassination, territorial incursion, atrocity, or other provocative incident to set it off. Rwanda is the most overpopulated country in Africa. Burundi, its war-torn neighbor, is second. Haiti and El Salvador, two of the chronically most troubled nations of the Western Hemisphere, are also among the most densely populated, exceeded only by five tiny island countries of the Caribbean. They are also arguably the most environmentally degraded.
POPULATION GROWTH CAN JUSTLY BE CALLED THE MONSTER ON THE LAND [see Desmond Morris: The Illustrated Naked Ape, 1986 (1967), 123-124; The Human Zoo, c1969, 82-83. Etc.]. To the extent that it can be tamed, passage through the bottleneck will be easier. Let us suppose that the last of the old reproductive taboos fade, and family planning becomes universal. Suppose further that governments create population policies with the same earnestness they devote to economic and military policies. And that as a result the global population peaks below ten billion and starts to decline. With NPG (negative population growth) [I joined "Zero Population Growth" (now, "Population Connection"), 1977. 1958, Sacramento State College, passed out booklet: "The Population Bomb"] attained, there are grounds for hope....
Humanity's best efforts will include every technological fix for an overcrowded planet that genius can devise....
But be careful! EACH ADVANCE IS ALSO A PROSTHESIS, an artificial device dependent on advanced expertise and intense continuing management. Substituted for part of Earth's natural environment, it adds its own, long-term risk. Human history can be viewed through the lens of ecology as the accumulation of environmental prostheses. As these manmade procedures thicken and interlock, they enlarge the carrying capacity of the planet.
HUMAN BEINGS, BEING TYPICAL ORGANISMS IN REPRODUCTIVE RESPONSE [RABBITS, ETC.], EXPAND TO FILL THE ADDED CAPACITY. THE SPIRAL CONTINUES. THE ENVIRONMENT, INCREASINGLY RIGGED AND STRUTTED TO MEET THE NEW DEMANDS, TURNS EVER MORE DELICATE [DESTROYED!]...." [288, 289].
["Notes"] "244 [not referenced in preceding] THE ESTIMATE cited OF THE NUMBER OF RELIGIONS THROUGHOUT HUMAN HISTORY (100,000) [how many thousands of Gods?] was made by Anthony F.C. Wallace in Religion: An Anthropological View (New York: Random House, 1966)." . [See: 2334-2336, 2353].
● ● ● ● ●
from: The Religious Ape in Crisis, Edmund Law, Paragon, 1999. [I have communicated with the author, via e-mail]. [Research to corroborate, etc.].
"Why are so many people reporting abduction by aliens?
What is happening when we have a near-death experience?
Why is there so much unhappiness today?
Why is charismatic Christianity sweeping the Third World?
What does Nature have to say on the spirit within?
Edmund Law answers these and many other questions in this
provocative and informative book.
Edmund Law read Anthropology at Cambridge University and is now an international lecturer and author on religion.
His work has been featured by the BBC and RTE and in various national and specialist press articles. This book is the result of twenty years investigation into religious behaviour around the world." [back cover].
"....These finds [artifacts] indicate that primitive culture, language and religion were arguably established before Homo sapiens had fully evolved. This indicates that religion could pre-date Homo sapiens and it is therefore possible that religious behaviour will have affected how well different individual hominids survived. Religion changes behaviour and thereby the chances of survival, so natural selection will have been able to differentiate between the more and the less religious hominids. Natural selection must have selected the genes that predisposed our hominid ancestors to be religious as we find [how?] that Homo Sapiens [sapiens] is even more religious than Homo erectus or, if you prefer, Homo heidelbergensis. Natural selection can not have been indifferent to religious behaviours as they typically motivate all aspects of human behaviour. Indeed in pre-scientific societies the religion is the culture. Religion was as basic to our evolution as language." .
"THE UNIQUE ELEMENT TO HUMANS IS THEIR IN-BUILT TENDENCY TOWARD RELIGIOUS BELIEF. Richard Dawkins has argued in various books, especially in his book the Selfish Gene [see #7, 192-196], that religion is a kind of mental 'virus' afflicting mankind but this contradicts the evidence which suggests that religion and human society are inextricably linked and evolved in tandem. Viruses typically come in and attack from the outside, they are not usually an internal and natural part of the host from birth. Religion is natural to Homo sapiens and is to be found in all human societies, including our own. A religious viewpoint has always been the overwhelming majority view of every human society in history and it is still so today in Western culture, although it is much weaker. Even in modern Britain or America a majority of people believe in God and have some kind of religious, New Age or superstitious belief system. The faith will vary but may include one or more of the following: God or gods, the paranormal, astrology, spirits, alternative therapies founded on some kind of spiritual basis, ancestor spirits and reincarnation. Religion of some kind has been the belief of the vast majority of all humans that have ever lived.
I shall show later how some modern belief systems which may not be considered religious are in fact religious, for example, a brief in alien abduction. To consider, as Dawkins does, that religion is a mental aberration or sickness ignores the
fact that religion is almost as natural to humans as speed is to the cheetah." .
"The decline or otherwise of religious belief is a very complex matter. My central point is that to some extent religious belief can not decline as it is a basic predisposition of our minds and to some degree a part of the genetic structure of Homo sapiens. It is very easy to argue that religion is alive and well in the world today. The vast majority of Homo sapiens have now, and have always had, a religious or superstitious faith, the religious instinct is like the sexual one - a very basic one indeed and so strong that it can override the sexual in celibacy. It can override the instinct for personal survival. Fundamentalist Islam is on the increase, as are forms of New Age belief. Certainly Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam are flourishing but probably the nearest thing to a truly global faith today is Christianity....
Now over half of all Christians live in the Third World. Christianity is growing rapidly world-wide but not in the developed world. The religious ape is in crisis."
"What can be predicted by postulating that we all possess a religious genelink, is that the decline in religions that struggle to seem rational in a scientific world will produce para-religious phenomenon that attempt to meet the subliminal void left in the minds of men. These will appear to be based on a rational or scientific basis." .
"There is another reason why Christianity, and charismatic Christianity in particular, is the fastest growing modern religion and the closest thing yet to a worldwide universal faith. The reason is its flexibility. Christianity has always been extraordinarily flexible and syncretic. Roman Catholicism for example in Latin America and Africa has always absorbed many of the indigenous cults, deities and rituals under a Catholic veneer. Some of the new charismatic groups, notably Pioneer, have even chosen not to publish a Statement of Faith to the chagrin of the more traditional evangelical organisations. By eschewing a statement of faith, Pioneer is able to preach something today and then preach something else a few years or decades hence. Pioneer argue that Statements of Faith are obsolete and that by not having one they remain completely open to whatever the Holy Spirit is telling them. What they do not say openly is that this also frees them from any firm anchorage around the Bible. The orthodox text always used to be that any new doctrine had to be 'compatible' with the Bible. As a result a number of core doctrines were considered orthodox to Christianity. Now, more than ever, Christians can re-interpret at will not only the Bible but the settled Christian doctrines of almost two millennia.
Many of the doctrines of Christianity change every generation. In addition there are at least five hundred recognisable Protestant churches each with a different interpretation of the Bible. The Bible itself is open to almost any interpretation as many of the almost 600 commandments it contains seem to contradict each other. There are altogether about 365 prescriptions and 211 proscriptions, a vast resource. By emphasising some and ignoring others, the faith as a whole has been able to adapt to history and to colonise particular social niches by subtle adaptations. Most of the phases and traditions of Christian history have based their legitimacy upon their own particular set of selected scriptures.
The fact is that very few, if any, Christians today share many of the tenets of faith that were jointly agreed by both Bishop Bonner, who condemned William Hunter
to burn, and by William Hunter himself. Both the traditions they separately represented would have found secular divorce, remarriage whilst the former spouse was still alive, women vicars, leaders and elders an abomination. Today, however, Pioneer, for example, does not say that it is a sin to divorce and remarry or for women to be in church leadership. Both traditions would have had many modern believers promptly burnt at the stake for countless heresies. Catholics burnt Protestants and vice versa, often over matters of doctrine considered unimportant today. A modern charismatic would have been in danger of being burnt. These mutations occur by a process of what is called hermeneutics and exegesis. All the major Christian groups use this technique and have done so on an increasing basis over the last hundred years.
Exegesis is defined as examining a passage of scripture to hear what God was saying and see its shape for the there and then. Hermeneutics is to hear what God is saying for the here and now. Now this is brilliant. It allows the faith to re-define itself every generation by establishing the modern context of current lifestyle and assumption as the arbiter of interpretation, not the text itself. The use of multiple versions of the Bible, which have mushroomed since the war, has been an important part of this process. This allows for even more flexibility of interpretation. In Bible commentaries there is a tendency to take those verses in the modern translations that most obviously conflict with the norms of modern society and reinterpret the meaning by querying and translation of the original Greek or Hebrew words. So even if the translation does not fit it can be re-translated to order! Christianity has now become so flexible that it can absorb almost any shock." [282-284].
"Much of the Bible tolerates slavery [see Addition 24, 1130-1166]." .
"Anti-religion and religion are often two sides of the same coin. I consider the best contenders for world-wide universal religions to be charismatic Christianity on the one hand and a fusion of alienology, occultism and parapsychology on the other.
Today we face a dual paradox. Man evolved as the religious ape but then changed his own environment such that this natural instinct was hampered causing him untold stress.
Also, ALTHOUGH BASED ON IMAGINATION, THE STRENGTH RELIGION GAVE him ["MAN"] WAS ANYTHING BUT IMAGINARY [this critically prompts discussion].
Dear Grey Aliens, you asked me to advise on whether you should colonise the earth. Do so now! The time can never be better. Man is disoriented as never before and will readily accept you. Land on the White House lawn and to avoid causing offence send a delegation to all the UN Security Council countries at the same time. Only be aware that WHAT WILL INTRIGUE HOMO SAPIENS MOST IS YOUR RELIGION. It would be best to pretend that you are agnostics, eager to learn about our religion. Then I would advise a 'conversion' or two. Once that happens Man will know that he has found a kindred spirit, that you are like him. He will be putty in your hands!" [300-301] [End of text]. [See: 2315-2317, 2333].
"Paragon's website is http://www.paragonpublications.com
e-mail email@example.com"  [End of book].
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from: Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2003, B15:
"EVEN JEFFERSON NEEDED AN EDITOR
By Walter Isaacson"
'In June of 1776, Thomas Jefferson [1743 - 1826]—at the age of only—33 was given the extraordinary honor of drafting the declaration that was to explain why America had chosen independence.
Jefferson was selected in part because his colleague on the drafting committee, John Adams, believed himself to have secured a place in history already by writing the preamble to a May 10 resolution that called for the dismantling of royal authority in the colonies. Adams announced, quite incorrectly, that it would be regarded by historians as "the most important resolution that ever was taken in America."
Another colleague who could have taken the assignment, Benjamin Franklin, was laid up in bed with boils and gout when the committee first met. Besides, he later confided to Jefferson, "I have made it a rule, whenever in my power, to avoid becoming the draughtsman of papers to be reviewed by a public body."
So it fell to Jefferson to compose, on a little lap desk he had designed himself, the first draft of the Declaration of Independence while sitting alone in a second-floor room on Market Street in Philadelphia.'
"In crafting the Declaration of Independence, he [Jefferson] got a key bit of help from Ben Franklin [1706 - 1790]."
'On June 21, after he had finished a draft and incorporated some changes from Adams, Jefferson had a copy delivered to Franklin, with a cover note far more polite than editors generally receive today. "Will Doctor Franklin be so good as to peruse it," he wrote, "and suggest such alterations as his more enlarged view of the subject will dictate?"
Franklin made only a few small changes, but one of them was resounding. Usually heavy backlashes, he crossed out the last three words of Jefferson's phrase, "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable" and changed it to read: "WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT."
The concept of "self-evident" truths came less from Jefferson's favored philosopher, Locke, than from the scientific determinism of Isaac Newton and the analytic empiricism of Franklin's close friend David Hume [1711 - 1776]....
When he chose the word "sacred," Jefferson had suggested intentionally or unintentionally that the principle in question—the equality of men and their endowment by their creator with inalienable rights—was an assertion of religion. BY CHANGING IT TO "SELF-EVIDENT," FRANKLIN MADE IT AN ASSERTION OF RATIONALITY.'
"Walter Isaacson, president and chief executive of the Aspen Institute, is the author of "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life," published this month by Simon & Schuster."
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from: Blowback, The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, Chalmers Johnson [U.C. San Diego, Professor emeritus], Henry Holt and Company, Pb. 2001 (2000).
[For additional background, see: All the Shah's Men, An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, Stephen Kinzer, Wiley, 2003 ("Notes" are problematic)].
NOTE: THIS IS AN EXAMPLE, OF THE POLITICS OF A CONTEMPORARY "CHRISTIAN NATION"—THE UNITED STATES.
[back cover] 'A take-no-prisoners account of the consequences of American global policies, hailed as "brilliant and iconoclastic" (Los Angeles Times)
THE TERM "BLOWBACK," INVENTED BY THE CIA, REFERS TO THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF AMERICAN POLICIES. In this incisive and controversial book, Chalmers Johnson lays out in vivid detail the dangers faced by our over-extended empire, which insists on projecting its military power to every corner of the earth and using American capital and markets to force global economic integration on its own terms. From a case of rape by U.S. servicemen in Okinawa to our role in Asia's financial crisis, from our early support for Saddam Hussein to our actions in the Balkans, Johnson reveals the ways in which our misguided policies are planting the seeds of future disaster [Note: This book was first published in the year 2000 (compare: September 11, 2001; etc.)].
In the wake of the Cold War, the United States has imprudently expanded the commitments it made over the previous forty years, argues Johnson. In Blowback, he issues a warning we would do well to consider: it is time for our empire to demobilize before our bills come due [my guess: too late!].
"Blowback is expansive thinking...a straight-talking analysis of America's global conduct during the cold war and since, and what we're eventually going to pay for it."—Patrick Smith, The Nation
"Boldly provocative...A useful and timely alert." —Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, has written numerous books on Japan and Asia, including his classic MITI and the Japanese Miracle and Japan: Who Governs? He lives near San Diego.' [back cover].
Note: 1/24/2004, I attended a talk and book signing, by Chalmers Johnson, in San Diego, California. The author signed for me: Blowback (2004 edition, "with a new introduction"); The Sorrows of Empire, Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, Henry Holt, 2004 (Must Study!).
'"The 1990s were kind to the 'indispensable nation,' as Madeline Albright has called it. But, as Chalmers Johnson argues in this vital and engaging book, the halcyon days of American ascendancy cannot last: sooner or later, the stock market will fall, a counterbalancing force will emerge, or Washington will be unable to win a war without committing masses of ground troops, something for which the American body politic is utterly unprepared. Then all the latent contradictions in the American global [and, domestic] position will emerge. When that happens—and it will—this honest, deeply learned, courageous, provocative, and witty man, Chalmers Johnson, will be your guide. Get hold of this prescient book and keep it for that rainy day."
—Bruce Cumings, author of The Origins of the Korean War
"This eye-opening account of U.S. imperialist relations in Asia is stunning, disturbing, and very important. Chalmers Johnson warns that our present national security arrangements are mobilizing enemies around the world."
—Richard J. Barnet, coauthor of Global Dreams
"Blowback is a powerful warning that the 'only superpower' complex is driving the United States into increasingly dangerous conflict with key countries throughout the world. Demolishing the argument that the United States is drifting into a new isolationism, Chalmers Johnson shows that American foreign policy is, in reality, more committed than ever to military intervention abroad and to the perpetuation of obsolete military alliances on terms incomparable with U.S. economic interests. This is original, hard-hitting 'must' reading for all those interested in the future U.S. global role."
—Selig S. Harrison, author of
The Widening Gulf: Asian Nationalism and American Policy
"This brilliant dissection of the security, political, and economic relationships between the United States and Asia offers indispensable reading for anyone interested in the political economy of America's role in world affairs in the twenty-first century."
—Glen S. Fukushima, president, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
"Chalmers Johnson, the brilliant and iconoclastic scholar of China, Japan and the rest of East Asia, has in Blowback written a brilliant and iconoclastic assault on American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War."
—Anthony Day, Los Angeles Times
"Johnson is on to something....It is indeed a new post-Cold War ballgame, and Johnson's warning of blowback, if it were heeded in Washington, would help keep America safe from the temptation of untrammeled power."
—James P. Pinkerton, Newsday' [page "i"].
Prologue: A Spear-carrier for Empireix
1. BLOWBACK 3
2. Okinawa: Asia's Last Colony 34
3. STEALTH IMPERIALISM 65
4. South Korea: Legacy of the Cold War 95
5. North Korea: Endgame of the Cold War 119
6. China: The State of the Revolution 137
7. China: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, and Trade 157
8. Japan and the Economics of the American Empire 175
9. Meltdown 193
10. THE CONSEQUENCES OF EMPIRE 216
A Spear-Carrier for Empire
Instead of demobilizing after the Cold War, the United States imprudently committed itself to maintaining a global empire. This book is an account of the resentments our policies have built up and of the kinds of economic and political retribution that, particularly in Asia, may be their harvest in the twenty-first century. But before I turn to the sometimes sorry details of the American empire, the reader may want to know a bit about who I am. For how I came to the views presented in this book may help explain why I am putting them forward now, a decade after the end of the Cold War.
Fifty years ago, on the eve of the Korean War, I was an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley [I was a student at U.C. Berkeley, 1956 (one semester, extent of my Grandmother's $500.00 bequest, etc. I took Economics from Professor Kidner; Geology, from the very popular Professor Hinds)], majoring in economics...." ["ix"].
"the United States could not afford to lose in Vietnam. In that, too, I was distinctly a man of my times [political milieu].
It proved to be a disastrously wrong position. The problem was that I knew too much about the international Communist movement and not enough about the United States government and its Department of Defense. I was also in those years irritated by campus antiwar protesters, who seemed to me self-indulgent as well as sanctimonious and who had so clearly not done their homework. One day at the height of the protests, I went to the university library [University of California, Berkeley] to check out what was then available to students on Vietnamese communism, the history of communism in East Asia, and the international Communist movement. I was surprised to find that all the major books were there on the shelves,
untouched. The conclusion seemed obvious to me then: these students knew nothing about communism and had no interest in remedying that lack. They were defining the Vietnamese Communists largely out of their own romantic desires to oppose Washington's policies. As it turned out, however, they understood far better than I did the impulses of a Robert McNamara, a McGeorge Bundy, or a Walt Rostow. They grasped something essential about the nature of America's imperial role in the world that I had failed to perceive. In retrospect, I wish I had stood with the antiwar protest movement. For all its naïveté and unruliness, it was right and American policy wrong." [xiv].
July, 1999" [End of "Prologue"] [xix].
"American military forces could have been withdrawn from Italy, as well as from other foreign bases, long ago. That they were not and that Washington instead is doing everything in its considerable powers to perpetuate Cold War structures, even without the Cold War's justification, places such overseas deployments in a new light. They have become striking evidence, for those who care to look, of an imperial project that the Cold War obscured. The by-products of this project are likely to build up reservoirs of resentment against all Americans—tourists, students, and businessmen, as well as members of the armed forces—that can have lethal results.
For any empire, including an unacknowledged one, there is a kind of balance sheet that builds up over time. Military crimes, accidents, and atrocities make up only one category on the debit side of the balance sheet that the United States has been accumulating, especially since [and, before!) the Cold War ended." .
'The term "BLOWBACK," WHICH OFFICIALS OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY FIRST INVENTED FOR THEIR OWN INTERNAL USE, is starting to circulate among students of international relations. IT REFERS TO THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF POLICIES THAT WERE KEPT SECRET FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. What the daily press reports as the malign acts of "terrorists" or "drug lords" or "rogue states" or "illegal arms merchants" often turn out to be blowback from earlier American operations....
If drug blowback is hard to trace to its source, bomb attacks, whether on U.S. embassies in Africa, the World Trade Center in New York City, or an apartment complex in Saudi Arabia that housed U.S. servicemen, are another matter. ONE MAN'S TERRORIST IS, OF COURSE, ANOTHER MAN'S FREEDOM FIGHTER, AND WHAT U.S. OFFICIALS DENOUNCE AS UNPROVOKED TERRORIST ATTACKS ON ITS INNOCENT CITIZENS ARE OFTEN MEANT AS RETALIATION FOR PREVIOUS AMERICAN IMPERIAL ACTIONS. Terrorists attack innocent and undefended American targets precisely because American soldiers and SAILORS FIRING CRUISE MISSILES FROM SHIPS AT SEA OR SITTING IN B-52 BOMBERS AT EXTREMELY HIGH ALTITUDES or supporting brutal and repressive regimes from Washington SEEM INVULNERABLE. As members of the Defense Science Board wrote in a 1997 report to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology, "Historical data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in international situations and an
increase in terrorist attacks against the United States. In addition, the military asymmetry that denies nation states the ability to engage in overt attacks against the United States drives the use of transnational actors [that is, terrorists from one country attacking in another]."5
The most direct and obvious form of blowback often occurs when the victims fight back after a secret American bombing, or a U.S.-sponsored campaign of state terrorism, or a CIA-engineered overthrow of a foreign political leader. ALL AROUND THE WORLD TODAY, IT IS POSSIBLE TO SEE THE GROUNDWORK BEING LAID FOR THE FUTURE OF BLOWBACK.... [compare: September 11, 2001; etc.]' [8-9].
'Blowback itself can lead to more blowback, in a spiral of destructive behavior. A good illustration of this lies in the government's reaction to the August 7, 1998, bombings of American embassy buildings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, with the loss of 12 American and 212 Kenyan and Tanzanian lives and some 4,500 injured. The U.S. government promptly placed the blame on OSAMA BIN LADEN, A SAUDI WHO HAD LONG DENOUNCED HIS COUNTRY'S RULERS AND THEIR AMERICAN ALLIES. On August 20, the United States retaliated by firing nearly eighty cruise missiles (at a cost of $750,000 each) into a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, and an old mujahideen camp site in Afghanistan. (One missile went four hundred miles off course and landed in Pakistan.) Both missile targets had been identified by American intelligence as enterprises or training areas associated with BIN LADEN or his followers. It was soon revealed, however, that the intelligence on both places had been faulty and that neither target could be connected with those who were suspected of attacking the embassies. On September 2, 1998, the U.S. secretary of defense said that he had been unaware that the plant in Khartoum made medicines, not nerve gas, when he recommended that it be attacked. He also admitted that the plant's connection to bin Laden was, at best, "indirect."7 Nonetheless, President Clinton continued to insist that he had repelled an "imminent threat to our national security," and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called Sudan a "viper's nest of terrorists."
Government spokesmen continue to justify these attacks as "deterring" terrorism, even if the targets proved to be irrelevant to any damage done to facilities of the United States. In this way, future blowback possibilities are seeded into the world. The same spokesmen ignore the fact that the alleged mastermind of the embassy bombings, BIN LADEN, IS A FORMER PROTÉGÉ OF THE UNITED STATES. When America was organizing Afghan rebels against the USSR in the 1980s, he played an important role in driving the Soviet Union from Afghanistan and only turned against the United States in 1991 because he regarded the stationing of American troops in his native Saudi Arabia during and after the Persian Gulf War as a violation of his religious beliefs. Thus the attacks on our embassies in Africa, if they were indeed his work, are an instance of blowback rather than unprovoked terrorism. Instead of bombing sites in Sudan and Afghanistan in response, the United States might better have considered reducing or removing our large-scale and provocative military presence in Saudi Arabia.
THERE ARE MORE EFFECTIVE—AND CERTAINLY LESS DESTRUCTIVE—WAYS OF DEALING WITH THE THREAT OF "TERRORISM" THAN INSTANT MILITARY RETALIATION....' [10-11].
"IT IS TYPICAL OF AN IMPERIAL PEOPLE [AMERICAN, et al.] TO HAVE A SHORT MEMORY FOR ITS LESS PLEASANT IMPERIAL ACTS, BUT FOR THOSE ON THE RECEIVING END, MEMORY CAN BE LONG INDEED." [11-12].
'Americans generally think of POL POT as some kind of unique, self-generated monster and his "killing fields" as an inexplicable atavism totally divorced from civilization. But WITHOUT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT'S VIETNAM-ERA SAVAGERY, HE COULD NEVER HAVE COME TO POWER IN A CULTURE LIKE CAMBODIA'S, just as Mao's uneducated peasant radicals would never have gained legitimacy in a normal Chinese context without the disruption and depravity of the Japanese war. Significantly, in its calls for an international tribunal to try the remaining leaders of the Khmer Rouge for war crimes, the United States has demanded that such a court restrict its efforts to the period from 1975 to 1979—that is, after the years of carpet bombing were over and before the U.S. government began to collaborate with the Khmer Rouge against the Vietnamese Communists, who invaded Cambodia in 1978, drove the Khmer Rouge from power, and were trying to bring some stability to the country.' [12-13].
[How some skullduggery is done] 'It is not necessary to detail here the many American covert operations in Latin America. Americans supported a series of activities that ranged from the widespread use of paramilitary death squads in countries like El Salvador to military-directed genocidal campaigns in Guatemala, seriously compromising American rhetoric about human rights for the rest of the century. Similar largely covert operations continued throughout the 1980s and probably still continue. Although the CIA has done everything in its power to hide the American hand in these imperial policing actions, a pattern has developed in the revelation of American-sponsored atrocities and their ensuing blowback. An American regional newspaper—the Baltimore Sun in the case of Honduran death squads, the San Jose Mercury News in the case of the cocaine trade of our Nicaraguan counterrevolutionaries, the "Contras"—publishes a report based on the research of its staff reporters. The report offers evidence that an agency of the United States condoned war crimes against civilians in Central America and lied to Congress when asked about it or turned a deaf ear to evidence that "assets" under our control were engaged in activities such as drug smuggling that were extremely deleterious to the welfare of Americans. The establishment press—the Washington Post, the New York Times, or the Los Angeles Times—then accuses the regional paper of sloppy journalism; the publisher of the regional paper apologizes and fires the reporters who filed the story.
Meanwhile, the CIA orders its inspector general to investigate the charges. He duly releases a report saying that not a shred of evidence can be found in the official files to support the story. Months or even years later, a research organization, such as the National Security Archive at George Washington University, discovers that there was a second internal report by the inspector general. The second report still disputes the newspaper account but also acknowledges that the substance of its charges was accurate. As the CIA's internal response to the Baltimore Sun's report put it in the gingerly and euphemistic language of imperialism, "CIA reporting to Congress in the early 1989s underestimated Honduran involvement in abuses."17'
"TERRORISM BY DEFINITION STRIKES AT THE INNOCENT IN ORDER TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THE SINS OF THE INVULNERABLE. The innocent of the twenty-first century are going to harvest unexpected blowback disasters from the imperialist escapades of recent decades. Although most AMERICANS may be largely ignorant of what was, and still is, being done in their names, all ARE LIKELY TO PAY A STEEP PRICE—individually and collectively—FOR THEIR NATION'S CONTINUED EFFORTS TO DOMINATE THE GLOBAL SCENE." .
'At the height of the Cold War, the United States built a chain of military bases stretching from Korea and Japan through Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, England, and Iceland—in effect ringing the Soviet Union and China with literally thousands of overseas military installations. In Japan alone, immediately following the end of the Korean War, there were six hundred U.S. installations and approximately two hundred thousand troops. There are still today, ten years after the end of the Cold War, some eight hundred Department of Defense facilities located outside the United States, ranging from radio relay stations to major air bases. To those living around them (and often dependent upon them), the personnel based on them may feel less like "peacekeepers" than occupiers. This is certainly the case in Okinawa, a land whose people have in any case felt themselves under occupation by Japan since the seventeenth century and by the United States since 1945.' .
"....French troops had trained the Hutu-controlled Rwandan military, which in 1993 and 1994 helped organize the massacres of some eight hundred thousand people belonging to the Tutsi tribe...." .
"IN HIS BOOK DEATH BY GOVERNMENT [see 2348-2353], THE HISTORIAN RUDOLPH RUMMEL ESTIMATES THAT DURING THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, 170 MILLION CIVILIANS HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF WAR CRIMES, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, AND GENOCIDE.1" .
"In 1991, Congress inadvertently [?] gave the military's special forces a green light to penetrate virtually every country on earth. It passed a law (Section 2011, Title 10) authorizing something called the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program. This allowed the Department of Defense to send special operations forces on overseas exercises with military units of other countries so long as the primary purpose of the mission was stated to be the training of our soldiers, not theirs. The law did not indicate what JCET exercises should train these troops to do, but one purpose was certainly to train them in espionage. They return from such exercises loaded with information about and photographs of the country they have visited, and with new knowledge of its military units, terrain, and potential adversaries [reminiscent of my Harper's Ferry Peace Corps interview]. As of 1998 the Special Operation Command had established JCET missions in 110 countries." .
'THE AMERICAN EMPIRE HAS BECOME SKILLED AT DEVELOPING SELF-FULFILLING—AND SELF-SERVING—PROPHECIES IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY ITS POLICIES. It expands the NATO alliance eastward in part in order to sell arms to the former Soviet bloc countries, whose armies are being integrated into the NATO
command structure, with the certain knowledge that doing so will threaten Russia and elicit a hostile Russian reaction. This Russian reaction then becomes the excuse for the expansion. Similarly, the United States sells advanced weaponry to a country without enemies, like Thailand, which in January 1997 bought $600 million worth of F-18 fighters plus the previously not-for-sale Amraam air-to-air missile. (Purchase of the aircraft was put on hold after the economic crisis erupted.) It then contends that more must be invested in arms development at home for a new generation of American fighter planes and missiles, given the necessity of keeping ahead of the rest of the world.
A classic model of the way this type of circular reasoning can lead to disaster is a U.S. decision to "help" an ally faced with domestic dissidence or even insurrection. First, the "threatened" country is declared part of America's vital interests; next, American military personnel and commercial camp followers [see #6, 179] are sent in to "assist" the government. The foreignness of this effort as well as its indifference to democracy and local conditions only accelerate the insurrectionary movement. In the end an American protectorate is replaced by a virulently anti-American regime. This scenario played itself out in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iran in our time. Now it appears it might do so in Saudi Arabia.
Since the Gulf War the United States has maintained around thirty-five thousand troops in Saudi Arabia. Devoutly Muslim citizens of that kingdom see their presence as a humiliation to the country and an affront to their religion. Dissident Saudis have launched attacks against Americans and against the Saudi regime itself. After the June 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers apartments near Dhahran killed nineteen American airmen, the international relations commentator William Pfaff offered the reasonable prediction, "Within 15 years at most, if present American and Saudi Arabian policies are pursued, the Saudi monarchy will be overturned and a radical and anti-American government will take power in Riyadh."36 Yet American foreign policy remains on autopilot, instead of withdrawing from a place where a U.S. presence is only making a dangerous situation worse [compare: motivations for the attack on September 11, 2001 (note: this book was written in 2000)].
Ten years after the end of the Cold War, the Pentagon monopolizes the formulation and conduct of American foreign policy. INCREASINGLY, THE UNITED STATES HAS ONLY ONE, COMMONLY INAPPROPRIATE MEANS OF ACHIEVING ITS EXTERNAL OBJECTIVES—MILITARY FORCE. It no longer has a full repertoire of skills, including a seasoned, culturally and linguistically expert diplomatic corps; truly viable international institutions that the American public supports both politically and financially and that can give legitimacy to American efforts abroad; economic policies that effectively leverage the tremendous power of the American market into desired foreign responses; or even an ability to express American values without being charged, accurately, with hopeless hypocrisy. THE USE OF CRUISE MISSILES AND
B-2 BOMBERS TO ACHIEVE HUMANITARIAN OBJECTIVES IS A SIGN OF HOW UNBALANCED OUR FOREIGN POLICY APPARATUS HAS BECOME. The American-inspired and -led NATO intervention in Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999 to protect the Albanian majority in Kosovo was a tragic example of what is wrong.
It may or may not be prudent policy to put humanitarian objectives above respect for the sovereignty of nations; it is, in any case, a precedent-setting position that could come back to haunt the United States, which is, like Yugoslavia, a multiethnic country. But betraying no doubts whatsoever, the U.S. government
disdained to seek U.N. Security Council sanction for its objectives and then chose to commit a defensive military alliance, NATO, to a totally unprecedented offensive role, in violation of the treaty that created it. Its rationale was that its end—humanitarian relief of defenseless civilians under attack by a political leader with an odious record of similar attacks in the past—justified its means: targeting high-flying bombers and cruise missiles on undefended civilian buildings (including the embassy of China) and public infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT NOT A SINGLE AMERICAN SERVICEMAN WAS KILLED. It is also not surprising that the policy produced precisely the humanitarian disaster for the Albanians in Kosovo that its ostensible purpose was to prevent. As former president Jimmy Carter put it, "Even for the world's only superpower, the ends don't always justify the means."37 The United States's objectives in Kosovo, which were arguably justifiable on their own terms, were compromised by reliance on a technologically phenomenal but utterly inappropriate military machine because it was the only means still available.
MILITARY MIGHT DOES NOT EQUATE WITH "LEADERSHIP OF THE FREE WORLD." It is also no substitute for an informed public that understands and has approved the policies being carried out in its name. An excessive reliance on a militarized foreign policy and an indifference to the distinction between national interests and national values in deciding where the United States should intervene abroad have actually made the country less secure in ways that will become only more apparent in the years to come.
What would make the United States more secure is not more money spent on JCET ("Joint Combined Exchange Training" (see 2344)] teams or espionage satellites to find and retaliate against terrorists. Instead, the United States should bring most of its overseas land-based forces home and reorient its foreign policy to stress leadership through example and diplomacy. Nowhere is this more true than on the Korean peninsula. American military intervention in Korea dates back to 1945. Most of our commitments in Korea were made before current government leaders were ever born. The passage of time, economic development, and the collapse of communism have rendered most of them utterly anachronistic. Yet they remain unchanged, constituting one of our greatest breeding grounds for blowback.' [End of chapter: "STEALTH IMPERIALISM"] [92-94].
'What is to be done? Were awareness of an impending crisis of empire to rise among American citizens and their leaders, then it would be fairly obvious what first steps at least should be taken: adjust to and support the emergence of China on the global stage; establish diplomatic relations with North Korea and withdraw ground forces from the Korean peninsula; pay the United States' dues to the United Nations; support global economic diversity rather than globalization; extricate ourselves from our trade-for-military-bases deals with rich East Asian countries, even if they do not want to end them; reemphasize the "defense" in the Department of Defense and make its name fit its mission; unilaterally reduce our stockpile of nuclear warheads to a deterrent level and declare a no-first-use policy; sign and ratify the treaty banning land mines; and sign and ratify the treaty establishing an international criminal court.
More generally, the United States should seek to lead through diplomacy and example rather than through military force and economic bullying. Such an agenda is neither unrealistic nor revolutionary. It is appropriate for a post-Cold War world and for a United States that puts the welfare of its citizens ahead of the pretensions of its
imperialists. Many U.S. leaders seem to have convinced themselves that if so much as one overseas American base is closed or one small country is allowed to manage its own economy, the world will collapse. They might better ponder the creativity and growth that would be unleashed if only the United States would relax its suffocating embrace. They should also understand that their efforts to maintain imperial hegemony inevitably generate multiple forms of blowback. Although it is impossible to say when this game will end, there is little doubt about how it will end.
World politics in the twenty-first century will in all likelihood be driven primarily by blowback from the second half of the twentieth century—that is, from the unintended consequences of the Cold War and the crucial American decision to maintain a Cold War posture in a post-Cold War world. U.S. administrators did what they thought they had to do in the Cold War years. History will record that in some places they did exemplary things; in other places, particularly in East Asia but also in Central America, they behaved no better than the Communist bureaucrats of their superpower competitor. The United States likes to think of itself as the winner of the Cold War. In all probability, to those looking back a century hence, neither side will appear to have won, particularly IF THE UNITED STATES MAINTAINS ITS PRESENT IMPERIAL COURSE.'
[228-229] [End of text] ["Further Reading", follows: a superb annotated bibliography, pages "231"-237. "Notes" are on pages "239"-252. "Index", "253"-268].
● ● ● ● ●
from: The Garland Library of War and Peace:
WHY CAPITALISM MEANS WAR,
by Henry Noel Brailsford, Garland, 1972 (1938).
THREE GENERALS ON WAR, comprising
Old Europe's Suicide
by Brig. General Christopher B. Thomson
War Is a Racket [a Classic!]
by Major General Smedley D. Butler
The Men I Killed
by Brig. General Frank P. Crozier
with a new introduction for the Garland Edition by John Whiteclay Chambers, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York & London, 1973.
● ● ● ● ●
"An Exclusive Freeman Interview:
Talks About the Miracle
of Liberty and Peace*
Since the late nineteenth century, most intellectuals have embraced the illusion that government could somehow be tamed. They promoted a vast expansion of government power supposedly to do good.
But THE TWENTIETH CENTURY TURNED OUT TO BE THE BLOODIEST IN HUMAN HISTORY, confirming the worst fears of classical liberals who had always warned about government power. Perhaps nobody has done a better job documenting its horrors than University of Hawaii political science professor emeritus Rudolph J. Rummel.
Little known outside the academic community, he suddenly received much attention when he wrote DEATH BY GOVERNMENT [see 2350-2353] (Transaction, 1994). In the book, Rummel analyzed 8,193 estimates of government killings and reported that throughout history governments have killed more than 300 million people--with more than half, or 170 million, killed during the twentieth century. These numbers don't include war deaths!" [1 (of 10)].
"Despite his voluminous writings, Rummel's findings were ignored because, among other things, they posed an unacceptable challenge to statist [(my definition—here) political] dogmas that dominated the intellectual world. But after the collapse of so many communist regimes, he could no longer be denied." [3 (of 10)].
'The Freeman: What were the biggest surprises to emerge from your research?
Rummel: First of all, the unprecedented magnitude of mass murder. Nobody had tried to estimate it before. We have many books about demographics, like total population, the number of people who own telephones and cars. There's data on the number of people who die from heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and accidents. But until recently, there hasn't been any reliable information on the number of people killed by governments. Even though many of us were aware that governments were major killers, the numbers still come as a shock.
During the twentieth century, 14 regimes murdered over a million people [each], and it would be hard to find a scholar who could name half these regimes.
I was shocked to find that governments kill people to fill a quota. For instance, in the Soviet Union under Stalin and China under Mao, the government would set execution quotas. They would decree that perhaps 5 percent of the people are counterrevolutionaries, so kill 5 percent of the people. Writers, entrepreneurs, you name it--kill 5 percent. In retrospect, I can see that murder by quota was the natural thing for these regimes to do, because they had central planners direct production of iron, steel, wheat, pigs, and almost everything else by quota.
I was shocked to discover how officials at the highest levels of government planned mass murder. The killing they would delegate to humble cadres. So much for the notion of government benevolence. Powerful governments can be like gangs, raping, torturing [, exploiting], and killing on a whim.
Another shocking thing, for me as a political scientist, was to see how POLITICAL SCIENTISTS almost everywhere have promoted the expansion of government power. They HAVE FUNCTIONED AS THE CLERGY OF OPPRESSION." [5-6 (of 10)].
_____ _____ _____
from: DEATH BY GOVERNMENT, R.J. Rummel, With a foreword by Irving Louis Horowitz, Transaction Publishers, 1995 (c1994). [found 6/24/2003].
["aside from warfare" (3)]
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
Power gradually extirpates for the mind
every humane and gentle virtue.
—Edmund Burke, A Vindication of Natural Society
Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes wate'er it touches.
—Shelley, Queen Mab III
POWER TENDS TO CORRUPT: ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY.
—Lord Acton, Letter to Bishop Creighton
POWER KILLS; ABSOLUTE POWER KILLS ABSOLUTELY. This new Power Principle is the message emerging from my previous work on the causes of war1 and from this book on genocide and government mass murder—what I call democide [see definition (not presented): 36-38]—in this century. The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of governments, the more power is diffused, checked, and balanced, the less it will aggress ["make an attack" (O.E.D.)] on others and commit democide. At the extremes of Power,2 totalitarian communist governments slaughter their people by the tens of millions; in contrast, many democracies can barely bring themselves to execute even serial murderers....' [1-2].
OVER 133,147,000 MURDERED
["aside from warfare" (3)]
Agamemnon: "My dear Menelaus, why are you so chary of taking men's lives? Did the Trojans treat you as handsomely as that when they stayed in your house? No; we are not going to leave a single one of them alive, down to the babies in their mothers' wombs—not even they must live. The whole people must be wiped out of existence, and none be left to think of them and shed a tear."
The mass murder by emperors, kings, sultans, khans, presidents, governors, generals, and other such rulers of their own citizens or of those under their protection or control is very much part of our history. In ancient times, captured cities or towns would be pillaged and their inhabitants massacred; whole lands would be turned into regions of ruins and skeletons. Even the Hebrews, according the Bible [?], put to the sword those they conquered. It was the Assyrians, however, whose reputation would be transmitted down the ages as one of particular savagery. They would reward their soldiers for every severed head they brought in from the field, whether enemy fighters or not. They would decapitate or club to death captured soldiers; they would slice off the ears, noses, hands and feet of nobles, throw them from high towers, flay them and their children to death, or roast them over a slow fire. Consider what one historian writes about the capture of Damascus by King Sargon of Assyria.
Sargon had the defeated king of Damascus burned alive before his eyes. The wives and daughters of the captured king were destined for the Assyrian harems and those who were not of noble blood were condemned to slavery. Meanwhile the soldiery had been massacring the population, and brought the heads of their victims into the king's presence, where they were counted up by the scribes. Not all the male prisoners were put to death, for the boys and craftsmen were led into captivity, where they would be assigned to the hardest tasks on the royal building projects, where the swamps which cover so much of Mesopotamia must have caused an enormously high rate of mortality. The remainder of the population were uprooted and sent to the other end of the Empire.1
But such barbarity not only happened in classical times. After the capture of Bram in 1210, the Albigensian Crusaders, Christians all, took 100 of the captured soldiers and gouged out their eyes, cut off their noses and upper lips, and had them led by a one-
eyed man to Cabaret, yet to be attacked.2 This was done to terrorize Cabaret into immediate surrender.
Genocide, massacre, and human slaughter; pillage, rape, and torture have been much more common than war and revolution. But historians ordinarily do not dwell on such events. And even the few that do very rarely attach numbers to them. They prefer the glamour of war, of diplomacy, of the clash of nations and personalities. In revenge for an arrow from Nishapur's walls that killed Jinghiz Khan's son-in-law in 1221, when the city was finally captured, the Mongol Tolui massacred its unarmed inhabitants.3 This ancient capital of Khorassan in Persia was then a "scene of a carnival of blood scarcely surpassed even in Mongol annals.... [S]eparate piles of heads of men, women, and children were built into pyramids; and even cats and dogs were killed in the streets."4 An utterly fantastic 1,747,000 human beings reportedly were slaughtered, a number exceeding the contemporary population of Hawaii, Rhode Island, or New Hampshire; a number that is around a third of the total Jews murdered by Hitler.5 This possibly world-record massacre is only a fugitive datum, unrecorded in most histories. It is the magnificence of Jinghiz Khan, the court intrigues, the great Mongol conquests, and their eventual threat to Europe that is drama. And while some other great massacres, such as those of the Crusaders, do get some attention, it is only as a small part of the larger doings of kings, dukes, and sultans. It is hard for Western historians to ignore, for example, the alleged 40,000 to possibly even over 70,000 men, women, and children that were butchered after the Christian Crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099.6 Yet I know of no study that focuses on this massacre by itself; or even a chapter in a book....' [45-47].
'During the Thirty Years' War, the Count of Tilly and Count zu Pappenheim may have massacred as many as 30,000 inhabitants of Magdeburg when the city fell to them after a six-month siege.52 Magdeburg was only one of numerous massacres of this very destructive war.
But probably a greater number of common folk died when towns and farms in the path of invading or marauding armies were pillaged and families killed. Moreover, many died from famine and disease caused by passing armies. The German Empire alone may have lost more than 7,500,000 people in the Thirty Years' War,53 most doubtless perishing from such causes. The population of Bohemia was reduced from around 4 million to possibly no more than 800,000.54 Putting a number of such figures together, I estimated that in this war alone from 2 million to over 11 million people were probably murdered55—that aside from combat and nondemocidal famine and disease.56
And the Crusades of the Middle Ages should not be ignored. In the aforementioned 1099 sack of Jerusalem, in addition to the 40,000 to over 70,000 Moslems that may have been butchered, the Crusaders herded surviving Jews into a synagogue and burned them alive.57 Interestingly, in light of the Mongol and Chinese hecatombs, this massacre of unarmed Moslems and Jews "has long been reckoned among the greatest crimes of history."58 In 1209, the Albigensian Crusaders also slaughtered some 15,000 to 60,000 inhabitants of Béziers, after which the city was plundered and burned.59 And in 1236, when the Jews of Anjou and Poitou refused to be forcibly baptized, the Crusaders reportedly trampled 3,000 of them to death with their horses.60' [54-55].
'A particular kind of massacre is that of scapegoats for major human disasters. The presence of Jews in Christian Europe has always provided an easy explanation for catastrophes like the plague. "Why are people getting sick and dying en masse? Because the Jews are poisoning the water." Jews everywhere were thus attacked during the Black Death of 1347–52 that killed around 25 million Europeans. Jews were massacred wholesale. For example, in Mainz, Germany, 6,000 were recorded killed; in Erfurt, 3,000 died. "By the end of the plague, few Jews were left in Germany or the Low Countries."65' . [See: Addition 15, 958-1002].
from: The Religious Ape in Crisis [see 2334-2336], Edmund Law, Paragon, 1999.
"Mass religion can result in the mass genocide of millions as it classifies other people as sub-human or heretics....
Religion was useful to the early hominids, as it is today and has been throughout history, because it allows a group of humans to categorise another group as non-human or subhuman, fit only to be killed or enslaved. This was vital for competitive success in the evolutionary context created by the emergence of a fully self-conscious hominid that could perceive that his only real threat was posed by other men, not other animal species. All academic studies of genocide have shown that the categorisation of those killed as sub-human or the 'enemy' was essential to the process. The fact that they did not share the same religion was an essential precursor to their destruction.
[Secular] Ideology and dogma are essentially secular religions in that they satisfy the religious impulse and produce may of the social forces released by religion."
[139-140]. [See: 2315-2317].
End of Excursus
● ● ● ● ●
from: The Republic of Plato, Francis Macdonald Cornford, Oxford, 1975 (1941).
[this was my (the) textbook, for a (dumb) philosophy class, U.C. Davis, 1964].
"In the fourth century [B.C.E.] highly educated men had ceased to believe in the existence of supernatural persons called Zeus, Athena, Apollo, &c., with their mythical attributes and adventures. Myths were not dogma, and no one was required to profess a belief in them. Priests had no authority over belief; they were officials whose duty was to carry out the ritual. The state required only that the cult should be maintained and that the existence of gods, as implied by this worship, should not be blatantly denied. Plato does not propose to abolish or to reform the state religion, though in his old age he would have liked to add a cult of the heavenly bodies as symbols of the beauty and harmonious order of the universe, which, he believed, manifested the working of a beneficent intelligence.
He [Plato] uses the singular 'god' and the plural 'the gods' with an indifference startling to the modern monotheist. For this reason the translation avoids the expression 'God,' though the reason may be insufficient, since modern philosophers use the term with astonishing latitude and often in senses which they neglect to define." .
● ● ● ● ●
from: The Vatican Plato and Its Relations, Levi Arnold Post, Published by the American Philological Association, 1934.
"....BUT PLATO [c. 428 - c. 348 B.C.E.] OFTEN SPEAKS IN RIDDLES AND OFTEN ARRANGES HIS WORDS WITH MORE REGARD FOR RHYTHM THAN FOR CLARITY.
FINIS"  [End of text].
_____ _____ _____
from: Plato's Forms, Varieties of Interpretation, Edited by William A. Welton, Lexington, 2002. [Plato c. 428 - c. 348 B.C.E.].
Against a Platonic "Theory" of Forms
Drew A. Hyland
It may seem odd, perhaps even inappropriate, in a book devoted to interpretations of Plato's "theory of Forms," to write an article arguing that there is no such thing as a theory of Forms in the Platonic dialogues, but that is the project of this essay. I want to argue that there is no evidence in the dialogues themselves for such a theory, indeed, that even Aristotle never considers it as such, and so the very notion of a theory of Forms is an imposition on the Platonic dialogues by later writers....' .
'Happily, I am not alone in calling into question the assumption that Plato is even trying to be a "systematic" thinker, and in particular, that he intends to assert anything like a "theory" of Ideas. The German scholar, W. Wieland, has developed a sustained and explicit argument for just this position.6 John Sallis has stated the case in perhaps the strongest possible terms, arguing that "IT IS HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE WHETHER THERE IS ANY SUCH THING AS THE PHILOSOPHY OF PLATO."7 Stanley Rosen, in a number of articles and books, has argued a similar point. As early as his Plato's Sophist: The Drama of Original and Image, he argues that "There is no general concept of a form or idea in the Platonic corpus. Each version of the ostensible theory of forms must be studied in its own right, not assimilated into a non-existent comprehensive doctrine."7 More recently, he has asserted that "AS TO THE 'THEORY OF IDEAS,' IT IS AN INVENTION OF NINETEENTH-CENTURY SCHOLARSHIP. Despite much quasi-mathematical rhetoric, Plato presents us with a series of discontinuous poems about the Ideas."8 Or again in his The Quarrel Between Philosophy and Poetry, he states, "Those who take their bearings by the Ideas, and who elaborate a 'theory' (in the modern or constructive sense of the term) of Ideas in direct contradiction to the dialogical procedure of Plato, may very well become Platonists, or at least produce something called Platonism. IN NO WAY, however, DOES IT FOLLOW from this procedure THAT PLATO WAS HIMSELF A PLATONIST. THE HISTORY OF PLATONISM BEGINS WITH ARISTOTLE [384 - 322 B.C.E.], NOT WITH PLATO."9' .
'It is important to reiterate that the recognition of the inconsistencies in the various accounts of forms is virtually uncontroversial among scholars of the Platonic dialogues. Almost everyone agrees that the accounts are inconsistent. What is curious is that these inconsistencies are interpreted as failures on Plato's account, that is, they are interpreted as occurring within an assumed project of Plato to present a consistent theory of Forms. Plato "must" have been striving for a consistent theory of forms. But the presentations of forms in various dialogues are radically inconsistent. How are we to explain Plato's failure? Was he simply incapable of thinking consistently? Did he not yet have the grasp of conceptual logic that we have?
In a spirit of generosity, scholars have come up with a number of explanations [like Christian apologetics—here, Classicist apologetics] for Plato's alleged "failure" to be consistent, the two most famous of which are probably the "developmental" hypothesis, by far the most widely accepted, and the "esotericism" hypothesis, held most prominently by the Tubingen school. The developmental hypothesis holds that Plato's accounts of forms are inconsistent because he kept changing his mind about them as his thought "developed." Thus, the "early" Plato believed one thing about forms, the "middle" Plato believed another, the "late" Plato yet another. APPARENTLY, THIS DEVELOPMENT WAS PART OF A TENDENCY THAT WOULD SURELY MAKE PLATO THE MOST "DEVELOPING" PHILOSOPHER IN THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. He also "developed" on the questions of eros, switching back and forth between affirming eros as a blessing (Symposium, Phaedrus) and criticizing it as a great danger (Republic). He "developed" on the question of immortality, vacillating between affirmation of an afterlife (Republic, Phaedo), agnosticism (Apology), and the outright denial of personal immortality (Symposium). He "developed" on the question of art, sometimes praising it (Phaedrus), sometimes ambivalent about it (Ion), sometimes almost viciously criticizing it (Republic). And so on. The astonishing number of inconsistencies on this large variety of issues is to be explained, according to the developmental hypothesis, as changes in Plato's mind as his thinking moved along. ON THIS he [PLATO] COULD BE CRITICIZED AS AN AMAZINGLY FICKLE PHILOSOPHER OR PRAISED AS A THINKER OF TRULY MIND-BOGGLING FLEXIBILITY, IF A SOMEWHAT UNSTABLE ONE
[my guess: Many authors were responsible for the works of Plato. Also, when written? See: Addition 34, 1496-1644; Addition 36, 1736, 1735-1991].'
'The crucial point, again, is that it is not the case that Plato tried and failed to present a "proof" for the existence of forms. It is that there is no evidence within the dialogues that he [Plato] even took a proof of forms as a project.' .
_____ _____ _____
from: Plato's Gift to Christianity, the Gentile Preparation for and the making of the Christian Faith, Jerry Dell Ehrlich, Academic Christian Press, San Diego, California, 2001. [A superb Christian work!].
'This work is an effort to show the real basis of the Making of the Christian Faith and the great gift of Plato and Platonism in the preparation for, the development and the substance of, and the spread and growth of the Christian Faith. Likewise it will present the initiating synthesis of it in the person of Jesus, who incarnationally climaxed the Platonic Gift to mankind. Wherever Platonism had fertilized the soil in the ancient world, Christianity took hold and grew: the mustard seed was well nourished and became a great tree. As Goodspeed said a generation ago:
The Greek gospels are a convincing monument of the conquest [production!] of the Greco-Roman world by [for!] Christianity [Christianism], and also of the conquest [production] of Christianity [Christianism] by the Greek Genius. It is no accident that these important and most telling books arose in Greek circles and on Greek soil. Where else in antiquity could such books have arisen? C.1
["C.1 The Origins of Christianity, edited by R. Joseph Hoffmann, p. 202."].
This work presents Plato [see 2290] fully enough to show conclusively that his message was the voice crying out in the wilderness that the preparation for the coming of Christ was completed. The world was prepared, let the World be incarnated [?]!
Jerry Dell Ehrlich, M.Div., Ph.D.
2001 AD' [II-III].
I have endeavored to make this book the most complete study available in English on the relationship of Platonism and Christianity that it might be used as a future standard text for all those serious students of the New Testament, especially those studying for the Christian ministry, as well as all those currently serving as clergy and other teachers of Christianity...." .
"Further evidence of Christianity's Platonic basis is shown that in [in that] every important teaching of the Church it chose to uphold Platonism and reject Mosaic and Prophetic Judaism. This is most obviously seen in the differences which were apparent between Platonism and Judaism concerning the nature of God and his relationship to humanity. In every instance Christianity followed Plato and rejected Mosaic Judaism.
1. [Plato] That God loves all human creatures impartially: He so loved the entire Cosmos that he sent his only Son to redeem it (John 3:16).
[Mosaic Judaism] that He selects only a small portion to love, and that selection on the basis of race, Abraham's seed.
2. [Plato] That God gives all men an immortal soul and thereby graciously shares eternity with them.
[Mosaic Judaism] that He gives all men, even his selected race, a very brief temporal bodily existence only.
3. [Plato] That God rejoices and favors men on the basis of virtue
[Mosaic Judaism] that He favors men by race with an ancestral covenant of exclusivity.
4. [Plato] That God is perpetually in a state of graciousness
[Mosaic Judaism] that He is generally gracious to his selected few, but even with them occasionally and with others normally he flashes forth with wrath and jealousy.
5. [Plato] That God is a rational Deity and moves men by loving persuasion
[Mosaic Judaism] that He is an emotionally vengeful and punishing God of force, often inflicting localized devastation and suffering, and sometimes even universal destruction.
6. [Plato] That a person's place in society should be determined by his rational nature and function
[Mosaic Judaism] by one's physical sexual gender.
7. [Plato] That God plants within the souls of all men a longing for Himself and a desire to experience his beauty and goodness
[Mosaic Judaism] that he shows partiality and gives his covenant only to a selected few.
8. [Plato] That God rejoices when men try to remind each other of his goodness and beauty by means of the arts and images
[Mosaic Judaism] that He is even jealous of images and forbids them.
(Perhaps the best example of the Early Church in this choice is shown by Constantine the Great's building of Hagia Sophia, Holy Wisdom, named after the primary of Plato's four cardinal virtues, and decorated with beautiful images. This was the first time that Christians could fully express themselves in material praise for God, for it was only with the coming into power of Constantine that they became officially legal).
9. [Plato] That God created heavenly hosts for the purpose of aiding men in virtue and helping them in their quest to be like God and find happiness therein; men being comforted in the knowledge that the created cosmos is friendly to them
[Mosaic Judaism] that the cosmos is mostly barren, and the human creatures are alone and at the hands and mercy of an emotional, partial and jealous God (I am He and there is no other): and even those powers that appear are often an extension of His anger and punishment, and not his grace, such as barring men from eating of the tree of life and eternity.
10. [Plato] That God rejoices over his creation and even tries to make it better, and that all its benefits should be distributed so that no one is neglected
[Mosaic Judaism] that He at times, when emotionally disappointed with mankind, repents that He ever gave life to humans.
11. [Plato] That God's soul is opened completely to all his creatures and all blessings are available to them
[Mosaic Judaism] that his soul is closed and only his favorites and those with his mark (circumcision) upon them can expect his benefits, as shown in the stories of Dinah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Joshua, and others.
Also, in Platonism, God plants a conscience in man, his daemon-within, that acts for his benefit in ethical decisions, and likewise implants a loving longing for the Good, the Beautiful, and the Eternal: God Himself. Judaism did not speak of such a conscience or its traits or benefits, nor of an implanted spirit or daemon of goodness that motivated man to focus on God. Again, in Platonism man is free to eat what is nourishing for his body, and this based on scientific knowledge; while in Judaism man is confined by cleanliness laws of food based on obsolete and sometimes superstitious guidelines. In every case above, the Christian Church chose to follow Plato and not Moses and the Prophets; and such chosen teachings of Plato are the very foundation and backbone of the Christian Faith.
Even the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is evidence of Platonism's influence; for the doctrine certainly did not come from Moses and the Prophets. The simple illustration below gives a general view of the doctrine's development from Platonism.
PLATO [c. 428 - c. 348 B.C.E.]
A. The Highest God, beyond being, the Good, NOUS
Three educational concessions:
1. First Cause--to human logic
2. Anthropomorphisms "Father" and "Maker"--to experience
3. Visual "evidence"", the harmony and beauty of Cosmos--to visual logic (seeing is believing)
B. God as Logos: the thinking process of the Highest God, which developed the Pattern of World of Forms: the World of Eternal Being and from it the material cosmos, the world of becoming (the present generation Phdr. 245e).
II. Cosmic Soul which gives movement and life to all creation (world of becoming).
I. God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth
II. Logos made flesh, God's only "begotten" Son, through whom all things were made.
III. The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life.
It is certainly worth noting that the order of Being of the Christian Trinity is also based upon the Platonic Order: A Father and Maker, the Logos, and the World Soul or Spirit...." [394-398].
'Fourthly and finally, I should like to stress that the mainstream Christian Church throughout the ages, from the very beginning--in the Person of Jesus himself, to the present day, has been and remained a Platonic Christian Church, and it is time to recognize Plato's Gift to Christianity, giving him honest recognition by demanding that all future students of the New Testament who expect to make the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus their future profession, know the Greek classics and be thoroughly immersed in the teachings of Plato and subsequent Platonism. Already in 1962, Frederick C. Grant in his book Roman Hellenism and the New Testament (pp. 114-116) made this plea:
The ancient Church Fathers viewed all this [the spread of Hellenistic Platonism] as part of the divine preparation for the Gospel, for the coming of Christ and the spread of Christianity....Greek philosophy, especially Socrates and Plato....The idea is surely a true one, and should be borne in mind by every student of holy Scripture and early Church history....for this reason, the New Testament student ought to know Greek literature--all of it--and he should "steep his mind" in it, year in, year out.... There are certain religious ideas found in Greek literature which are simply indispensable for the interpretation of the New Testament.
The sad facts are that despite the fact that Platonism had more [?] influence on the Message of the New Testament than the Old Testament did, theological seminaries teach a very unbalanced curriculum which greatly favors the Hebrew Scriptures, often claiming total inspiration for them. My own theological seminary training was comprised of seven courses based in the Old Testament alone, and six more courses in which the interpretation of the Old Testament played a significant role. Next to these thirteen courses, only one course dealt with Ancient Western Philosophy and two courses that studied the New Testament world, one of the thought patterns (which I took voluntarily because it was an optional course) and the other of its general history. Not one of these three spent any significant time on Plato or Platonism, and no time at all on its influence on pre-Christian Hebrew thought, New Testament thought, or on the teachings of the early Church Fathers. In this present work, I have shown how unbalanced and misdirected such a curriculum is. And even if one can excuse such an imbalance of subject matter if the church body governing the institution is fundamentalistic, yet, even then one still can not absolve its neglect of history and maybe even academic laziness. I myself was sent out into the Ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with such an academic ignorance of Platonism, that I am ashamed of some of the teachings I left behind me in different parishes. The irritation that I have for having been so narrowly educated does occasionally show in this work, but in honor of the Gospel of Christ and in sacred fairness to Plato and his followers, I ought not and can not back off the truth of history and of giving honor to all to whom honor is due.
Plato's gift to humanity is enormous and Christianity is the chief inheritor of that gift. The basic steps in Platonic theology which form the structure of Christian thought are as follows:
1. The First Cause of all good is the Eternal God, who is beyond being.
2. The LOGOS or Reasoning functioning of God's intellect expressed itself in loving care for all the creation.
3. By means of the LOGOS the world of being (transcendental world of forms) is conceived as a pattern.
4. The Creation of the World of Becoming (material universe) takes place by the will and the LOGOS of the Eternal God.
5. All material beings receive life from the Cosmic Soul or Spirit.
6. Man, soul first then body, is created: Soul by the Eternal God because it is to be an eternal soul, and the body by the lower gods, because it is material and temporal.
7. God's love and providence is showered upon the earthly man. In him, as in all creation, God rejoices and even appoints the lower gods to serve as helpers to mankind that they may have happiness both in the incarnate life as well as in the eternal life to which the soul returns upon death of the body.
8. The material cosmos can be dissolved by God's will. God's gift of reason, conscience, and innate longing for the Good and the Beautiful are the driving forces within man's soul to give him a vision and knowledge of and desire to be with God, and enjoy him forever in the world of true being.
9. The LOGOS becomes incarnate to bring the Eternal into visual experience, accompanied with his love, healing, and comforting message of man's eternal nature; and gives evidence for all men to behold the eternal nature of man with the resurrection of the body from the dead. This is the great contribution that Christianity makes to the Platonic structure of theology, the Person and works of Jesus, who extended the Beauty and Love of Plato's God to an easily apprehensible experience for all men to whom seeing is believing. Christianity fulfills Platonism, for the Beauty of God's caring affection for us was brought down to earth that we could see it directly, and the victory over death was illustrated clearly for all men to behold.
10. There will be a judgment when man leaves his body, the transcendental form of Justice and Logos will execute this judgment, and, in Christian theology, the Son of God, Jesus, who is that Logos, performs that task.
Let's look briefly at the beginning of John's Gospel. In the beginning (i.e. in the generation of the Cosmos-time, in Plato's thought, started with the material creation) was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. In the beginning of the creation he was with God. All things of the creation came into being by means of the Logos, and nothing came into being without him (1:1-3). He was the light that came into the Cosmos, which was made through him, yet it did not know him (J 1:9). The Logos became the material flesh of a human and set up his tent with us: we saw his glory as the only such born of the father, and he was full of grace and truth (J 1:14). The setting is Plato's and its fulfillment is the incarnation of Jesus who brings God's ultimate and eternal reality into the materially changing and vanishing creation that we might see and believe in the eternity of our own souls. Death of our material bodies is not the last word, for God's eternal reality awaits us.
The expanse of Plato's thought, while not always systematic [see 2355, 2356], and never [?] dogmatic, is enormous, taking in and expressing in consummate and complex ways the fulness, humanly speaking, of God. It has been said that the different Christian denominations have different "backbones" to their theologies: for Roman Catholicism it is the Justice of God, for the Eastern Orthodox Churches it is the Goodness of God, for the Anglican it is the Beauty of God, for the Calvinistic churches it is the Majesty of God, and for the Lutherans it is the Grace of God. But with each denomination stressing the importance of its own "backbone" and diminishing that of the others, each overemphasizes the validity of its own theological strength. Plato used them all in a balanced and harmonious way to present the totality of virtue in God, who, in himself, unifies all virtues....' [402-405].
'Let the future curriculums of our Seminaries include the lofty thought of Greek literature, and especially of Plato, that students may see the workings of God on a vast scale in his ordering of human time to have been opportune for the incarnation of his Son, Jesus, and the joyous Gospel message he left with us. For the souls of men had been directed and nourished by Platonism in anticipation of his arrival. People longed for the Logos, the Word, and rejoiced and believed when it was made flesh for all to behold. In him was life, and that life was the Light of mankind: the Light that enlightens the minds and hearts of those seeking eternal friendship with God [elaborate preaching].
THREE NOTABLE STATEMENTS
From Paul Elmer More:
My belief then is that Greek literature, philosophic and religious, pagan and Christian, from Plato to St. Chrysostom and beyond that to the Council of Chalcedon in 451AD, is essentially a unit and follows at the centre a straight line. This body of thought I call the Greek tradition....
It is this tradition, Platonic and Christian at the centre, this realization of an immaterial life, once felt by the Greek soul and wrought into the texture of the Greek language, that lies behind all our western philosophy and religion. Without it, so far as I can see, we should have remained barbarians; and, losing it, so far as I can see, we are in peril of sinking back into barbarism. P.E. More, The Religion of Plato, pp. VI-VII.
From Alfred Edward Taylor:
If we sometimes underestimate our debt in these matters to Plato [my guess: writers!], it is only because Platonic ideas have become so completely part and parcel of our best tradition in morals and religion. His influence, like the pressure of the atmosphere, goes undetected because we never really get free from it... ....
From Francis MacDonald Cornford [see 2354]:
Thus platonism is a system which extends to the interpretation of all existence the principle of aspiration announced in the morality of Socrates. The same may be said of the system of Aristotle in so far as he remains a Platonist...Plato and Aristotle are among the greatest fathers of the Christian church...they might have been canonised in the Middle Ages, had they not happened to be born some centuries before the Christian era. Francis MacDonald Cornford, Before and After Socrates, pp. 64-65.' [406-407]. [End of text].
_____ _____ _____
POETS' GODS, PHILOSOPHERS' GODS*
1) Many in number
2) Living immortals (they do not die)
3) Possess bodies
4) More powerful and knowing than mortals
5) Some of them (especially the "Olympians")
a) are invisible but able to appear when they choose;
b) interact with human beings
1. Were born
1. Were never born or childlike
2. Females give birth
2. Females do not get pregnant.
3. Have sex
3. Have no reason for having sex.
4. Eat ambrosia and nector
4. Do not eat (Aristotle's clarification)
5. Take naps
5. Do not sleep (Aristotle's clarification)
6. Take on outward forms of lower animals at will
6. Do not take on outward forms of lower animals
7. Can be injured
7. Cannot be injured
[Note: in the following: "B. Psychological", the original: "Homer's Gods", and, "Plato's Gods", have been changed to: "Poets' Gods", and, "Philosophers' Gods"; per e-mail from the author (Dr. Jan Garrett).].
do not feel jealousy
...desire for revenge
...desire for revenge
may be partially ignorant
are perfectly wise
minds are sometimes enslaved to their passions
their minds completely control their bodies
1. Generally follow a "tit for tat" ethic
1. Are generous to humans, esp. to persons who love them and try to be like them
2. Engage in deception, adultery, rape, bribery, theft
2. Do not engage in deception, adultery, etc.
3. Use mortals as proxies to fight their battles
3. Don't provoke wars among humans
4. Produce evils as well as goods for humans
4. Bring only good things to human beings
* The "poets" referred to here are Homer [8th century B.C.E.] and Hesiod [8th century B.C.E.] and their followers. The "philosophers" are primarily Plato [c. 428 - c. 348 B.C.E.] and Aristotle [384 - 322 B.C.E.], and probably Socrates [469 - 399 B.C.E.]. Most ancient philosophers have views on the gods closer to Plato and Aristotle than to those of Homer or Hesiod.
To provide feedback on this chart, contact Dr. Jan Garrett.
This chart revised August 14, 2002.