Archive for the History Category

Immanuel Kant

Posted in History, Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 13, 2017 by Drogo

Immanuel Kant was one of the greatest rational philosophers of the Enlightenment, and set a categorical standard for modern reasoning. All of Kant’s years from birth to death (1724-1804), were spent in the small provincial town Konigsberg, in East Prussia. Kant’s grand-father was of Scotch lineage, but if he had kept the original spelling (Cant), the C would have been pronounced as a Z by the citizens of Konigsberg. Also Kant’s original first name was Emanuel, but he changed it to Immanuel after learning Hebrew. Both of Kant’s parents were modest financially and religiously; but spiritually nurtured by a Christian Lutheran sect called the Pietists. Being a Pietist Christian, Kant had a mixed sense of pride in religious rigor, and humility about humble limitations.

Kant was first educated at the local College; then in 1740 Kant went to the University of Konigsburg, where he studied the classics, physics, and philosophy. The master of German Philosophy at the time was Christian von Wolff; who was a dominant secretary of the Enlightenment movement, and stated that “man could be happy and good without the divine grace of revelation”. This atheist statement angered the ‘Soldier King’ of Prussia, King Frederick William I; however his condemnation only enhanced Wolff’s international fame. Immanuel Kant revered Wolff as the “most powerful representative of dogmatic rationalism, from the stand-point of pure unshaken confidence in the strength of Reason.” Kant eventually replaced Wolff as the popular national philosopher.

In Kant’s home town of Konigsburg, the city burghers were said to set their watches when Kant passed by their windows on his precisely-timed daily walks. He did not write his most famous works until he was older. When people that knew him read his work, they often agreed that it was logical and well-ordered, just like Kant himself. Kant applied his logic to a mature reflection on whether or not to marry; he decided finally to remain single. Kant’s travels did not exceed the city boundaries, his life had no remarkable adventures or political power or social connections, yet he was an immensely successful tutor, lecturer, and a charming host.

Immanuel Kant was a man of clear, critical, logical, vigorous, rigorous, and trenchant thought. In his Critique of Pure Reason he methodically divides chapters to explore ‘a priori’ metaphysical issues. ‘A priori’ is the pure form of sensuous general intuitions, that existed prior to our physical existence; archetypal knowledge from before we were born. Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason was followed by the Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and the Critique of Judgment (1790).

“Act always in such a way. that you should want your action to become a universal law.” – Immanuel Kant. This categorical imperative is one of the main recommendations of Kant’s writings. Although it centers around action, Kant also said that virtue was in the ‘Will’, and not the ‘Act’. Consciousness involves feeling, thinking, and acting. Feeling regards faith, thinking seeks epistemology, and acting involves ethics.

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Dante’s Christianity

Posted in History, Poems, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2017 by Drogo

Christian Hell, Purgatory, & Heaven

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was a major Italian poet for writing a very famous religious fantasy book called ‘The Divine Comedy’. Dante is called the ‘Founder of Italian’ because he wrote in Tuscan vernacular ‘vulgar’ dialect, rather than traditional or ‘proper’ Latin. Dante used a poetic literature style for his novel, which used the 3-line rhyme scheme (terza rima). Dante’s depictions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven have inspired a large body of religious art, and influenced Christianity itself. His ‘Divine Comedy‘ represents the medieval mind combining religious and romantic imagery. Dante’s quest for his ideal love ‘Beatrice’ represents the soul’s journey towards God. Dante draws the reader into his transcendent fictional memoir by sharing common life phases, famous and infamous names, and biographical details. Dante called it a ‘comedy’ because the plot proceeds from turmoil to a happy ending; but the story is certainly a mixture of many genres. Fans that refer to it as ‘The Inferno‘ are usually most fascinated by the horrible torture scenes in Hell. Fear of Hell is very compelling for many Christians, fed by the classic ‘fire & brimstone’ sermons. Purgatory is similar to the torture myths of Sisyphus and Prometheus, with a spiral upwards. The Garden of Eden crowns its summit. The 7 deadly sins are cleansed in Purgatory, so loving sinners can earn going to Heaven. Heaven is made of celestial rings crowned by the golden Empyrean pyramid containing the essence of God. There are 9 ring levels each with 1 final chief control center, for a total of 10 layers per realm.

Dante’s book is similar to classical adventures in Hades, where the hero visits the realm of the dead and returns to the land of the living to tell the tale; except for Catholics there are 3 realms of the dead where heavenly ‘Paradise’ seems not within the Underworld, and with Purgatory takes the place of Mount Olympus. There are references to the Roma-Amor mirror dichotomy palindrome of public duty and private love, Sunwise vs Anti-diasil spiral procession, and Plebeian Secession.

Medieval Italy had a political struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines. Dante was part of the Guelphs, who favored the Papacy over the Holy Roman Emperor. Florence’s Guelphs split into factions around 1300: the White Guelphs and the Black Guelphs. Dante was among the White Guelphs who were exiled in 1302 by the Lord-Mayor.

The last word in each of the three canticas is stelle (“stars”).20171201_151134

SCOD Detective Method

Posted in History, Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2017 by Drogo

For problem solving using case studies, history, and philosophy

1. Study – investigate a problem with evidence

2. Compare – question and test assumptions

3. Predict – logical deductive reasoning

4. Prescribe – historic and scientific based solution

5. Practice – solve and observe to know results

6. Repeat – as need arises by dialog, communication

Romanesque and Gothic Architecture

Posted in Historic Architecture, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2017 by Drogo

Cathedral Architecture of the Middle Ages

Romanesque cathedrals were based on Roman basilica designs, with thick walls and high ceilings. Engineering innovations like Gothic arches, flying buttresses, and keystone vaulting allowed for higher and larger expanses. Stain-glass windows and sculptures were integral parts of Gothic style; Cathedrals had exterior demons and interior angels. Water spout sculptures were called gargoyles and grotesques were ornaments to ‘ward off evil’ in much the same way comedic caricatures and scary decoration do at traditional festivals like Halloween. By embracing cultural demons in some form, the stress of Sin has less power for some; while scaring others into obedience, lest they get captured by demons outside. The inner sanctum of the church was where God protects his followers.

Christian Crusades

Posted in History, Military, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2017 by Drogo

The Christian Crusades (1095-1410) invaded Jewish and Muslim territories, and used militant terrorism on locals. In 1095 Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnenos I requested military aid from Pope Urban II. Whether Alexios was just complaining or wanted a show of mercenary support under Byzantine control, is unclear. Alexios had restored the Empire’s finances and authority, but he still struggled with foreign enemies, particularly the migrating Turks.

At the Council of Clermont later that year, Pope Urban preached for a Crusade to free the holy lands from the infidels. By giving more military forces than Alexios requested, Urban would be in a political position of power in the East. Local clerics through-out Europe were encouraged by Pope Urban’s declaration of holy war. Peter the Hermit led thousands of mostly poor Christians out of Europe in what became known as the People’s Crusade. In 1096 Peter claimed he had a letter from Heaven telling Christians to prepare for the Apocalypse by seizing Jerusalem from the Muslims and Jews. Europe witnessed the first major anti-Semitic massacre when these Crusaders terrorized entire Jewish communities in Rhineland Germany. Before they got close to Jerusalem, the first Crusader army was ambushed by the Turks and suffered heavy losses, causing retreat. The Kings of France and England refused to join Pope Urban’s Crusade of German despotism, but many other nobles began to rally troops from various countries based on bonds of lordship, family, ethnicity, and language. Foremost amongst the noble financiers were Count Raymond IV of France; Prince Bohemond and his nephew Tancred of Norman Italy; and lastly Godfrey and his brother Baldwin I, lords of Lotharingia. Combined with a Northern French army led by lesser lords, the armies totaled about 100,000 people.

The official First Crusade army led by nobles combined with some veterans of the first peasant army, and traveled to Byzantium. Emperor Alexios cautiously welcomed them, and made the princes and counts pledge allegiance to him. This allowed both East and West Christian Empires to unite against the Turkish Sultan Kilij Arslan I. In 1097 after a Crusader siege and a Byzantine naval assault, Nicaea was captured. Crusader envoys were sent to Egypt seeking an alliance. The Turks were not unified in defense of Aleppo and Damascus. The 3-month march to Antioch was plagued by starvation, thirst, and disease. Baldwin used 100 knights to claim his own territory in Edessa. Despite losses, the Crusader army embarked on an 8-month siege stalemate of Antioch. Bohemond persuaded a tower guard to open a gate, and the Crusaders entered and massacred the many Muslims and Christians of Antioch.

Sunni Islam under the Sultan of Baghdad raised an army to recapture Antioch, led by the Iraqi general Kerbogha. Having lost thousands through desertion and starvation in the besieged city, the Crusaders attempted to negotiate surrender. This was rejected by Kerbogha, who wanted to destroy the invaders. Morale within the city was boosted when a mystic soldier claimed to have discovered the Holy Lance of Antioch. Bohemond led his Franks to break the Muslim ranks, who surprisingly retreated and abandoned the counter-siege.

Fatimid Egyptians took Jerusalem from the Turks. Raymond left Bohemond at Antioch, and led his Crusader army rapidly along the South coast to Jerusalem. After some failures, Crusaders constructed two large siege engines; the one commanded by Godfrey breached the walls in 1099. For two days the Crusaders massacred the Jews and Muslims of Jerusalem and pillaged the City of God. Godfrey further secured the Frankish position by surprising the Egyptian Shia soldiers, who retreated to Egypt. By 1100 most of the Crusaders considered their pilgrimage complete and returned to Europe, leaving behind Godfrey, Tancred, and Baldwin. Muslims mistook the Crusaders for the latest in a long line of Byzantine mercenaries (eg Vikings), rather than religious paladins bent on long term conquest and control of people property. During the 1100s Muslims realized they needed to organize their armies like the Europeans were doing, so they could level the playing field at least for defense.

Moses Maimonides was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt during the 1100s. Moses Maimonides wrote the tractate ‘Sanhedrin’ in which he formulated 13 Principles of Hebrew Faith. The Sanhedrin summarized his opinion of the required beliefs of Judaism; which included the exaltation of God and Moses, the coming of the Jewish Messiah, and resurrection of the dead. Maimonides also wrote about charity and prophesy.

Knights Hospitallers, aka ‘The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem’, originated from an Amalfitan monastic Christian hospital cult in Jerusalem. After the first conquest of Jerusalem circa 1100, the Hospitallers also became a military order under Papal charter, charged with the care and defense of the Holy Land. The medieval Catholic military order endured and eventually became the modern Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

The Knights Templar were founded circa 1120 and lasted as an official Catholic paladin military order until 1312. The name ‘Templar’ comes from their full name ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ in the Order of Solomon’s Temple’. In the Dark-Ages Frankish knights in the court of Charlemagne paladins (cleric-warriors) tradition based on the legends of Roland and his other knights. Templars admired the image of pauper knights helping each-other by sharing the same horse. Templar knights with their red cross on white field coat-of-arms, became famous for dedication to faith, fighting, and finance.

Teutonic Knights, aka ‘The Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem’, were a clerical military mercenary order circa 1190. The Teutonic mission was to conquer and protect German Church interests including pilgrims and hospitals. The Teutonic Order has recently been only religious since 1929, but still confers limited honorary ‘knight’ awards.

Arabic philosophy was usually more enlightened than European philosophy under Christian theology during the Middle-Ages. We in the West are still learning from Arabic sources, how to interpret our own records better. Robert of Chester translated the Arabic book of the ‘Composition of Alchemy‘ in 1144.

After the establishment of the religious military orders of Hospitallers, Templars, and Teutonic Knights; Popes were granting money and property to those who fought papal enemies, making the crusades more blatantly political and economic, although many continued to use the theology as justification for war. True believers often cannot be counted, as we cannot know what people truly thought inside. People often are torn inside about loyalties and motivations, and religions are largely based on dealing with dualities in life.

More nobles from all over Europe led campaigns with smaller groups of crusaders. The loss of Aleppo and Edessa before 1150, led to propaganda for the Second Crusade. This time kings got in on the action. King Louis VII and Conrad III led armies from France and Germany to Jerusalem and Damascus, without major victories. Preaching anti-Semitism again led to attacks on Jews including massacres in the German Rhineland and other places, amid claims that the Jews were not contributing financially to Christian society or the rescue of the Holy Land.

In the 1160-80s Islamic power changed leaders from Zengi, to Nur al-Din, and finally to the most famous Saladin. Saladin united Aleppo, Damascus, and Egypt in the Crusade era. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, kicked off the Third Crusade by drowning in the Saleph River on route to the Holy Land. Richard the Lionheart, King of England conquered Cyprus in 1191. Philip II of France arrived at the siege of Acre, and with the help of his best buddy Richard, the French and English won. Richard and his English army travelled South along the Mediterranean coast, and defeated Muslims near Arsuf and recaptured Jaffa. Richard the Lionheart came close to Jerusalem, but realized he lacked the resources to capture and keep the city. This marked the end of Richard’s crusading career, but Richard preferred his properties in France so Prince John ran England (see Magna Carta and ‘Legend of Robin Hood’ – 1200s).

In 1200 Pope Innocent III began preaching for the Fourth Crusade in France, England, and Germany. In Venice the Doge plotted to use the Fourth Crusade to overthrow Emperor Alexios III of Byzantium. Crusader knights arrived in Venice and were unable to pay the Venetians for a fleet, so they agreed to attack Constantinople, sack it, and share what could be looted as payment. The crusaders conquered Constantinople twice, pillaging churches, and killing nobles and many citizens. The Fourth Crusade never got near Jerusalem.

Popular ecstatic piety led to the Children’s Crusade in 1212. Large groups of young adults and children gathered, believing their innocence would enable success, where their corrupt elders had failed. Most were captured and sold into slavery. Few went on to the Holy Lands. In 1217 the Fifth Crusade was led by Andrew II of Hungary and Duke Leopold VI of Austria, against Saladin’s Ayyubid successors in Egypt and Syria.

The Sixth Crusade was a negotiated truce, supported by force and concessions. Frederick II was a Holy Roman Emperor with some cultural sympathy for Islam, and arrived at Acre in 1228. The peace treaty gave Christians most of Jerusalem and access to Acre, while the Muslims kept their sacred areas, and the Sultan of Egypt could use crusaders as mercenaries. Pope Gregory IX attacked Frederick II, ruining Christian progress in the area. Next was the Barons’ Crusade, and finally several other crusades including those in modern times.

 

[to be continued]

 

 

 

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Stupid Crusades Video War commentary by Drogo Empedocles

Stoicism

Posted in History, Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 7, 2017 by Drogo

Stoicism was founded at the Stoa in Athens by Zeno of Citium circa 200 BC. Stoics stressed moderation of emotions, with solemn contemplation of options. They believed it was better to accept Fate as Reality, rather than wasting time fighting it with free-will. Our will (prohairesis) can be cultivated from ‘tabula rasa’ (clean slate) in harmony with Nature, for better contentment.

Stoicism is a conglomerate of personal and social ethics informed by logic and nature. We all will die, and so philosophy should prepare us for that destiny. We have little control over our fates, but should accept the responsibility for our own emotions and decisions. Detachment from emotions is one way to be responsible in our thoughts and actions. Stoics are skeptical about extremes of desire or fear. We should seek to understand our purpose in life, in relation to society and human nature. Seneca and Epictetus believed virtue was sufficient for happiness, a wise sage was immune to misfortune. Stoics tend to have a solemn demeanor, with a trust-worthy seriousness. Remain calm and think about it.

From its founding, Stoic doctrine was popular during the Roman Empire, and influencing the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Cicero. Stoic pantheism influenced Christianity, and Stoic God as Reason blossomed in the Renaissance. Over the centuries, stoicism became very important for self-reflective poetry, literary naturalism, and stalwart pragmatism.

Solar Eclipse Holiday 2017

Posted in astronomy, Events / Celebrations, news, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2017 by Drogo

Moon Eclipse of the Sun for Three Hours (apx)

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SCOD Astronomy August 21, 2017, Observations near Washington DC East Coast America

Commentary by Drogo Empedocles as he observed the eclipse disc geometries through special star-net glasses given by Maryland Libraries, and documented in text, audio, and video.

Recorded live from 1-4pm while watching, preoccupied with metaphoric meditation while watching the event (Observation notes corrected in post-production):

“At 1:30 Pm the Sun is traveling (sunwise) clockwise from left to right (to a person standing with their head straight up), and the moon is passing right to left, down-ward, counter-clockwise. 2:16pm Sun is over 1/2 to 3/4 covered by the circular curve of the Moon’s perimeter. Sun-light remains bright, only slightly dim. No sun-rise sun-set color tones, just dimmer. Went back inside, turned off inside house lights, so the light from the windows can slowly show the progress, and i can determine how dark it gets outside compared to enclosed darkness. Sun-light dim, Later at 2:37pm close to total eclipse, curves at thin crescent. 2:52pm Eclipse in decline, passing away, pacman’s mouth headed South…. 3:23 Eclipse in final phase. 3:54 last fragment of the Sun covered, apx. END of eclipse. Interesting how quickly the Moon began to move across the Sun, and yet lingered over for much longer than its’ initial advance seemed, according to observed interaction and clocks. At no time did the sky go black, there was always some day-light to see objects. Life has not changed; but the after effect reflection on Life and Death is much deeper, than the previous excited anticipation of the event. The visual recordings from my cell phone camera do not show much evidence of the event, oddly. Several Neighbors were out-side during the central hour of the Eclipse, also observing.”

Landscape Photos:  Did NOT show significant dimming, despite observation

Soundcloud Audio Recordings:   Verbal Only  /  Reggae Remix

Video Recordings:  Did NOT show the Moon (none of the dark curves of the eclipse are visible in the videos)  Youtube – Start 12:50 Pm  /   12:56 Pm  /  1:06 Pm  /  1:39 Pm

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