Archive for democracy

Socrates, Jesus, & MLK

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, History, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Military, Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2020 by Drogo

Social Martyrs of History – Socrates, Jesus, & MLK 

Remembering Leaders Who Risked Their Lives for Civil Rights

 

For all the famous leaders there are countless common martyrs who sacrificed their health and well being for the sake of others and the pursuit of virtuous truth. In remembering the lives of great figures we know about, we can also reflect on their human flaws or imperfect traits.

The main three figures I want to talk about are Socrates Jesus and Martin Luther King Junior. The stories of Socrates, Jesus, and MLK (Martin Luther King Jr.) will always be relevant so long as there is an ambitious and hungry military, supported by plutocrats and a population that mocks peace and philosophy. Their stories are very similar, except that MLK wanted to actually have political change. They were despised by those in power for raising too many questions, and they were put to death for their influence. I will also mention Simon Bolivar and Martin Luther of the Protestant Reformation in reference to the topics, although they were not put to death by authorities. These are figures which were influential obviously in the annals of history, but more importantly they were people who questioned civilization. They bothered society as social gadflies. Simon Bolivar was more of a political-military leader and I don’t really know his biography so I’m not going to talk much about him; but he is largely unknown in North America although a local town is named for him.

Socrates (circa 400 BC) was a veteran and a retired stone-mason, who taught young men of Athens philosophy for free (unlike the Sophists who charged to teach legal rhetoric). Socrates was such a public nuisance about asking questions, that he was written into theater comedy plays as a ‘clownish fool’. Religion, plays, and politics were all wrapped up in each other as democracy allows; although with the growth of population these extensions became more specialized fields over time. Cultural systems were blended as they are now actually; but we tend to want to try to keep social functions separate. We might say “I don’t want to talk about politics”, but meanwhile our money is spent to kill people; and issues in politics, religion, and entertainment cross-over. However even back in ancient Athens people would say “Why are you asking me these stupid questions? I’ve got business to do, excuse me, but get away.” Socrates would insist on asking people what they knew about their business, life in general, and whether that applied to politics.

Socrates was getting people thinking, and the plutocratic military establishment did not appreciate it. Their industrial complex may not have been like factories with our modern mechanized technology; but there were workshops making weapons and leaders of armies who wanted to boss soldiers around, conquer other people, and get rich as an official leader. Athens had been at war with its neighbors, and had seen massive defeats. Ironically during a period that had despotism and imperialism, it was their democracy that put Socrates to death (see Plato’s writings).

One of the perennial problems of democracy is that it gets tricked by the oligarchy into voting against worker interests, to favor conservative benefits for the few. There will always be some people that want to hurt and bully others to extract resources and wealth from them, and selfishly take it as their personal property. War culture is part of male patriarchy for sure, and the ethics of that ‘might is right’ domination is now being questioned more than ever before by progressives. It took a long time for women to have civil rights in civilization. It took thousands of years for large countries to grant women the same power and influence that men were legally allowed. I am not sure why it took so long to recognize women as adults officially in public, they say it has to do with babies, muscles, and testosterone but this is not an essay on gender issues. My point is that many of us hope that democratic society is slowly becoming more compassionate every century, with a few massive steps back in some ways, some decades.

The problems of society were addressed by Socrates, Jesus, and MLK; and they were punished as enemies of the state. Socrates, Jesus, and MLK may have been peaceful, but they also threatened the establishment by wanting individuals to ask questions within the society. Philosophical questions threaten authoritarian control. Socrates bothering people in the market was stirring up the pot and getting people wondering “What is best? What do I know? What can I know?” We want to usually have will-power and self-esteem and confidence. We want to know that we have answers to problems. It was frightening for Greeks to think that they might not actually know how best to vote. They did not want to be blamed when they invaded somebody else; even when they got their asses handed to them and their soldiers maimed, crippled, and killed. Their most important leaders had told them that war was justified, so it must have been right; right? Who was this old foolish man to harass them with questions? So they put him on trial and sentenced him to death. 

Later Jesus came along from Galilee, Israel. So Jesus was Jewish, but he was questioning the laws defended by conservative Pharisees, Sadducees, King Herod, and of course the Imperial Roman overlords. These popular stories of Jesus are perhaps the most common myths in society today, although no remaining period records noticed him while he was alive. We certainly have Jesus around us almost every day, with churches on every road. We are constantly reminded of Jesus probably more than the other figures, but yet if we go into a church and ask Christians what it means to be Christian, it is really hard for them to answer.

Most Christians do not give up their wealth and follow the holy spirit. Jesus never said we should go to Church and worship him, instead his example was to live communally with friends and practice religious compassion. Modern Christians want their property and their capitalist profit; that’s how most of us live our lives. Most Christians would not ‘turn over tables’ even in metaphoric churches, because Fox News and other corporate media conditions them in their homes as consumers. Commercial propaganda keeps people silent about politicians who keep spending our money on weapons and taking us to war. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus spend more on the military than all other countries? I don’t think conservatives have asked that question enough; if they want to spend so liberally on authoritarian budgets, they are not progressive on social issues like Jesus was. My New Testament understanding of Jesus is that he was profoundly anti-establishment in mostly passive ways. Now yes he did proclaim (according to the Bible) that he was the ‘son of God’, but he also said that we are all the ‘children of God’. Jesus also didn’t put much stock into earthly class systems or elite nobility. Our ability to love each-other was most important to him, which meant loving our enemies as well as our neighbors, as well as our family, as well as ourselves.

The Emperor of Rome (coincidentally also son of a god) would have considered accounts of early christians much like how Nixon reacted to hippies, but with less interest or subtlety. The Kent State shooting and the MK-Ultra project were sensitive compared to the more formal crucifixions and arena events; although I expect there were many undocumented tactics used unofficially in the streets by Roman soldiers too. Sharing wealth of property and goods was crucial for Jesus and gang, in between healing the poor and not chasing profit. Authorities mocked that hippy rebel and his proclamations of peace and love as the king of the Jews, with the crown of thorns on his head and the procession of pain carrying the cross.

His lessons were about helping those less fortunate, rather than giving wealth to the rich who ‘earned it’. Ask the Jesus in your heart “who deserves help the most; those greedy hoarding wealth already, or those who could use some and will spend it?” Collective compassion flies in the face of corporate assholes like Trump and those who want to be selfishly ignorant because “god damn it we don’t give a f@ck.” Everyone knows that making martyrs who people later worship defeats the purpose of killing them; but cultural ignorance is perennial even among elites. Reflecting on past mistakes is weird while still doing them. We might feel it was stupid and cruel that those people in the past killed Socrates, Jesus, and MLK; and we’ve come such a long way like when the FBI says MLK was such a great guy historically, although we know their boss wrote that death threat to MLK and probably had him assassinated (if it wasn’t some other covert militant agency that most don’t hear about because they redact most of their official public documents when they actually do release information).

  • to be continued…

 

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Corporate Neo-Fascist Politics

Posted in Military, news, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2019 by Drogo

Neo-liberals and Neo-conservatives leaders are basically Neo-fascists by default; using corporations to control government and deny civil rights and promote war. Voters have been tricked to vote for the 2-party neo-fascist system, just as they were in Germany before WW2, so shaming Trump or Hillary voters is not useful in the reconditioning process. Post WW2 Germany is an example of how voter shaming can back-fire. The fall of the Berlin Wall was popular because of how punishing people for bad leaders can be, without giving them reasons to change ideology.

Fascism does not believe in real democracy, and in manifestos it has claimed this is because democracy never works. Neo-fascism differs from conventional Fascism because it hides behind political-correctness (polite manners), and avoids using bold terms like racism or ‘Nazi’. Neo-fascists instead prefer slogans like ‘New World Order’, ‘Mission Accomplished’, and ‘Yes We Can!’. Neo-fascists believe nothing should stand in the way of Capitalist business, not even problems of peace or pollution.

Currently peace and environmental activists are being attacked by the Hillary DNC, who accuses them of being treasonous foreign agents of Russia. The New Red Scare is being used by Neo-liberals to attack both Trump (who functions as a Neo-conservative, despite his fake populist platitudes) and far-left leaders. This tactic will totally break the voter base for the DNC, by severing the far-left completely from ever voting for their candidates again; because they would rather have Trump win again (because he is pro-business), if they cannot get their candidates to win (Hillary & Biden recently).

The scary part of all this is that their Neo-fascist propaganda has worked, for two reasons. One reason is because most voters do not have time to actually study political claims. The other reason is that DNC party-line voters believe that the lesser of two evils is better, and that Hillary would not have done as many bad things as Trump is doing. There is much truth to that claim that Trump is a piece of shit, and should never have been made president. The bizarre fact that Trump was made president by the electoral college (Hillary won the popular vote), has made some of us wonder what is really going on. The Neo-liberal DNC wants us to believe we should blame Jill Stein, and anyone that would want to run as a third-party candidate (like Nader or Perot were blamed before). So their propaganda against peace and environmental activist leaders has landed, because it is assumed that of the choice between Trump and Hillary, one of them is better. Neo-fascists do not want us thinking that both elite candidates of the 2-party system are committing crimes against humanity and our US Constitution, because then their gig is up. They would rather one of the two win, or none at all.

Their ‘One Thousand Points of Light’ (Bush Sr.) CIA strategy is having a constant war of terror, to never allow real democracy of direct vote to have any power. They will not even allow us to have ranked-choice voting in our Republic. The New Red Scare continues, which ironically fuels our state communist MIC (Military Industrial Complex) with our taxes.

If Biden (or another DNC pick) wins, the Hillary DNC will increase attacks on us using the New Red Scare, which could lead to more Congressional Hearings and prison for Sanders, Tulsi, and Stein voters (who are all branded as either Socialist or Russian by the Neo-fascists). Nationalist corporate fascists are scared that voters might want real democracy. Ecological development and peaceful negotiations are more patriotic than selling out to big business to pollute and bomb the planet; do not let them fool us again! Bernie Sanders may come the closest to uniting the entire Left with the Centrist WORKING CLASS Right (blue collar, not white collar), on issues like Health Care and Worker Rights (Jobs).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Looking Up Sunflowers!

Posted in Commercial Corporations, Cooperative collaboration, Critical Commentary of Civilization, dreams, Ethics & Morals, news, Rationality & Logic, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2019 by Drogo

Sunflowers are not afraid to look proudly into the sky at the Sun. We can handle the truth of our political reality, and take democratic responsibility. RISE UP children of the SUN!!! The sky is our limit. We have the right to grow organic gardens! We have the right to vote for who we want! We have the right to pursue our dreams!

[ Facebook Audio Recording ]

landscape nature sunflowers sky

The Federal ‘REAL ID’ program in Maryland is forcing every legal citizen to show additional proof they are not illegal, because they messed up, rather than do some research and only call in those that are suspected as illegal. In Nazi Germany they started with the Jews, but made every one live under martial law. The real terrorists are the ones perpetuating violence on a mass scale in the world for profit. Keep looking up beautiful sunflowers.

The World Wars gave national profits to corporations, while we killed each-other in other countries. To know why it happened, we should look at the corporations that profited, even on the losing sides of the world wars. I think Ike was talking about them when he mentioned the MIC. Our private prisons are like fascist concentration camps, because they profit from mass incarceration. Our fossil fuel companies control our politicians using lobbyists, denying our votes for green jobs and less pollution. We allow a few people to take our national wealth and use it against us.

For the sake of freedom, we should not give up hope. We should exercise the freedoms we still have, and push against those being taken away from us. Examine the cases, investigate news claims, and research history so that you can feel more confident you are acting on behalf of your own interests, and the greater good. Patriotism means defending the rights of the people, sometimes against the bosses. Many of us have already protested, boycotted, and participated in Our Revolution (The Peace Movement). Dare to hope, dream, and keep taking action in broad daylight!!!

Environmental Populism

Posted in Economics, Ethics & Morals, Military, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2019 by Drogo

Green Populism and Socialism in Politics

For Victorian pre-world-war historic context (1800s) please study the rise of Capitalism, Marxism, and the writings of Charles Dickens to understand the reactions to industrial pollution and corruption. Real conversation about terms like ‘socialism’ and ‘environmental’ are way over-due in our corporate media world, and they are scared the truth will affect their cold war industry. The truth is while military corporations benefit from new ‘Berlin Walls’ both physical and psychological to feed the war machine selling arms to all sides, the truth will also come out if Sanders is allowed to debate Trump, and they know that. The only way corporations will allow a debate involving a real progressive populist (not fake like Trump) is if the people push them to do it. it is true that the old generation of corporatists will use the term socialist that Bernie embraces, and communism against him, but for those of us that see through it we want to come out of the closet and fight. when working people can actually understand the terms and know who fights for them, i think that will be the change.

The best leaders reflect popular causes for peace and populations as a whole. Gandhi, MLK, Sanders,,, I voted for Jill Stein as a politician reflection environmental protesters. The main environmentalists in politics currently are Democratic Socialists (Social Democrats*) like Sanders, Gabbard, and AOC, they have taken up the Green Party progressive mantle with the Green New Deal and are serious because they fight the MIC corporate cronies. Personal habits which are part of micro-trends do affect systemic change when they reach critical popular mass and directly affect the laws we make the way we conduct business; but it is not just bottom up, because top down also happens like how federal laws arrest people for pot; so more people catch on to something popular when it is also legally supported, like recycling for example. The more government supports recycling, the more people would do it and the more businesses would help people to do it.

One of the hardest things is to explain main-stream corporate and popular propaganda to people who have a million other things to do; but that should be the job of an ‘honest politician’ (a term considered an oxymoron). People should actually know what cultural terms are affecting the World, like ‘progress’, and how their own lives are affected by who they allow to be in charge, either by their activism or by their apathy.

*[see Kyle Kulinski’s Secular Talk shows where he explains the history of the terms Democratic Socialist vs Social Democrat]

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What most conventional corporate party members do not understand about new Progressive Populism, is that it includes people on both the left and the right; thus Trump’s lies resonated, and they said they would have voted for Sanders but not Hillary. Progressive populists are for the Green New Deal and Universal Health Care and against the elites of the DNC and RNC. Some Populists are more conservative, but they want jobs and health care so they will vote for the candidate that convinces them they will give them security. Economist Mark Blyth contributed to a conference where experts in several fields unanimously concluded that our political paradigm will shift left and right, back and forth, but increasingly more towards Progressive Populism (AOC Green New Deal) where if successful it will lock into a new political structure.

Democratic Voting Problems

Posted in Legal / Laws, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 13, 2017 by Drogo

Paper Ballot Vote Counting

We still can barely hold raffles in America without someone being able to easily rig the counting. With political elections it is easy to forge or lose several to dozens of ballots, and therefore hundreds or thousands more when all stations are added up. I worked counting votes and giving ballots once, it was clear that workers could mess with the counts if they wanted to. The people in charge of the voting stations had authority and understood the system, and therefore could do all kinds of things if they had reason to, as the ballot boxes are transferred at night when the clueless hired help like me goes home and they are alone for an ample amount of time. I cannot speak about digital voting, except to say that hackers know more than I do about breaking into computer systems. Vote counting issues still present a problem for modern democracy.

Freedom to Vote 3rd Party

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2017 by Drogo

In America, Land of the Brave and Free, we have a right to vote our conscience.

Sanders & Stein did NOT get Trump elected, the electoral college decided Clinton’s popular win wasn’t worth shit, and many voted for Trump because they hated Clinton. Some of us are not buying corporate-crony talking points anymore, and that means we vote for candidates that do not appear as corrupted, and some are not likely to vote at all if only given a choice between two-evils that clearly don’t care about the masses. Next time someone tries to blame progressives for voting for who they want, tell them there are serious reasons why millions of voters feel disenfranchised.

Also, the far Left is not militant or violent because their main beliefs revolve around Peace and Love, and harmony with the World, and anyone that acts violently against others is acting as a militant (which is a Right-wing behavior based on their beliefs) or just simply a criminal against humanity. Left-wing regimes who use ruthless militaries always contradicted their Liberal convictions; which is a failure to serve the people, and why true Left-wing Liberals always seek more Peaceful means to sustain democratic government.

The Left wants more real democracy, the Right wants elites to represent you; this is why corporate Democrats are really not true Liberals when they support authoritarian business deals over citizens rights. The DNC has been responsible for the New Red Scare, candidates who say that ‘nukes are always on the table’, and fund endless war. The GOP meanwhile has started a New Cold War, as well as all the rest.

If everyone that agreed with the utopian ideals of Sanders or Stein had voted for them, instead of voting for the lesser of 2 evils, we would have not have Trump as a ‘representative’ leader. 12% of Bernie voters voted for Trump because they hated Hillary. Many voters did not vote (half the country) because they hate the 2-party system.

see also: Electoral College and Ranked Choice Voting = Real Democracy

Socrates and the Problem of Democracy

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, History, Philosophy with tags , , , , , on February 28, 2017 by Drogo

A generation before Socrates; Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus; practiced their philosophical teachings, laying the foundation for social dialectic epistemology. In just a few generations, philosophers went from theorizing about Nature (primal elements), to focusing on human mental and social abilities to know truths. Philosophers were often used by leaders to build theories and machines to wage wars against other leaders. In this way philosophers were similar to priests, in how they often were paid to sway public opinions for political support using ideas. However, rather than using the traditional pantheon of magical mythologies as priests did, philosophers used new ideas that could be embraced by practicing an eastern love of Wisdom (Goddess Sophia), that involved rhetorical talk persuasion, and mental reasoning aided by inner spirits called daimons (acknowledgment of self-ignorance and commitment to continual self-knowledge through dialog). Knowledge is virtue, not because of any power it earns, but because self-aware humble piety is good; as with the best comedy, the virtue of knowledge is that it can save us from ourselves, if we use it wisely. This is where we ended up with Socrates, and his conclusions about epistemology still resonate today on the streets and in the minds of many people regardless of class.

Few scholars take the time to investigate how events led up to the earliest, best form of government by the people, democracy, being responsible for putting to death one of the greatest philosophers in history. I will attempt to reconstruct how popular events and ideas may have resulted in official public conviction to execute a man who’s main crime seems to be that he asked too many questions of too many people, which bothered the existing system too much. Put simply, Socrates was killed by democracy because he was annoying.

This is a summary of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Socrates and the Sophists. Our main focus will be on how their philosophies related to their Greek politics and economics. Afterwards we will consider Plato’s Republic, and how the lessons of history can improve our current democratic government; based on the theory that ‘We the People’ can govern ourselves, and maintain civil rights economically and politically. This is why philosophical theory matters, because all our political and economic systems are based on people believing and practicing theories. Law and currency work because enough people agree that they have value. Laws are only suggestions unless they are enforced using ‘real’ actions. Money has symbolic mental worth to lives, which is used to get ‘real’ material property and control the minds of those that want it, so that they do ‘real’ work for a boss or client.

I’ve never heard anyone frame a talk on this before. To clarify the issue, it may be a conflict of disciplines is to blame for our collective ignorance on the subject. History, Politics, Philosophy, and Psychology are now treated as separate disciplines that should be legally kept divided so that a few professionals can make all the money, while keeping the public safe from those that might install ‘unsafe systems’ (AIA). Do not believe those false authoritarian dictates, whose laws mainly serve the elite few, and do not allow that even the poorest person may make good designs.

Professors usually skip through the ‘pre-socratics’, cover the basics of Socrates, and then move on to Plato’s responses; which of course was to propose the Oligarchy of the Republic because democracy had killed the wisest man, and because Macedonian emperors would soon rule Athens. Plutocrats tend to think they know best, simply because they have money which is power in a corrupt Capitalist system. The story of the trial of Socrates, should really be an invitation for all of us to put democracy on trial in a much larger way, and begin to resolve the problems of self-governing; which is not just about demagogue representatives, but more importantly about what ‘We the People’ want.

Democratic problems might be described as mass commercial competitive propaganda, and unethical majority mob bigotry; which can perpetuate cycles of unbalanced emotional vengeance. Those problems are not exclusive to democracy, but what makes democracy better than oligarchies is rule by the many, that everyone has a vote, and at least the majority rules. Why is it good for all people to have a say in how they are governed? It is important to empower people with the evidence that their vote matters, otherwise they will lose interest in supporting the government, and ‘representative’ government can easily fail to care about the majority of the population, regardless of whether those representatives were elected by the people or installed by only a minority of elites (oligarchy). Direct vote elections by the people needs to have power at the highest levels, not just the lowest levels, or risk complete system failure due to internal apathy and deceit. All people having a vote in democracy means that all people have a value in society, even if they are mentally or physically sick or disabled, homeless, or cannot provide for themselves in normal ways. Good political leaders are inclusive and represent proportionately majority and minority agendas, by proposing democratic laws that can get popular support from a majority of the actual population, not just corporate business campaign donors.

Ethical fairness and justice for all, means that progressives must challenge existing laws which conservatives think are working fine. The Left Wing must constantly beg the Right Wing to not be so abusive to the majority, while the Right Wing must constantly tell the Left Wing it should be grateful that the majority are not abused more, because free-thinking liberals and war veterans are hard to restrain, and liberals and veterans do not have the economic power of corporate business campaign donors, so they should shut up and stop causing problems for the current oligarchy that got entrenched by laws they said were good for all, but lied about or were wrong.

The philosophical problem of democracy, or any political governing system, is also the psychological problem of individual minds. The natural self-destructive urges we feel, are also related to the problems of larger social systems (Freud). This truth is why Socrates not only put his accusers on trial, during his own trial, but he also put himself and everyone he met on trial, every day, for many years. Socrates was dedicated to the concept that we could make things better by actively and constantly pursuing knowledge, by admitting our own ignorance. This process was called philosophy, or loving Wisdom.

The historic context that set the stage for philosophy, was a Greece recovering from a dark age after the fall of the Mycenaean Empire. Whatever the reasons for the Greek system collapse, it happened. A society can be judged by comparing the property and power of their leaders with that of their people, regarding fairness and equality. Empires are not considered ‘just’ civilizations, because they tend to have plutocracies that perpetually wage war to keep the masses enslaved to their unfair system. Smaller countries tend to hold their leaders more accountable for their actions, and therefore successful leaders may be upper-class, but they can not own much more than average people, if they want to be beloved by the people as one of their own. Tyrants in city-states can be overthrown quicker than those controlling vast Empires.

During this dark age, Greece probably was dominated by constant violent despotic regimes, plagues, and famines. The diminished populations of the Dark Age abandoned writing, transitioned weapons from bronze to iron, many cities and towns vanished, and the redistributive economy collapsed. The Trojan War was long past, and the subsequent Western (Aeneas in Italy) and Eastern (Philistines in Palestine) settlement colonies by migrant veterans had dissolved into ‘native’ populations.

Most of our knowledge of the Greek Dark Age comes from burial sites, weapons, and geometric art on pottery, with no written records. Eastern empires began to grow and threaten Greece again, around the time that Greek writing was reborn (from Semitic), and philosophy began in Eastern Greece. Persians were just the latest large group of migrants that had come to power in Mesopotamia. Greece was a collection of city-states (polis) run by kinship groups and family households (oikoi).

Greek History leading up to Classical Age Athens

900-700 BC – Dark Bronze Age ends, Archaic Iron Age begins: Homer

600 BC – Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes – World Prime Element

500 BC – Classical Age begins: Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides

400 BC – Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus – Universal Powers

300 BC – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics

Chieftains were the main leaders of villages, and they were buried in heroons (hero shrines). the main economic resource for each family was the ancestral oikos plot of land, the kleros (allotment); without which a man could not marry. Greek culture was very bardic, as so much of their lives revolved around mythical and legendary stories, songs, and plays at community theaters.

Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes created theories of the primary elements of Nature. Then Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides argued about change vs non-change with Math as religion. Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus addressed universal powers like the elements of nature and love and discord. They were upper-class Classical Age humanitarians dedicated to education and love more than war. The groundwork was laid for the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to talk about laws, careers, epistemology, virtue, and metaphysics. The world was about to get weirder.

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Now let us review: Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus. (click on names)

So to summarize all of these pre-socratics, they were very dedicated to the first scientific inquiries that we have on historic record; and then suddenly, shit got weird, and the first democracy in the history of human civilization put a retired mason, an unemployed teacher by the name of Socrates, to death for wanting to learn the Truth. Next we will revisit the story of the famous Socrates.

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Socrates was from Athens, Greece circa 400 BC. He was a philosopher, stone mason, soldier, and mentor. He was considered a public gadfly because he would stand around the stoa and engage random people in his pedagogy by a ‘method of dialogue’ (elenchus) which involved asking questions to arrive at truths. Socratic dialogue uses deductive reasoning to advance epistemology. Although the Delphi Oracle said that “None was wiser than Socrates”, Socrates believed this was only because he was more aware of his own ignorance. Socrates annoyed prominent Athenians so greatly they put him on trial and sentenced him to death; which he eventually accepted, despite his suggestion that they pay him for his public services instead.

His ‘dialectic method of inquiry’ supported his assertions that knowledge equals virtue, questions lead to excellence, and knowledge of self, friendships, and community was more important than pursuit of material wealth. He refused to be a career politician because he did not feel comfortable telling others how to live, when he himself was not sure. He called his intuition on matters of courage and honesty his ‘inner daemon’.

Golden Rules of Socrates:

“I only know that I know nothing.”

“As the Delphi Oracle says: Know thyself.”

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

4 Virtues: Justice, Wisdom, Courage, & Moderation

“Everything in moderation. Nothing in excess.”

“Do not do to others, what angers you if done to you by others.”

“Be kind to everyone, as though they are fighting a hard battle.”

The Oracle at Delphi seemed to support Socrates. Apollo was the main god of Delphi, but the older tradition of interpreting the Pythia prophet was an ancient religious power which once dominated from Egypt to Crete, Greece, and Indo-European lands where priests and priestesses worshiped horned bulls and snakes. Christianity eventually destroyed Delphi, and Snakes were ‘chased out of Ireland’, but many religions still consider those animals sacred; and the history of those animal cults is very long.

Wisdom according to Socrates meant the use of knowledge, but also knowledge of ignorance. Even Socrates had habits and repeated or contradicted himself hypocritically as humans do. Yet he asked “what is the way we ought to live?”, and consciously and socially contemplated social norms, to improve life and gain self-knowledge (which is akin to self-love and ability to love others). We should examine life, and find out for ourselves ‘what good is happiness’? Wrong doing, even willful wrong doing, is a result of serious ignorance. Knowledge was virtuous if it could be used to balance courage and temperance, and Socrates believed that knowledge used wisely was equal to virtue.

A veteran of the Peloponnesian wars, Socrates had lived through the horrors of battle, famine, and plague. He had witnessed hoards of his fellow soldiers, men of Athens, be shipped to their slaughter abroad and massacred here at home. The greatest hero of Athens, Pericles, his mentor Anaxagoras, and the military generals too, all paid for their political ambitions which had built Athens up, and taken Athens to war, and brought it down. Socrates was not a fan of the rich Acropolis glitz that Pericles had insisted was needed to make Athens great. He had gone to war to serve his country, and the wisdom he was teaching appealed to the young men of Athens, who once ‘corrupted’ with a love of wisdom began resisting authority.

Review Plato’s writings about Socrates (click on link)

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It seems there were always economic incentives for political wars, and they are almost always based on irrational greedy ambitions, that far out-weigh any practical humanitarian morality or ethics. How do greedy people convince others that their ambition is better than being humble? Three main reasons for the success of Corporate greed spring to mind: first they use envious bigotry; then they use loyal patriotism, and finally it is obvious to all rational citizens that war reinforces the economic driving force of the system that employs most workers. Those reasons for war and torture however, pale in comparison with the reasons based on the best things in life which to the wisest are love, happiness, and peace. The best national dreams cannot be tied to a heartless, soulless system.

The system of ‘Progress’ defined as ‘always taking more and more’, is destroying our environment and causes wars. Call it ambition, greed, corporate marketing, commercial consumerism, or corrupt Capitalism. No laws yet tried seem capable of constraining beasts who are successful at the cost of countless others, and no free-market theory seems realistic at a large scale (ironically much like Communism). We know that unbound competition breeds hateful resentment in losers, and ruthless monopoly or egotistical pride in winners. It is proven that companies prefer to hire thugs like the Pinkertons or call in law enforcement, rather than bend to the will of the people. The natural truth of this can be realized when one considers how twins from birth may become like Janus opposites, if nurtured diametrically. The twin that is taught that they are good, and given rewards, becomes convinced they are good; and the twin that is taught that they are bad, and taken from, becomes convinced they are bad. Whether the twins are actually good or bad, may not matter if they are convinced they are those things, and they convince others that they are ‘truly’ those things. This is why to every above-board system, there will be an under-ground.

Yet we allow our rulers to wage war, and worse yet, we allow them to make us do it too, with purchases we make and taxes we pay. All it takes for bad things to happen in politics, is for good people to take no responsibility and allow bad leaders to make them complicit in national crimes against humanity. The tools of teaching and communication are available to the masses more now, than ever before in history; therefore it is more possible to have a more informed public than ever before, that is also more self-aware through network-hive complexity. It may be necessary to deconstruct our addiction to industrial consumption, commercial propaganda, and corporate consumerism; and relegate those obsessions to children’s cereal boxes, toys, and sports paraphernalia.

NEXT LECTURE: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics

Also let us not forget about Diogenes the Cynic (circa 410-320 BC)!

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Why this lecture is relevant now in 2017 – Trump

I had been putting off writing this essay because the complexity of the setting, subject, and topic kept me exploring the mysteries involved. Mysteries lost in time like myths, are hard to grasp. The legends of Socrates were certainly told in different ways when they were first written. The comedy plays that depicted him were caricatures, similar to our political cartoons in newspapers, comedy shows on television, and tabloids all wrapped up into live theater performances. This essay means only to introduce novices to these mysteries, and suggest that an epic movie could be made that covers this period in Greek history. Every area of human life could be addressed in the telling of this story.

SCOD member Sir Jeffy the Psychologist Astrologist, said he was getting more interested in ‘street epistemology’ and the art of dialectic or philosophical dialog. I told him that is the reason that Socrates is so famous and loved by people continuously; his dedication to challenge people to share what they think they know with others, ask others what they know, then to reconsider what they think they know, and to think for themselves by repeating this process as often as needed. This dialectic method makes for intensely deep conversation, and is not just playing ‘devil’s advocate’ by arguing opposing ideas for no reason, the goal of true knowledge is important. We should not just accept what others tell us is true. Thinking and evidence was not even enough for Socrates, as his search for truth led him to actually confront others face to face, and directly challenge their intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom on any issue, and at any time they were in public. This dynamic socratic theory does not allow its practitioners to successfully submit to authorities, like average industrial age workers are expected to, as is the case in modern Greece where workers continue to unionize against bosses.

The problems inside humans are often the same problems in politics. Problems manifest socially, often before leaders catch on, just as internal problems in an individual go undetected and then avoided. Then of course, there is the problem of Power, and the tendency for psychopaths to be attracted to power. Psychopaths are too egotistical and vain to care about other people. Sociopaths at least care about those they can control. There are hybrid psychopath-sociopaths, like Dexter, and they can be highly functioning politicians. When the psychopath cannot handle their own psychosis, we might call them schizophrenic, as their ‘break with reality’ becomes evident and unacceptable to themselves and other people. Internal discord is the root cause of narcissist tyrants like Hitler, Stalin, Nixon, and Trump. They cannot be nurturing or loving for long enough to convince anyone who has a free-will, that they should give up their freedoms to serve them, so they must use bully words and brute force. These worst of demagogs of mankind, must be questioned publicly using socratic method, and exposed as frauds. False and untrue leaders should not be allowed to rule, and democracy must meet this challenge by constantly striving to be correctly informed, and question its own perceived truths.

THE END?

*   AUDIO RECORDING of Lecture

References:

Encyclopedia Britannica*, Socrates to Sartre, and other philosophy books

Dr. Sadler’s Philosophy videos on Youtube – thank you Greg!

Jeff Milette – SCOD “psychological astrologer” aka rehabilitation counselor

West Virginia Coal Mine Wars – Corporate war against workers is real!

Socrates’ criticism of democracy*

“Socrates’ analysis of the hatred he has incurred is one part of a larger theme that he dwells on throughout his speech. Athens is a democracy, a city in which the many are the dominant power in politics, and it can therefore be expected to have all the vices of the many. Because most people hate to be tested in argument, they will always take action of some sort against those who provoke them with questions. But that is not the only accusation Socrates brings forward against his city and its politics. He tells his democratic audience that he was right to have withdrawn from political life, because a good person who fights for justice in a democracy will be killed. In his cross-examination of Meletus, he insists that only a few people can acquire the knowledge necessary for improving the young of any species, and that the many will inevitably do a poor job. He criticizes the Assembly for its illegal actions and the Athenian courts for the ease with which matters of justice are distorted by emotional pleading. Socrates implies that the very nature of democracy makes it a corrupt political system. Bitter experience has taught him that most people rest content with a superficial understanding of the most urgent human questions. When they are given great power, their shallowness inevitably leads to injustice.”