Archive for History

Architecture in ‘The Name of the Rose’

Posted in Film Reviews, Historic Architecture, Recommendations & Tributes with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2020 by Drogo

RWU History of Architecture II – Irene Fatsea 1995

Architecture in ‘The Name of the Rose’ Film

In the movie adaptation of Umberto Eco’s novel ‘The Name of the Rose’, architecture plays an important role for the medieval tone and setting. The film director, Annaud, made every scene intense with “visual overkill”. Five scenes show the importance of architecture in relation to the plot and characters.

In the opening scene two monks are riding towards the monastery. The monastery is positioned atop a steep hill, amid deep valleys and snow capped mountains. The impressive medieval stone fortress architecture is foreboding, as the dark mass over-looks the two small travelers on the narrow path leading into the complex. The hulking gate portcullis is drawn up, and the two Franciscan monks are greeted by disturbed and grotesque Benedictine monastic residents. The resident host monks exaggerate physical and mental characteristics which are considered social defects. The two visitors are now held within the cold imposing ‘sanctuary’ enclosure of massive walls and imposing battlements. Although they should feel secure, the unsettling harsh structure creates an angst-filled atmosphere of fear.

Unity is present in the choir scene. There is an orderly placement of seats in long rows, and the acoustics allow for blissful escape from more mundane routines and problems. When the monks are not gathered in this space for spiritual singing, the harshness of real life returns. The choir seats are narrow wooden benches with ornate carvings, and the back rows are raised along both walls of the holy hall. Ribbed vaulting creates echoing acoustics. 

The scriptorium of the library is ordered like a modern office, with a system of desks like pews, all facing one direction. The desk orientation prevents conversation and directs attention to a leader. The scriptorium is filled with a multitude of books and manuscripts, and they work on them on the desks. The arrangement of desks is dictated also by rows of short, round pillars with gothic capitals. 

The catacombs are a dark reminder of the Christianity’s past. Human skulls are stacked in rows. The halls are dark and damp, with dreary decor. The heroes must make their way with torches, for no natural light enters these halls of the dead. The architecture is simple, crude, and random; with small coves in the walls to house remains of bodies.

The locked library is a labyrinth in the tower, and it is where the climax occurs. Piranesi and Escher designed scenes of similar mysterious and chaotic stairs, with seemingly impossible connections. Hexagonal rooms filled with books lead off in four directions, while the action bombards our senses. Staircases drape from the shafts of the tower, and each of them branches off into countless rooms; all of which are almost identical. There are puzzles to be solved with logic and education. The labyrinth represents the workings of the confused, twisted, and guarded medieval mind. When the library is burned, it shows how fragile and fleeting history can be, despite our attempts to preserve the past and learn from it in the present.

One Faith To Rule Them All

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, Legal / Laws, Pagan, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2020 by Drogo

Pagan & Christian Empire History

An essay on the radical problems of ‘one faith’ conservatism from Pagan Roman Empire to Christian Roman Catholic legacy which forms modern Capitalist Empire. 

 

When the world was mostly Pagan, conservative (fundamentalist) radicals persecuted minor cults like Christians; then when Christianity became dominant they treated all other religions the way that Romans treated rebel cults (Barbarian mercenaries had become Christianized, but still sacked Rome and killed in the name of the Roman Catholic Church), due to force dominance ‘might is right’ theory so prevalent in Patriarchy. Oligarchical conservatives in any culture feed hatred of ‘the other’ with ‘we are the best’ nationalism or dogma. It is therefore up to the main-stream led by radical liberals to deconstruct the ‘change is bad’ narrative perpetually as progress is made between cultures due to marriages, migration, trade, and tourism. The most popular changes tend to become the new cultural norms, social conventions, and eventually laws (this is why liberals tend to like democracy, and conservatives prefer oligarchy).

Little is known historically for sure about Jesus and Peter. Saint Peter is said to have helped to found the early basilica congregations in Rome, but fires destroyed most evidence and records. Unlike most religions in the Roman Empire, Christianity required its adherents to renounce all other gods, a practice adopted from Judaism. This radical ‘my god is the only one for everyone’ syndrome that unifies for hierarchical monopoly is baked into Judaism and Christianity doctrine, and is dominant rather than more peaceful Pagan unity which would be ‘some of our gods are so similar, we might share the same universe with different names for different aspects’. Christian refusal to join pagan celebrations meant they were unable to participate in much of public life, which caused non-Christians–including government authorities–to fear that the Christians were angering the gods and thereby threatening the peace and prosperity of the Empire. In addition, the peculiar intimacy of Christian society and its secrecy about its religious practices spawned rumors that Christians were guilty of incest and cannibalism; the resulting persecutions, although usually local and sporadic, were a defining feature of Christian self-understanding. Most of the fanatical dogmatic oligarchy of formal Christianity did not come from Jesus or Peter, but Saint Paul who was not even an original disciple apostle, but a Roman Jewish ‘ICE Agent’ who arrested and persecuted Jewish-Christians, who ‘saw the light’ and now wanted to tell everyone how to be a Christian, and for his radical sedition became a state criminal and spent years under arrest for civil disobedience, mainly trying to Romanize Christians to increase conversions by minimizing Jewish rituals like circumcision. Later Roman Christianity became more based on Paul than on the more communal aspects of Jesus and his original disciples, which were lost in translation to the main-stream audience who conformed to the conventions of empire more than helping the poor.

A series of more centrally organized persecutions of Christians emerged after the ‘Great Fire’ of 64 which Nero blamed on Christians, and continued into the late 3rd century, when emperors decreed that the Empire’s military, political, and economic crises were caused by gods angry at the evil Christians who denied the official state religious power (they chose to ‘take a knee’). All residents were ordered to give sacrifices or be punished. Jews were exempted as long as they paid the Jewish Tax. Estimates of the number of Christians who were executed ranges from a few hundred to 50,000. Many fled or renounced their beliefs. Disagreements over what role, if any, these apostates should have in the Church led to the Donatist and Novatianist schisms.

Christianity spread throughout the early Roman Empire, despite persecutions due to conflicts with the pagan state religion. Emperor Constantine legalized the practice of Christianity in 313 (Edict of Milan), and it became the state religion in 380. Many Germanic barbarians (400-500 AD) had previously adopted Arian Christianity as Roman Mercenaries, eventually adopted Catholicism to ally themselves with the papacy and monasteries. By the time of Constantine, the state of apocalyptic expectation must have worn rather thin (every year after Christ was to be Armageddon). The imminent coming of Christ, expectation of the Last Day on this mortal sinful earth constituted radical social danger. The spirit schism of the old Jewish law being so widely separated from new Christian mysticism (including all the gnostic cults), “was not so very different from the Roman spirit itself” (Weil), with all the Roman sects and cults within the Pagan pantheon and the Republic vs Empire schism. Rome could come to terms with the Jewish-Christian God, perhaps because it fit with the uncompromising empire model which was needed to maintain taxation obedience, if not martial law.

 One faith or state monopoly is too powerful for one entity to wield over all humanity, no matter how benevolent or wise they are. The artificial ‘ring’ of central authority must be broken, to allow for more democracy and at least better representation. The rebel fellowship that fights the power will be flawed, and when they take power in the vacuum of revolution, they must admit responsibility for the flaws and put themselves on trial by seeking council from those who want peace, love, and sharing the most.

Arthurian Legends

Posted in Biographies, Pagan, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2020 by Drogo

Allusions to the paradigmatic (original) Arthur, from related Welsh & Irish traditions

[ notes from my RWU Mythology text book p,211 ]

Fionn of southern Ireland (Leinster); 2 Old Welsh Poems (600 AD)

Historia of Nennius (800 AD) – Arthur fought Celtic Kings of the Isle of Britain in the time of Octha, son of Hengist. Dux Bellorum (Commander of Armies) 12 Victories: Battle of Mt Badon, in one he killed 960 men himself in one day.

Mirabilia of the Historia: Tomb of Amir (his son) in south-east Wales

Culhwch and Owen (1100): Glewlwyd was there when Arthur conquered Greece to the Orient. Had been in India, Africa, and Corsica Islands. It was believed Arthur was still alive and would return. during troll and boar hunt, stone bears the paw print of Cabal (Arthur’s dog)

Annales Cambriae (900 AD): battle of Camlann, where Arthur and Medrawd fell

Lives of Saints (1000-1100): Arthur was pivotal ruler

Vita Gildae: reunited with Gwenhwyfar kidnapped by Melwas.

Welsh Poem 1: refers to Pwyll and Pryderi, cauldron of Chief of Annwn, Arthur and men sail to Caer Siddi (Irish-Sidh). Of 3 full ships only 7 men return.

Welsh Poem 2: Glewlwyd, Cai, Bedwyr, Manawydan son of Llyr, Mabon son of Modron, Arthur is Emperor. Peredur, Owain, Gereint were knights. Celtic Maponus and Matrona.

Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia (1136): knowledge, combat, wealth.

 

[ more to come ]

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BERNIE BEATS TRUMP!

Posted in Commercial Corporations, Ethics & Morals, news, Politics, SCOD Online School, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2020 by Drogo

The reasons why Bernie is the only viable candidate to beat Trump, are the reasons why corporations hate Bernie the most. 

Bernie Sanders beats Trump (if Bernie were allowed to run by the DNC and the electoral college and supreme courts did not over-ride popular votes). This thesis statement is based on my ‘SCOD Politics 101’ class I have been teaching for free by sharing my research work since 2016. When Trump won I seriously began studying political-economic history and theory. So to explain my statement to those who have not been attending class because they have been busy with work and watching corporate media, I will discuss my class content and grading policy briefly.

Recent years have been a class on politics 101 for in depth reporting on the DNC by youtube progressive journalists (because the corporate media never did it). I do not mind trying to teach it as a free scod course, because it is exciting to me that more information is available, despite the New Red Scare. If you still believe that the DNC cares about beating Trump with a candidate who will reduce war, pollution, and corruption you are not paying attention and comments that support corporate candidates will get an F. Corporate candidates who are like Trump in greed but are more polite fail, because they cannot beat Trump and offer no significant change. Would most people be a better president than Trump? Yes, but the DNC is paid about the same as republicans by corporations to not resist substantially, because they are complicit with war crimes and national and planetary theft. I was giving out D’s for those not caught up about the depth of DNC corruption for the last decade, but now those who turn in late papers with no references to corporate rigging will get Fs. Does this mean that we need to reform our 2-party system with mass popular movements to change the power structures? Yes, voting for the lesser of 2 evils has almost no effect on Climate Change, pollution, corruption, or wars. Corporations prefer Trump over every other candidate, and most importantly Bernie Sanders (who happens to be the only one who can beat Trump if allowed to run against him, and if the popular vote was allowed to count). Our secret agencies and military intelligence have a much larger budget and more control over our system than Russia (see New Red Scare).

Our Pentagon is aware that Climate Change is real and they include it in their operational priorities. However they will continue to wage endless war for corporations who fund them. This is one of the main problems of our current global empire, with bases in other countries and a larger budget than all of them combined. To get a good grade in ‘SCOD Politics 101’, one needs to directly address the existential corporate threats to democracy, our environment, and the history of civilization with substantial critique. Apathetic or defensive apologies for corporate corruption no longer allow for a passing grade in the basics of American politics, because it is not objective or scholarly to deny planetary science regarding our environment. For those attending and doing their own homework too, thank you and keep up the good work!!

Facebook Audio Recording of this Essay [goes into more detail]

Shop as usual Putin puppets! (joke based on the false narrative of the New Red Scare)

 

Architect Antoni Gaudí

Posted in Crafts, Historic Architecture, Sculpture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2018 by Drogo

Antoni Gaudí cathedral

Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) was a Spanish Catalan artistic architect of the Modernista movement. Most of Gaudi’s work is located in Barcelona Spain. Gaudi studied skeletal anatomy, color theory, Art Nouveau, and sculptural arts to inform his architectural designs. His architecture integrated trade-crafts like ceramics, stained glass, wrought iron, masonry, and carpentry. Gaudi’s ‘trencadís’ technique used scrap ceramic pieces in organic mosaic forms. Gaudí preferred building scale models, rather than drafting drawings. Gaudí’s masterpiece, the still-incomplete Sagrada Família Cathedral, is said by Wikipedia to be the most-visited monument in Spain. Seven of his works are World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

*photos belong to whoever they belong to, thanks for taking them whoever did!

Antoni Gaudí CasaBatllo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Antoni Gaudí maxres

Antoni Gaudí detail

 

 

 

 

Corporate Media Fails Democracy

Posted in news, Politics, Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by Drogo

Sadly it is up to bloggers and independent media to hold corporate government and media accountable, as underfunded as we are. In 2016 I would watch Bernie Sanders lectures online with enormous live crowds, while all news networks ignored his popularity and instead chose to air Clinton and Trump as their two pre-selected favorites. Every single day, every week, for months during the National election campaigns. It was blatantly obvious to me time after time, that our public news was being filtered in favor of the two candidates that their bosses had decided were worth reporting on. It was a ridiculous ‘good guy vs bad guy’ show, with no room for rational public dialog on issues that affect us.

The failing of big news media outlets to cover all the candidates was not just by ‘for-profit’ corporations like the major commercial tv networks, but also newspapers and ‘non-profits’. Obviously commercial news networks [FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Washington Post, NY Times] would not want to advocate any politicians that threaten their corporate sponsors, but apparently even the ‘liberal’ news shows of NPR & PBS were not immune to their corporate sponsors either, despite receiving our tax payer money (some government funding) and a majority of their money from PUBLIC pledge-drives!! I will no longer donate to my beloved NPR or PBS until they begin to cover the smaller candidates much more during (at least) National elections. Usually NPR or PBS were the only intelligently sensitive news sources I had to rely on for many years, and I still love many of their shows. However the National election press coverage clearly showed that corporate money corrupts even the media, not just our government. In hind-sight they have done this with many other ‘lesser known’ but brilliant candidates that have represented popular beliefs, like Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Cynthia McKinney.

We must remember that our media and government is there to serve us, not the other way around. If corporations insist on forcing us to submit to their influence, by dictating what or who gets propaganda and attention and how they get it, then we must not only resist but supply alternative solutions and vote for change. We the people must unite and show our opinions for support or boycott publicly. Thank you to all those who have done this resistance fighting already!!! Remember, remember, how they foiled our democracy; and have been doing it for a long time. Please continue to seek the truth so that democracy can work for us.

Bernie Sanders

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.”

NSA

Posted in History, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2017 by Drogo

‘Body of Secrets, Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency’; by James Bamford

1950s – “As the CIA report points out, human spies had effectively been put out of action.” Stringent security measures blunted traditional methods for spying. It was the age of American spy planes. In Georgetown, CIA Director Allen Dulles commuted to work. After emergency calls for a ‘Doomsday practice exercise’, helicopters carrying nearly 2-dozen senior NSA officials were flying south over Virginia. Their destination was a secret command center dug deep into Mount Weather in the Blue Ridge Mountains and built on a series of giant nuclear-shock-absorbing steel springs. Its code name was High Point, but politicians called it ‘the hide-out’.

1960s – Eisenhower had suggested creating a secret sabotage pretext to invade Cuba. The CIA & DoD created Operations Mongoose & Northwoods, which were secret plans to invade Cuba. They called for innocent Americans to be shot on the streets, refugee boats to be sunk, terrorism in cities, innocent people framed for bombings, planes hijacked, and tons of false evidence to blame on Castro. The Cuban debacle ‘Bay of Pigs’ was part of those plans, and actually launched a covert invasion to attack our own Naval base to incite war. Dulles mysteriously lied to Kennedy about the success potential of the operation, and so did others, and many soldiers were killed. NSA listened to their desperate dying pleas.

1970s – “Anything the NSA did is totally defensible” – Nixon

1980s – NSA instituted a dreaded unscheduled polygraph policy

1990s – “Thinking Machines Corporation delivered to NSA its first massively parallel computer – the Connection Machine CM-5 (Frostburg).”

2000s – Now they monitor all our communications.

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[ Audiomack Recording of NSA & CIA ]

SCOD-cast Audio Shows

Posted in Education / Schools, POB Audio, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 27, 2016 by Drogo

SCOD Pod-cast Audio Radio Shows:

Philosophy Lecture Series:

600 BC – Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes – World Prime Element
500 BC – Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides. Change vs Non-Change with Math as religion.
400 BC – Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus – Universal Powers
300 BC – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics
200 BC – Epicureans, Aristarchus & Library of Alexandria – Happiness, Science, and Scrolls
100 BC – Caesar, Cicero, Anthony & Cleopatra – Politics & War vs. Love & Peace
0 BC-AD – Jesus, Augustus, Boudica – Roman Empire vs The World
100 AD – Marcus Aurelius & Stoics

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SCOD-cast Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Parmenides Lecture – 500 BC

SCOD-cast on Thales the Ionian 600 BC 

SCOD Radio Show on Philosophy

SCOD-cast Audio Show 1

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Benjamin Franklin

Posted in Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2015 by Drogo

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a polymath, author, printer, philosopher, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, politician, and diplomat. As an American scientist of the Enlightenment he studied physics for his discoveries, theories, and inventions. He invented lightning rods, bifocals, the Franklin stove, and many other instruments dealing with electricity, work, and music. He helped organize local civic functions, like Philadelphia’s fire department, schools, and journalist printing presses. Ben became wealthy publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack, and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Almanacks were popular in colonial America; mixing seasonal weather forecasts, practical advice, puzzles, and other amusements.

Poor Richard’s Almanack used word-play (puns) of the 1700s to explore common proverbs and ‘coin’ witty phrases. Wisdom often meant providing an apt adage for any occasion. ‘Richard’ was one of Franklin’s pen names.

“A penny saved is two-pence dear.”

– Poor Richard (Ben Franklin)

It was not until the 1800s, that we see the phrase worded as we commonly hear now, often attributed to Franklin.

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” Pall Mall Magazine, Sept. 1899

Here are other proverbs listed by Ben Franklin:

“Fish and visitors stink in three days.”

“A countryman between two lawyers,

is like a fish between two cats.”

“A cypher and humility make

figures and virtues of ten-fold value.”

“A false friend and a shadow attend

only while the sun shines.” (on rainy-day friends)

“A fine genius in his own country, is

like gold in the mine.”

“After three days men grow weary of

a wench, a guest, and weather rainy.”

“A life of leisure, and a life of laziness,

are two things.”

“An egg today is better than a hen to-morrow.”

(debatable, like ‘chicken or egg‘)

“Anger is never without a reason, but

seldom with a good one.”

“Anger warms the invention, but over-

heats the oven.”

“An honest man will receive neither

money nor praise, that is not his due.”

“A pair of good ears will drain dry an

hundred tongues.”

“A plowman on his legs is higher than

a gentleman on his knees.”

“Approve not of him that commends all you say.”

That last proverb is meant to disapprove of false flattery, but does not allow that some people may actually love you so much you can do no wrong. Here are more from Ben Franklin:

“A quarrelsome man has no good neighbors.”

“There are no gains without pains.”
“Early to bed and early to rise,

makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
“Plow deep while sluggards sleep,

and you shall have corn to sell and to keep.”

“A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder.”

“Are you angry that others disappoint you?

Remember you cannot depend upon yourself.”

“Be always ashamed to catch thyself idle.”

(a Puritan curse akin to ‘Devil’s play’ warnings)

“A watched pot never boils.” – current adaptation

Time feels longer when you’re waiting for something to happen, and you keep checking on it all the time, getting more and more anxious. Actually we all know that watching the pot does not stop it from boiling (without even getting into the Quantum Enigma); but our perception of time often slows when we worry about the future, and speeds up when we are are contently enjoying the present. The original phrase is more accurate, but still psychological.

“A watched pot is slow to boil.”

Franklin wrote this in another publication, but referred to it as something Poor Richard might have said, as the proverb isn’t found in any of the Poor Richard almanacs.

*freemason_symbol

The Odyssey – by Homer (circa 700 BC)

Posted in Book Reports with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2015 by Drogo

In the first chapter (Book I: House of Odysseus) Homer sets the pace for the long story that follows. It tells how events started, after the Trojan War (Iliad), and shows conversations in Ithaca mentioning the absent Lord Odysseus. Book II describes Telemachus’ struggle to stand up against the problems that are quickly engulfing his mother’s house. Book III is where Telemachus begins asking questions about his father, Odysseus. He finds out why Odysseus stayed and why Nestor came home. In Book IV, King Menelaos held a feast, and Telemachus asks more questions.

Athena becomes concerned that Odysseus remains in captivity as Calypso’s prisoner in Book V. Odysseus leaves the island on a raft, and arrives on the coast of Scheria. Book VI tells how Odysseus meets Nausicaa, and goes to her father Prince Alcinoos. In Book VII Alcinoos wants Odysseus to marry his daughter. Books VIII, IX, and X have contests in Phaiacia, and Odysseus begins his tale. Odysseus tells of the destruction of Ismaros. Next he drifted to Cythera, where he saved his men from the influence of the lotus fruit. Then they encountered the Cyclopes. The day after they blinded the Cyclopes, Odysseus and his crew went to the Island of Aiolia (Winds).

After they got the bag of winds, In Book XI they make it to the Land of the Midnight-Sun, and meet Circe the Sorceress. Odysseus visits Hades, where he encounters people of his past. In Book XII Circe warns of the Sirens, Scylla, and Charybdis. The climax of the book occurs, where Odysseus is strapped to the mast of his ship, to resist the terrible charms of the singing Sirens, and his crew are decimated.

In Book XIII Athena changes Odysseus into a beggar, upon arriving in Ithaca. From Book XIV-XVIII Odysseus visits his swine-herder Eumaios. Telemachus is warned by Athena, and goes back to Ithaca; where he meets his dad. Odysseus returns home, and beats the beggar Iros. In XIX Telemachus stores the weapons, and the house nurse recognizes Odysseus. In the next 3 books, Zeus sends down Omens. Also Penelopeia (Odysseus’s wife) made the test of stringing the great bow, marksmanship between axes, and a battle between the suitors vs the House of Odysseus. In Book XXIII Odysseus proves to Penelopeia that he has returned. The last chapter Book XXIV Odysseus finds his father, a rebellion is quelled, and the strife and adventure is ended.

Appalachian Rap Music

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Music Reviews, POB Audio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2013 by Drogo

AMM – Appalatian Mountain Malitia

AMM graf

Yes there are colored people in West Virginia; and they are not afraid of representing their home State WV!! In fact the first free black college in America was in Harpers Ferry, WV; Storer College. From a rich African-American cultural heritage mixed with white “caucasians” for generations; some have been rapping and recording their music for over decades now since MTV began. Although modern multi-media has affected cultural style and subject matter, it does not replace their heritage; rather there is an evolution of expression. In the Harpers Ferry area, some renaissance men have been leading and waging an under-ground musical revolution. In Harpers Ferry there is an historic tradition of revolution.

One such Harpers Ferry musical revolutionary from black-roots is Donald Greene. Together with his circle of friends (many local), they have been doing their thing… all the while having fun. These artists have had to wear many hats to pay bills and play artistically. These new underground pioneers are artists, musicians, producers, writers, film-makers, and more. There is no public funding or venue to sell what they do, yet they do it just to do it. Here we will explore Interviews, Albums, and other aspects of AMM Appalachian Rap Music.

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Freestyle 2006 audio cassette tape “John Brown n Shadows” – JB, Arob, Mike Fields, Paul

A: JB & Arob (14 tracks): Sycamore, Union Street, Union Freestyle, Showbiz Ridin, Metamorfosiz, Fight Klub, Rambone Shaka, Billigoat Gruff, Dungeon Kreep, Transformuz, Shadow Talknik, Frak Niggas, Ladies Bombaz (Brown Shugga), Booty Shake, Caribbean Rap

B: Beat Boxing w Paul (3 tracks); Slugging w Mike Fields (5 tracks): Thug Snappa, Robo Pirates, Gonna Get It On, Tree Thugga, Circus Dont Stop; JB & Arob (3 Reggae Beat tracks); Local Party recording (w Keith, Doug, DG, Deena, etc)

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24 Tracks 2007 : JB Codiak & Arob & friends

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AMM 2013-2019: Obama-Nation  

AMM Intro, AMM Anthem, Return of JB, What it Is, Morbit, Serial Killa, Dark Echoes, JB Fort, Jeff Rock, In God’s Hands, … 

AMM 2020-2040: Trump’s Dumpster 

Skeletor MOTU Rap, A-Rob productions, Freestyle tracks,

 

 

Savannah, Georgia

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Historic Architecture, Organic Architecture, Recommendations & Tributes, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by Drogo

Historic Architecture, Environmental Landscape, and Urban Social Art

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Savannah has the historic integrity of an ivy-league campus, yet for the poor as well as rich. Yes, it is very much the old pirate ‘Port Royal’ still, but in some ways it also surpasses the nobility of elite university campuses. Even the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) campus is spread throughout the city, and SCAD classes are held in renovated industrial buildings, often with Richardsonian strength; so that liberal education is fully-integrated with the city. As far as competing with modern industrial metropolitan cities, Savannah has plenty of modern and post-modern architecture, and SCAD teaches cutting-edge technology; but it has no desire to be as massively impersonal as New York, or any other major city.

Savannah urban design is overwhelmingly utopian, despite there being dystopian flavors as well. The main streets force cars to either park or drive around the eleven park squares (circuses), while pedestrians can go straight through on sidewalks and bike lanes. It is easy to find any place in the formal city because there are no diagonal streets, one tall building in the middle (DeSoto Hotel), and a few tall buildings downtown parallel with the Savannah River. The downtown main-streets (River Street) on Saint Patrick’s Day are celebrated on par with Mardi-Gras. There are so many unique aspects to Savannah, from its very origins. The basic ‘Roman encampment’ grid urban layout is flavored by multiple circuses with vegetation. Live-oaks, palms, and crepe-myrtle trees are naturally hung with Spanish moss. From sandy soil hedges, herbs, flowers and grasses are also publicly grown for the enjoyment of all.

I will find out more about the city founders, besides Oglethorpe; specifically the Native American chief of the local Creek Indians, because he seems to deserve the same level of respect as the English founder, Oglethorpe. The British and Indians were friends, and one of the largest monuments in a prominent park is dedicated to the Indian Chief’s grave. Southern hospitality is less surface courtesy in Savannah, and more a part of its essence; in regards to integration of whites and blacks, international representation, multi-culturalism, and willingness to welcome even enemies (like General Sherman during the Civil War).

There are several ways to consider the social types that comprise the ‘daily population’ of Savannah. There are five basic social types; the rich residents (white blue-blood aristocracy and new-money millionaires), the poor working-class (merchant and service residents and workers), the street beggars (homeless, hustlers, artists), SCAD students (artists, professors, staff), and tourists (pedestrian, trolley, horse-buggy).

According to Dr. Hsu-Jen Huang (SCAD Architecture Professor), Savannah has been growing, even during the recession. In ten years, the city population and SCAD enrollment have doubled. Some buildings still fall between the cracks, but for every loss two more renovations or new constructs emerge. After the 1994 book Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah has continued to blossom as one of the best cities in the World. Many of its qualities were always inherent in the original urban design, and it continues to grow because of accepted differences.

From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, and beyond; Savannah embraces its strange stories. It has an other-worldly, old world, old town feel. Ghost tours are quite at home with the lamp-lights, cobblestone streets, brick walkways, and French ironwork balconies. It is in fact a small city; one which favors pedestrian traffic more than automobiles. The whole downtown is walkable, and locals often easily commute with bicycles as well (as I did for 3 years).

There are so many fun things to do there, it might be hard to know were to begin; if Savannah were not an immediately immersible, hospitable environment. The whole city is a memory garden, which literally blooms because of all the flowers. There are less flowers and leaves in the Winter, but Fall, Winter, and Spring are best weather-wise; as there is rarely snow, and Summers are often walls of heat and humidity (which it is known for even during Fall and Spring).

Architecturally Savannah is truly unique, with historic world and southern romantic blends. Town-houses often have the side-porch design, as with nearby Charleston, SC. The cast-iron railings and french dormers have that New Orleans feel. Parks and trees really do make a huge difference for traffic. Even while continuing to grow, Savannah is still one of the most colorful and pedestrian friendly cities in America. I can say after living there, the magic is real; including the variety of character personalities that the famous book alludes to.

Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil describes much of the architectural and social feel of the town. ‘Midnight’ the book has much more analysis of detail, while the film has literally has more visual images. I lived in three parts of town, and often passed by famous landmarks on daily commutes to classes. The main character’s house (Mercer Mansion) is on Bull Street along a square, towards the largest city park, Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park was my favorite park that I loved living on, because of the large open grass lawns, largest and most beautiful fountain, organic paths, and shady flora. There I was free to publicly practice Tai-Chi, hippy folk music, or jogging without much bother.

Most of this essay describes the utopian aspects of Savannah, but this paragraph should put some of the dystopian perspectives in context. The poor and the dead, out-number the rich and the living. Southern swamp-lands naturally have a salty entropic power that corrodes metals, moisture that promotes the decay of organic matter, and massive humidity that stifles productive activity, while encouraging roaches and gnats. The humane social ‘decadence’ of the town, allows for an ease of poverty. Kindness tolerates and sometimes falls prey to hustlers. Vandalism and theft are common crimes in Savannah, with the occasional mugging (typical of cities in general). Although crimes are committed by lower classes, the majority (which are poor) are respectful, lawful, and often generous. So you see despite the ‘scariness’, actual dangers are minimal for a city.

Savannah’s name appropriately indicates the climate heat, and the flat field look of the surrounding wetland marsh grasses. Old pirate maps referred to the lands inland along the River as ‘Savannah Land’. Google Street view is very impressive, with realism. It really helps get the feel for the freedom of moving through the town by photographic vista. In the 1990’s we were taking panoramic photos for architecture projects so it really feels appropriate. Day trips easily include the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and Tybee Island Beach.

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Celtic Paganism (Wiccan / Druid)

Posted in History, Pagan, Religions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2013 by Drogo

Neo-Pagan Wiccan and Druidic religions are derived from the ancient Celtic Pagan polytheist culture (1300 BC – 400 AD). The word Celt translates “chisel” or “ax” from the Latin word celte, and refers to an ethno-linguistic region comprised of several European tribal nations. Originally the Greeks and Romans got the name Celt from a specific tribe in Gaul (France). The main Celtic name for themselves seems to be Gal (“strong” or “fierce”) with derivations: Gall, Gaul, Gali, and Gael. The main Celtic nations were Gaul (France), England (Brittani & Cornwall), Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Spain (Iberian Galicia). The basic Celtic periods can be divided into Bronze Age Urnfields (1300-700 BC), Iron Age Hallstatt (700-500 BC), Iron Age La Tene (500-0 BC), Gaelic Last Stand (0-400 AD).

Celts were commoners, slaves, nobles (equites), priests (druids), oracles (vates), and musicians (bards). Druids, bards, and vates were the three priestly classes. Secular Celtic society varied throughout their decentralized tribal civilization. Celtic priests emphasized an oral tradition, and forbid their doctrines and stories to be written down; perhaps to have exclusive control over the religious rights, much as we use copyright laws today. Druids were exclusive secretive authorities on cultural superstition, ritual knowledge, and political magic. Bards were story-tellers, singers, and musicians. Vates were prophetic seer shamans, or oracles. These priestly orders may have survived from a Neolithic or Bronze Age Indo-European religion of the Horned-God of Animals; which included wheels, spirals, torcs, deer, ram-horned snakes, and other animals as sacred symbols even into the Iron Age. Various Greco-Roman accounts refer to Druidic human sacrifice, magical practices with flora and fauna, belief in reincarnation, and that they were respected as authorities by Celtic secular society. Oaks seem to be their most sacred trees (followed by ash and yew), and perhaps wrens were their most sacred birds; because the word druid is related to roots which mean “magic-oak-wren-seer”.

The Greeks and Romans considered Celts to be simply barbarians, a term which lumped them together with germanic and other tribal cultures that were deemed uncivilized savage foreigners. It was also said that most barbarians were immoral mindless hordes, that will invade and destroy unless they are invaded and destroyed, or enslaved.

Thus Roman and Christian Empires invaded and destroyed most of ancient Celtic culture by war and assimilation. The only source scriptures we have are Greek, Roman, and later Christian literature for any linguistic detail concerning ancient Celtic religion. For obvious reasons these sources are biased towards the conqueror’s own beliefs. However in the New Age, Neo-Paganism resurrects the ancient religion, with the contemporary tradition of witch-craft (wicca), which is the rural underground vestiges of the ancient Celtic beliefs, evolved in family secret legacies and in assimilated spiritual superstitions for hundreds of years, despite numerous witch lynchings and burnings by Christian literalists.

Celts and Druids did not seem to have unified religious doctrines amongst the tribes, as to who the main gods were, or how the gods could be represented; as the Celts were not an empire in the centralized way that Greece and Rome were. Rather than temples, the priests seem to have preferred forest groves, so the emphasis was on regional environmental powers and wildlife (genius loci), more than detailed personifications. Yet the bards must have sung of heroes, and because they were not recorded (as the Homeric poems were) the closest we have are the later Christian Irish and Welsh selected writings. It was claimed that Druids forbid writing, but they did use some alphabets and codes like Ogham and Runes. It seems that if there were any other Pagan writings the Church did away with them. The dominant mythical stories of Celtic England, France, Scotland, and Spain may have been lost over the generations, although their oral and bardic styles remain a secular tradition.

The Celts were animists, believing that all aspects of the natural world contained spirits. Celts communed with these spirits, and spirits were capable of reincarnation. Hundreds of Celtic deities and heroes were reduced to faerie spirits over time, and then futher diminished in size to tiny faeries, by the Renaissance. Although it is possible that small faeries always existed within Celtic Religion; even just as small animals. Also many animals continue to live in the ground, as our ancestors did, or dead people do, and birds fly like spirits in the air and mess about unseen. These are reasons that faeries exist.

The absence of a Celtic creation myth means either they never had one, or we have lost it. It is most likely the Celtic creation myth was lost on purpose by the Roman-Catholic Church, as it would have been seen as threatening to Catholic Genesis dogma. The Irish Christian story began with the settling of Ireland by several invasions. Celtic deities should be considered in a tribal clan context, due to their lack of specialization, as compared to Greek or Roman deities.

In Ireland, first were the Fomorians. Then came the Partholonians, who achieved architecture and landscaping, but were killed by plague. The next wave was the Nemedians, and they defeated the Fomorians. Then Fir Bolgs from Greece came, and civilized Ireland by dividing it into five provinces, and made laws. Next the Tuatha arrived and defeated Balor. Finally the Spanish Iberian Milesians came and defeated the Tuatha. The Milesians gave the Tuatha the land below ground and the Milesians the land above. Tuatha De Danann means “People of the Deity Danann” who came over water and went under hills.

Irish Scot Gaelic Deities

Danann / Danu – mother goddess

Dagda – father god, good with all

Morrigan – Nemhain, Macha, Badb (Triple Goddess)

Brigit – maiden fire

Lugh – light (Apollo or Mercury)

Goib – earth, craft

Oran Mór, “The Great Melody”

Crom Cruach Dubh – head bloody black crooked one of sacrificial stone mounds

Ogma – wise words, writing (ogham), and strength

Triple God of Skill = Dagda, Lugh, Ogma

Cú Chulainn – hero son of Lugh (Irish hero)

Fin MacCool – hero son of Cú Chulainn, (Irish hero)

Gallic Gaul, Briton, and Welsh Deities

Arawn Ankou – king of the dead otherworld realm of Annwn

Bran & Branwen – raven gods

Belenus – sun fire god of Beltane and cattle

Cocidius, a god of war

Condatis, a god of the confluences of rivers

Cernunnos – horned (Carnonos) nature virility (Hern) wild animals, green man

Ceridwen – (Carugwen) mother goddess of love, magic, change, transformation

Epona Rhiannon – horses

Nantosuelta Erecura – goddess of nature, earth, fire, and fertility in Gaul

Taranis – god of thunder and wheels (chariot or wagon)

Teutates = great tribal spirit, or leader of the people (Teuta), hundreds of deities

Sucellos – “kindly good striker” god of agriculture, forests, drinks, mallets

Damona Damara – a river fertility goddess

Coventina, goddess of wells and springs

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Neo-Pagan Celtic Wiccan Deities

Kernunos – Triple God = Lugh, Dagda, Arawn / Ankou

Morrigan – Triple Goddess = Brigit, Ceridwen, Crone / Macha

Mathonwy – Merlin = druid god of magic, math, alchemy, science

Nantosuelta Damona Damara = Mother Earth, animals, plants

* Empedocles primary deity list (Harpers Faery way)

There is a connection between the old Celtic Horned-God Carnonos / (C or H)ernunnos, and with Dis-Pater. Wealth is represented by the torcs, which are both collars of control and value; stewardship over a livestock herd was wealth. Wealth, wildlife, and herds all connect Hermes-Pan with Carnonos. The horns and some underworld aspects link Dis-Pater and Pluto to Carn, but Pluto may have been Dagda as well… under-ground. Gaelic Hernunnos (Hern) and Gallic Carnonos. cairns or herms (Hermes-Pan), human – (Proto-Germanic) hurnan – horn-man (German)- hern-mon-os (latin hermanos “brother”) humanus (homo) (Persian Sanskrit) sur = horn, Berton kern = horn, herds

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Analysis of Apostles of Success

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics, History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Drogo

Apostles of the Self-Made Man: Changing Concepts of Success in America

1965 book by John G. Cawelti – University of Chicago Phoenix Press – 280 pages

 Success

SUMMARY

This is a book about the popular culture of success in America. It discusses natural qualities of character, education, values, and needs of individuals and society. It is a decent American history of changing concepts of success; with a focus on three main sources: historic individuals, fictional figures, and manual guides. It uses literature as a source to reference social history.

In spite of their persistent devotion to the idea of success, Americans have differed greatly in the way they defined it. That is the subject of this book. – p.3

Though the self-made man wasn’t an American invention, Americans have cherished the notion of someone rising out of poverty and, through hard work and dedication, achieving at least a moderate amount of wealth and respect. Purely American icons such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson each wrote about the opportunity for anyone in a fluid American class system to grow through their own power towards a particular position in society. Yet, much like Abraham Lincoln in the tumultuous ante-bellum period and the Gilded Age’s robber barons, the self-made man appeared most notably in times of rapid change and transition . – C.1

Three Strands of American Success

  1. Religious – Protestant Work Ethic and pious morality

  2. Economic – wealth = success

  3. Complex Individual and Social Ethics and Dreams, often combining the first 2 stands

American society saw three main versions of the self-made man emerge in epitomizing the ideal of success. The first focused on a Protestant notion of “piety, frugality, and diligence” in fulfilling the duties of one’s occupation. This version suggested that a static, stable social order existed in which success was the attainment of respectability in this world and led to the assurance of salvation in the world to come. As strict Protestantism gave way to other, secular notions of success, this ideal began to fade away.

The second tradition placed a premium on a more economic emphasis of success. While the first focused on religious notions of grace and propriety, the second enlisted the purely lay qualities of aggressiveness, competitiveness, and forcefulness. As industrialization swept over the United States in the Gilded Age and beyond, people prescribed to this ideal of success beyond the scope of religion. The hierarchical structure of many new corporations demanded such qualities from their employees if they hoped to “climb the ladder of success.” The third type of success, was a combination of the former two; taking ethics and humility from religious loyalty, in an existential industrial work environment.

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