Archive for the ‘Athens’ Category

MOODS DRIVE HISTORY. Why Sparta Attacked Athens. Putin’s “Fear” Of Chicken.

February 2, 2022

The ancient Athenian historian and military general Thucydides in his text History of the Peloponnesian War was astute enough to know of the importance of moods. He pointed out that the mood of fear in Sparta consecutive to the rise of Athens was the fundamental cause of Peloponnesian war… describing the engine of the terrible war which half-destroyed Athens, and nearly terminated her. Thucydides posited that “it was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

That Spartan Fear Of Athens, Just Like Putin’s Fear Of Ukraine Was Disingenuous, It Was Fake News

What frightened the Spartans, they admitted, was the rising of “Long Walls” between Athens and her ports. Athens brandished their stealthy construction as a show of independence. The western wall connected the southwest of Athens to its port Piraeus and was about six kilometer long; the eastern wall continued from the south of the city to another port, Phaleron, which was about 5½ kilometer away. Between the two walls, a large triangle of land could be used for agriculture. The infrastructure was crucial for Athens’ survival as she imported much of her food.

For Sparta to be afraid of the Long Walls was deeply disingenuous: Sparta itself is protected by two enormous mountain ranges going up two kilometers into the sky, and had its own port. As a consequence of what Sparta was not invaded for nearly a millennium, or until it exhausted the patience of the Greeks (a couple of decades after its victory on Athens).

 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, following Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, said that the responsibility for de-escalating the crisis over Ukraine lies with Russia, which she likened to a fox screaming from the roof of a chicken coop about fearing chickens.

When a fox screams from the roof of a chicken coop that she is afraid of chickens, which is, in fact, what they do, this fear is not presented as a declaration of fact. And when you see President Putin screaming fear of Ukraine and Ukrainians, this should not be interpreted as a declaration of fact. We know who the fox is in this case,” she said at a briefing.

So, indeed, fear can be used as a pretext, a complete lie. Fear attracts sympathy: poor little Spartans, afraid of the Athenian Long Walls, frail, poor little Putin, afraid of big bad Ukrainians…

Thucydides

There was probably a fear: that Athens would stop supporting the Spartan oligarchy (Athens had helped Sparta repressed its own Helots, an enslaved, tortured, terrorized and occasionally hunted and murdered population in charge of feeding Spartans. Similarly the Russian oligarchy in Moscow is terrorized by the excess of democracy in Eastern Europe threatmening to spill over, and regrets its own Helots it used to have, throughout said Eastern Europe. 

Neither Sparta’s slave masters, nor the Moscovian slave drivers could admit what they were really afraid of: the demolition of their unfair power. 

So doing, by pointing out the importance of fear, Thucydides reaffirmed moods in historical analysis; Homer, a sort of history, is, of course, full of them, with delusional moods  and primitive emotions  moving a thousand ships…  (Achilles’ Honor, attaining eternity through fame, the transcendence of battle, Sparta’s debasement from the eloping queen, greed, thirst for violence)

Great, except Thucydides was greatly wrong (and probably deliberately so.. To deflect blame he personally shared). The Peloponnesian war was certainly propped by the mood of fear in Sparta. But not only. It was also propped by basic computations on the part of the Spartans, which proved right: although Sparta was a much smaller socio-economy than Athens, they obviously hoped to exploit glaring problems which Athens had

Hubris in Athens had to have played a role. And even more: the war between Sparta and Athens inaugurated a finance and divide method from “The King”… Achaemenid Persia. There is evidence Sparta had been thinking about it for a while.

EXCEPT ATHENS LOST THE WAR FROM HUBRIS:

The extent and depth of Athenian hubris early in the war is astounding. It soon resulted in catastrophic decisions. It was fed, in no small extent, by the violence of Athenian politics, and it’s anything-goes ways.  

1) Athens’ tactic of thinking it would be OK to withdraw the entire population behind the walls, while the Spartans ravaged Attica, exposed it to a pandemic; Pericles admitted he didn’t think about that, and was tried for it. 2) Athens massacred at least one island city-state of Spartan origin, just for not allying itself to Athens… just because it could, it argued at the time…. 3) Athens attacked gigantic and mighty Syracuse, just because it was a sure way to win the war. Except Syracuse crushed the Athenian army. 4) Competent admirals were executed after a victory for not recovering a few sailors due to a storm. 5) Athens didn’t quite believe Sparta could win at sea, and didn’t exert due caution, as pointed out by Alcibiades… resulting in the annihilation of the Athenian fleet.

The Spartans also had hubris: all they did was war and preparation for war, they observed, making them superior to the rest of the Greeks, who were only part-time warriors. Thus they could not lose a war. Well, neither could they win one for 30 years. And that was a warning of more of the same: indeed, by introducing professionalization, and even romanticization of war, plus a new art of battle, Thebes was able to destroy Sparta’s supremacy, forever… shortly thereafter.

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DEUS EX MACHINA: The Intervention Of Persia, Which Made Its Alliance With Sparta Official In 413 BCE. It is likely that many in Sparta had long been thinking about an alliance with Persia (remember the absence of the Spartas at Marathon… because they had a festival, they claimed ludicrously…) That had to be part of their computation in going to war with Athens. Indeed, when they complained about the Long Walls, they mentioned Persia non-stop.  That was as disingenuous as Putin, but also showed they were Persoa obsessed…

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CLOSED SOCIETIES BEING PERPETUAL LOSERS RESORT TO VIOLENCE: 

More deeply, Sparta was a closed society, hyper fascist, and hyper racist, not a vibrant, open, high tech society like Athens, which dwarfed Sparta. Athens was a tech innovator, and depended upon long range relationships and her navy to get grains. 

There was a general tug of war between racist oligarchy (the Spartan foundation of its socio-economy) and the total, direct democracy of Athens. The Spartan model represented the past, Athens the future, and it is still true today…

Athenian hubris, and the prospect of an alliance of fascist Sparta with fascist the Persia juggernaut, were part of what made war inevitable… In part because in Spartan eyes, Athens looked more vulnerable than it thought  itself to be.

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In contemporary political science there is a mass psychological mechanism called “Thucydides’ Trap”. This is a valid mechanism… Except it doesn’t fully apply to the situation which gave it its name, stricto sensu. 

We have seen above that, to understand the catastrophic loss of Athens in the 30 years Peloponnesian war, we have to consider the real fear hidden by the fake one, and add three mechanisms: hubris (applying to Athens), and what I call the Kaiser Trap, or Closed Society Trap, or Fascist Trap, and the Deus Ex Machina Trap.

To understand the great wars of the Twentieth Century, we need all these traps. They generally operate together. To them we have to add the likely theory of mind of those evolving in these traps. War becomes unavoidable when an adversary feels it has found a pathway to victory, navigating all the moods to its own advantage. Considering Athens’ hubris, overstating its own capabilities, from its own Reduced Instruction Collapsed mind,  considering the favor of Persia, Sparta thought it had a chance. It just had to fake fear, to attract sympathy. Fear faking. Same as Putin now.

Putin showed this recently with all his jeremiads about NATO. By giving an ultimatum which denied the sovereignty of several other members of the United Nations, Putin, paradoxically, made sure that many nations would have a very good reason to join NATO, thus… Putin achieved what he wanted, augmenting his own fear.

The Peloponnesian war was a disaster for Sparta, Athens, democracy, civilization, and even the liberation of women (Spartan women were the most liberated of all known civilizations at the time). The adverse consequences extend to this day. The fateful decision to attack Athens was taken by at most seven persons (five ephors and two kings…) This is what political fascism does: put a few in charge of civilization. Now we have just one scared little man in charge of frightening us with a world ultimatum. Great.

So far a sizable contingent of countries in the West have succeeded to disrupt Putin’s plausible paths to victory. A fascist imperialist killer autocrat confused, screaming how afraid he is of the chicken below. Excellent.

Patrice Ayme   

Dictatorship Endangers World: Proof By Coronavirus!

February 9, 2020

Xi and his dictatorship should resign: they are fatally dangerous to the world, not just their kingdom, and not just this virus. They are the virus. Clearly the police and secret state Xi built has contributed directly to the mayhem in Hubei, now extending worldwide.

Xi’s dictatorship stealthily rose, and now steers China, as if increasingly again under Mao’s dictatorship. But Mao had excuses (such as fascist Japan’s invasion of China), which Xi doesn’t have. We have seen that debate before: when the Roman Republic vacillated under corruption, sole Consul Pompeius Magnus made bribes unlawful, retroactively, over twenty years. At the time many advocated that the Republic should be ruled by just one man (as happened soon after). However, once again, Xi doesn’t have that excuse. His knowledge of the COVID19 epidemic without telling the public about it is revealing. What other doomsday machine does Xi have up his sleeve?

The first known case was December First 2019. Xi now claims he gave a (secret) talk about the virus January 7. Right. Tell me, Xi, how did that help, that secrecy? How are people supposed to take precautions against catching the disease, or transmitting it, when only Xi and his accomplices know about it?

As I explained, in the case of the very society which invented the concept of Open Society, a closed society fosters illness. In an open society, this cases in early December could have led to nipping the epidemic in the bud… Instead, lying about the existence of the epidemic became a state mission in the next 6 weeks. Those not cooperating were punished. Apparently individuals reporting dismal conditions in Hubei healthcare are Xi-disappeared.

Pluto-cracy, Pluto-kratia = Evil-Rule! Xi is very self-satisfied, as all dictators are: it comes with the job, be it only to persuade the slaves that all is best in the best possible world. He got the job from his father’s position. Such individuals, steeped in prerogative and crime, are the world’s ultimate danger.

Xi said: “Our progress will not be halted by any storms and tempests.” yes, but a pandemic could stop you, dictator. Pericles was judged in Athens, 2,450 years ago, for his mishandling of Athenian society, forcing people to live in a way which caused a devastating epidemic (during a war Pericles partly instigated).

Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun (15 October 1913 – 24 May 2002) was a Chinese communist revolutionary and a subsequent political official in the People’s Republic of China. He belongs the first generation of Chinese leadership.

So here we just don’t have a dictatorship a la Hitler, or Mussolini, but an hereditary fiefdom. A most traditional, most obdurate form of plutocracy.

Xi’s model of government, where one brain decides of all, as if it were an emperor from 2,000 years ago, is thoroughly obsolete: it condemns China to be led by one tiny nervous system instead of a great collective mind. Dictatorship of one, advocated by Marx, is fundamentally the antithesis of collectivism, ironically enough. Come to think of it, Marx, irritated by the lost of value of his wealthy father’s vineyard, was formed, as Jew, under the Prussian dictatorship. Dictatorship, he was told when very young, was the way to get things done. If things to be done consist into oppressing most people, dictatorship is perfect. If things to be done imply progress of the mind, then Direct Democracy is the way to go, direct observation of Athens, or of the Roman Republic, or the English republic-in-disguise, and of the French and US republics, and basic logic, show. 

Although the 1982 constitution guarantees freedom of speech, the Chinese government often uses the “subversion of state power” and “protection of state secrets” clauses in their law system to imprison those who criticize the government.

This total dictator Xi is now hiding from the Coronavirus pandemic, and behind his Prime Minister, Li, which his own practice of the state caused. Xi views the state as a conduit to his power, instead of an intelligent, all-knowing substrate for an all empowered society. That state fascism has proven a danger to the entire world. Out!

And this is a world lesson: we need information, to feed our meditation, thus the Direct Democracy which requires it. Hence freedom of information is another motivation for Direct Democracy! The West showed the way of Marxist dictatorship which China revendicates. The West should raise the bar by going to Direct Democracy. THAT would be coming back full throttle to humanity as it evolved, that is, as it is meant to be.

Patrice Ayme

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P/S 1: This is a follow up, and pretty much iteration of the more detailed essay:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2020/02/02/a-closed-society-china-is-more-open-to-pandemics-coronavirus/

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P/S 2: See New York Times: “Her Grandmother Got the Coronavirus. Then So Did the Whole Family.
What kind of government is this? asks a family of three generations sickened by the new virus and desperate for care in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak.”

Athens, Direct Democracy, Now.

February 2, 2017

To Rekindle The Fire Of Civilization, Direct Democracy Needs To Be Re-Activated. Besides, It’s A Question Of Survival:

In Eighteenth Century Great Britain, as in the European Middle Ages, seven years old was considered to be the “Age of Reason”. Thus, if an 18C English child was found to have caused a fire (a very dangerous thing then), the child would be tried, and, if found guilty, would be hanged (this really happened).

Nowadays, we are more civilized, and we protect childhood better. Human brains become mature only around 25 years old. There have been minimum ages for political offices since Republican Rome and Athens, 25 centuries ago.

The Economist, in an access, and excess of disinformation, suggests to lower the voting age to 16. That would motivate the youth, it disingenuously claims. I have a better idea. In its golden age, the Parthenon, other monuments, and all statues were covered with colors, sometimes realistic, sometimes spectacular:

At her greatest, Athens was colorful in all ways. The city tolerated radically opposed philosophies, and they debated each other.

At her greatest, Athens was colorful in all ways. The city tolerated radically opposed philosophies, and they debated each other.

Pericles directed the construction of the Parthenon and other fabulous monuments. Pericles was re-elected nearly 30 times over 30 years. He was the talking head to  a group of civilization-class philosophers, all them extremely close friends with whom he debated continually, including his own second wife, who wrote his most famous speech. (As historians of antiquity explained, the rise of the Athenian empire launched Sparta in an all-out war; Pericles’ passive way of fighting, using only fortress Athens and her fleet, backfired, when a plague appeared. “I had not anticipated that.” he bemoaned… The plague killed Pericles and two of his three sons; the war lasted 30 years, and Athens lost it, in a roll of the dice gone wrong.)

Lowering the voting age to 16 (why not 15?) is somewhat silly. That’s not the problem. Having more and more immature voters is not the solution.

Verily, the youth is disgusted by politics to the point of turning away from it. Being interested by politics at this point is like being interested by corruption. Financial, ethical, mental, intellectual, political corruption.

The problem is that representative democracy is intrinsically immoral, hopelessly satanic (or as is also said, plutocratic). Why? Because it elects people who are automatically tyrants. I suspect that youth is suspecting this, and thus finds politics ever more unpalatable.

Elections, as they are, give divine powers to a few people. Mitigate and discontinue that immoral madness. Debate and elect ideas instead. That will motivate people to mature and think. This is what happened in the greatest age of Athens, our present civilization owes so much to.

Instead, as it is now, even adults are treated like children. Whereas, if youth believes it can get to power, it will be interested by in democracy. As in Athens, where some offices were attributed by lot, so anyone could lead! So everyone learned much more as much as they could about everything (to be ready, just in case they would be promoted to leadership overnight).

A weakened, dispirited and unmotivated Athens was subjugated by the Macedonian tyrant Antipater in 322 BCE, with the help of another Macedonian general, Craterus. Antipater, personal friend, lover and executor of the will of Aristotle, was very smart and vicious (he may have assassinated Alexander through his youngest son). Whereas Alexander respected an exsanguinous Athens, Antipater, a typical uber-plutocrat, enforced plutocracy in Athens, and assassinated his highest intellectuals. Athens became free again in 1834 CE. For a while, the Parthenon had been turned into a mosque.

Athens was freed in a ferocious war against the (Turkish) Islamists The Islamists had turned the Parthenon into an explosive storage facility, during a war with Venice, and it had exploded: Islamists have a pattern of hatred to monuments (as anything that makes man a competitor to god).

All adults nowadays feel like children, all the more as they get led by the nose. Nassim Taleb points this out in ‘Trump makes sense to a grocery store owner’. He adds that, for years, the world was led by an “actor”, Obama. An actor who solved nothing, but for making the rich richer. I could not agree more, unfortunately.

There are not just pseudo-experts, as Taleb correctly says (pseudo-experts who pontificate about what the universe had for breakfast, 13.76 billion years ago… Or that only the economy they feast on serves We The People best, contrarily to evidence and mortality graphs…).

There are also pseudo-leftists, pseudo-thinkers, pseudo-intellectuals, pseudo-empaths (Bill Clinton an example of the latter). All thoroughly fake and fat. There are also pseudo-universities, even richer in their folds, which are real centers of plutocratic power (to attend many of them, one needs the median US family income).

We also have plenty of intellectual fascists, people who are led by just a few ideas, and refuse civilized debate with anyone not obeying those ideas. The paradigm there is “Islamophobia”, which is viewed as a form of racism, whereas it’s just the critique of a system of thought (Christianophobia is institutionalized in the West, thank god…).  

We need a debating society. Debates motivate human beings. Now we are suffering from so much intellectual fascism, that we cannot debate what is necessary for survival. This is what Trump and his tweets answer to. And every time one of my erstwhile, new-born pseudo-leftist friends smother me with insults and blocks me, it’s another proof of this evidence.

Reality shall proceed, the survivors will debate it, and will survive, probably because the debated it, the old fashion way, as Athens did it, in her greatest age.

Patrice Ayme’


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ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

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Military and general security

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Of Particular Significance

Conversations About Science with Theoretical Physicist Matt Strassler

Rise, Republic, Plutocracy, Degeneracy, Fall And Transmutation Of Rome

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Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

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because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

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Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

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