Archive for the ‘Greek History’ Category

Lessons From Sparta, Thebes, Athens, Macedonia, Rome, Greece, Franks, On How To Beat the Dark Side (In North Korea)

August 6, 2017

Countless intellectuals, for example Salman Rushdie, hold that the those Sanders supporters who didn’t vote for Clinton are contemptible idiots. But then he admits that, when Trump was elected, he realized he didn’t understand the USA. Verily, Rushdie didn’t understand the most important thing. He reminds me of a parallel universe with Jews advocating voting for Himmler instead of Hitler.

Rushdie claims the “left” is obsessed with purity. And he rightly points at Socialists, Communists, Marxists, Trotskyists, Anarchists, Maoists. Whatever: the same can be said of the extreme right, Nazis, Fascists, etc… Or even the center (that’s why there is no center in the United Kingdom).

In a French philosophical magazine, Rushdie claims that “we have entered the era of the impossible”. Little does he seem to know. The impossible made history countless times.

Part of the Famous Chigi Vase, Showing Hoplites In Formation. Complete With Musician. Upon Hoplites, Freedom Rested. Similarly, Constant War Made the Italian Renaissance, Starting With the Florence Republic Issuing Bonds To Pay for Its Army (killed centuries later by Medici plutocracy).

Actually, Rushdie understands nothing in exactly the same way as Trump, Macron, the Clintons and Obama didn’t understand anything most important: people have had enough of the inequality which is degrading civilization.

When asked why he didn’t reveal his work on (Gaussian) curvature, the tremendous mathematician Friedrich Gauss sneered in a letter to Bessel in 1829, that:”It may take very long before I make public my investigations on this issue: in fact, this may not happen in my lifetime for I fear the “clamor of the Boeotians.”

Boeotia was the city state, capital Thebes, north of Attica. Athenians viewed it as dull, insipid and brutish. They shouldn’t have. With crucial Athenian military help, Thebes destroyed Spartan supremacy forever by freeing the lands, and at least one city-state, that it had enslaved, for centuries. Sparta’s downfall was propelled by the same mood which had brought its war against Athens 80 years prior. Namely, obstinately taking itself for a superpower, and imposing that at all cost (a bit the same as Putin’s Russia nowadays; Sparta was also led by a charismatic king, Agesilaus II, who stayed popular in his eighties, although Sparta was clearly going downhill, big time).

Later, though, Alexander burned Thebes to the ground, while Athens watched (that led to the eradication of democracy). Demosthenes had warned against the Macedonians. Recently I read a history book, just written, which claims that Demosthenes was the bad guy, as Athens should have submitted to Macedonia, more readily.

This is to forget that Athens did submit to Alexander, but not really Macedonia. Antipater took the succession of Alexander after the latter’s death. The resulting war between Antipater and Athens brought Macedonian victory and the establishment, by Antipater, of a plutocracy in Athens (only the richest could vote: destitute citizens, most of them, got deprived of their citizens’ rights).

The Theban army, around 36,000 men was roughly the size of Alexander’s. The battle was long uncertain, as Thebes fought with the energy of despair, knowing it faced annihilation. If the Athenian army had joined Thebes, the Macedonians would have been annihilated.

The Macedonians were intrinsically fascist, because of their way of life: plutocrats owned vast domains where horses were brought up, gold mines, etc. The Greeks to the south lived in cities, from more intellectual tasks, where ideas hence democracy were more productive. The opposition was total, it couldn’t be remedied: either the Macedonian brutes would conquer intellectual Greece, or Intellectual Greece would defeat the brutes. Because the Greeks didn’t act when they could, with the Macedonians as they had with the Persians, democracy and intelligence got defeated by the rule of malevolence (which is what “plutocracy” means)

***

The lesson for today’s world?

The military side of things should not be neglected. One battle can decide the world. Nor should the endurance of plutocracy, and the mind control it can exert. After Antipater submitted Athens, the mental subjugation was such that, to this day, people have forgotten all what democracy consists of. They came to call countries “led” by Obama, Trump, Macron, let alone Putin and the Queen of England, “democracies” Whereas those countries are parodies of what the ancient Greeks called “democracy”.

Contradictors would point out that Athens had only 80,000 citizens at most, with plenty of slaves and subjugated women.  However, the subjugation of women was a phenomenon specific to Athens, not to all Greek city-states (Spartan women personally owned much of Sparta, as Aristotle whined).  The fact that, at the height of her power, during the Fifth Century BCE, Athens was attacked by the greatest powers, first Achaemenid Persia, then Sparta, then Sparta allied with Achaemenid Persia, has a lot to do with it, in my opinion.

In this world war, fascism against democracy situation, Athens was first a military empire fighting for survival. When Athens sent an expedition to Egypt to free her mother civilization (yes, Egypt) from Persian subjugation, it was no time to ponder who deserved to be citizens or not (in its final struggle against Alexander, Thebes made her slaves citizens). Ultimately the Egyptian expedition failed, but it was another fracture in Persian armor (later to be exploited by Alexander).

So what to say of today? The entire world is reminiscent of Greece plus Macedonia. The “West” consists in a number of nations (including Japan). That would be the equivalent of the Delian league, headed by Athens.

Except that, nowadays, the world is militarily led by the USA while intellectually led by Europe. That was exactly the Greco-Roman arrangement which lasted for 1600 years, until it was replaced by a Franko-Greek arrangement by 800 CE, to Constantinople’s fury; however, while Rome was a always mental subset of Greece, with a superior fascist republic, the Franks came to dominate Constantinople in all ways, precisely because Constantinople versed into fanaticism, for much too long and too deep.

Indeed, as everybody knows, Constantinople, Oriental Rome, went down. In no small measure because, by the Eighth Century, the Franks looked down on Constantinople’s Christian fanaticism. Whereas all what Constantinople could see what that the savage Muslims below its walls were successful because precisely they were fanatically religious savages, so they duplicated that global mood.

***

Conclusion: Debate and Think, in a Timely Manner. Change Moods:

Sparta’s failure to change its global mood in a timely manner led to its military and then demographic disappearance (the same fate threatens quite a few countries nowadays). Worse, Sparta nearly eradicated Athens, and certainly destroyed her remarkable mood of total inquiry, all azimuths. it would have been better to mimic Athens than try to destroy civilization.

Athens survived because, under Roman hegemony, Athens was the place of higher learning and higher wisdom. Centuries later, fanatical Christian emperors tried to shut down Athens by shutting down its schools. The result is that the Franks decided that the “translatio studii” had happened: Paris was the New Athens, a translation of studies had occurred, centred on Paris’ Cathedral (not the present Notre Dame, the one before; the change of cathedrals enabled the university to become physically independent).

Don’t forget that fascism and its version with a civilized veneer, plutocracy, are extremely sticky: we got overwhelmed by fascism and plutocracy, 24 centuries ago, and didn’t get out of it yet.

The “West”, whatever that is (is the People’s Republic of China in it, or not?) has to be broad and open-minded, yet military threats should be eliminated in a timely manner (that is, before they can become uncontrollable).

In the past, the mightiest empire (Rome, China, the Aztecs) fell to relatively small enemy forces (the Goths and Genghis Khan’s Mongols had no more than 200,000 warriors; subsequent German invasions were from much smaller numbers). Cortez conquered the Aztecs with less than 1500 men, and was repeatedly teased by the Aztecs that he could not make it, because of his tiny numbers. The Aztecs didn’t know that the Conquistadores were making shots with copper warheads for their crossbows, industrially, having recruited hundreds of thousands of natives to do so to their specifications.

Tiny enemies, like tiny rattlesnakes, are the more venomous, the smaller they are, precisely because their small size motivates them more. Thus, full severity with Muslim fanatics (Jihadists), is fully justified.  Same for North Korea, if it pursues its plans to nuclear blackmail the world (Athens didn’t wait for Persia to attack, doing nothing; first it armed itself to the teeth; thus, when Persia asked for submission, Athens had enough might to say no).   

***

Kill Infamy While You Can:

Says The Economist, all too mildly in “How To Avoid Nuclear War With North Korea”:

“There are no good options to curb Kim Jong Un. But blundering into war would be the worst

IT IS odd that North Korea causes so much trouble. It is not exactly a superpower. Its economy is only a fiftieth as big as that of its democratic capitalist cousin, South Korea. Americans spend twice its total GDP on their pets. Yet Kim Jong Un’s backward little dictatorship has grabbed the attention of the whole world, and even of America’s president, with its nuclear brinkmanship. On July 28th it tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit Los Angeles. Before long, it will be able to mount nuclear warheads on such missiles, as it already can on missiles aimed at South Korea and Japan. In charge of this terrifying arsenal is a man who was brought up as a demigod and cares nothing for human life—witness the innocents beaten to death with hammers in his gigantic gulag. Last week his foreign ministry vowed that if the regime’s “supreme dignity” is threatened, it will “pre-emptively annihilate” the countries that threaten it, with all means “including the nuclear ones”. Only a fool could fail to be alarmed.”

Odd? Why odd? China uses North Korea as a form of sophisticated blackmail, why Mr. Xi tries to push the other way, namely in the South China Sea (while all these tensions stoke nationalism, hence his rule). The Economist to weakly recommend to “contain” North Korea. Just as is already done. Hitler, too, was contained. Until it became clear to Britain and France that the best choice was to declare war. Next recommendation from The Economist: breathe deep and carry on.

And why does The Economist pretend that “blundering into war” is the worst. No. The “worst” would be nuclear blackmail as far as the eye can see. Within a few decades, the young Mr. Kim could have the ability to annihilate the “West” in its entirety. The obvious remark is that a war with North Korea, a cannibalistic mafia state, now, would probably not go nuclear. Wait, and it will. Nuclear War has a high probability NOT to be contained (a strike, or attempted strike, on a US city would probably mean annihilation of North Korea and all its allies, real or imagined).

***

IMPOSSIBLE IS ALL TOO OFTEN, NOT REAL:

The impossible made history countless times. One has to be ready for the impossible, that’s how to contain it. 

History beats fiction, anytime. Want to learn something drastic? Learn real history.  It’s never weak.

Patrice Ayme’

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Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy

December 27, 2016

In the Real World, Foundations Saved Civilization Before:

The combination of imperial collapse followed by re-birth from Foundations within happened several times already, for real.

Civilizations collapsing into Dark Ages from the actions of dozens of millions of people occurred more than once. And then very small groups arose, often within the collapsing empire, and imposed new ways of thinking which enabled civilization to restart. One such case was the Mongol takeover of China, and the subsequent collapse of the Yuan dynasty replaced, within a century, by the Ming dynasty (appropriately founded by a Buddhist monk).

Yet the most striking examples of collapses are in the West, and the most spectacular ones come with two foundations.

The first collapse was that of the seven superpowers which made the Bronze Age civilization. They were attacked by nations which made “a conspiracy in their islands” (said Pharaoh Ramses III in 1175 BCE). Besides the calamitous invasions by these “Peoples of the Sea”, a number of disasters striking simultaneously (calamitous climate change, including super drought, quake swarm, etc.) brought the entire trading system down, upon which some civilizations depended for survival, and then generalized destruction followed. The Foundation consisted in a number of Greek city states, mostly on the Ionian coast. The Second Foundation was Athens.

However soon enough, an unserious Greece was taken over by the fascist Macedonian empire, and its successor regimes, the Hellenistic kingdoms.

The Second Foundation was the Roman Republic itself. Rome had been created where the shock waves from Magna Grecia, Italian Greece, and the Etruscans collided. That positive interference brought herdsmen to civilization. The Etruscans were themselves one of these roaming “Peoples of the Sea”, and they had settled in Syria for a while, before grabbing the part of Italy with the richest iron deposits: Foundations everywhere.

Rome freed Greece, and then turned into an evil empire itself. Rome degenerated ever more into all sorts of fascisms… and progressively collapsed ever more, as one major system after another became dysfunctional.

Then emperor Constantine re-founded Rome by imposing the Catholic Church, which had grown semi-secretly for two centuries, as a favored institution within the empire.

At the same time, other Roman generals cum lawyers equipped the savage Germans constituting the Frankish Confederation with a Latin written law, the Lex Salica. The Franks were opposed to Christianism. In a further twist, Constantine and his successors used the Franks as shock troops of the empire (Once the Franks staged a full civil war to give back control of the empire to secularists).

Meanwhile the First Foundation, Catholicism, collapsed Rome, and then it gave control to the Second Foundation, that of the Franks, which had opposed them. In a complete turn-around, the Franks then adopted Catholicism, modifying it extensively to eliminate all its bad aspects (no more apocalypse around the corner, total tolerance for fellow religions, mandating secular education, etc.), while keeping the good ones (charity, altruism, Christian Republic mentality, etc.). Within 150 years, the Franks would outlaw slavery in Europe (there had been no slavery in Germany, so this is more the German than Christian influence: all bishops were very rich and they had dozens, or hundreds, of slaves).

Small foundations can, and will always, save civilizations. For two main reasons: 1) their small size enable them to think democratically, thus better. 2) the excellency their struggle for survival forces on small foundations, require them to think straight and true (otherwise they won’t survive).

It is likely that some of the real events I just related inspired Asimov: he was a very knowledgeable person (and the Foundational aspects of Rome and Athens were well-known, as was the social failure to oppose Macedonia in a timely manner, in spite of the strident warnings of the philosopher Demosthenes).

When I read the Foundation Trilogy, long ago, I found, even then, some of its aspects very dated. But in a way, that is the entire point.

Psychohistory was not invented yesterday, we have crucially depended upon it, for millennia.
Patrice Ayme’

Skulls in the Stars

I’ve recently been trying to become more acquainted with science fiction as a genre, as most of my life I’ve been focused primarily on horror fiction.  A natural and obvious place to place some emphasis is on classic works from the golden age of science fiction, and a natural and obvious place to start there is with the work of Isaac Asimov.  A few weeks ago, I read Asimov’s Foundation (1951), and blogged my thoughts about it.

Asimov has written seven books set in the Foundation setting; I figured that I would be content reading the first one, to get a feel for it, and then move on to other authors and other series…

… and, as of today, I’ve started reading the fifth of the Foundation novels.

As the first three books, Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), and Second Foundation (1953), form the original trilogy, and I thought it…

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Trump A Demagogue? So What?

March 27, 2016

“We empowered a demagogue” laments the New York Times ostensibly bleeding heart liberal, the kind Mr. Kristof, in his false “Mea Culpa” editorial, “My Shared Shame: How The Media Made Trump”. By this, Mr. Kristof means that Mr. Trump is a bad person. However, Mr. Kristof’s choice of the word “demagogue” is revealing. (Actually it’s not really his choice: “demagogue” is not Mr. Kristof’s invention: he just repeats like a parrot the most prominent slogan of the worldwide campaign of insults against Trump).

Trump a demagogue? Is Mr. Sanders a “demagogue”, too? (As much of the financial and right-wing press has it: for The Economist and the Financial Times, Trump and Sanders are both “demagogues” and that’s their main flaw.)

To understand fully the word “demagogue” one has to understand a bit of Greek, and a bigger bit of Greek history.

The Hellenistic Kingdom Mood, And Aristotle, Had A Devastating Influence On Rome, Thus On Western Civilization, Thus Us, Ever Since

The Hellenistic Kingdom Mood, And Aristotle, Had A Devastating Influence On Rome, Thus On Western Civilization, Thus Us, Ever Since

What does demos mean? And what does agogos mean? Both words are Greek. Agogos means “leader”, Demos means “people”. In ancient Greek “demagogos” meant “leader of the People”. A demagogue was viewed as bad in the Hellenistic Kingdoms period, because kinship was good, and We The People was bad. We inherited 2,000 years of dictatorship from the Hellenistic Kingdoms’ mood.

The latter point is the key: thanks to Aristotle’s devastating influence, monarchies and tyrannies became the ideal political regimes (for the next 2,000 years). I explained the whole thing in “Aristotle Destroyed Democracy”. Aristotle was the senior, most respected figure, of an impressive number of mass criminals who were his personal friends, students and followers: Alexander the Great, Antipater, Craterus, etc.

The practical result was that the entire Greek world became subjected to monarchies and tyrannies. With the sole exception of Massilia (modern Marseilles) whose small empire stayed democratic and independent (in spite of being at war with no less than Carthage based in Barcelona!) Marseilles would fall only after Julius Caesar besieged it (in one of Julius’ particularly ridiculous exploits). But the fact only Massilia stayed democratic tells volumes (OK, when Greece, attempted to go back to democracy, plutocratizing Rome crushed it, culminating with the devastation of Corinth in 146 BCE).

So the deeper question is this: since when has “leader of the People” become a crime in the US? Was president FDR a “demagogue”? What is the president of the USA supposed to be? What is the problem? Is the president supposed NOT to be a “leader”? Or to NOT be a leader of the “People”?

Is the President of the US supposed to be a follower? Of whom? The plutocrats? Is the president of the USA supposed to take Air Force One every few weeks, to get money from the Silicon Valley plutocrats, and ask them for instructions?

The ascent of Trump is precisely tied to the opinion that the office of the President of the USA is not anymore that of the leader of the people. Instead the president has become the leader of the 1%, exclusively. Thus, the more one complains that Trump is a “demagogue”, the more one presents him as precisely what the country, and maybe even the world, needs: somebody who wants to lead We The People, not just the 1%.

[Mr. Kristof allowed a shortened version of this comment to be published… After sitting on it for 12 hours. Delayed publication is akin to censorship, as the comment was published in 777th position instead of being among the first. So Mr. Kristof is not as kind and open as he wants to depict himself.]

A hard day may be coming for global plutocrats ruling as they do thanks to their globalization tricks. And I am not exactly naive. Andy Grove, founder of Intel, shared the general opinion that much of globalization was just theft & destitution fostering an ominous future (the Hungarian immigrant to the USA who was one of the founders of Intel). He pointed out, an essay he wrote in 2010 that Silicon Valley was squandering its competitive edge in innovation by neglecting strong job growth in the United States.

Mr. Grove observed that: …”it was cheaper and thus more profitable for companies to hire workers and build factories in Asia than in the United States. But… lower Asian costs masked the high price of offshoring as measured by lost jobs and lost expertise. Silicon Valley misjudged the severity of those losses, he wrote, because of a “misplaced faith in the power of start-ups to create U.S. jobs.”

Silicon Valley makes its money from start-ups. However, that phase of a business is different from the scale-up phase, when technology goes from prototypes to mass production. Both phases are important. Only scale-up is an engine for mass job growth — and scale-up is vanishing in the United States (especially with jobs connected to Silicon Valley). “Without scaling,” Mr. Grove wrote, “we don’t just lose jobs — we lose our hold on new technologies” and “ultimately damage our capacity to innovate…

The underlying problem isn’t simply lower Asian costs. It’s our own misplaced faith in the power of startups to create U.S. jobs. Americans love the idea of the guys in the garage inventing something that changes the world. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman recently encapsulated this view in a piece called “Start-Ups, Not Bailouts.” His argument: Let tired old companies that do commodity manufacturing die if they have to. If Washington really wants to create jobs, he wrote, it should back startups.

Friedman is wrong. Startups are a wonderful thing, but they cannot by themselves increase tech employment.”

However, American-based manufacturing is not on the agenda of Silicon Valley or the political agenda of the United States. Venture capitalists actually told me it was obsolete (before stepping in their private jets). That omission, according to Mr. Grove, is a result of anotherunquestioned truism”: “that the free market is the best of all economic systems — the freer the better.” To Mr. Grove, or Mr. Trump, or yours truly, that belief is flawed.

Andy Grove: “Scaling used to work well in Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurs came up with an invention. Investors gave them money to build their business. If the founders and their investors were lucky, the company grew and had an initial public offering, which brought in money that financed further growth.” 

The triumph of free-market principles over planned economies in the 20th century, Mr. Grove said, did not make those principles infallible or immutable. There was room for improvement, he argued, for what he called “job-centric” economics and politics. In a job-centric system, job creation would be the nation’s No. 1 objective, with the government setting priorities and arraying the forces necessary to achieve the goal, and with businesses operating not only in their immediate profit interest but also in the interests of “employees, and employees yet to be hired.”

As even the New York Times now admits, the situation has degenerated since 2010. Although the employment rate halved, in a slave state, everybody is employed. But neither the economy, nor the society, let alone progress and civilization are doing better.

“Insecure, low-paying, part-time and dead-end jobs are prevalent. On the campaign trail, large groups of Americans are motivated and manipulated on the basis of real and perceived social and economic inequities.

Conditions have worsened in other ways. In 2010, one of the arguments against Mr. Grove’s critique was that exporting jobs did not matter as long as much of the corporate profits stayed in the United States. But just as American companies have bolstered their profits by exporting jobs, many now do so by shifting profits overseas through tax-avoidance maneuvers.

The result is a high-profit, low-prosperity nation. “All of us in business,” Mr. Grove wrote, “have a responsibility to maintain the industrial base on which we depend and the society whose adaptability — and stability — we may have taken for granted.” Silicon Valley and much of corporate America have yet to live up to that principle.”

So the argument counter-Grove was that plutocracy was OK, as long as it was all American (an argument Trump long disagreed with, BTW). But, clearly, it’s not the case anymore. Instead the US government has become the back-up to global plutocratic corporations (watch Obama flying to Argentina to encourage the new US pawn there, just elected… after making economic war against left leaning Argentinian governments ever since Argentina refused to take orders: the first beneficiary are New York vulture funds).

Sanders, the other “demagogue” just defeated Clinton (the establishment insider plutocrat) in three states out of the US mainstream: Washington State, Hawai’i and Alaska (with 3/4 of the votes). Interestingly, and differently from all the other past or present primary contenders, Clinton is implicated in several inquiries from the FBI, Department of Justice, etc. At least she is not terrorized like Maria Carey, who cancelled her concerts in Belgium (other singers did not).

Mr. Grove: “… the imperative for change is real and the choice is simple. If we want to remain a leading economy, we change on our own, or change will continue to be forced upon us.” Trump and Sanders say nothing else.

Yesterday, a dove penetrated inside my house, flew around, collided a bit with something, and then exited the window with precision, before perching on a eucalyptus branch, looking at me dazzlingly. I have seen it many times before, but generally it stays outside. Last night, I dreamed of seeing a pigeon fly at an angle into a wall. I asked it why it did that, so deliberately. It replied: “Did you see the state of the biosphere?” I suggested a more constructive actions. And it’s how it is going to happen: at some point, all the biosphere we depend upon will revolt (and after Zika, we have now Lassa fever, which is very close to Ebola).

Our corruption is not just an economic and social problem, a political problem, and a civilizational problem, as it was under Aristotle.  It is a problem for the entire planet.

We empowered a demagogue“, laments Mr. Kristof. His true calling, and that of the Main Stream Media, was to empower plutocrats, and their obsequious servants. How sad they are.

Patrice Ayme’

Emotional Thinking Is Superior Thinking

March 11, 2015

By claiming that emotional thinking is superior, I do not mean that “logical” thinking ought to be rejected. I am just saying what I am saying, and no more. Not, just the opposite, “logical” thinking ought to be embraced. However, there are many “logical” types of thought possible.

Emotional and logical thinking can be physiologically distinguished in the brain (the latter is mostly about axons; the former about the rest).

Any “logical” thinking is literally, a chain made of points. (And there are no points in nature, said a Quantum Angel who passed by; let’s ignore her, for now!)

Elliptic Geometry In Action: Greeks, 240 BCE, Understood The Difference Between Latitude & Geodesic (Great Circle)

Elliptic Geometry In Action: Greeks, 240 BCE, Understood The Difference Between Latitude & Geodesic (Great Circle)

Some say that hard logic, and mathematics is how to implement “correct thinking”. Those who say this, do not know modern logic, as practiced in logic departments of the most prestigious universities.

In truth, overall, logicians spent their careers proposing putative, potential foundations for logic. Ergo, there is no overall agreement, from the specialists of the field themselves, about what constitute acceptable foundations for “logic”.

It is the same situation in mathematics.

Actually dozens of prestigious mathematicians (mostly French) launched themselves, in the 1950s into a project to make mathematics rigorous. They called their effort “Bourbaki”.

Meanwhile some even more prestigious mathematicians, or at least the best of them all, Grothendieck, splendidly ignored their efforts, and, instead, founded mathematics on Category Theory.

Many mathematicians were aghast, because they had no idea whatsoever what Category Theory could be about. They derided it as “Abstract Nonsense”.

Instead it was rather “Abstract Sense”.

But let’s take a better known example: Euclid.

There are two types of fallacies in Euclid.

The simplest one is the logical fallacy of deducing, from emotion, what the axioms did not imply. Euclid felt that two circles which looked like they should intersect, did intersect. Emotionally seductive, but not a consequence of his axioms.

Euclid’s worst fallacy was to exclude most of geometry, namely what’s not in a plane. It’s all the more striking as “Non-Euclidean” geometry had been considered just prior. So Euclid closed minds, and that’s as incorrect as incorrect can be.

To come back to logic as studied by logicians: the logicS considered therein, are much general than those used in mathematics. Yet, as no conclusion was reached, this implies that mathematics itself is illogical. That, of course, is a conclusion mathematicians detest. And the proof of their pudding is found in physics, computer science, engineering.

So what to do, to determine correct arguments? Well, direct towards any argument an abrasive, offensive malevolence, trying to poke holes, just as a mountain lion canines try to pass between vertebras to dislocate a spine.

That’s one approach. The other, more constructive, but less safe, is to hope for the best, and launched logical chains in the multiverses of unchained axiomatics.

Given the proper axioms, (most of) an argument can generally be saved. The best arguments often deserve better axiomatics (so it was with Leibnitz’s infinitesimals).

So, de facto, people have longed been using not just “inverse probability”, but “inverse logic”. In “inverse logic”, axioms are derived from what one FEELS ought to be a correct argument.

Emotions driving axiomatics is more metalogical, than axiomatics driving emotions.

***

To the preceding philosophy professor Massimo Pigliucci replied (in part) that:

“Patrice, 

“…Hence, to think critically, one needs enough facts. Namely all relevant facts.”

Enough facts is not the same as all the relevant facts, as incorrectly implied by the use of “namely.” 

“It is arrogant to think that other people are prone to “logical fallacies”.”

It is an observation, and facts are not arrogant. 

“A Quantum Wave evaluates the entirety of possible outcomes, then computes how probable they are.”

Are you presenting quantum waves as agents? They don’t evaluate and compute, they just behave according to the laws of physics.

“just as with the Quantum, this means to think teleologically, no holds barred”

The quantum doesn’t think, as far as I know. 

“Emotional Thinking Is Superior Thinking” 

I have no idea what you mean by that. Superior in what sense? And where’s the bright line between reason and emotion?

“Any “logical” thinking is literally, a chain made of points”

No, definitely not “literally.” 

It may not follow from the axioms, but I am having a hard time being emotionally seductive by intersecting circles. 

“Euclid’s worst fallacy was to exclude most of geometry, namely what’s not in a plane.”

That’s an historically bizarre claim to make. Like saying that Newton’s worst fallacy was to exclude considerations of general relativity. C’mon. 

“as no conclusion was reached, this implies that mathematics itself is illogical” 

Uhm, no. 

“to hope for the best, and launch logical chains in the multiverses of unchained axiomatics” 

Very poetic, I have no idea what that means, though.”

***

Massimo Pigliucci is professor of philosophy at CUNY in New York, and has doctorates both in biology and philosophy. However, truth does not care about having one, or two thousands doctorates. It would take too long to address all of Massimo’s errors (basically all of his retorts above). Let me just consider two points where he clings to Common Wisdom like a barnacle to a rock. The question of Non-Euclidean geometry, and of the Quantum. He published most of the answer below on his site:

Dear Massimo:

Impertinence and amusement help thought. Thank you for providing both. Unmotivated thought is not worth having.

The Greeks discovered Non-Euclidean geometry. It’s hidden in plain sight. It is a wonder that, to this day, so many intellectuals repeat Gauss’ self-serving absurdities on the subject (Gauss disingenuously claimed that he had discovered it all before Janos Bolyai, but did not publish it because he feared the “cries of the Beotians”… aka the peasants; Gauss does not tell you that a professor of jurisprudence had sketched to him how Non-Euclidean geometry worked… in 1818! We have the correspondence.).

The truth is simpler: Gauss did not think of the possibility of Non-Euclidean geometry (although he strongly suspected Euclidean geometry was not logical). Such a fame greedster could not apparently resist the allure of claiming the greatest prize…

It is pretty abysmal that most mathematicians are not thinking enough, and honest enough, to be publicly aware of Gauss’ shenanigans (Gauss is one of the few Muhammads of mathematics). But that fits the fact that they want mathematics to be an ethereal church, the immense priests of which they are. To admit Gauss got some of his ideas from a vulgar lawyers, is, assuredly, too painful.

That would be too admit the “Prince of Mathematics” was corrupt, thus, all mathematicians too (and, indeed, most of them are! Always that power thing; to recognize ideas have come out of the hierarchy in mathematics is injurious to the hierarchy… And by extension to Massimo.)

So why do I claim the Greeks invented Non-Euclidean geometry? Because they did; it’s a fact. It is like having the tallest mountain in the world in one’s garden, and not having noticed it: priests, and princes, are good at this, thus, most mathematicians.

The Greek astronomer Ptolemy wrote in his Geography (circa 150 CE):

“It has been demonstrated by mathematics that the surface of the land and water is in its entirety a sphere…and that any plane which passes through the centre makes at its surface, that is, at the surface of the Earth and of the sky, great circles.”

Not just this, but, nearly 400 years earlier, Eratosthenes had determined the size of Earth (missing by just 15%).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes

How? The Greeks used spherical geometry.

Great circles are the “straight lines” of spherical geometry. This is a consequence of the properties of a sphere, in which the shortest distances on the surface are great circle routes. Such curves are said to be “intrinsically” straight.

Better: Eusebius of Caesarea proposed 149 million kilometers for the distance of the Sun! (Exactly the modern value.)

Gauss, should he be around, would whine that the Greeks did not know what they were doing. But the Greeks were no fools. They knew what they were doing.

Socrates killed enemies in battle. Contemporary mathematicians were not afraid of the Beotians, contrarily to Gauss.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) was keen to demonstrate that logic could be many things. Aristotle was concerned upon the dependency of logic on the axioms one used. Thus Aristotle’s Non-Euclidean work is contained in his works on Ethics.

A thoroughly modern approach.

The philosopher Imre Toth observed the blatant presence of Non-Euclidean geometry in the “Corpus Aristotelicum” in 1967.

Aristotle exposed the existence of geometries different from plane geometry. The approach is found in no less than SIX different parts of Aristotle’s works. Aristotle outright says that, in a general geometry, the sum of the angles of a triangle can be equal to, or more than, or less than, two right angles.

One cannot be any clearer about the existence on Non-Euclidean geometry.

Actually Aristotle introduced an axiom, Aristotle’s Axiom, a theorem in Euclidean and Hyperbolic geometry (it is false in Elliptic geometry, thus false on a sphere).

Related to Aristotle’s Axiom is Archimedes’ Axiom (which belongs to modern Model Theory).

One actually finds non trivial, beautiful NON-Euclidean theorems in Aristotle (one of my preferred frienemies).

Non-Euclidean geometry was most natural: look at a sphere, look at a saddle, look at a pillow. In Ethika ad Eudemum, Aristotle rolls out the spectacular example of a quadrangle with the maximum eight right angles sum for its interior angles.

Do Quantum Wave think? Good question, I have been asking it to myself for all too many decades.

Agent: from Latin “agentem”, what sets in motion. Quantum waves are the laws of physics: given a space, they evaluate, compute. This is the whole idea of the Quantum Computer. So far, they have been uncooperative. Insulting them, won’t help.

Patrice Ayme’

When Dog Turned Into God

December 18, 2014

We have a striking historical case of someone, whom history ought to treat as a dog, and who was famously told he was a dog (but in a way too sophisticated for him to understand), who later came to consider himself as a god.

Alexander, son of Philippe, visited Diogenes. He stood in front of Diogenes’ barrel, and told him he would do for him whatever he wanted. Great leaders like to pose as helpful, and open minded.

Diogenes told him to stop making a shadow.

These were the times when a shadow was been thrown over all of civilization.

In the USA, Church And State Are Not Separated. Anymore.

In the USA, Church And State Are Not Separated. Anymore.

A correct trajectory is one according to the Principle of Least Action. Correct thinking may be the one achieving the most, while supposing the least.

Cynics know the theists have a dog in the fight, and his name, or that of his Representative, Messenger, Archangel, Son, Demiurge, or whatever, is Sacrosanct. Sacrosanct is a concept coming from Republican Rome: Tribunes were sacrosanct: attacking them physically meant death.

Cynics know theists insist upon a particular name, because they want to make their champions more respected and powerful than anybody else. Alexander went back east where Orientalism thrived. Alexander saw his blood flow. He wondered: “Is that the blood of a God?” His fellow Macedonians, and a few Greeks, companion in arms, laughed.

In the Orient, Godism was strong (sorry, let’s be polite with those who come from the fanum, the temple: Theism). Because, in a Hydraulic Dictatorship, you need a great dictator, and thus a great god created in His image, thus demonstrating that the dictatorship on the ground is ordained by the dictatorship in heavens.

The original cynicism was a reaction to the rising plutocracy: it’s no accident that the fundamental plutocrat, this follower of the demonic instinct, who had annihilated the entire City-State of Thebes, Alexander the Great, was viewed by the fundamental cynic, Diogenes, as a blot on an otherwise cloudless sky.

Reminding Alexander that humans were just dogs, was a way to remind Alexander that he himself was just a dog. (And a dog who kills tens of thousands in a city which has surrounded, is indeed rabid; Alexander the “Great” also crucified thousands in Tyr, and annihilated that City-Civilization too.)

Alexander’s reply: I am a God, not a Dog.

If humans are dogs are not their deities in their image too? Are not, thus, the gods, dogs? It’s hilarious to see debates about cynicism in the USA being transformed into the usual my-god-is-bigger-than-your-dog quarrel. As one commenter said, “continental” philosophy is pretty ignored. Too anti-God, of course, to survive deep down in the American aquarium.

To kill the Dog who wants to rule us (Alexander and his countless imitators, some contemporary), we have to kill the God they pretend to be, or in the image of (or live according to, thus giving them divine power, while bringing to life the ahistorical Jesus)

Nietzsche famously said: “Man is a rope, stretched between beast and Übermensch.” I prefer the truth: “Man is a hope, stretched between beast and Übermensch.”

But there is no hope, when all the hope there is to follow the Dog, especially when he strive to make himself believe he is a so-called “God” (As Alexander did, until Antipater told his valet, Antipater’s youngest son to do away with him… At least so it is pleasant to believe).

There is the paradox of the (make-)believer. Somebody who goes through life, assuming more than s/he needs, to gain theoretical advantage.

In the blessed USA, churches don’t pay tax, and thus legions believing the American world is the will of God (or, as Diogenes implicitly said, Dog) are ready to serve a government of plutocrats, by plutocrats, for plutocrats.

Don’t tell me what your society is: tell me what your gods are, and I will tell you what your elites do claim they believe in, and what they can get away with.

Patrice Ayme’