Matt Laughing Democritus
  • Member since Jan 2nd 2017

Posts by Matt

    Wow! This is a long interesting thread.


    I’m just going to comment on the latter part of “doing no harm”.


    In my opinion the doing of harm relates to intention. But purely the intention of harming someone outside of personal self-defense or preservation. As in assaulting or murdering an innocent person, defrauding them, slandering them...basically hurting the other for the sake of it or for your own benefit.


    Any act of self defense and the intention of defending yourself would fall outside the realm of doing harm, since defending yourself or a loved one is a “natural” act that is in accord with nature. So having a .38 in your nightstand and training to use it is intentional to DO HARM, but since the intention is based in self-defense and that act is natural it would seem to be entirely just.

    Absolutely!


    And that “memorization” of oral texts by the Druid class, very, very similar to how the Hindu Brahmins memorize the Vedic lore via chants.


    Caesar also observed that there were “classes” or a caste system in ancient Gaul...the Druids and the “Equites” which he based on his own Roman understanding. In my mind this is similar to the Brahmin priestly caste and the Kshatriya warrior class of the Hindus. There may have been more division of societal classes that Caesar did not observe.

    Caesar’s commentary on the Gauls belief in the soul:


    “With regard to their actual course of studies, the main object of all education is, in their opinion, to imbue their scholars with a firm belief in the indestructibility of the human soul, which, according to their belief, merely passes at death from one tenement to another; for by such doctrine alone, they say, which robs death of all its terrors, can the highest form of human courage be developed. Subsidiary to the teachings of this main principle, they hold various lectures and discussions on the stars and their movement, on the extent and geographical distribution of the earth, on the different branches of natural philosophy, and on many problems connected with religion.

    Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico, VI, 14

    From today's paper, an op-ed about how Christians came to believe in an immortal soul, from a professor of religious studies. (Spoiler alert: it has roots in Plato's deception and trickery....) Personally, I was unaware of how late it came about.


    https://www.latimes.com/opinio…ristians-heaven-hell-soul

    Interesting article! One thing I’ve always found interesting is that certain ancient Indo-European cultures held a doctrine of the transmigration of the soul. The best known being the Hindus, Jains and Buddhists but second to them the ancient Celts, specifically the Gauls as reported by Caesar and Alexander Polyhistor. They called it the “Pythagorean” doctrine. That the Celtic druids believed in a sort of reincarnation. I’ve always believed there is a very deep connection between Vedic and Celtic culture that extends waaaay back in time. But this idea of transmigration of a disembodied soul is unique to the Celts and Hindus. Perhaps the Greeks adopted this from the Indian philosophers.


    To what extent the Celts believed it we will probably never know...but perhaps to the same degree as the Indians.

    That’s a good poll...hard to just pick 7!


    Anything that focuses on pleasure first and foremost, a severe skepticism to anything “supernatural”, the understanding of the materiality of the universe, an “agnosticism” or apathy to any concrete nature of divinity other than what is posited by Epicurus.


    In absence of any actual virtue or divine mandate, pleasure would in my opinion, be the default “good” in life.

    With all that being said with modern physics, Parmenides and a host of exhausting (monstrous) eastern philosophies being brought up as a comparison...I’m satisfied with the Lucretian and Epicurean assertion of the eternal universe.


    However it actually looks or looked doesn’t ultimately have a bearing on my pleasurable living.


    I’m happy with laughing about Democritus’s keen observations of the changes in female sexual evolution rather than going mad worrying about first principals, but I’m always willing to go there! 😂

    I think as far as we Epicureans go, it depends on how far we want to defend the position of an eternal universe. Getting into modern physics and other philosophical arguments beyond the more simple assertions.


    I think there is ample observable and logical evidence that the universe is eternal. It may go through “changes” but those changes really make no difference to me as an Epicurean.


    It’s easy enough to say it’s eternal and move on with my day seeking out pleasure.

    That is a funny anecdotal story elli.

    ^^


    After all I am Laughing Democritus!


    Just so we are clear I’m not a great lover of Parmenides in general. I’m simply using his ideas on being and nothing to help conceptualize something that I’m sure is very troubling for many people...envisioning an eternal universe.


    I mean whether we are talking about big bangs, singularities, collapsing fifth dimensional universes, steady state universes etc. there is the need to conceptualize this principle of the eternal universe. Something does not come from nothing ex nihilo.


    If I was a Neoplatonist I would say the aggregate One manifests the universe and chain of being perpetually through emanationism. In the eternal now. None of that is provable in reality or observable. But they also held to an eternal universe. I believe the Aristotelians did too, as do many “eastern” philosophies that shall not be named here.


    Also again even the biblical narratives and myths like Zurvanism in Iranian philosophy held to the notion of a pre-existing “thing”...god, principle,etc that either creates or simply manifests the universe, often from “itself” or a slain enemy like a dragon etc. like Tiamat in Babylonian myth. Creatio ex nihilo in concept anyway simply isn’t feasible...since everyone, no matter who, has a first principle.

    Don’t get me wrong this stuff absolutely makes my brain smoke and my head hurt with idealist abstraction. It is for sure conceptual word play at its heart...


    Whatever Parmenides posited beyond this ONE argument (I made a bad joke there)... the Parmenidean One.....


    I don’t particularly need to know what else he posited since his end goal was not pleasure. This one particular argument bolsters my subjective analysis of the universe based on the Epicurean Canon.