Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Athens

Tidbits and notes. Part 435

The ancient city-state of Athens could Not swallow the concept of free expressions in public. Athens political structure was mainly controlled by the oligarchy and the rich conservatives. And the famous “philosophers” like Socrates, Anaxagoras and Protagoras charged extravagant stipends from all these adventurer aristocrats, seeking political status through fomenting successive wars to keep the empire cowed and the subjugated city-sates paying their due taxes. All these “philosophers” ended up exiled or punished with death for their ideas.

“Moi, je denonce les idees des autres ignorants. Le chien a une ame: il peut distinguer les humains amicaux et ceux hostillent a son existence” Diogene

Every period has its main litmus test of patriotism and progressive positions, especially for public figures of intellectuals and politicians. “What is your stand on the Palestinian cause” was the main litmus test for decades. It has come back after Trump pronouncement on Jerusalem

If Hezbollah support to reconvene Saad Hariri as PM, then my suspicion will increase that Hezbollah is in acute economic and financial difficulties: this party would be ready to enjoy the Haririyat’s Ponzi scheme for a while longer. To gain time? But Lebanon is set for a long and harsh period. The sooner we get out of our fantasies the better society will come to term with the reality of our defective policies.

I learned that the tent in 3azariyyi was discussing the feasibility of finding a peace treaty with Israel “tatbee3 ma3 Israel“. Is that a timely purpose of the mass upheaval (7iraak)? Stick to the fundamental emergencies and don’t meddle in foreign policies right now.

A week before the mass upheaval (al 7iraak) started in October 17, Jobran Basil (Lebanon foreign minister and leader of Tayyar )declared that turning the table on our defunct political and economic system could become an inevitable outcome. Question: If the President was the first in delivering his speech before Saad PM, the next day of the 7iraak, and told us the economic plan is to be changed to a productive system and opening the trade borders with Syria and Iraq, how this 7iraak would have unfolded?

A US federal judge blocked a Los Angeles law requiring businesses seeking city contracts to disclose any ties to the NRA.

The donations to the Vatican: Uses about 90% of the funds on its administrative budget.

EU is the first economic power in the world and the UK wants out?

Most hotel chains don’t own their  properties, but rather provides capital and training to hotel owners who re-brand to its specs. It then takes a portion of their revenue. Agarwal’s company in India is valued at $10 billion, surpassing Marriott by room count.

In a world where media is global, social, ubiquitous and cheap, in a world of media where the former audience are now increasingly full participants, in that world, media is less and less often about crafting a single message to be consumed by individuals. It is more and more often a way of creating an environment for convening and supporting groups.

1993: Internet pioneer Rick Gates suggests that a free, open-source encyclopedia could exist on the internet (he called it “Interpedia”).

Tidbits and notes. Part 430

The racist “Silent Majority”, who cannot suffer free opinions Not matching its belief system, exercises tyranny on the minorities.

US colonies wanted independence because they wanted to maintain the slave trade for their plantations after England banned the trade. Since then, USA is enslaving people around the world by all means available

The USA constitution was Not meant for people of Color, Red, black or yellow. The Right to own guns was a right to shoot at every person of color who trespass the plantation. Time to interpret this Constitution in the context of the period.

Since its independence in 1943, Lebanon successive governments and institutions totally ignored the southern region, the Bekaa valley and the northern regions: they were to fend for themselves to survive. The southern region had no borders with Syria and they were plagued with the “legitimate” presence of Palestinian PLO in their midst and the successive excuses for Israel to bomb their towns and force them to flee (al Da7iyat)

Les Americains, avant les Europeens, croient en la réalité de la “race”. La race devient L’ enfant innocent de mére Nature. Une affaire de hiérarchie

Globally, around 10% of health care expenditure goes towards the treatment of dementia.

The world is deep in the red and the only way out is to borrow some more. That’s despite global debt at a record $250 trillion.

Myanmar tour groups are offering trips to The Hague. It’s a way to support Aung San Suu Kyi, who will represent her country as it faces genocide charges at the UN’s top court. (Aung San Suu Kyi must be stripped of her Peace Nobel for keeping silent of the genocide: over 750,000 took refuge in Bangladesh, Not counting the thousands who were assassinated)

Only one airline is willing to deport high-risk immigrants from the US. And it’s charging the government as much as $33,500 per hour.

Anyone can edit most Wikipedia pages, and the site counts 36.7 million accounts, 121,000 of which have edited something in the past month.

The next level is administrator, of which there are 1,142; elected by about 12,000 eligible members of the community, they can block users and delete many (though not all) pages.

Bureaucrats are higher-level administrators, and there are only 18 in English-language Wikipedia. There are 36 stewards who “hold the top echelon of community permissions.” A 10-person Arbitration Committee “is analogous to Wikipedia’s supreme court.” Jimmy Wales told the Guardian that he’s the “constitutional monarch”: “Like the Queen. It doesn’t mean I have any actual power.”

You are as many as the number of languages you know (I guess could read in the original, and actually read and comprehend?)

Qui s’ interesse a un paradigme depasse’? Tous ces genies qui ont contribue’ a nos connaissance, tres peu de gens s’interessent aux origines des assumptions et leur procedures.

Giving birth is far more a mystery than death. And yet, the processes of birth is more understood than dying. Meaning, it is our psychic that fabricates more mysteries for us Not to be absorbed or swallowed.

The philosopher of Athens, Anaxagoras, demanded that the citizens of Athens define what they claim to be “gods“. How a reasonable person can adore an entity that he cannot know? Anaxagoras was judged as a heretic and banned. He took refuge in Lampsaque of Milet in Turkey.

The “citizens” of Athens were close-minded and de-facto controlled by adventurer aristocrats who have great influence on the common “citizens”. It is the talented and hard working “strangers” who built the city. Classical Europe fabricated a mythical “democratic” City-State Athens

Les haitairies d’Athens (the strangers), similar to modern gangs of youths, had their own code (of honors) their languages (slang), feast and…

“Nous sommes des riches citoyens d’ Athens, et les pauvres meteques affluent  pour le miel. Quand nous vainquerons Sparte, on les transfera a Sparte pour la peupler”.

A black female cat is hiding behind a flower pot, her behind blocked by a wall. The male cat is looking at her and waiting. And you claim that sex is Not controlling our behavior.

If it were Not for the internal civil wars among Greece city-States, the Roman empire would not have emerged that soon. The Mediterranean sea would have been split between two merchants empires: Carthage and Athens. Carthage would have conquered Africa, and Athens would be in constant wars with Persia, Turkey, and the northern Caucasian people around the Black Sea.

To read the short stories of Dino BuzzatiLes nuits difficiles” and “Les 7 messagers”

To read “Madame Socrate” by Gerald Messadie’. All you need to know about the city-state of Athens.

It is a virus: You scratch one spot and it spreads; (Jan. 29, 2010)

It is a virus; a sort of mushroom that spreads over your skin and inflicts crazy itching.

You start scratching one spot and you end up lapidating your entire body.  It has affected me for over a month.

I finally saw a physician, not a skin specialist, in the town dispensary and she told me that she witnesses many such cases lately.

The virus is in the air and that is how you are contaminated; many victims experienced lousy moments for many weeks.

The physician prescribed a single pill (costing $8) with effects that last for a week. Got to take another pill for a second week; that should take care of the mushroom.

The physician said that without the pill the itching takes 6 weeks to subside.

In my case and with the pill I should be okay within days: I was healed the next day.

I decided for the second pill to make sure that the mushroom is dead once and for all.  I am not sure: three weeks later and I am itching; not necessarily of mushroom; but what do I know?

Itching is not the main topic of this article: it just gave me a perfect analogy.  The virus is Israel.

If you say Israel is an apartheid State because it subjugates the Palestinian people to a different law of the land than the one applied on the Jew,s then Israel is upset.

If you say Israel is a theocratic State because it extends citizenship to any Jew who sets foot in Israel then Israel is angry.

Why, all of the over 600 religious laws that govern daily life, as applied by the Pharisee during Jesus time, are still valid and harshly controlled.

The secular Jews agree that Israel is back to the Dark Age, but how to convince the US neo-conservative “Christians” that this is so?

If you say that Israel is comfortable with ghetto-like environment because it cordonned off all its frontiers by walls (frontiers that are not yet delimited in its Constitution) then Israel is appalled

If you say Israel is a Sparta State because it believes in military resolution for any contention with any neighboring State then Israel is incensed. Why?

Israel is worse than Sparta: after 3 years of forced military service the citizen has to submit to a month per year in “the reserves” service.

If you say Israel has been committing crimes against humanity since before its inception in 1948, and Gaza is the latest in evidence, then Israel rejects Goldstone’s report in all its sections.

If you say Israel has a peculiar kind of “democracy” that was called “apartheid democracy” in South Africa where laws are selectively and not equitably applied on all citizens; or if you say that the kind of democracy applied in Israel is barely a developed version of City-States democracies of Antiquity such as applied in Athens, Tyr, or Sidon then Israel feels obfuscated.

I you say Israel refuses to grow up and abide by its responsibility as a member of the United Nations and respect UN decisions then Israel is furious: Israel constantly expects the US to cover up illegal activities with the veto power.

If you say the Arab States want peace for returning all the conquered lands in 1967 as proclaimed in 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut then Israel feels resentful and laughs it off.

If you say that Israel is a racist State because the UN declared “Zionism a form of racism” then Israel is up in arms to drop this statement.  Can you believe it?

Israel is investing money to demonstrate that Indians living in the region of Malihabad, (near Lucknow in the Uttar Pradesh), and known as Pathans Afridis are Jews from the tribe of Ephraim that lived in northern Galilee during Jesus time.

The Indian Shahnaz Ali was hired by Israel Institute of Technology to test the DNA of this “tribe” and hopefully extrapolate the results to include the Pashtoun tribes on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Is that a form of racism? Since when any religion was based on race?

I did a rough estimate: I figured out that the Phoenicians are over one billion, give or take one standard deviation, and are spread over the five continents!

If you say that Israel is “the vastest psychiatric ward in the world with no treating personnel” then Israel is ready to lambaste the Israeli author as a schizophrenic, leftist, and probably “anti-Semitic” mole.

If you say that Israel is indeed a very, very peace loving State then Israel is infuriated because you are mocking it.  It is a virus.

No matter what you say is non receivable.

Best attitude is to censure your opinions and refrain from mentioning Israel, Jews, Judaism, Hebrew, or the Diaspora.

One term is admissible: Jews were gazed by Nazism and the number better be exact: 6 millions no less and not one over that scientifically reached number.

Repeat: Jews were gazed and not shot, poisoned, killed, trampled, or exterminated in any other form of “final solutions”.

Repeat: Exactly 6 millions or the holocaust literature would have to be republished; any number over 6 millions and Germany would be infuriated and Merkel would have to cancel the seventh nuclear submarines, built for free for the State of Israel, at Germans’ tax payer expenses; and for what use are these nuclear submarines put in service?  Maybe to support NATO policies?

It is a virus: mushroom or no mushroom you feel itching like crazy and Barack Obama and George Mitchell first of all.

Cases of “Historical Dialectics” of human and knowledge development; (Dec. 23, 2009)

            Dialectics is not only used to comprehend historical development of human or knowledge development but is basic in discussions and effective dialogues. Hegel was first to introduce “dynamic logic” and used the term of historical dialectics as the interaction of an extreme opinion (thesis) that generates an opposite extreme counter opinion (antithesis) which results in a consensus (synthesis).  Historical dialectics is a macro method for long range study and it does not explain the individual existential conditions (survival situations).  Hegel offered dialectics as a method for explaining how human knowledge developed by constant struggle between contradictory concepts among philosophical groups. The purpose of his method was to demonstrate how the “universe of the spirit” or ideas managed to be raised in human consciousness.

            Before I offer my version of knowledge development it might be useful to giving a few examples of historical dialectics. In Antiquity, the pre-Socratic philosophers were divided between the Eleatics or philosophers who claimed that change of primeval substances was impossible: we cannot rely on our senses.  Heraclites reacted with his position that we can rely on our senses and that everything in the universe is in a state of flow and that no substance remains in its place.  The synthesis came Empedocles who claimed that we can rely on our senses but that what flow are the combination of substances but the elementary particles do not change. 

            The Sophists during Socrates were the paid teachers of the elite classes and tore down the mythological teaching of the period and focused on improving individual level of learning.  They were in effect in demand by a nascent City-State democracy of Athens that relied on a better educated society to participate in the political system. Socrates reacted by proposing that there are fundamental truths and knowledge is not an exercise in rhetorical discourse. The same dialectics worked between the world of ideas of Plato and the empirical method counterpoint of Aristotle.

            In the Medieval period the Catholic Church set up a barrier or distance between God and man and forced people to believe that all knowledge emanates from God.  The Renaissance man (wanting to be knowledgeable in many disciplines) reacted by promoting the concepts that God is in every element, that man is a complete microcosm of the universe, and that knowledge starts by observing nature and man.

            Another example is the position of Descartes who established that rationalism was the main source for knowledge.  David Hume responded by extending that empirical facts generated from our senses are the basis for knowledge. Kant offered the synthesis that the senses are the primary sources for our impressions but it is our perceptual faculties that describe and view the world: there is a distinction between “matter” of knowledge or the “thing in itself” and “form” of knowledge or the “thing for me”. Kant became the point of departure for another chain of dialectical reflections.

            Many philosophers used the dialectic methods to explaining other forms of development.  Karl Marx wrote that Hegel used his method standing on its head instead of considering human material conditions. Marx claimed that “philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it”; thus, he defined three levels as basis of society: condition of production (mainly the geographic, natural resources, and climatic conditions), means of production (such as machineries and tools), and production relations (such as political institutions, division of labor, distribution of work and ownership). Marx claimed that the main interactions are among the working class (the new slaving method of production) and the owners of the means of productions or the ruling class: it is this struggle that develop the spiritual progress.  Another dialectical process is the extreme feminist political claims of equality between genders which brought about a consensus synthesis for a period.

            My view of progress is based on the analogy of combination of two schemas:

            The first schema is the coexistence of two strings of evolution (picture a DNA shape): the knowledge development (mainly technological) and the moral string (dominated mainly by religious ideologies).  The second schema is represented by historical dialectic evolutions in the shape of helical cones. The time lengths of cycles for the two strings are not constant: the technological progress phase has shorter and shorter cycles while the moral string has longer cycles.

            The two strings are intertwined and clashes frequently.  When one string overshadow the other string in evolution then there are a slow counter-reaction culminating in stagnate status-quo phases between the two forces. Technological or level of sustenance period has time length cycles that is shrinking at the top of the cone before the cone is inverted on its head so that the moral time length cycles start to increase and appears almost invariant (that what happened in the long Medieval period that stretched for over 11 centuries in Europe); then the cone is reverted on its base for the next “rebirth” cycles (for example the Renaissance period that accelerated the knowledge string ascent).

The barbaric Catholic Church; (October 13, 2009)

 

            There is a resurgence of Islamophobia in France couched under the pretext of discovering the origins of European civilization as a combination of Greek and Christian cultures. It would be worthwhile to set the historical facts straight for any meaningful reply.

            Since 325 AC to around 700 AC there was a Christian Empire dominated by Byzantium with Capital in Constantinople. This empire was to the east of the Euphrates River, crossing Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, all the way to England and including North Africa. It was basically a Mediterranean Sea Empire.  To the west of the Euphrates River there was a Persian Empire, mostly under the Sassanide Dynasty.  The Arabic Empire did not conquer the western part of Turkey which remained with the Byzantium Empire until 1450 when the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad 2 entered Constantinople and spread all the way to the borders of Vienna in Austria.

            In around 1000 a major schism in Christianity split the Catholic Church of Rome with the Christian Orthodox Church of Constantinople. Actually, the initial Crusade campaigns had for objective to conquer Constantinople and coerce the Orthodox Church into uniting with Rome. That is what took place and Constantinople was ransacked and burned before the Crusading forces marched on toward Jerusalem. The other successive Crusading incursions had for objective to capture Egypt and free the spice routes directly to Europe without paying taxes to the Moslem Kingdoms along the maritime and land caravan routes.

            Thus, from 325 to 1450 Europe was Christian.  Why Greek civilization, if Europe insists on taking the source of its culture from antique Greece, was not prevalent during over 11 centuries?  Why Europe remained barbaric till the 15th century?  Is it because the Christian dogma of Rome was barbaric and refused other civilizations and cultures to infiltrate Europe?  Certainly the Christian clerics were at least bilingual, mostly Latin and Greek, and consequently, if Greece had any culture it would have been translated into Latin. Some would give the lame excuse that the scholars in Europe, mostly the clerics, could read the Greek manuscripts in their original forms and had no need to translate any manuscripts into Latin or other live languages; this would be another proof that the Catholic Church of Rome was barbaric and refused philosophical and scientific disciplines to penetrate into Europe.

            Europe experienced a demographic surge around 1000 AC; it is after getting in contact with the Near East culture and civilization (under Arabic/Islamic kingdoms) during the Crusading campaigns that culture entered Europe from the open door.  Even after the total defeat of the Crusaders in 1200 the Near East culture permeation would continue via Andalusia in southern Spain. The Arabic/Moslem civilization in Spain was the main source for the transfer of sciences into Europe until the “Christian” Spanish monarchs conquered completely Spain in around 1400 and chased out Moslems and Jews from its territory.

            Greece after Aristotle did not produced much in culture.  It was just a brilliant century for the City-State of Athens during Pericles period, as so many glorious periods for a dozen other City-States that dotted the Mediterranean shores and the Euphrates River, from Mary, Harran, Edessee, Ugharite, Tripoli, Byblos, Beirut, Sidon, Tyr, and much later Alexandria, Antiochus, and Ephesus, and on that scholars and archeologists have to start focusing on for the origins of civilizations.  The proof is that the Byzantium Empire that was established in Greece for over 11 centuries is no where mentioned as source for any worthwhile civilization.

            Macedonian warriors under Alexander conquered the Near East; it is not because the Near East people, from Alexandria, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and coastal Turkey, who assimilated the Greek language and spread their own culture and civilization in the Greek language that Europe has to claim its civilization to Greece. Europe should not. It is the Near East culture and civilization that assimilated the languages of the various conquerors (Mesopotamians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula, Ottomans from the Turkish Plateau, French colonialism, and English colonialism) that absorbed and disseminated the fundamental cultures and civilizations to its neighboring environment.  

            It is not because of the invasion of nomadic warriors from the Arabic Peninsula that Arabic civilization should be labeled Arab.  Why the Mogul Empires that lasted longer than many Empires and stretched much further than many are not given any civilization?  It is a shame that Europe still feels the urge to attribute civilization to military conquering warriors.

 

Note: The title was meant to be catchy to drive through the purpose of the topic. I have no zeal to dwell into religions of any kinds. I would like readers to refer to my recent post “Damascus saved the Greek culture”.

Cholera: The Greek Thucydides Story (February 24, 2009)

            In 430 BC Sparta was besieging Athens. People were flocking from the rural areas to Athens for protection. In this war, Greece and Athens experienced a cholera epidemic.

The Greek historian Thucydides related the horror.  He wrote:

“The plague had hit several counties and city of Lemnos was one of them.  Physicians were of no help because they had no idea what the epidemic was about: they were the first to be infected since they communicated with patients. People prayed, consulted oracles, and then gave up.

They say that the epidemic started in Ethiopia, swept through Egypt, Libya, and then hit the port of Pirea and Athens. People wanted to believe that Sparta poisoned the water wells, but casualties were heaviest in the higher areas of Athens.

People agreed that this year was very mild in ordinary sickness.  Individuals were stricken suddenly, whether they were very healthy or sickly.  The symptoms begin with acute heat in the head; the eyes are red inflamed,  the pharynx and the tongue are color of blood; respiration irregular; breath is fetid.  

The next phase starts with sneezing and the illness descends to the chest accompanied with violent coughing.  Then the patient experiences acute stomach ache, hiccups without vomit and then terrible convulsions.  The skin is not hot but reddish and covered with ulcers. 

The inside of the body is a volcano; nobody could suffer any clothing and it does not mater how often one drinks he is always thirsty.  Many died in wells trying to get refreshments.  Insomnia was the last stroke.

            During the first 7 days that the body is fighting off the disease, patients show signs of resilience and vigor. If patients go over the seven days then the disease reaches the intestine followed with diarrhea and atonement.  Those who outlived the disease were left with physical scars like lost fingers, lost eyes, and many loss of memory.

Most patients went into despair at the setting of the disease and contagion spread by mutual caring of parents and friends. The greatest numbers of victims are those who were confined in their residences and were thus abandoned. 

The most compassionate of “nurses” were those who managed to survive the disease on the belief that they could not relapse and that they would never succumb to any other disease.

            Those who suffered the worst were the rural inhabitants because they huddled in huts with no aeration.  The sacred places were the favorite locations to die.  All the customs for inhumations of cadavers were broken: people threw the dead in the fire reserved for other cadavers. Disorder was the name of the game.

Excesses in securing pleasure and voluptuousness were practiced by the most of sobers. Life and fortune were equally precarious. Nobody cared for divine wrath or later legal judgments since they were to die before then.  People wanted to experience what they failed to do so far.”

I had this funny idea: why the Athenians did not organize a regiment of its plagued citizens who were afflicted less than 7 days ago (since they are still active) and launch them to attack the Spartans while unfurling banners saying “We the plagued Athenians are attacking!”  It would be nice to observe the reactions of the brave Spartans.

Note:  I stated in a previous article on cholera that it appears from historical accounts that the afflicted Mogul armies did not experience the plagued until they reached humid regions and during summer

I wondered whether cholera blooms when people sweat profusely in unhealthy conditions. The consequence is that body fluid would be less saturated with salt or other alkaline compounds and thus, the cholera bacteria thrives abundantly and splits to a threatening cut off point. 

I suggest an experimental design for testing my hypothesis.  We prepare 8 conditions of body fluids; one very diluted in salt, one very concentrated, 3 conditions representing Mediterranean basin body fluids during the hot season, and 3 conditions from Mongolia and Central Asia during the hot seasons. 

If funding is appropriate, we could expand the experiment to include samples of body fluids during the hot seasons in regions close to where major rivers flow into seas and oceans such as the Amazon, the Congo, the Nile, the Mississippi, Ganges, Yang Tse, the Tiger and Euphrates, and the Indus Rivers. Good luck.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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