“No man is an island,” some idiot once wrote (I’m sure the reader knows which idiot) – a simplistic proposition that I categorically deny. Each human being is an island, cognitively alone, not linked to any other living entity, with some individuals being more isolated than others. Regardless of those evangelistic social scientists who preach that human beings are little more than sophisticated primates who in time can be trained to accept a form of socio-political collectivism that will prevent them from achieving any more or less than their fellow citizens, the conscious choice – however shallow or other-directed – of each individual to activate the reasoning process results in a character and personality that makes that person distinct from all others – with each human being possessing a philosophy, or integrated view, of life.
Admittedly, many of the philosophical viewpoints that “people this little world” have something in common with the proverbial Texas river in that they are considerably wider than they are deep. Nonetheless, thinking – the mental activity we use to direct concepts acquired by the process of learning toward some goal and/or object – is the name of the game of life, not only for geniuses, but for all individuals who are not mentally ill or deficient. We cannot live without reasoning; nor can we fake our nature or the nature of reality. Consequently, it is not always easy to find kindred spirits within the diverse and culturally chaotic human zoo; and the more eclectic and purposive the thinker, the more difficult the quest.
What are the ties that bind, to some degree at least, the human animal to his fellows? Family, community, religion, race, work, and the myriad number of cults, clubs, and associations that range in diversity from the first church of Satan to the lyceums of gurus like Baba Ram Dass (formerly Dick Alpert, aide to Timothy Leary) to the Men’s Crisis Center of Columbia in Northern California – an organization established to “restore masculine pride by encouraging traditional activities like playing poker, smoking cigars, drinking beer and watching football on TV.” It can be safely assumed, I daresay, that purposive thinking has never reached a high point among the respected values of the rhythm & blues, country & western, soul, funk, rock and rap social spheres of the majority of the American species.
Regardless of the emphasis on education in the modern world, there is no emphasis on the fact that we are cognitively independent of each other. That would conflict with Marxist and Christian doctrines. Nor is there sufficient emphasis on the value of thinking for the purpose of helping the individual to expand his ability to deal with the world around him, and to increase his efficacy as a person capable of establishing emotionally mature relationships. What of the arena of higher education? Are there any spectacular activities occurring “in the quick forge and working house of thought” on today’s campuses? Not bloody likely – considering the hordes of hidebound collectivists and minority racists (the preachers of egalitarianism in the U.S. who never seem to be concerned with its practice in Russia or Israel) who labor in the vineyards of akademeia.
Perhaps, like the character of Socrates in Aristophanes’ The Clouds, I’m an island adrift in a cloudland of fantasy; but I often find myself envying those noble thinkers, the ancient Greeks, and the intellectual milieu in which they found themselves. They were unique in all the world because they sought philosophical wisdom in speculative cosmology outside of the realm of mysticism – i.e., sacred traditions, infallible sources of authority, and unquestionable dogmas.
At least 600 years before construction began on that dungeon of superstitions known as Christianity, Greek physicists in Asia Minor started the world on an orderly, naturalistic interpretation of the origin and nature of the cosmos – including the constitution and construction of the primordial substance or substances of all things, and the harmony and balance of physical forces; and in just a few centuries they achieved more in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, physics and medicine than had been achieved in all previous history.
What a thermonuclear explosion of mental activity! As the world’s first towering colony of objective eyes, they were responsible for the world’s first intellectual orgy. What glorious times they must have had plumbing the depths of logic, ethics, politics, epistomology, metaphysics, theology, and aesthetics. What ecstasy formulating principles, unraveling causes, identifying elements of each aspect of reality. What wonderful fun, not only thinking, but also being able to interact with kindred spirits, their intellectual peers.
Who were they?
Thales, Aristotle, Anaximander, Anazemines, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Diogenes, Euclid, Xenophenes, Protagoras, Epicurus, Socrates (“the enchanter of Greeks”), and countless others.
From the noun philosophia, meaning “the love of wisdom”, comes the word philosopher to describe a person who loves or desires wisdom. It is said that Pythagoras coined the word because he didn’t want to be known simply as a “sophist” or wise man. Admittedly, the Greeks weren’t crazy about practical knowledge for its own sake – how to build a better mousetrap, as it were. Commanding most of their attention instead was theoretical knowledge: to understand for the sake of understanding; to know for the sake of knowing. And so, for several incredible centuries – without priests, bibles, sacraments, sacrifices and savior gods capable of tripping the light fantastic on water – they proceeded to turn the world of religious myths and fantastic legends upside down.
While the Israelites were studiously preparing to “civilize” the world by preaching that the rainbow was Yahweh’s promise to the Pious not to drown them… that the supernatural world was peopled with an endless supply of demons… that the children of the wicked should be forced to eat bread made of human-dung… that a dead carcass found by the road might be sold to Gentiles, but never to Jews… that the Jews got nine of the ten measures of wisdom the Ancient of Days gave the entire world… and that Israel would stand upon his enemies, making a footstool of all men – the Greeks were teaching that the rainbow was caused by light from the sun shining on wet atmosphere… that education was the basis of virtue and that only ignorance was evil… that all life evolved from lower forms of life… that the cosmos was an ordered system wherein worlds are born, grow, decay and perish… that the brain rather than the heart was the seat of intelligence… and on and on in geometry, physics, physiology, acoustics, geography, pneumatics, etc., as they opened up the world of thought in numerous and startling ways destined to transform the modes of thinking and living for much of the human race.
But then, like a thunderclap of doom, the emergence of and the adoption of Christianity by the White race traumatized the Western world and virtually halted (in many cases, as with the great library at Alexandria, even destroyed) the brilliant advances of Western man. In one fell, fanatical swoop, stagnation was substituted for progress, theology for science, rigidity for flexibility, and intolerance for humanization.
Christianity began as a messianic movement of disenchanted Jews who believed the time had come to choose a Messiah who would lead them back to Yahweh. This distinctive cult was then taken over by Saul of Tarsus (Paul) and other Jews influenced by Greek learning and taste who believed that the faith could be transferred from its original home in the Semitic culture of Palestinian Judaism to the Gentile culture of the Roman Empire. That meant assimilating an orthodox Jewish rabbi to the savior gods – Mithra, Krishna, Osiris, etc. – of Asia, thereby transforming him into a virgin-born, murdered and resurrected, Son of God. It took several hundred years to fabricate, mold and forge this new religion into an eventually realized state-sanctioned faith.
It was Neoplatonism, however, that enabled Christianity to not only blend more thoroughly and quickly with the Gentile world, but to also assist the Graeco-Romans in doing to the Paulist cult what Paul and his confreres had done to the original messianists: appropriate the faith and dominate it.
To the mystical philosopher Plato, the “apparent” world of sense was more important than the “real” world of ideas. The material world, he declared, was only an imperfect appearance of true reality, a semi-real reflection or projection of it. Any investigation of nature was to be disdained and avoided. As for human beings, they were not ultimately real. Thus, no man by himself was metaphysically autonomous; all men ultimately comprised one unity. “We must be free of the body,” preached Plato, “and use the eye of the soul alone to behold the actual realities.”
This blind faith in supernatural absolutes was the element of Academic philosophy that by way of Neoplatonism was transmitted to the early Christian Church via non-Jews from Origen to Augustine. Contempt for the world of matter, belief in the liberation of the soul through asceticism and mystic revelation, the subordination of reason to faith, and a blueprint for turning human beings into beehive drones, made this philosophy congenial to the mystics who were building the new religion.
It was during that chaotic period of time that our Gentile ancestors traded the maturity of the Rational Age of Greece for the emotional illiteracy of the Hebrew holy books on the one hand, and the anti-mind, anti-body obsessions of Plato, on the other… when our people gave up the achievements of thinkers and scientists, of artists, philosophers, poets and statesmen, for the revelations of fanatical Jewish prophets and Plato’s gospel of worldly renunciation… that fateful interlude in history when the West rejected the greatest champion of the human mind who had ever lived – “the father of logic” – Aristotle.
Concomitant with the creation of the Jewish/Gentile savior god called the Christ, the new Christ-folk claimed the Jewish Scriptures as their own for the purpose of providing a historical foundation and a prophetic warrant for the existence of their Messiah. The next step was to produce a New Testament blending OT writings with NT gospel accounts to be used as the final and definitive sacred record of the birth, death and resurrection of the new Savior god – with Jesus Christ being the tie binding the two testaments together.
To this essentially Jewish base were then added innumerable tenets and beliefs held by the Gentile peoples of the Hellenistic Orient. Among them: The Christian Eucharist was copied from the sacred Mithraic meal known as the “Last Supper;” from the Stoics came the “brotherhood of all men” and “equality” doctrines; the hope of “Salvation of humanity” could have been inspired by Egyptians, Babylonians or Persians; the Hindus provided the story of the prodigal son and the Talents; the idea of the logos was Platonic; the doctrine of the incarnation came from India; the concept of a new birth originated with the Chinese and the Eleusinians; the sacramental value was Pythagorean; the belief in the Trinity was common to East and West at the time, as were the rites of baptism, and the use of the cross, in its many variations, as a representation of an intensely masculine or male phallic symbol; and out of the teachings of the Stoics came the most pernicious doctrine of all: original sin. Combined with the Jewish notions that Adam and Eve betrayed God… that because of the sowing of the grain of evil sin in Adam, all people were guilty… and that moral scars could be inherited from one’s forbears – original sin soon became the very first principle in the Christian faith. “If the diplomacy of Christian life is to be workable,” proclaimed the theologians, “it must rest on the assumption of universal guilt.”
And thus it was that Christianity became a melange of the more primitive and superstitious doctrines prevalent in the Semitic and Gentile religions of the time. For reasons that should be obvious, several centuries following the enthronement of the Christian system by Rome, and including the rapid spread of the faith to Europe to the tune of the words “Baptism or death!”, came to be known as the most repressive ages in the history of mankind: the Middle Ages. Logically, the theologians who achieved fame during that “perpetual spiritualistic nightmare,” devoutly interpreted Plato’s definition of philosophy as a search for wisdom about the transcendent world. In the tradition of Attila the Hun who declared that wherever he walked, grass would never grow again, they were convinced that wherever they walked, “pernicious individualism” would never rise again. And they weren’t alone. The philosophical thinkers outside of the Catholic Church were enamored of Plato almost to the point of believing that the combined philosophical speculations of the rest of the Western world were merely extended footnotes to his literary works. Ringing like death knells throughout the thinking of many influential Western philosophers are salutations to altruism, collectivism and statism, beginning with, “Rights must be eliminated, for such a notion rests on individualism,” and ending with, “The state is divine.”
It should be obvious to any objective Western thinker that the traitors among our people have been the power-hungry theologians, philosophers and politicians who sold their souls to collectivism and statism; who commandeered the messianic system that came to be known as Christianity from the Jews; and who then developed and perpetuated it for the purpose of “saving” – or even enslaving – the world. Fortunately, they failed. But the West has paid a terrible price for hundreds of years of Christian/Judaic/Platonist totalitarianism.
And so, with the destructive spread of Christianity among the most innovative and productive ethnic group in the world, the Gentile West chose the pathological past – a world pervaded with spirits, ghosts, demons, devils, myths… a world of shrines and altars and wailing walls… a world of witch doctors representing the primitive savior god of Galilee and the vindictive Yahweh of the Jews… a world of believers fleeing before the specters and illusions of their own creation – over a world of intellectual curiosity, scientific discovery, flexibility, tolerance and decency.
Eventually, the rebirth of Greek rationalism in Europe and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution motivated Western man to create, build, invent and produce in an explosion of innovation that led to all of the great technological developments of the 20th century: miracle drugs and fabrics; remarkable food production and distribution; miraculous means of communications, travel, and entertainment; and from the cue-tip to the computer, and endless array of products and concepts that make the world a better place for more people.
We must never forget, however, that Greek thought paved the way for all rational thought to follow. We are standing on their shoulders.
SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, July 1989