Thursday, January 20, 2022

969: The Critics....

 You can say that we live in reasonable freedom in our Western democracies. We know the freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, 


freedom of speech, freedom from discrimination, freedom to go where you want, and so on.


I know that the terms are more beautiful than reality, but that will be discussed another time, as well as the question: how did we get to this point? 


What fascinates me now is the fact that around 450 BC these kinds of freedoms only existed in one place on earth, where homo sapiens consciously chose such a social organization: in Athens. 


One generation after the Persian Wars about 425 BC, political power was firmly in the hands of the entire Athenian "demos" (the people), not in that of a wealthy or noble elite. 


In Athens the "demos" (the people) was king. Athenian politicians believed that only fully-fledged democracies like theirs could count as truly free regimes. 


They argued that under a government of elites, ordinary citizens were as unfree as they were under tyranny. 


An Athenian orator speaking in Plato's dialogue "Menexus" put it this way: "The basis of this our government is equality of birth; 


for other states are made up of all sorts and unequal conditions of men, and therefore their governments are unequal; 


there are tyrannies and there are oligarchies, in which the one party are slaves and only the natural equality of birth compels us 


to seek for legal equality, and to recognize no superiority except in the reputation of virtue and wisdom." 


It sounds nice, but we have to make a few caveats. This "equality of birth" only applied to men of 30 years and older and born in Athens. 


Women didn't count at all, as did slaves and "foreigners". Even the great Aristotle, who lived and worked almost all his life in Athens, had no right to vote because he was not born in Athens.


Compare this to the position of women, foreigners, immigrants and refugees in our democracy. A small bright spot may be 


that for us the term "discrimination" refers to something negative, while the Greeks probably did not know the term in that sense.


To take it one step further, in those days not everybody in Athens was happy with the political situation. The wealthy elite saw its influence on politics slip through their fingers.


There is an anonymous treatise named "Constitution of Athens", that must have been written in that period. We know it under the title "The Old Oligarch".


The author makes no secret of his vehement opposition to the Athenian constitution. In particular, the Old Oligarch made short shrift of the idea that democracies guaranteed freedom for all. 


He equated Athenian democracy with the rule of the poor and uneducated, whom he described as the "worst" people. He writes:


"Among the people there is a maximum of ignorance, chaos and wickedness, for because of their poverty they are more likely to display shameful behavior, 


and because of lack of money some people are uneducated and ignorant." 


They ruled for their own benefit, he made clear, and thus to the detriment of the rich. More specifically, the poor majority of Athens had turned the state into a system of transferring money from the rich to the poor, "so that they get rich and the rich get poorer".


The Ancient Oligarch complained that the poor monopolized public offices and the associated salaries. 


They controlled the legal system for their own benefit. In fact, they benefited disproportionately from the city's religious ceremonies, 


as they were the ones feasting on the animals sacrificed at the expense of the state. 


Equally telling was the fact that Athens had built many gyms (gymnasia) and public baths at the expense of the state. 


"The people can profit more from these things than the wealthy members of the upper classes," wrote the Old Oligarch, as the rich had their own private gymnasia and baths.


Doesn't it sound familiar.....?


Thank you for your attention again....


Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

The Discussion


[13:16] oola Neruda: nods

[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): nothing has changed

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed, the rich afraid of loosing their money

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and power

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true

[13:17] herman Bergson: You read my mind Beertje

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same still today

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): pssss

[13:17] herman Bergson: is is astonishing.....the similarity of complaints and arguments

[13:17] oola Neruda: in fact, it has become much more "sophisticated" complicated and "accepted"

[13:18] herman Bergson: True....

[13:18] herman Bergson: the rich have much more sophisticated power now with all their money

[13:18] herman Bergson: they pay the lobbyists for instance

[13:19] herman Bergson: they buy politicians

[13:19] herman Bergson: The US is a perfect example of that practize

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): EVERYTHING IS RIGGED

[13:20] herman Bergson: Also the attitude of the rich that the masses are dumb and uneducated....

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is there a way to do something about it?

[13:20] herman Bergson: we still think so :-))

[13:20] herman Bergson: Wrell...I guess we do something about it more or less

[13:21] herman Bergson: everybody has access to political jobs , can be elected etc.

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true

[13:21] herman Bergson: For every profession you need an education and certificates, except for the job of member of parlement :-))

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm ok

[13:22] herman Bergson: kind of a paradox :-))

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you should at least know some what u are doing there, its serious stuff

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but politics in general today seems more like a grown up playpen so

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (sighs)

[13:23] herman Bergson: I believe that whatever education the enjoyed, that they do, Bejiita

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): UR DUMB NO UR DUMB BUAAAAAH U DONT AGREEEE WITH MEEEEE

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this is the tone in politics mostly today

[13:24] herman Bergson: polarisation?

[13:24] herman Bergson: In Athens there was at least between the rich and the poor

[13:25] oola Neruda: and "news"... the license for FOX is for entertainment... not journalism... that protects them from being sued for their lies

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): is just a TV show right?

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): pfffff

[13:25] oola Neruda: sso they say

[13:25] herman Bergson: Ahh yes I heard that too , oola

[13:26] oola Neruda: my journalism background taught me about propaganda.... and i see it ... and cringe

[13:26] herman Bergson: In the US lying is entertainment ^_^

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): PRAISE THE GREAT RULER AND WHAT HE HAVE DONE FOR US BLAH BLAH BLAAAH

[13:27] oola Neruda: rant and rave sometimes... but try to limlit it to cringing

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed Herman

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it seems so

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least for too many

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Mr T made it the norm

[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but still lots of people believe these lies

[13:27] oola Neruda: too many

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (sighs)

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:28] oola Neruda: and many who have educations... do also... unfortunately

[13:28] herman Bergson: What strikes me the most is that in Athens homo sapiens came to a conclusion about how to live together in freedom.....that is unique

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): there might be more congress stormings if we don't stop that

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or worse

[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): was there freedom for everyone?

[13:28] herman Bergson: and least in our Western democracies we have revived that idea

[13:29] herman Bergson: No Beertje...not for women, slaves and foreigners

[13:29] herman Bergson: But that is also a cultural thing of those times

[13:29] oola Neruda: nor for non whites

[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why do man hate woman so much?

[13:29] herman Bergson: Today we begin talking about emancipation for instance

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no idea

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its so strange

[13:30] herman Bergson: That is what puzzles  me too Beertje

[13:30] herman Bergson: There are or have been cultures where the women were the ruling class

[13:31] herman Bergson: But in the majority it's the male that is dominating

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess it all begun with the general thing that males are generally more muscular and stronger and from there it went to women are weak and unintelligent with small brains so men should do all important things blablabla

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that road

[13:31] herman Bergson: When we look at other social animals we see the same roles

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:32] oola Neruda: does it have to do with self doubt...due to responsibility that culture puts on them... or self doubt about being able to meet certain "standards: of masculinity

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess so too

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like men should not cry, men should not show weakness ect

[13:32] oola Neruda: men can be so mean to other men

[13:32] oola Neruda: show their "muscle".. I'm better than is proof

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and all men who are emotional and feeling are gay(nothing wrong with being gay though)

[13:33] herman Bergson: That is more so in US movies....

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): es

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:33] oola Neruda: football

[13:33] oola Neruda: etc

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the movie industry surley boost this image

[13:33] herman Bergson: Then you get those bizar fist fights

[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): crying is not a matter of weakness, but of strength

[13:34] herman Bergson: really ridiculous

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its made intentionally to spread this skewed and wrong image

[13:34] oola Neruda: have to meet the image or else....

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so that men can stay in power

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its not just entertainment

[13:34] oola Neruda: agreed, PP

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): in politics are more man that woman these days

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): than

[13:35] oola Neruda: strong women are a horrible threat

[13:35] herman Bergson: equality of birth as the basis of democracy.....well...for men, yes

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then its not equality

[13:35] oola Neruda: and trophies... of all sorts

[13:35] herman Bergson: No...

[13:36] herman Bergson: what problem do men have with women? ^_^

[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): tell us:)

[13:36] oola Neruda: not getting one... or the one

[13:36] herman Bergson: I should tell you? ^_^

[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes please from the vision of a man

[13:37] oola Neruda: being obeyed

[13:37] herman Bergson: Maybe it is because men know deep in their heart that they eventually depend on women....

[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: :-)

[13:38] oola Neruda: that fits

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): otherwise they wear two different socks

[13:38] herman Bergson: maybe it is that deep longing for back to mommie's arms :-)

[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: lol Beertje

[13:38] herman Bergson: Is true :-)

[13:39] oola Neruda: I believe you....

[13:39] herman Bergson: That is what that woman said to that man...

[13:39] herman Bergson: hey you are wearing two differnet socks...

[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes said the man

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i rock the socks!

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :)รค

[13:39] herman Bergson: and at home I have another similar pair

[13:39] oola Neruda: lol

[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): grins

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): haha

[13:39] bergfrau Apfelbaum: lol

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i do that intentionally now and then

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a thing

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for me

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:40] herman Bergson: I call it a vitamin A thing Bejiita :-)

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe

[13:40] herman Bergson: vitamin Attention :-))

[13:40] herman Bergson: Everubody will look at your socks then

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:41] herman Bergson: Might be a project

[13:41] herman Bergson: WHY DO MEN HATE WOMEN?

[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes, a big question

[13:42] oola Neruda: the ultimate trophey can say no

[13:42] herman Bergson: lol...that is it oola

[13:42] herman Bergson: men don't take NO for an answer...

[13:42] herman Bergson: Ohh there I have a real example

[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they have to.....

[13:43] herman Bergson: there was an article on the great german philosopher Peter Sloterdijk....he is very popular in Germany

[13:43] herman Bergson: He has written a novel

[13:44] herman Bergson: and in that novel he describes women who get raped....and he says....when they say know they mean yes but say no because that has to do with  being may not tell you like it

[13:45] oola Neruda: grrrrrrrrrrr

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (shudders)

[13:45] herman Bergson: He also writes why Brazilian and African women have such big round behinds....

[13:45] herman Bergson: that is because thelove to be taken from behind...

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and this is his view?

[13:45] oola Neruda: grrrrrr

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): what a monster

[13:46] herman Bergson: OF COURSe,,,no is not the great philosophers mind speaking is just a novel

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well in that case

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): still horrifying stories there

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): terrible novel

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's like FOX....entertainment

[13:46] oola Neruda: ignorant people out there who might believe it

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but there are indeed men who think like this

[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and some people beleive in it

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep

[13:47] herman Bergson: The man is super arrogant

[13:47] oola Neruda: and more

[13:47] oola Neruda: should be locked up

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what would happen when a woman rapes this man????

[13:47] oola Neruda: or... disfigured

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): there are scary dudes out there for sure

[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is he calling for his mommie?

[13:48] oola Neruda: lol probly could not... would have to figure out some way to.... get around it

[13:48] herman Bergson: There is a profesor of social psychology who has written a book against Sloterdijk, accusing him even of fascist ideas

[13:48] herman Bergson: was in my newsparer this morning

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok

[13:49] herman Bergson: I ahva always regarded this Sloterdijk as a wind bag

[13:49] herman Bergson: But he seems to be very popular

[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): a dangerous wind bag

[13:49] oola Neruda: and stupid

[13:50] herman Bergson: Well, he had a Ph.D. student who is now leader of the Ultra-right AfD party in Germany

[13:50] herman Bergson: Marc Jongene

[13:50] herman Bergson: Jongen

[13:50] oola Neruda: self centered... i bet

[13:51] herman Bergson: Yes

[13:51] herman Bergson: That Jongen uses Sloterdijk's ideas for his political views...

[13:52] herman Bergson: But THAT is democracy invented by those guys in Athens a 2500 years ago :-)

[13:52] oola Neruda: makes me think of how those who starve... can only think of one thing

[13:52] oola Neruda: sounds like a starving ego

[13:53] herman Bergson: Well...let's continue following the trail and see what will come next :-)

[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:53] herman Bergson: Thank you all gain...

[13:53] herman Bergson: Class dismissed.

[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:53] oola Neruda: grrrrrrrrrrr

[13:54] oola Neruda: thank you Herman...

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

968: On Democracy....

For the development of an understanding of democratic freedom, the period between 500 to 400 BC in Greece is important.


Herodotus (484 - 425 BC) wrote his "Histories" in that period, a detailed account of the Greco-Persian Wars.


From it we learn about the democratic self-governing of the Greeks, which he opposed to the situation of the Persian subjects, who were slaves of their ruler.


This gave the concept of freedom a wider meaning than just physical freedom. It got a political dimension. Depending on who is governing people are free or slave.


This is not the only reason why Herodotus is so interesting. Another reason is that he was one of the first in history to reflect on the value of freedom. 


Political freedom, in other words, self-government by the people, was important, he made clear, 


because only under this form of government could people arrange their lives as they wished and enjoy personal security and independence. 


Only under a free government could people control their destiny. Life under a monarchy was simply too precarious to be called free. Even a good king could suddenly turn bad and start abusing his subjects.


He left Herodotus in no doubt that the battle between Greeks and Persians was not just a military conflict. It was a clash of civilizations.


In his view, in the Greco-Persian Wars, the freedom-loving Greeks faced an enemy with a completely different and much more hierarchical worldview. 


It would also have put an end to the Greek way of life. Not only would the Greeks have been subject to foreign domination, a Persian rule, as Herodotus repeatedly pointed out, would have meant the end of popular rule in Greek cities.


Athens was the cradle of this popular rule. Not everyone was happy about that. The wealthy upper class, the elite, or the oligarchs, as the Greeks called them,


 had their doubts and fought against the democratic concept of freedom. 


Democracy, in their view, was in fact not the rule of all, but a form of government that gave excessive power to the poor, who in any society outnumber the rich. 


In other words, in the eyes of the wealthy minority, democracy did not lead to freedom, but to another tyranny: the tyranny of the poor.


This oligarchic critique of freedom can largely be seen as a reaction to the increasing democratization of the Athenian political regime.


 After the reforms of Cleisthenes, the founder of Athenian democracy, about 508 BC, Athens was already one of the most democratic cities on the Greek mainland. 


Under Cleisthenes, for example, civil servants were elected, but in the fifth century that system gave way to appointments by lot, 


which prevented an elite with the right social contacts from dominating elections and monopolizing official functions. 


An exception was made for positions requiring specific skills, such as defense and finance. In addition, Athenian reformers introduced to pay for government positions. 


As a result, political power fell into the hands of ordinary Athenian citizens. ln any decade of the late fifth and fourth centuries BC, between a quarter and a third of citizens over thirty, 


the minimum age at which they qualified for office, have held public office. 


Reforms were also made to allow more ordinary Athenian citizens to participate in popular assemblies, where key political decisions were made. 


In 390 BC. participants received a small wage so that even the poor could afford to attend the meetings that often lasted for days.


And the most striking is, that just like today the rich claim to be "more equal" than the poor and anti-democratic, to paraphrase Orson Wells.


Thank you for your attention again....

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

The Discussion    

[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:16] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sounds like repetition of history to me

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep

[13:16] herman Bergson: You read my mind Gemma

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the rich afraid some will come and take their money

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and power

[13:16] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:16] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:16] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i read the history

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they want to be in charge

[13:16] herman Bergson: it is astonishing how little homo sapiens has changed if it comes to politics

[13:16] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sigh

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess

[13:17] herman Bergson: I'll come with some more prove of how little man has changed through the ages

[13:18] herman Bergson: But what is more important is that the Greeks experimented with popular rule....they were the only ones on the planet who did that in that time

[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): very different from other cultures then

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:19] herman Bergson: around the year 1 A.D under the roman emperor Augustus, Rome ruled the whole Mediterranean region....also Greece

[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): did other cultures copy the Greek?

[13:20] herman Bergson: To some extend the Romans did, yes....

[13:20] herman Bergson: and most astonishing....WE did....

[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) whispers: we?

[13:21] herman Bergson: The right to vote....representative politics...from when is it...1913?

[13:21] herman Bergson: The first voting rights?

[13:21] herman Bergson: 1903?

[13:21] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): woman much later

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) whispers: none before that?

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): seems a long time

[[13:21] herman Bergson: Only men....1914 women too in England...TheNetherlands...I guess it was 1923

[13:22] herman Bergson: Democracy was ruled out since the roman empire

[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): women in Rome were very independent tho

[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and had some power

[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hey oola

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hi oola

[13:23] bergfrau Apfelbaum: hi Oola:-)

[13:23] herman Bergson: It returned when politicians...that is...certain classes in society got scared of Marxism 1848....the Russian Revolution 1914

[13:23] oola Neruda: sorry

[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah

[13:23] oola Neruda: duhhh

[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hallo oola

[13:23] herman Bergson: Then the elite, the ruling class began to think about giving the people more rights

[13:24] herman Bergson: it is in fact an amazing story with respect to freedom and democracy

[13:25] herman Bergson: And in the US they try to kill it again....

[13:25] herman Bergson: Hello oola :-)

[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sigh yes

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm indeed!

[13:25] herman Bergson: I heard a weird example...

[13:26] herman Bergson: Texas Houston Count....ONE dropbox...4 million inhabitants....some rural county 200+ inhabitants ONE dropbox

[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is what they want yes

[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): noneed to have a dropbox, we can vote by computer these days

[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we cannot

[13:27] herman Bergson: So....the freedom WE know based on how we are governed is on the one hand old and invented by the Greeks and on the other hand very young

[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): nto from home

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): you finally have a new government now i read

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) whispers: is a good one?

[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes we have an new old government :-)

[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): time will tell Gemma

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): figured that

[13:29] herman Bergson: still is a neo liberal government.....

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok

[13:30] herman Bergson: It is not that bad...but I don't agree with their priorities...but that is politics :-)

[13:31] herman Bergson: But we still life in freedom with all rights to vote....

[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right

[13:31] herman Bergson: Unfortunately the liberals have the largest party, obtained by a fair election :-)

[13:32] herman Bergson: So those who vote still liberal has to be converted :-)

[13:32] herman Bergson: But our liberals aren't that anti-social like US Reps

[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oyes

[13:33] herman Bergson: They still have an eye and ear for the weak in our society....but that eye and ear are too small in my opinion :-)

[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): everywhere i think

[13:34] herman Bergson: Think so too....

[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the rich rule the world

[13:35] herman Bergson: We'll see more of this poor / rich people controversy indeed Beertje

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): tho i think some countries have a policy of a minimum living pay for those who need it'

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): some of teh north Euro countries?

[13:35] herman Bergson: Well the main problem of all societies is to find a way to get to fair distribution of resources

[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes we have...

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thinks that will take another century

[13:36] herman Bergson: When you can't make a living there is social wellfare for everyone

[13:36] herman Bergson: It isn;t much but reasonable

[13:37] herman Bergson: it is not below the poverty limit

[13:37] herman Bergson: ok..let me end this lecture with some fun......

[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh

[13:37] herman Bergson: Take your time to enjoy me it is breathtaking....

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you are going to sing for us?

[13:38] herman Bergson: I put is on my FB page made it myself :-))

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or play cello?

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ur great on that

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:38] herman Bergson: Would be better indeed Bejiita

[13:38] herman Bergson:

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sing? he does not even talk here

[13:39] herman Bergson: lol

[13:43] herman Bergson: If you  have watch already a part of this clip.... I was flabbergasted...

[13:44] herman Bergson: Fraud in plain view

967: Why in Greece....?

 In the previous lecture we learned that freedom was opposed to physical slavery, but that the Ancient Greeks added a political dimension to the concept of freedom.


They were the first and only in their time and in the discussion I was left with the question: Why did this occur only in Greece?


Just wonder how it all began. 


About 13.5 billion years ago matter,  energy time and space came into being in what is known as the  Big Bang. The story of these fundamental features of our universe is called physics.


Just listen to this: "Earlier than 10^-36 seconds, we simply don't understand the nature of the universe. 


The Big Bang theory is fantastic at describing everything after that, but before it, we're a bit lost." (Paul M. Sutter, astrophysicist at SUNY Stony Brook and the Flatiron Institute, New York City)


It happened. also couldn't have happened. I see no necessity in it happening, In other words, it is just a coincidence, a totally random coincidence.


About 300,000 years after their appearance, matter and energy  started to coalesce into complex structures, called atoms, 


which then combined into molecules. The story of atoms, molecules and their interactions is called chemistry.


Why did that happen? The conditions and properties of the atoms were probably favorable to make it happen. It just happened.


About 3.8 billion years ago, on a planet called Earth, certain molecules combined to form particularly large and intricate structures called organisms. The story of organisms is called biology  


As Darwin has shown, evolution is a random process with no ultimate goal. It just happens and if the conditions are right the fittest survives.


About 70,000 years ago, organisms belonging to the species Homo sapiens started to form even more elaborate structures called cultures.  The subsequent development of these human cultures is called history.


With homo sapiens and history we have arrived in the world of patterns and principles. One of its consequences was the agricultural revolution some 12.000 years ago.


Why did it happen? Homo sapiens happened to discover patterns and principles. And by acting upon them he created conditions, which happen to lead to new possibilities.


Farming created private property, surplus food production created wealth and food for people that not spend all their time on farming. The wealth created power. The power created rulers.


That not everybody was needed for the food production caused the creation of communities, cities, where people could spend time on other activities like education, philosophy and art.


It just happened, because homo sapiens is some curious animal, that discovers patterns and principles everywhere. 


the exact causes of the transition to popular governments in ancient Greece are likely to remain the subject of debate.


Just imagine.... The basic social structure in those times all over the world was based on the power of the strongest, that is, a rich elite and an autocratic ruler.


And only in the Greece city-states popular rule was adopted as the best form of social organization and cooperation.


I only can understand it in an evolutionary and Darwinian way: under the given condition the fittest survives.


And what these conditions were in Ancient Greece, which did not occur anywhere else, I don't know. It was just a coincidence that it happened there, I guess.


Thank you for your attention.....if you have any remarks or questions, feel free to come forward...

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

The Discussion

[13:17] oola Neruda: what about the ancient philosophers... the ones we hear about....

[13:17] oola Neruda: they must have has some influence

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as said, already the old greeks

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:18] herman Bergson: what about them...they just did what they did....

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that statement exists for a reason

[13:19] oola Neruda: yrd

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and my best guess is their particular culture and how it and their society worked, it had something unique

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): compared to the rest of the world then

[13:19] herman Bergson: today we take democracy for granted and are convinced that it is the most just way of organizing society....

[13:19] Somedirtycat Saule: I have to refresh my knowledge about the Greeks. Somehow it feels wrong to lump them together over time

[13:20] herman Bergson: That is the point WAS unique....

[13:20] herman Bergson: What do you mean Saule?

[13:20] Somedirtycat Saule: It was a time and they changed over it

[13:21] herman Bergson: Well...with the rise of the Roman Empire the popular rule disappeared from the public stage...

[13:21] herman Bergson: also in Greece

[13:22] Somedirtycat Saule: Yes

[13:22] herman Bergson: It disppeared in all of Europe

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok

[13:22] herman Bergson: it didn't exist anymore all over the world

[13:23] herman Bergson: Just try to figure out when popular rule got hold again on society

[13:23] theo Velde is online.

[13:23] herman Bergson: Did you ever realize when that was?

[13:24] herman Bergson: While we think voting is a basic right, freedom of speech is a basic right eyc?

[13:24] herman Bergson: etc

[13:24] Somedirtycat Saule: Representative democracy couns?

[13:24] Somedirtycat Saule: *counts

[13:25] herman Bergson: It counts indeed...a separation of powers counts....judiciary, legislative and executive power

[13:25] herman Bergson: otherwise we return to autocracies and dictatorships

[13:26] Somedirtycat Saule: 'I mean did popular rule ever returned?

[13:26] herman Bergson: What the Ancient Greeks believed was that they had the right to answer the question How do we want to be governed as a people

[13:27] herman Bergson: It did return, yes

[13:27] herman Bergson: There is to begin with a separation of powers in democratic countries

[13:27] herman Bergson: It also can in the US almost happened

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:29] herman Bergson: And historically interesting....only one man stood in the way at the crucial moment of the coup: Mike Pence

[13:29] herman Bergson: Democracy still works

[13:29] herman Bergson: But also in Europe we see erosion

[13:31] herman Bergson: But countries like Sweden Norway Denmark Germany, The Netherlands Belgium France and some others are still examples of democratic rule

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): while Hungary Poland ect are falling down the pit

[13:31] oola Neruda: the US has the history of slavery and Jim Crow

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the wrong way

[13:32] Somedirtycat Saule: I see things different obviously. I live in Sweden and I don't consider it to be either democracy or popular rule.

[13:32] Somedirtycat Saule: It's shitty politics

[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes...but at least there is the freedom to produce this shitty politics in a variaty of ways

[13:33] herman Bergson: Of course it is always a battle of interests and ideologies

[13:33] Somedirtycat Saule: Freedom to chose between shit and piss.

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i can agree, here its like a cement mixer full of crap, and we also have the party SD who are dominating now and they back both Poland and Hungarys non tolerant ways and want Sweden to go the same direction, kicking out all immigrants ect

[13:34] herman Bergson: say it yourself....there is a freedom of choice :-)

[13:34] Somedirtycat Saule: nods

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): SD have their roots in nazist and racist groups here and they try cover it the best they can but...

[13:35] herman Bergson: in the Netherlands you hear such sounds too, though they have little influence in politics

[13:35] herman Bergson: That sounds bad Bejiita

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they try blame immigrants for all crimes and such, and sure we have shootings ect but i think the reue issue is, we dont take care of them and then they revolt, its segregation

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sure we cant help everyone but, i think it goes deeper then many thinks

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and as u say Saule, the politics here is indeed a mess now

[13:37] Somedirtycat Saule: People voted for Hitler so, yeah, democracy.

[13:38] herman Bergson: The best political trick to manipulate the masses is to play on there fear....the fear tol ose what they have...

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:38] herman Bergson: that is what such groups do...

[13:38] oola Neruda: yes

[13:38] Somedirtycat Saule: Media fearmongering make democracy useless.

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i see that patttern in SD, in Mr T ect more or less

[13:39] herman Bergson: If you hear US republicans about Biden.......They say plainly....He is ruining the country.....

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): jiggering up the masses against "the others"

[13:39] herman Bergson: and such stupid excalamtions are believed by the ignorants

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[13:39] herman Bergson: yes...the The / US controversy....a classic

[13:40] Somedirtycat Saule: Problem here. Should the ignorants have a say?

[13:40] herman Bergson: if it arent the immigrants it must be the Jews, or the black people or the Mexicans

[13:40] oola Neruda: exactly

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:40] herman Bergson: That is a problem is the price of democracy

[13:40] oola Neruda: exactly

[13:41] herman Bergson: they only weapon against ignorancy it to try to educate and inform people....not to disqualify them as ignorants.....

[13:41] herman Bergson: they have to be treated with empathy

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess yes

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:42] Somedirtycat Saule: So as democracy vote itself away from time to time it is better to talk about something that involve periods of non democracy

[13:43] herman Bergson: The only thing you can do is to show the differences between democracy and other forms of rule

[13:43] CONNIE Eichel is online.

[13:43] oola Neruda: we are having non democracy now... with the changes to voting rights and other rights... right now

[13:44] herman Bergson: yes oola, a very worrisome situation

[13:44] Somedirtycat Saule: Wrong. Democracy is one of different ways of rule, not democracy and the rest

[13:44] oola Neruda: redistricting... new laws about women's bodies....

[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): eee ok

[13:45] oola Neruda: no checks on false "so called news"

[13:45] herman Bergson: Ok Saule....any rule is ok as long as it complies to the Human Rights Act...ok?

[13:45] Somedirtycat Saule: a good dictator can be much better than a failing democracy as example

[13:45] herman Bergson: That is an old saying....define GOOD here

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like me and my work dude i mentioned before and how we would be the best dictators ever

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): good = doing good for people instead of harming and terrorizing them

[13:46] Somedirtycat Saule: list up what you like and think is good. Imagine a dictator have that as policy. Good as f**k

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and starting wars

[13:47] herman Bergson: that is a tautology....

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): FREEE BEER FOR ALL!

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:47] herman Bergson: what when you find something good the dictator does or wants and I find it totally wrong...even immoral...what then?

[13:48] Nicholas Derwent (nicholasderwent) is online.

[13:48] herman Bergson: By definition: What a dictator says or wants of me is always right....

[13:48] herman Bergson: so we have aproblem here

[13:48] Somedirtycat Saule: guess we go to democracy then, off with the dictators head

[13:49] herman Bergson: That is what happened in Ancient Athens around 500 when Hipparchus the tiran was murdered and popular rule was installed

[13:50] herman Bergson: oh...and for your information......

[13:50] Somedirtycat Saule: Seems to me that there is a cycle of ruling systems and democracy is not the best

[13:50] Somedirtycat Saule: but that is my limited opinion

[13:50] herman Bergson: He was the son of Peisistratus.....the man who ended a civil war in Athens.....That war was a fight between the ppor and the rich

[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a friend told me that Liberalism is the ultimate way of freedom , not democracy

[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): what about that?

[13:51] herman Bergson: I would say that that is incorrect

[13:51] Somedirtycat Saule: Actually we have more of liberalism now

[13:52] herman Bergson: liberalism is unfair towards the weak and poor in society....doe not think in terms of social sharing and mutual focusses on the rights of the individual mainly

[13:52] Alejandra Loza 24c (kotori24c) is online.

[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its the all for their own way

[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok

[13:52] herman Bergson: Take for instance healthcare....

[13:52] oola Neruda: and see what "liberal" has done in the US

[13:53] herman Bergson: You get sick....

[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm thats true, its the privatization and free market hysteria

[13:53] herman Bergson: What does the liberal say....

[13:53] herman Bergson: Sorry...that is your problem...solve it yourself....

[13:53] herman Bergson: but what when you can't afford expensive treatments?

[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): my friend did however not agree with me and told me its more complex then so, but i guess we think in different planes then

[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i don't know

[13:54] herman Bergson: Again the liber says....that is your problem....just work harder ...get better educated

[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): 'its complex stuff for sure

[13:54] herman Bergson: But when you aren;t super intelligent?

[13:54] Somedirtycat Saule: Many dimensions. Popular rule is one.

[13:54] herman Bergson: Who takes care of you then?

[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm true Herman

[13:54] oola Neruda: or they say..... to each his own.... like whether covid shots matter

[13:55] herman Bergson: We ALL have to take care of each other.....share our resources.... etc

[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true

[13:55] herman Bergson: that is popular rule....collective responsibility....

[13:55] oola Neruda: free shots.... free to think they are not helpful...

[13:56] herman Bergson: to give you an example....

[13:56] Somedirtycat Saule: so if choosing by popular rule between bad things democracy has overstayed for the moment

[13:56] herman Bergson: when the tiran of Athens was removed and popular rule was adopted.....

[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): seems its the best way indeed

[13:56] herman Bergson: it had a major effect on the fighting power of the army of Athens

[13:57] Somedirtycat Saule: As I said I have to read up about this interesting subject. Thanks for bringing it up Herman

[13:57] herman Bergson: shared responsibility....

[13:57] herman Bergson: thank you Saule...:-)

[13:58] herman Bergson: I guess today we yet saved a little piece of the world....

[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess so

[13:58] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): again

[13:58] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation....