Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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 Bejiita...it 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 disappear...like 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: there...you 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 indeed....it 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 resposability...it 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....

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