Livy, Latin in full Titus Livius (born 59/64 bc, Patavium, Venetia, Italy —died ad 17, Patavium), with Sallust and Tacitus, one of the three great Roman historians.
The History of Rome (Books I-V) – a foundational work in the history of western thought – covers the earliest history of Rome, from the arrival of Aeneas and the myth of Romulus and Remus to its capture and burning by the Gauls in 386BC. Livy’s storytelling radiates in vivid accounts of constant class warfare interspersed with military adventure. Here we learn about the Rape of the Sabine Women, the Alban Compact, Coriolanus, Cincinnatus, the Fabii and the slave Vindictus, the rise and fall of the Tarquin kings, the battle of Lake Regillus, the Commission of the Ten (the Decemvirs) and their law-code known as the twelve tables, the coming of the consuls and the tribunes, the winter soldiers, and finally the Gallic sacking of Rome and Camillus’ memorable speech echoing the foundation of the city.
Livy recorded his history of Rome at the end of the first millennium, hundreds of years after many of the events he describes, in a period when Rome was just emerging from nearly a century of civil war. His retelling of these traditional stories handed down from ancient times was heavily influenced by political strife more contemporary to his day. Myth, history and tradition fuse together within a political superstructure that depicts early Rome in perpetual turmoil, featuring constant power struggles between the masses (Plebeians) and the elites (Patricians). He writes in 2.23, “Nevertheless, danger was threatening the city’s peace . . . [in the form of] ever-increasing bitterness between the ruling class and the masses. The chief cause of the dispute was the plight of the unfortunates who were ‘bound over’ to their creditors for debts.”
Posted in Activism, Books, Essays, Europe, History, Labor, Philosophy, Politics, War, Work
Tagged clasical, Labor Movement, livy, rome
Mao famously said that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Suggesting that in order to take outright political control the armed struggle is an absolute necessity. And although this is known as one of the famous creeds of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory, it has also clearly been adopted by those on the other side of the barricades, most aggressively by the United States.
Gandhi on the other hand taught that the monopoly on courage is held by those who stand and face the cannons, not by those who cower behind them. Guns (or insert drones here) are for the cowards in other words.
Until American society chooses Gandhi’s message over Mao’s message as its overarching philosophy on violence, and commits to teaching it from the earliest grades in schools and to echoing it repeatedly and endlessly in the media, no mere tweaking of easily circumvented gun laws will make the fundamental difference. There are no quick fixes, it will take generations. Shame is a powerful human driver and nobody aspires to be known as a coward…
Einstein famously said: “God does not play dice with the universe.” Centuries earlier the christian philosopher Blaise Pascal similarly ruminated on God’s connection to gambling. Pascal’s Wager simply put says:
- If you believe in God and God does exist, you will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven: thus an infinite gain.
- If you do not believe in God and God does exist, you will be condemned to remain in hell forever: thus an infinite loss.
- If you believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded: thus a finite loss.
- If you do not believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded, but you have lived your own life: thus a finite gain.
||God does not exist
|Believe in God
||Infinite gain in heaven
|Disbelieve in God
||Infinite loss in hell
(Above is from From Rationalwiki.org)
Pascal (1623 – 1662) was reacting primarily to the essays of Montaigne, the most popular skeptic of the day. Medieval theology was by then fading almost entirely from vogue, crushed on the shoals of the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. For the religious set the trend was certainly in the wrong direction. In response Pascal crafted an apologetic for Christianity which is basically an exercise in managing on the margins of reason. Based on probability theory and game theory his Wager attempted to show that it is a no-brainer for someone to believe that God exists, even though this cannot be proved or disproved through reason. If one is willing to “bet” on the existence of God, even without certainty or proof, with no guarantee of winning the bet, that option still far outweighs the alternative with regard to potential gains. Makes sense…
But this assumes that God has taken the bet. After all, the Wager appeals to a base, some would say biological, instinct for self-preservation rather than to an ideal faith in some cosmic omniscient being. In fact, if God does exist, and is indeed a gambler, might not a person who is willing to take a big risk for his/her belief (or disbelief as the case may be) rate higher in God’s estimation than one who is just defaulting to the safest position to cover his bet (or rear-end)? Should one spend a lifetime collecting silver bullets on the off chance that there are werewolves bent on killing him? Or take a risk and ignore the wager? The answer: who knows?
BBC- A Brief History of Disbelief
BBC – Disbelief Exras
Einstein on God
Richard Feynman on God
George Carlin on God
Richard Dawkins on God
Why I Am Not A Christian – Bertrand Russell
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Like all craftsman and builders in history, Mao worked with the materials available at hand– peasants. It wasn’t the crisis of overproduction, or the alienation of the worker, that mattered to them. No, what a Chinese peasant dreamed of was land; Mao understood this well… More>>
Posted in Asia, Essays, Philosophy, Vietnam, War
Tagged Asia, China, Communist China, Cultural Revolution, Great Leap Forward, Mao, Mao Zedong, Peasant