Saturday, July 04, 2020
Friday, July 03, 2020
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Lucretius, (c.99 bce - c.55 bce), was a Roman poet and philosopher
3 pandemic predictions from LucretiusHow being afraid of death is making some people less ethicalThe global spread of the coronavirus has forced us to confront our own mortality, and fears about illness and death weigh heavily on the minds of many.But there’s a risk that fear for our own life will outweigh fear for the collective to the extent that, however unwittingly, we start to act in a way that causes harm to the collective - the global phenomenon of panic- buying is an obvious example.As early as the first century BC, Roman philosopher Lucretius predicted that humanity’s fear of death could drive us to irrational beliefs and actions that would harm society. And as COVID-19 sweeps across the globe, three of his key predictions are coming true.Prediction one: being afraid of death corrupts our subjective experience of life.Lucretius made the case that people aren’t afraid of death unless there’s an immediate danger of dying; it’s when illness or danger strike that we get scared and strive to understand what comes after death.The goal then becomes alleviating these fears. Some people do so by imagining that they have immaterial souls that shed their bodies or that there is a benevolent God, Lucretius writes. Others might imagine an eternal afterlife, or an immortal soul that is more important than the body and the material world.Prediction two: being afraid of death deepens social divisions and puts certain groups at greater risk.Prediction three: being afraid of death inspires some people to accumulate wealth or political power at the expense of the community.Advice from Lucretius on how to avoid these predictions:According to Lucretius, being afraid of dying is irrational because once people die they will not be sad, judged by gods, or pity their family; they will not be anything at all. ‘Death is nothing to us’ he says.(from article by Thomas Nail, associate professor of Philosophy at the University of Denver. Issue 87, 30th March 2020, in IAI, Institute of Art and Ideas)
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Hypermnestra didn't kill her husband on their wedding night. Her 49 sisters did kill theirs.
In Greek mythology, the Danaïdes (/dəˈneɪ.ɪdiːz/; Greek: Δαναΐδες), also Danaides or Danaids, were the fifty daughters of Danaus. In the Metamorphoses, Ovid refers to them as the Belides after their grandfather Belus. They were to marry the 50 sons of Danaus' twin brother Aegyptus, a mythical king of Egypt. In the most common version of the myth, all but one of them killed their husbands on their wedding night, and are condemned to spend eternity carrying water in a sieve or perforated device. In the classical tradition, they came to represent the futility of a repetitive task that can never be completed (see also Sisyphus).
(--from Danaïdes, Wikipedia)
Danaus agreed to the marriage of his daughters only after Aegyptus came to Argos with his fifty sons in order to protect the local population, the Argives, from any battles. The daughters were ordered by their father to kill their husbands on the first night of their weddings and this they all did with the exception of one, Hypermnestra, who spared her husband Lynceus because he respected her desire to remain a virgin. Danaus was angered that his daughter refused to do as he ordered and took her to the Argives courts. Lynceus killed Danaus as revenge for the death of his brothers and he and Hypermnestra started the Danaid Dynasty of rulers in Argos. (ibid)