Saturday 16th of November 2019

a brigand writ large .....

‘It all began, as usual, with the
Greeks. The ancient Greeks were the first civilized people to use their reason
to think systematically about the world around them. The Greeks were the first
philosophers (philosophia – lovers of wisdom), the first people to
think deeply and to figure out how to attain and verify knowledge about the
world. Other tribes and peoples had tended to attribute natural events to
arbitrary whims of the gods. A violent thunderstorm, for example, might be ascribed
to something that had irritated the god of thunder. The way to bring on rain,
then, or to curb violent thunderstorms, would be to find out what acts of man
would please the god of rain or appease the thunder god. Such people would have
considered it foolish to try to figure out the natural causes of rain or of
thunder. Instead, the thing to do was to find out what the relevant gods wanted
and then try to supply their needs. 

The Greeks, in contrast, were
eager to use their reason – their sense observations and their command of logic
– to investigate and learn about their world. In so doing, they gradually
stopped worrying about the whims of the gods and began to investigate actual
entities around them. Led in particular by the great Athenian philosopher
Aristotle (384–322 BC), a magnificent and creative systematizer known to later
ages as The Philosopher, the Greeks evolved a theory and a method of reasoning
and of science which later came to be called the natural law.’ 

It All Began, As
Usual, With The Greeks