Monday, 17 June 2019

On Philosophy, Legends, and Religions

Philosophy entails venturing into unknown areas. That is why good philosophy always develops in cultures which are dominated by religions whose theological structure is explained through enduring legends which are full of all kinds of adventures. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle believed in Zeus. The religion of Zeus, propagated mainly through the legends of Hesiod and Homer, brought to the thinkers in Ancient Greece the desire venture into unknown areas of intellectualism.

In Plato’s the Republic, Socrates and his friends use the phrase “by Zeus” 92 times (as per my count in Allan Bloom’s translation of Plato’s the Republic). Socrates and his friends also talk about the Oracle of Delphi in several passages. Socrates insists that in the city founded by the philosophers, the Oracle of Delhi will be the final authority. Aristotle too was a believer in Zeus and Athena. According to Diogenes Laertius, in his will Aristotle left a sizable sum of money to build statues "4 cubits high in Stagira to Zeus the Preserver and Athena the Preserver, in fulfilment of [his] vow. "

Good philosophy and a religion rich in legends always walk hand-in-hand. The philosophers who hold religious beliefs have contributed far more to the development of a free, scientific, and tolerant society than the atheistic philosophers. The atheistic philosophers do not have any legends or traditions and so they mostly preach revolutionary ideas which denounce modernity and aim to take society into the dark ages when farmers and workers were the property of feudal lords and tyrants.

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