Sunday, July 22, 2007

Confessions of an LDS Free-thinker (3)

This is the third of my confessions. I think. Lately, one of the things I have been wrestling with is the meaning of the words sustain and emulate. This is simply because my Bishop of my Church congregation (called a ward) has been giving me some grief over what sustain and emulate actually mean. As a free thinker, I'm an agent unto myself and I am capable of creating as God does. Same as any other human on the planet.

However, in my quest to learn more, I am frustrated by my Bishop's understanding of what it means to support the Leaders of the Church. I support the leaders of the Church, I really do, but as far I understand things, my support can go only so far as sustain is defined. However, my bishop is only interested in "sustaining" the Leaders as so far as emulating them as examples of how we aught to live our lives. And this gives me a headache since I do not believe in blind obedience.


Transitive Verb.
Pronunciation: \sə-ˈstān\
Function: transitive verb
Middle English sustenen, from Anglo-French sustein-, stem of sustenir, from Latin sustinēre to hold up, sustain, from sub-, sus- up + tenēre to hold — more at sub-, thin
13th century
1: to give support or relief to
: to supply with sustenance : nourish
3: keep up, prolong
4: to support the weight of : prop; also : to carry or withstand (a weight or pressure)
: to buoy up <sustained by hope>
6 a
: to bear up under b: suffer, undergo <sustained heavy losses>
7 a
: to support as true, legal, or just b: to allow or admit as valid sustained the motion>
8: to support by adequate proof : confirm sustains our contention>

Now, emulate.


Listen to the pronunciation of 1emulate
\ˈem-yə-ˌlāt, -yü-\
transitive verb
Inflected Form(s):
em·u·lat·ed; em·u·lat·ing
Latin aemulatus, past participle of aemulari, from aemulus rivaling
1 a: to strive to equal or excel b: imitate; especially : to imitate by means of an emulator
2: to equal or approach equality with

So, are we supposed to bear up our leaders, to buoy them up, and to support them as legal and just? Or are we suposed to imitate them? Really, I have no idea at what my bishop is trying to get at. If it is the former, I do that wholeheartedly. The latter, I'm not to sure about. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are taught that Jesus' life is our example, and that Jesus is our exemplar. Jesus is the Master of all the masters; His teachings supercede Buddha's, Lao Tzu's, Confucius', Moses', and Joseph Smith's. These other masters all complement their Master in their teachings on how a person can reach his or her fullest potential. So, why is emulating President Hinckley more important than living the Life of Jesus? I have no idea; but I'm beginning to feel that I'm being pulled this way and that way with my relationship to my bishop.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Jiang Hu Hong Kong (and Salt Lake City)

After my censure by ICE, I decided to work on a few things that would prove that I'm capable of originality. The first thing is an adventure designed for strong action in a world of Shadow and Martial Arts; a shared world known as Jiang Hu (which means "Rivers and Lakes").

In this first, adrenaline charged, high octane adventure; our intrepid band of adventurers start in Salt Lake City and fly to Hong Kong to retrieve an artifact stolen from the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

The adventure should contain lots of explosions and be a good, all around can of action and adventure. A high FX Adventure, the adventure is based on the d20 Modern System.

Stage of Draft: Rough.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Working with the Youth

I'm working with the Youth in my Church Group and have volunteered to join the Boy Scout Troop on the merit badge council. Although I have to wear those stupid swimsuits when I go swimming with the youth (a naked leader with the youth doesn't come with good consequences); it's a set up I have to deal with.

I'll save the swimsuit arguement at a later time.

Anyway, as secretary, I pass boys off for their Scout advancements and merit badges. Although I thought that I'd be doing something else. I'll probably will. The fun hasn't really kicked off yet. :) I was called as Young Men's Secretary earilier this month. I haven't been updating my blog; mostly because my MS Windows computer has been giving me distress. I want to shoot it with a 12 gauge shotgun (BLAM!).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Writing for ICE

My dream for writing for Rolemaster has been dashed mostly because I have a problem coming up with original stuff. Well, the problem is simple. I do have a hard time coming up with original stuff. This is simply because I agonize over it. I fuss and fuss and don't let the gear work turn. ;)

However, the gear works have turned, actually. I did think of something original. It's an idea that will work nicely.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Sorry about the relative quietness, but I'm making preparations to go back to school. As of today, my computer has been going haywire lately. A windows ME machine, it has been trying my patience. I scream at it every time I get a fatal error. It's just insane to buy another Windows Machine.

So, I've decided to stop the insanity and pick up an Apple MacBook Pro. It's mainly for school, and it's been fortuitous to get ready for school and get a private education loan. So, it's a plus.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We Are Responsible for Creating Pornography

Simple as that. We created the monster that lives and breathes on the Internet.

In all actuality, we created Pornography for the very reason why we abhore it. Most of the US does not like naked bodies. Nevertheless, we created Pornography any way by giving it definition. In Victorian Times. Yes, it was Victorian Times when pornography was conceived. The Victorian Prude, found everywhere, was instrumental in creating Pornography. By making the body a forbidding thing, only between man and wife was pornography given a form, identity, definition, and a function.

Now that bastard child of Victorian times invades our homes via the Internet and everyone can see the Frankenstein we've created. Yet, even now, anti-pornography organizations have sprung up to combat the monster. "We must defeat or destroy pornography!" they cry. "Kill the ogre!"

By rallying against pornography we are creating even more pornography! It is the Law that what ever we fight against must needs expand so that it will always exist for us to contest against. We are effectively giving pornography power in order to do this. However, there is hope.

The hope is that Pornography continues to spread like wildfire so that people will finally recognize Pornography for what it actually is. And then, they will recognize it's opposite: Wholesome Family and Social Nudity; and discover that Nudism and Naturism provide the best way to defeat the ogre. Wholesome Family and Social Nudity truly opposes Pornography in a most perfect and bright way.

By participating in Wholesome Social Nudity, a man or a woman can counteract the lessons they've learned. That the body is a wholesome creation of God; and therefore sex itself is wholesome. By focusing on Wholesome Social Nudity, Pornography can actually lose its steam. It can run out of firewood to burn and become eventually harmless.

In fact, the signs are encouraging. Wholesome Nudity is on the rise: nude recreation is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. today. Married couples are spending more and more time in the nude. Scientific research is encouraging this: stating that it is actually healthy to sunbathe. Nudist parents are raising nudist children who are well adjusted and balanced. So, as pornography grows, so does it's Opposite. And the future is bright in this regard.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Campaign for Natural Beauty

One of the worst things about the Fashion and Entertainment Industry is what they do to average looking models. They take the model, and sit her in a booth. Then they put all the make up on her and blow her hair to make it look attractive and beautiful. After the photoshoot, they digitally scan or take the digital photo in photoshop and alter the image to erase any look of average that you can recognize. Creating a totally hypocritical and bogus picture of beauty. Like the poster below. Her breasts are artificially enlarged and her legs probably altered.

Myspace Quotes, Glitter Graphics, Hello Comments, Dividers, TagWorld layouts, and HTML codes

Blech! What a terrible thing to do to a beautiful woman like that. Men should campaign for more natural looking beauties, and women should fight for less hypocrisy in the Fashion and Entertainment industry. One of the best ways to start is to see the video below.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Looking back

Hello fellow bloggers and greatful readers. I've been looking back at my High School days and at my Year Book for the Class of '93. Its surprising how handsome I actually looked like at 18. I was, as I am now, a beautiful sort of person back in '93. And I just now realize that.

I really do need to exercise. I also looked at my High School crush, a girl that I'm still in love with; and I realize what attraction is. And I'll get into my theory on attraction later; actually it's truth as I understand it. Beauty is an important principle of the Universe, and we need mathematics to understand the concept of beauty. Mathematics is the key to understanding this beauty.

To show you what I mean, I'm going to upload a beautiful picture in honor of Nude Blogging Day. :) And believe me, she is beautiful. Not as beautiful as my Love, but beautiful still. It's the picture of a family, going at least three or four generations.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Atlantis Design Diary: Heraclitus

It is time for Heraclitus. As a native a Ephesus, Heraclitus was a nobleman at birth. Heraclitus taught that everything has an opposite. Life and Death, Sin and Happiness, Success and Failure. These all existed in the world as opposites, according to Heraclitus. He also saw the great majority of human beings as lacking true understanding.

Some Teachings:
  • “All things come into being through opposition, and are in flux like a river.” -- Heraclitus. Like Xenophanes, Heraclitus rejected the anthropomorphism of popular religion, but what is peculiar to Heraclitus is the sheer sweep of his vision of the world-order as a dynamic equilibrium of opposite movements.
  • The life of the world-order lies in continual change.
  • The tension of opposing forces which Anaximander calls “injustice” are part of the cosmic process itself; without them there would be no alteration of summer and winter. These “injustices” which the opposites commit against each other are as essential to the well-being of the whole as the reparation which they make to one another. In the eyes of the gods, therefore, they are not injustices at all, for their occurrence is necessary to the functioning of the cosmos.
  • The modern humanist might take issue with Heraclitus’ sanctification of war, but it must be acknowledged that, since he turned his attention beyond explanations of natural phenomena — beyond physics — Heraclitus was in a sense the founder of Greek metaphysics, even though his successor, Parmenides, is almost universally regarded as the founder of this branch of philosophy.

Commentary: Heraclitus was correct to say that we live in a world of opposite forces. Lehi revealed this fact in the Book of Mormon, in second Nephi:

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
2nd Nephi 2:11-12.

However, Heraclitus was only half-right in saying that every man shared the same soul. It is true that we do, however, as much as we are connected, everyone has a separate and distinct personality. And as much as we are separate from each other, we are all connected. I'm you and you're me; yet I have a different personality from you so that you can gain perspective on your own life.

External Links:

Friday, June 1, 2007

Finding a way to get ahead

A lot of people are angry in Utah that housing costs are up 300%, gas is up 300%, and food is up 300%. Plus the fact that salaries in Utah are not catching up. A lot of people find it hard to stay in the black. However some are making it by themselves.

High gas prices, food costs, home expenses and huge debts are making it hard for many Utahns to make ends meet. Some say the government needs to help more. Others say they are making it work by themselves.

But the Hardings aren't waiting for society's help. They are doing it themselves. "We save first. We pay ourselves first. We have a great budget," Lori says.

Lori and Charles Harding say they have found saving has helped their family of five make ends meet.

Lori says, "It's the little steps. Not stopping at 7-11, or bringing your own lunch. Renting a video instead of going to the movie theater. Every step in the right direction gets you there."

Read the Entire story here:
KSL newscast.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Information: Vitamin D may Fight Cancers

The Buffalo News for Buffalo, New York has reported a study on how manufacturing Vitamin D may fight many types of cancers. From the article:

Research suggests vitamin D helps regulate cell growth and differentiation, the process that determines what a cell becomes. This is important in cancer. Cells should change normally, such as the way skin cells form throughout life, and not proliferate wildly to produce a malignant tumor.

As such, vitamin D is seen both as a protectant against cancer and as a potential treatment.

“Vitamin D may inhibit cells from growing and dividing and may kill tumor cells in some cases. It may also cause cancer cells to change into more mature, harmless cells,” said Dr. Candace Johnson, senior vice president for translational research at Roswell Park.

In recent years, the cancer center has put together a large, well funded vitamin D research team.

The researchers have demonstrated in laboratory tests that several forms of vitamin D control cells in ways that can prevent cancer and regulate proteins that affect tumor growth.

The institute also recently started a clinical trial of high-dose vitamin D replacement in individuals with high risk of lung cancer, and other scientists there are looking at boosting the effect of chemotherapy by adding vitamin D.

Read the full article here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Birthright Campaign Setting

I've been reading an old favorite AD&D campaign setting. Birthright is one of the best campaign settings to come out of TSR in a very long time. The idea about Birthright is roleplaying High Fantasy with a bent on politics and intrigue. In Birthright, you play kings, queens, counts and contessas, barons and baronesses, earls, lords and ladies, and princes and princesses. You can also play pontiffs in a mighty theocracy; or be adroit corporate businessmen and merchant princes.

Fighters, Rangers, and Paladins manage Law holdings and make war. Clerics, Priests, and Druids manage Temple Holdings, theives and rogues manage guild and trade holdings, while sorcerers and wizards control mighty source holdings. Finally, the cultures are based on real world analogues: The Anuireans are based on Early Renassiance England and France (i.e. around the time of Henry Tudor VII); the Khinasi are based on the Spanish Moors at the hieght of their power; the Brechts are based on the Hanseatic League, the Rjurik are based on the Viking and Pictish cultures; and the Vos are based on the Mongol culture with a strong Russian influence.

In the Campaign Setting, which is taking some ideas from the Highlander franchise and turned them into an interesting campaign setting. The game is based on Richard Baker's old novel manuscript: Kingmaker.
It's awesome to be reading about it again. I'm looking forward to playing it as Atlantis is shaped.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Freedom News

The Naturist Action Committee won a hard fight in Texas today, defeating a bill that was needlessly worded wrong. As was reported:

Dear Naturist:

The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) declares victory in the fight against a legislative bill that threatened naturists in the state of Texas.

Texas House Bill 1466 attempted statewide regulation of sexually oriented businesses. The bill's broad primary definition would have included naturist and nudist parks, camps and resorts. Any other business (like a health club or bowling alley) that might be rented or used temporarily for naturist activities could also have been defined as a sexually oriented business.

With help from NAC and NAC's professional legislative lobbyist, House Bill 1466 found itself mired in committee. The bill is dead.


Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) was the sponsor of HB 1466. First elected in 2002 with the help of money from the political action group of discredited former Congressman Tom DeLay, Rep. Zedler has enjoyed success with a number of his bills.

The threat to naturists from House Bill 1466 was frightening and easy to understand. To the customary list of sexually oriented business definitions, HB 1466 added "any other commercial enterprise ... whose employees or customers appear in a state of nudity."

Not only would the definition have applied to every naturist and nudist park in the state, it would have included gyms, spas and pools with changing rooms.


Immediately after House Bill 1466 was filed, the Naturist Action Committee hired a professional
Texas legislative lobbyist for assistance and advice. While working behind the scenes to kill the bill, NAC and its lobbyist also developed and presented revised language for HB 1466.

NAC considered it essential to assure that naturist resorts and parks in Texas would not be considered "sexually oriented businesses." At the same time, NAC saw it as equally important that other commercial venues would not be discouraged from allowing naturist usage, out of concern for being labeled as "sexually oriented businesses." The revised language that NAC developed was based on conditions of usage, and not on organizational affiliation.

On February 21, 2007, the Naturist Action Committee issued a NAC Advisory concerning House Bill 1466. The text of that Advisory is archived on the Web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

Some legislation is best dealt with quietly, and House Bill 1466 is an example. In this instance, NAC chose not to call for the sort of grass roots action that can be so very effective in other situations.


This is an update and an announcement of a specific victory. The Naturist Action Committee is NOT asking you to take action at this time. The threat from House Bill 1466 is gone, but those who introduce such legislation are not. Please watch for NAC Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates on other topics of interest to naturists.


You can access additional information on the Web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

Select "Alerts, Advisories and Updates." Under Current Updates, you'll find the text of this NAC Advisory, along with links to the complete text of Texas House Bill 1466 and the NAC Advisory of
February 21, 2007.


As the nonprofit volunteer political adjunct to The Naturist Society, the Naturist Action Committee is a vigorous force at work on behalf of naturists. NAC stands up for private naturist and nudist resorts, parks and camps, just as it champions the responsible clothing-optional use of public lands.

NAC does not hesitate to engage legislative lobbyists when it becomes necessary. But lobbyists are expensive. NAC relies entirely on your voluntary support. Please donate generously with a check to:

This is actually a good thing. May the Naturist Action Committee, and other groups that value our freedom as individuals, be equally successful.

Ack, still alive!

I've been working hard getting readmitted to the Salt Lake Community College and haven't been able to offer any updates. I've also been pretty tired lately. Meanwhile, here is a picture for your perusal. It's Pin-Up art from Howard David Johnson. Since this site is educational, this falls under educational use.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dungeons and Dragons Research Notes: Heraclitus

A native of Ephesus, Hereclitus lived from 540 B.C. to 475 B.C. Hereclitus was a Greek philosopher of aristocratic birth. The aristocratic philosopher supposed that change is the only constant in the Universe, and argued against a Universe of permanency and no change. Through his efforts, Hereclitus became the bridge of the Ioanian school to the philosophy of Parmenides. He eventually critizes his opponents for not seeing unity.

Hereclitus' Accomplishments:
  • Hereclitus proposed a theory of knowledge. He believed that understanding the Word would bring understanding.
  • Hereclitus proposed a theory that the Universe is constantly changing, and through change its in equilibrium. Hereclitus held that (1) everything is constantly changing and (2) opposite things are identical, so that (3) everything is and is not at the same time.
  • Hereclitus critized the Ionian school of philosophy.
  • Herclitus proposed a natural, physical theory.
  • Hereclitus theorized some moral and political theories.
External Links:
  • Hereclitus biography and Philosography on Hypatia lovers dot com.
  • Internet Encyclopedia's article of Hereclitus.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Family Naturism and Swinging are not the same

From a couple of kindred spirits over at a popular clothing optional; nudist resort:
Now the problem still exists that people who don't know any better, are still confused thinking that swingers are also nudists. (Although some are, it does not go hand in hand). In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a reporter is definately confused. For the full story click here

The reporter writes "You might think someone running a campground named for its nudist policy and dedicated to mate-swapping..." The reporter continues "He bought the campground in 2002 and began welcoming nudists."

Why this problem still exists, I have no idea. But nudism should not be equated with Swinging. Swingers are those who swap their mates for mating; family naturists pass on the value of chaste nudity to their children and set a good example for them by being nude and faithful to their spouses. Now don't get me wrong, but sex is fun. It's the most beautiful, most sublime, and most fun way to connect with your spouse or partner. But this really shouldn't be going on.

This blog may be about my roleplaying hobby, but I also use it for my other hobbies as well. One of these is family naturism. I believe naturist resorts who call themselves famly naturist resorts should cater to the family. De Anza Springs Resort is one of these. So is the Terra Cotta Inn. The more we focus on how Naturism and nudism revolves around the family and chaste social nude functions: the less people will confuse swinging or free sex with the naturist/nudist community. Sexuality is for the family, and naturism is for developing close relationships.

Oh, and to day, I feel uninspired; but I'm still going to put up an article about one of the Greek Philosophers.

Harn World

I've been playing around with writing an adventure for HârnWorld, Columbia Games' real fantasy world designed for any roleplaying game system. The adventure is inspired by Daggerfall, of all games.

I can't say much, but this is actually my first adventure in a long time. Hopefully something good will come of it. As for Hârn World, I can say some things about it from the FAQ.

Hârn is an island on an imaginary world called Kethira. This island and world are the setting for a fantasy role-playing game. The proper spelling of Hârn has a carat (^) over the 'a'; in LaTeX it would be spelled H\^arn. Sometimes the word Hârn is used by players to refer to the entire world of Kethira, or at least those parts that have been described in official and fan-developed publications.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Confessions of an LDS Free Thinker (2)

Dealing with unrequited love can really be a bear, really. Although Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Theory really help, it can be quite a burden.

I keep declaring that I love my princess. The reason why is simple, every time you declare something; something immediately happens and the Universe swings its way. Remember the power words article below? Anyway, it works in love like this. I declare my love for this woman, and she instantly responds no matter where she is in the Universe. So, she aught to know that a real man actually loves her very deeply in her unconscious mind.

My description of the last time I saw her is getting very poetic. Anyway, with legs like hers, she really should show them off. And I acknowledge that she may not want to. But this is a confession so I'd like to confess a desire. Unlike me, I have a feeling that she isn't a nudist, but I'd love her to be.

Here is my desire:
We are on a dinner date at one of the best restaurants in Salt Lake City (yes, I know, there are probably a lot of restaurant critics who have been in better restuarants in other cities -- Salt Lake City doesn't really have the best restuarants in the country let alone the Universe). While eating our main course, she reveals to me, hesitantly, that she's a nudist. Containing my excitement, I ask her out on a hiking date. She accepts and then I surprise her by showing off my hiking clothes -- going skyclad. She gets skyclad too and we have a wonderful hike, as any anxiety between us is immediately dispelled. The next week, we go to Hawaii and on one of the nude beaches in an Edenic paradise; I ask her to marry me and bring along a ring for the occasion.

That would be awesome.

Excercise can help Parkinson's Disease

From Dr. Mercola's blog:

The evidence is growing by leaps and bounds about the beneficial effect exercise has on Parkinson's, according to a pair of recent studies.

In one report discussed during a recent medical conference, researchers tracked the health of some 63,000 men and nearly 80,000 women (average age 63) from 1992-2001. During that period, slightly more than 400 developed Parkinson's. Patients who participated in the highest levels of moderate-to-vigorous exercise lowered their Parkinson's risks by 40 percent. And, patients who exercised more often than folks who didn't reduced their chances of Parkinson's by 20 percent.

In the latter study on animals models, USC researchers learned exercise may enhance the way our bodies use dopamine, forcing the brain to work more efficiently and making the dopamine-producing neurons work harder. Doing both may produce stronger connections to the brain, says the lead researcher.

Well, who would have thought. Parkinson's Disease can be treated by simple exercise. This is something worth thinking about, actually. Since I enjoy exercise, I have another reason to enjoy it more and to exercise more. Thank you Doctor Mercola!

External Links:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Research Notes: Xenophanes

It's interesting reading the Philosophy of the Greeks how they are coming closer and closer to the Truth that Christianity promises, but not all sects and versions of Christianity offers. As the Natural Philosophers of the Greeks continued in their theory advancing to understand the true nature of the Universe, the closer they come to the Absolute Truth of Nature.

All science or Natural Philosophy is about advancing and learning the truth about the Universe and how it works. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, scientists are often denigrated for their pursuit of the truth. However, their pursuit is a righteous cause and the journey is long and hard. Take in the case of Xenophanes, the next Philosopher on our list.

“All is one.”
— Xenophanes

Xenophanes is a poet and a religious reformer based out of Elea in Italy. Born in Colophon, located in what is now Turkey, Xenophanes was a Greek philosopher and poet. He also happened to be a social and religious critic. Xenophanes was the founder of the Eleatic School of Philosophy, but often Parmenides holds that honor. To highlight Xenophanes' contributions to Natural and Metaphysical philosophy, one has to understand that his poetry criticized and satirized a wide range of ideas, including the belief in the pantheon of anthropomorphic gods and the Greeks' veneration of athleticism. He is the earliest Greek poet who claims explicitly to be writing for future generations, creating "fame that will reach all of Greece, and never die while the Greek kind of songs survives."

Xenophanes' contributions:
  • Xenophanes was the first to express monotheism in a pantheistic way. He believed that God was expressed in how the Laws of the Universe operated and deserved not to be Anthropormorphized.
  • Xenophanes gave us the Rain Cycle, which is expressed as water evaporating from the oceans and forming clouds and storms, and eventually rains the water on the Earth, which collects into rivers and drains back into the ocean. So, instead of a Fertile Crescent god masturbating and releasing his seed on the ground, or Zeus urinating into a sieve, Xenophanes presented the foundation of modern Meteorology.
  • Xenophanes believed that the Rain Cycle will produce another beginning and another flood by water.
  • Xenophanes also laid the foundations of the Eternity of Matter and Energy (i.e. Matter and Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; but converted from one form to another.
  • Xenophanes thought that the truth is relative rather than absolute.
  • Finally, Xenophanes was more of a reformer to science. He sought to revolutionize science from thinking in polytheistic terms to thinking in terms of what one observes and understands. A practical approach to science.
A Latter-day Saint's views on Xenophanes' Philosophy: While Pythagoras said that Mathematics was the science of understanding beauty (which is a principle of the Gospel); Xenophanes sought to impersonalize the Anthropormorphic nature of the Greek Gods -- stating that they are unworthy of worship because they had huiman attributes attached to their personalities. He instead insisted on God's existence through how the Laws of Nature operated.

I'm not Pantheist like Xenophanes and Einstein were. But I can see how Xenophanes had seen some truths. First of all, the work of God is seen in how Nature operates within the Laws we've come to understand. That is where Xenophanes, Einstein, and I agree. However, I do disagree with Xenophanes that God is not Anthropormorphic. Latter-day Saints believe in Jesus Christ and believe on His name as a personal savior. We believe that He is a person, human, with flesh and bones and thus operates within and by the Laws of the Observable Universe. So, how can I agree with Xenophanes and yet disagree with him? That will have to be saved for another time.

External Links:
  • Xenophanes on Hypatia-lovers dot com.
  • The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on Xenophanes.
  • Giannis Stamatellos' article on Xenophanes.
  • Stanford School of Philosophy's article on Xenophanes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dungeons and Dragons Research Notes: Pythagoras

I'll be getting to the game mechanics as I'm still building the cultural foundation for Atlantis 600 B.C. Just be patient. Today, we are going to meet the famous, and inestimable, and mostly admired Pythagoras.

In any right triangle, the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse (the side of a right triangle opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of areas of the squares whose sides are the two legs (i.e. the two sides other than the hypotenuse).
Pythagoras is one of the most influentual Greek philosophers, and one of history's most influential mathematicians, he helped lay the ground work that Archimedes and other mathematicians would build on -- including Sir Isaac Newton, one of the Renassiance discoverers of Calculus. Pythagoras is also responsible for founding musicology and music theory.

Pythagoras was born in Samos, and later he would go on to found the Pythagorean school of Philosophy. The Pythagorean school was a religious and philosophic school which had a lasting influence on religion and philosophy -- including Gnostic and Aesthetic Christianity. Pythagoras was instructed in the Ionian school of thought and eventually made his way to Egypt where he was instructed by the Egyptian priesthood. Because of his disgust over the Tyranny of Polycrates, Pythagoras was exiled from Samos. Having moved to Italy, he founded the Pythagorean school in which men and women would flock to. However, Pythagoras' life on Earth came to an end when the Democratic party won out in Italy and the Aristocratic Pythagoreans attacked the Democrats and Pythagoras died in the struggle.

Accomplishments by Pythagoras:
  • The Pythagorean Theorem is attributed to him. Necessarily, the history between Pythagoras and his theorem is quite complex.
  • Pythagoras introduced the concept of reincarnation to the Greeks through the idea of mentempsychosis.
  • A music theory that says that music is based on proportional intervals of four.
  • The theory that the Universe is base 10. Including the postulation of a tenth planet, known as Gorea (see John Norman's novels).
  • Pythagoras discovered the theory of mathematical proportion.
  • Proposed that the Earth was a sphere that revolved on it's own axis.
  • Killed a student for his discovery of irrational numbers.
Pythagorean Influence:
  • Plato: Pythagoras or in a broader sense, the Pythagoreans, allegedly exercised an important influence on the work of Plato. According to R. M. Hare, his influence consists of three points: a) the platonic Republic might be related to the idea of "a tightly organized community of like-minded thinkers", like the one established by Pythagoras in Croton. b) there is evidence that Plato possibly took from Pythagoras the idea that mathematics and, generally speaking, abstract thinking is a secure basis for philosophical thinking as well as "for substantial theses in science and morals". c) Plato and Pythagoras shared a "mystical approach to the soul and its place in the material world". It is probable that both have been influenced by Orphism.
  • Roman Influence: n the legends of ancient Rome, Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, is said to have studied under Pythagoras. This is unlikely, since the commonly accepted dates for the two lives do not overlap.

External Links:

New Evidence: Sun Exposure Prevents Cancer

From and Globe and

An American study scheduled for a June release compared the health of some 1,200 female patients, some of whom took a vitamin D supplement while others didn't.

The number of patients who reduced their risk of cancer by taking a vitamin D supplement -- 60 percent -- was so unexpectedly high that some initially believed it to be a typographical error.

This study, and many similar ones, may force conventional medicine to re-evaluate its vitamin D recommendations. A deficiency in vitamin D figures into many diseases in addition to cancer. One researcher pointed out, "We don't really know what the status of chronic disease is in the North American population, until we normalize vitamin D status."

Globe and April 28, 2007

My Comment:
This has come out before I could present my argument on how Naturism is beneficial to the human body this Monday. I was going to argue that the Sun is actually beneficient for our bodies as our bodies use UV rays as a catalyst to produce Calcipherol, otherwise known as Vitamin D. Doctor Mercola, a doctor who is crusading for truth, has actually beaten me too it. I'd be a voice a among many to saying how naturism is good for the body and the psyche.

And I'm still going to do it this Monday. I'll have the weight of the medical profession behind me as studies have been published in the Journal of the American Assocation of Surgeons as well as Globe and Mail. Doctor Mercola said that sunlight exposure -- i.e. sunbathing -- can reduce cancer risk by 50 percent. While UCAN and other Cancer Prevention networks try to turn us into molemen, I'm happy that Doctor Mercola is telling the truth about sunlight exposure.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Power Words

While reading Mamoreal's blog Being REAL, I caught the sense that this wonderful sister doesn't have the concept that she is in control of her own actions. Well, she does, but she doesn't fully understand her real powers over herself and how she wants to be. So, this is a blog entry for her.

There are four powerful words we learn in the English Language because they define self, choice, and intentions. These Power Words do not have any noticeable effect, at first, like the Power Word spells in Dungeons and Dragons and the d20 System. But they are more powerful since they define our focus and shape our world. These words are:

  • I believe
  • I can
  • I choose
  • I am
I'll go through these one by one.

I believe: I believe is usually a power word stating our faith in something. Believe is a power word relating to faith. When we believe in something, we are stating that we have faith in it. Most of the time, this is something we cannot see, touch, or realize its there. Like electricity. A lot of people can't define electricity, they can't see it or give any kind of physicality to it. But they know its there. They become aware of its presence when they flip on a switch, or turn on the Television.

I can: I can is a statement in intention. "I can become wealthy," "I can marry." When we say "I can" we are stating our intentions or a preconcieved option we've already taken.

I choose: I choose is even more powerful than I can, since it means that you are declaring a choice through your own free agency. I choose is more powerful than "I can" and "I Choose."

I AM: Whoa, talk about power. "I am" is a very, very special phrase in the English language. It is special because it is a declaration of self. I am is something you say when you want to define yourself and who you want to be. I Am is so powerful that the phrase God uses when talking to Moses was translated to "I AM" by the translators of the Bible. When you say I am something, you are declaring to the universe that you are that something. I am in love. I am wealthy. I am poor. I am "suffering" unrequited love (yes, it's painful, but temporary). When I finally go through the House of the Lord, I will be getting something wonderful -- my true identity as to actually who I am.

These are the four power phrases. Use them wisely.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Confessions of an LDS Free Thinker (1)

I am a Free Thinker, I can not get away from this fact. I think freely and wonderfully. I can come up with all sorts of thoughts from the material I digested. Free thinking led me to a prayer that saved me from a lifetime of Porn Addiction. Free thinking led me to believe in the Spirit in a way not many people thought possible. Free thinking led me to a better understanding of the Law of Christ, and that Christ can forgive sins and not judge us.

That being said, my other confession is that I'm in love with a woman who I have known since 1st Grade (I think, probably Kindergarten). Unlike others, confessing this love out in the open connects me to my love in a way many virgin lovers felt but did not understand. The sad thing is, my love for her is unreciprocated in the physical sense. What is she like?

The last time I saw her, she was blonde and had a crimpy hair style to simulate curling. Her skin is the most beautiful shade of white and pink. She had the bluest eyes, like great cerulean sapphires that I could get lost in for hours. She had the straightest nose, and teeth as white as new elephant tusks.

She is the most attractive girl in the Graduating Class of 1993 of Cyprus High School. God, she's beautiful. I hope by now she realizes by how much she is. After all she just glows with a radiance that surpasses everyone else. She has a next door girl quality about her, and she became fully attractive to me. As of late, I tried to look her up on the Reunion site and . . . I ran into bit of a problem. I can't afford the detective fees to find out where she currently lives and her phone number and so forth. But I love her very much, and I know every time I exclaim my love for her she instantly reacts. After all, it's her face that I want to wake up to every morning, and her naked body that I desire to hold close to mine. And it's her that I desire to share my love with, and I love to have her share her love for me with me.

Why am I writing out my feelings? Well, it's more of a therapuetic move. Like this LDS blogger said:
And yet I continue to type away, at least partly, because I'm having difficulty finding a new counselor/therapist and I like the idea (mentioned in the blog I stumbled into) of blogging as a form of narrative therapy.
My therapy is not to pine away for my love, but to deal with my unrequited love. I'll continue to express my desire to reunite with her, date her, and marry her. It's a righteous desire, I know it; and I'm finally the man she really wants inside.

So, there you have it. A virgin LDS free-thinker in love with the woman of his dreams who is saving himself for her. After all, she deserves the best, and I am the best.

Research Notes: Anaximenes

Anaximenes is the third Greek philosopher, the third philosopher of the Milesian school. Anaximenes believed that the 'air' was the source of all things. This claim constrasts with Thales' supposition that everything came from water. Anaximenes inisted that everything condensed out of the 'air' including all elements. Everything is air at different degrees of density, and under the influence of heat, which expands, and of cold, which contracts its volume, it gives rise to the several phases of existence. The process is gradual, and takes place in two directions, as heat or cold predominates. In this way was formed a broad disk of earth, floating on the circumambient air. Similar condensations produced the sun and stars; and the flaming state of these bodies is due to the velocity of their motions. He states:
"Just as our soul, being air, holds us together, so do breath and air encompass the whole world."

What makes the three Milesian philosophers, Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes, stand out is that the theoretical human has become a reality. The way of thinking has in its basic form moved away from the mythological thinking (or mythos) and into the domain of the theoretical thinking (or logos). From now on it is about explaining the universal and the general. Everything in the universe can now be approached by the thoughts of humans. This notably influenced the Pythagoreans.

It was actually "aer" which he believed to be the common charecteristic between all things. "Aer" is the Greek word for a mist rather than just pure air.

As strange as this might seem, Anaximenes was not too far off mark. Anaximenes' theory preceded the Aetherial Void theory of the 19th Century; and now the fledging Zero Point Energy theory is superceding that. What is not unusual is that each theory is getting closer to the actual Omnipresence of God. As D&C 88:41 relates:

He acomprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.

External Links:

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Case for Wholesome Social and Family Nudity

In honor of the Nude Blogging Movement, I said I would post two articles today. One was already posted for Anaximander; the first Greek Philosopher. Now its time to post about wholesome social and family nudity. Naturism and Nudism seem to be the solution to the problem of the Salt Lakers' consumption of Pornography. However, since we are focusing on results rather than on what is inside, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an Annual sermon on Pornography (or bi-annual) every General Conference of the Church.

The latest sermon, given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, serves as a reminder of how awful Pornography is to society and the changes that it is making. Clearly, because of Pornography's affect on a relationship between a husband and a wife and his children, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is typically against Pornography. Indeed, the Church is anti-Pornography and it makes no apology for the fact because Pornography can change the relationship dynamic in a family. Believe me, the Apostles and Seventies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hate Pornography as much as you do and its painful for them to speak out against it in General Conference. But, it seems that there is no other way but to preach Pornography avoidance. However, we live in a totally different world than what we had fifty years ago. Clearly it isn't working, as Bishops complain that one in three cases of morality that they deal with in the office deals with the "evil" of pornography. Is there another solution to the problem?

First, lets examine "the problem." The simple problem is a simple Law called the Law of Cause and Effect. The Law of Cause and Effect is divided into two other simple laws: the Law of the Harvest and the Law of Attraction. This Law and it's counterparts were first described by Sir Issac Newton in Natural Philosophic/Scientific terms as "Newton's Laws of Motion." The Laws of Motion are stated as thus:
  • An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
  • The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object.
  • For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.
Now lets explain the Laws of the Harvest and the Law of Attraction and how they work with Newton's Third Law (I could get into Quantum Mechanics here, so bear with me).

The Law of Attraction and how all Kingdoms are governed by Law:
All kingdoms have a law given;
And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.
And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.
All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified.
For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.
He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.

The Law of the Harvest is simple: you reap what you sow. Instead of getting into Quantum Mechanics and blowing you away with the ingenious way that modern science explains this law; its best to use an Analogy. What perfect analogy to use then that of the Garden of Eden story? The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is more of an Allegory.

If you remember from the Bible, there is three trees represented: the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Experience. All three of these trees are represented in the history of our lives, each of the three trees are as personal as we are. Both the Trees of Life and Knowledge are pure trees, while our Tree of Experience is often the product of grafting roots from the other two trees. The Tree of Life represents:
  • Freedom
  • Truth
  • Understanding
  • Power
  • Wealth
  • Love
  • Beauty
  • Oneness
The Tree of Knoweledge of Good and Evil represents:
  • Bondage
  • Lies
  • Ignorance
  • Illusion of Power
  • Destitution
  • Ugliness
  • Pride
  • Separation
Our Tree of Experience produces fruit that is from the graftings of these two trees -- or in real terms truth as we understand and perceive. The fruit of our Experience is produced by the roots. So, what ever our roots are, that is what our fruit will be when produced. So, if we live in a world that is plagued by Pornography, or if we see Pornography everywhere as we avoid it; then there is something wrong with our roots. We need to cut the bad and cancerous roots out of our personal Tree of Experience and graft in new, healthy roots to produce better fruit. So, what does this have to do with the sermons on Avoiding pornography?

To tell the truth, and this is where Quantum Mechanics comes into play; I believe by preaching avoidance the GAs are making it worse. This is why, by preaching to avoid Pornography the GAs are, in effect, creating Pornography for us to avoid. Or better yet, by following the counsel to avoid Pornography physically rather than spiritually; we are creating Pornography for us to avoid in ever and greater numbers because Pornography has to exist in order for us to avoid it!

When we avoid pornography, we are focusing our attention to the fact that Pornography actually exists and thereby causing Pornography to expand in greater and greater volume. For this is the Law of the Harvest: whichever we focus on becomes our reality. So in essence, we are creating the very social problems we are trying to solve. And because most Americans do not understand that we need to focus on changing the inside rather than the outside, Americans act in total hysterics over what they define as Pornography of every kind.

Cases in point from Diary of a Nudist:
In Tampa, a Marine Corps sergeant who served 9 months in Iraq, committed suicide rather than face the consequences of having been charged with possessing child pornography. His choices were apparently to fight the charges, or cop a plea and live the rest of his life as a registered pedophile. The sergeant chose the ultimate option of ending his life.

In October 2004, a CompUSA employee who was working on the sergeant's laptop computer found nude images of prepubescent girls. He was charged with a crime, lost all his friends, and was given a "less than honorable" discharge from the Marines. And it was all downhill from there.

The sergeant professed his innocence - his laptop was used by many people who could have downloaded the images. But nobody wanted to hear his story, and with $30,000 in legal fees hanging over his head, he shot himself.

A South Carolina high school student tried to show a nude photo of himself on his cell phone to a female student, who immediately reported the incident. The boy is currently in a detention center awaiting a bond hearing.

It's hard to believe, but 25% of readers polled found the latest issue of BabyTalk to be "inappropriate" because it shows a nursing baby and a side profile of a mother's breast. One mother who didn't like the cover explains she was concerned about her 13-year-old son seeing it. "I shredded it," said Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, in a telephone interview. "A breast is a breast — it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that." A sexual thing? Is the baby "turned on" by the nursing process? Is nursing a sex act?

So, what is to be done? Well, we can either destroy all means and all examples of electronic, print, art, and written communication to prevent Pornography from being transmitted. Or we need to change ourselves to something better; inside.

Wholesome social and family nudity seem to be the best answer to a culture and nation who are witch hunting for decency; and yet has a 4 billion dollar Pornography industry. What is wholesome social and family nudity? Basically the quality of recreation and living where we take our clothes off and act like civilized, decent human beings.

What? We take our clothes off and live as if we have them on? Yes. You see, Man isn't some stupid animal as most Evangelical Christians and Evolutionists would have you believe. A human being is fully capable of taking responsibility for himself or herself and governing himself or herself no matter what state of clothing he or she is in. Therefore, someone who practices social and family nudity in a way that is wholesome demonstrates that he or she can take their clothes off and control the drive to mate while naked in a public place. Wholesome social and family nudity is all about self control rather than control by others. Self government is the norm for Wholesome social and family nudity. And it does work, in amazing ways! Some benefits include:
  • Improved Relationship with others: When naked and in control, we can gain a better perspective on our relationship with others. In fact, with our spouse or girlfriend, our relationships can run deeper because we won't be focusing on the outside since we are seeing the outside of that person. Relationships can become deeper on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level.
  • Body and Self Acceptance: One of the problems for pre-teens and teens is self esteem. Believe me, I am speaking from experience. Everyone has seen Linus with his security blanket; well clothes became my false sense of security. I felt safe when covered by clothing from homosexual rapists that must have existed in my School Gym Shower. Little did I know that it revealed a problem for me: I didn't have good self esteem and I lived my life in fear of being raped or approached by a homosexual teen. When I discovered chaste nudity as a way to deal with Pornography, everything changed for me. I accepted myself and my own body. Of course, I want to exercise to look better for the girls.
  • Body Demystification: I also speak from experience on this part. Growing up with hardnosed parents about what nudity is for ("Your nudity is for your wife and only your wife!!"), I became mystified with a Woman's body, and added that with the Law of Chastity; Women became somewhat of a sexual predator/victim for me. I wanted to know what the female areola and vulva looked like! I caught a full body fetish!!! Healthy, hardly. When I learned of Chaste Nudity and actually saw real women at nude activities and were not predating on me the female body was no longer mystifying to me and I actually saw the women for who they are and not as a sex predator/victim/object (yes, all three together).
  • Apartheid Destruction: Feelings of sexism, racism, and caste went out the door when I saw people who has the exact same body plan (except for differences in sexual dimorphism and skin color). I saw in Wholesome Nudity the ideal of American and LDS society: a classless society where everyone can be regarded as the same no matter what creed, skin color, or sex. In a wholesome nudity environment, everyone is undressed exactly the same so there is no apparent image of rich or poor or middle class. Everyone is the same.
  • Communication Expansion: In a social nudity environment, people can communicate with each other much better. This is especially true of me, who found it hard to communicate with his peers because I didn't feel equal to them. When I was nude with others in a social setting, and with out sexual congress, I could communicate better and apparently much more intelligently with others since they were communicating with me on the same level. This is true for everyone.
As you can see, the benefits of Social Nudity outweighs the benefits of being clothed. This part of the article only touched on the social and emotional aspects of Wholesome Nudity though. Next monday, we can explore the physical reasons and physical benefits of being nude. For now, let us focus on Wholesome Nudity as a nation and allow that to expand while moving away from Pornography in order to make its influence over America shrink.

Research: Anaximander

The Father of recorded philosophy, Anaximander of Miletos was Thales' student. One of the pre-socratic philosophers, Anaximander was the philosopher who wrote his discoveries down while Thales did not. Anaximander succeeded Thales over the Milesian school of thought and counted Anaxamenes and Pythagoras as his pupils.

Though we know little of his life, Anaximander gave to the world such concepts as:
  • The concept of the infinite Universe.
  • The Obliquity of the eliptic.
  • The first attempt to describe the motion of the Planets (which was eventually superceded by Sir Issac Newton by way of Calculus.)
  • He tried to explain the Cosmos in a natural way, without using any mythological reference. A "godless" cosmology.
  • Gave the first attempt to describe the Meteorological phenomenae such as thunder and lightning in natural process other than through the action of the god Zeus (pronounced "Zevs").
  • Anaximander also speculated on a non-miraculous origin of Mankind. While still abiogenesis, his theories will lead to Louie Pasteur's discovery of Biogenesis (Life begets Life).
  • Anaximander is said to pioneer the discipline of Cartography. Cartography is the discipline of drawing maps of the geosphere. Which is probably why Jason used an astrograph to sail to Colchis instead of a cartograph.
  • Finally, Anaximander invented the Gnomon. This little invention consists of was simply a vertical pillar or rod mounted on a horizontal plane. The position of its shadow on the plane indicated the time of day. As it moves through its apparent course, the sun draws a curve with the tip of the projected shadow, which is shortest at noon, when pointing due south. The variation in the tip’s position at noon indicates the solar time and the seasons; the shadow is longest on the winter solstice and shortest on the summer solstice.

    However, the invention of the gnomon itself cannot be attributed to Anaximander because its use, as well as the division of days into twelve parts, came from the Babylonians. It is they, according to Herodotus' Histories (II, 109), who gave the Greeks the art of time measurement. It is likely that Anaximander was not the first to determine the solstices, because no calculation is necessary. On the other hand, equinoxes do not correspond to the middle point between the positions during solstices, as the Babylonians thought. As the Suda seems to suggest, it is very likely that Anaximander, with his knowledge of geometry, became the first Greek to accurately determine the equinoxes.

Anaximander's major contribution to Western thought was that he developed the framework with which early Greek Philosophy managed to develop from start to finish. This is something that Chinese philosophers like Mencius and Confucius would do in their own Civilization. This framework started Western Civilization on a course that would explain the World through basic observation and logical reasoning -- a search for the Truth without relying on superstition.

External Links:

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Going beyond: the future.

I still have more research notes to post as to what kind of foundation that Atlantis 600 B.C. has. Hesiod and Thales are only a tiny scratch on the Iceberg for creating a wonderful Campaign Setting based not on Medieval Culture but on Ancient culture instead. Beyond the Greek Culture are the following cultures that I've researched.
  • Egyptian. The Ancient Egyptian culture has influenced many cultures around the world. It was the first real World Superpower. Egypt and it's Pharoahs extended their influence as far east as Harrapan and as far north as Greece, as far south as Eithiopia, and as far west as North America (Examples of Demotic were discovered in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Virginia, and Missouri. Demotic was never found in Central and South America).
  • Ancient Israel. Israel, also known as the Levant, had contributed much more than just the Bible to Western Civilization. The Israelites were among the first to use linear time recording instead of cyclic time recording. The ancient Israelites also was the very first civilization to have an organized religion that had a top-down structure. This religious structure currently exists in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Ancient India. Talk about a civilization that suffered invasion after invasion after invasion; and migration after migration after migration. Modern India is one of the few nations that have an Apartheid system that still works today. The Apartheid that Indians suffer is so ingrained into their culture its hard to separate them from it. Even with revolutionary philosophies such as Buddhism and Jainism. Still, India gave Western Society the first philosophical basis for Nudism and Naturism, and metaphysics. They also contributed plastic surgery, superior cotton fabric, Damascene steel, and the first instance of organic soluable sutures. Mostly in the form of ant heads.
  • The Hopewell and Adena Cultures. Okay, Archaeology, both secular and religious, doesn't know what to make of these two except for the brass and ore tablets left by these two cultures that had Demotic written upon them; and the Mounds! Some archaelogists that specialize in the Hopewell and Adena cultures apply logic: Demotic was written by the Egyptians, the Hopewells and Adenians used Demotic; therefore the Hopewells and Adenians were Egyptian. However, there is very strong evidence to the contrary as to who the Hopewell people and Adenian people actually were.
Since Monday is Nude Blogging Day, I'll be writing two articles. The first will deal with wholesome social and family nudity; the second continues my notes on the Greek Philosophers.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dungeons and Dragons Research: Thales

Thales is one of the first Natural Philosophers. He traveled extensively in Egypt and Mesopotamia and brought back Geometry and Astronomy with him. The Ancient Egyptians also taught him the principles of Astronomy they learned from a very wise man in the past. Thales is famous for laying down the basics of Geometry in Greek terms. Incuding a theorem that is still called Thales' Theorem today. It states that if the vertex of an angle moves in a semi-circle, and the end points of its arms remain at the end-points of the diameter, then the angle remains unaltered at the right angle.

The circle of this construction is known as the circle of Thales. Further, Thales also said that:
  1. When two straight lines intersect one another the opposite angles are equal, and . . .
  2. That two triangles having two angles and one side that are respectively equal are themselves equal; and .
  3. that the sum of the angles in a triangle is equal to two right angles, and . . .
  4. That is a circle is bisected by it's diameter, and . . .
  5. that the angles at the base of an isoseles triangle are equal.
Thales influenced Greek Mathematics and Western Civilization by explaining the foundations of geometry and trigonometry. In his old age, he went by the name sophos, which means "sage." Thales spoke often of living a virtuous life and encouraged everyone to live to be true to themselves. His most famous quote: "The most difficult thing to do is to know thyself." -- Thales

External Links:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Research: Hesiod

A early Greek Poet, Hesiod represents the first step in Hellenic Philosophy. Hesiod lived during the Greek Archaic Age (the Dark Ages); which happened immediately after the fall of Troy (located in Turkey). Hesiod wrote the Poem the Theogony, which is a collection of the Greek Masculine Creation Myth that everyone recognizes.

Hesiod's writing deals with creation ex niliho (out of nothing), which is in direct conflict with the Orphic Creation Myth -- which features the Goddess Eurynome and the cosmic serpent Ophion. To Hesiod, the Universe comes into being by itself. The Theogony points are:
  • Creation of Chaos.
  • Creation of Earth
  • Tartaros
  • Eros (Love)
  • Eurebus
  • Night
  • Atmosphere
  • Day
  • Uranos
  • Mountains
  • Sea
  • Ocean
  • then the Titans and the other offspring

Hesiod's Theogony said that the Universe created itself out of nothing without a Creator. Therefore, the Theogony skips the question of a Creator. The Orphic Myth, however, doesn't. Eurynome is the feminine creator of the universe. However if the Greeks knew that there was something that created Eurynome, they've forgotten him, her, or it. The Theogony is considered a precursor to Greek philosophy. Hesiod is the first step towards Hellenic brilliance and learning.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bigotry still exists in our Country . . .

The Reverend Al Sharpton made a faux pas. Rev. Al Sharpton said, "As for the one Mormon running for office, those that really do believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don't worry about that. That's a temporary situation."

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney [pictured] called Al Sharpton on his remark. Mitt said: "It shows that bigotry exists in some corners. I thought it was a most unfortunate comment to make." The Presidential hopeful further remarked, "I don't know Reverend Sharpton. I doubt that he is personally such a thing. But the comment was a comment that can described described as a bigoted comment. Perhaps he didn't mean it that way, but the way it came out was inappropriate and wrong."

Commentary: I find it unfortunate that the Reverend Al Sharpton had to make such a comment. The comment proves that there are misconceptions that still exist in the Bible Belt about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe that the comment was made in ignorance of Mitt Romney's faith and devotion to God. I have no doubt that the Rev. Al Sharpton is a good man. He just has some misconceptions about LDS Church. Fortunately, the good Reverend made a public Apology to the Presidential hopeful from Massachusetts.
Is the beliefs of Mormons like myself unique from mainstream American Christendom? In many ways they are. But in other ways, we believe in the same God, the same Creator, the same Savior, and the same Holy Ghost. We believe in the same teachings of the Master Jesus Christ. And many of us, myself included, believe that Jesus Christ is our personal Savior. What the Rev. Al Sharpton did was shocking to me.

Research: Greek Contributions to our World

To begin with my research notes, I thought I'd copy Khan Amore's notes on the contributions of the Greeks. He reserves these notes for use by teachers. Aside from his notes on what is our mutually favorite equation (Phi, you got to really love it!), the contributions of the Greeks does not take up all that much space on the image hard drive.

so to begin:

List of the Greatest Contributions of Ancient Greek Culture to Human Civilization:

1. The ancient Greeks invented Democracy. The very term itself is of Greek derivation, meaning “People’s Rule.” Never before (and, sadly, never since) has a people been ruled collectively, by a majority vote of its citizens. Unlike modern states which call themselves “Democratic” the Greeks had a true Democracy: Whenever any important decision of state needed to be made (such as the decision of whether or not to go to war) the citizens would meet in a plenary public council, and the most eloquent backers of a proposal would make their case before the assembly, and the most eloquent dissenters would offer rebuttal. The citizens would then vote on whether or not to enact the proposal, and the will of the majority would prevail. There are, however, a few disadvantages to this system of government. First of all, it is well-adapted for small city-states in which all citizens can be called together in council, at moment’s notice, whenever a governmental decision needs to be made, but for large states or empires in which the citizens are separated by vast distances, Democracy was really not practicable (although it might be workable again today, thanks to the Internet, a global telecommunications network which could be used to link the whole world into a single community, capable of near-instantaneous intercommunication). The English aristocrat, Winston Churchill, once said, “The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute talk with the average voter.” This quote points out another disadvantage inherent in Democracy: A Democracy can only work well if the voting citizenry is intelligent, wise, well-educated, apprised of current events, and is ever-willing to shoulder the burden of running the state. In ancient Athens, Democracy worked well because the Ionian Greeks were brilliant, well-apprised of current events, and were taught that taking an active part in running their state was not only a duty, but an honor — it was the price of Freedom. And because the only people who could vote to go to war were the same people that would be fighting that war (i.e., male citizens), the decision to go to war was never taken lightly. Today, in that self-proclaimed bastion of “Democracy” called the United States, we do not have a true Democracy in which the citizens make all important decisions of state directly, rather the United States is a Republican State where, in essence, the only decision the citizens are allowed to vote on is the choice of which despot is to rule over them for the next few years. In the United States, those who decide on war do not themselves participate in the slaughter — they never see or feel the suffering which results from their decision to attack other nations — and so a situation is more likely to arise in which a simple-minded despot, for reasons of arrogance, vanity, hatred, or the hunger for power, wealth, or greatness, may cower in a bunker on the other side of the world from the battle field as he sends the young pawns of his nation into harm’s way, to kill innocent men, women, and children of other nations, or be themselves killed in the attempt. It could be argued that a representative form of government such as that which we find in the United States is really better suited to the Age of Specialization, for we might expect a career politician to be better able to run the country than would a cab-driver or janitor, but the persuasiveness of this argument is diminished when we consider the caliber of career politicians of the U.S. in our time. Before they had a Democracy, the ancient Greeks had an Aristocracy (meaning “Rule of the Best”) but Americans are so dead set against a nobility, or ruling class, that they gladly choose Plutocracy (“Rule of the Wealthy”) or even Kakistocracy (“Rule of the Worst”) in its stead. Helen Keller was referring to this quintessentially American tendency when she said, “We, the people, are not free. Our Democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.” To make matters worse, most of the candidates that we have to choose from we know nothing about, and our votes really amount to little more than random drawings of names. Even if we should know something about a given candidate, there is really no way of knowing what decisions that candidate will make once he is in a position of power. Another flaw in Democracy is that it assumes that the votes of two football players are worth more in deciding national energy policy than the vote of one physicist. Truth is not decided by a majority vote. If it were, then the Earth would in truth have been flat throughout the whole of the Middle Ages. Democracy is inefficient and fickle — but therein lies both its weakness and its strength. If two nations, a democratic nation and a nation ruled by a dictator, were to be attacked, the dictatorship would certainly be faster in responding than the nation that would have to debate the matter and then put it to the vote. But the “Rule of Many” offered by a true Democracy provides crucial checks and balances that would serve to prevent a fool or a madman from entrenching himself in a position of power and wreaking havoc upon the world. As events in the very first years of the Third Millennium have proved, one fool in a position of power can do more damage than a hundred wise men can set right again. A true Democracy would limit the damage which could be done by a single fool in power, unless, of course, the majority of the voters were also idiots (which, sadly, is not a far-fetched scenario.) A dictatorship is certainly more efficient when it comes to legislation, too, for a dictator can dash off laws as quickly as he can write them, and they can be quickly enacted without debate. But perhaps the inefficiency of Democracy is an advantage in the case of law-making. Laws should not be too easy to make, for the fewer laws a nation is burdened with, the better. Because it diminishes Freedom, excessive legislation should be outlawed, but this is unlikely to happen because the people who would be called upon to make this anti-legislation law would, in passing such a measure, be putting themselves out of a lucrative and leisurely job. It would seem that the legislational inefficiency of Democracy is our best hope in curtailing excessive legislation. As Will Rogers put it, “Just be glad you’re not getting all the government you paid for.” But, just because we don’t live in a true democracy doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t bother to vote. In a Democracy, politics is everyone’s business. Or duty. What’s the point in having a voice in your government (however small) if you fail to use it, and by voluntary muteness allow yourself to be ruled oligarchically by the few fools who do speak up? As Plato put it, “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” Democratic nations are not ruled by their citizens in general, but by those few citizens who bother to vote. Local or primary elections usually have a low voter turn-out, and in these elections your vote has more clout because there are fewer votes. For example, if you were the only voter to turn out for such an election, your vote would totally determine the outcome of the election, and your opinion would be the only one which mattered out of those of all the voters who didn’t bother to vote. If you live in a “democracy” and you don’t bother to vote, you might as well be living under a dictatorship, for in either case you have no say in what happens to you. Those that don’t vote have no advantage over those that can’t vote. If you don’t vote, you give up your “bitching rights,” and you will deserve whatever you get.

2. The ancient Greeks invented Tragedy, Comedy, Drama, and Theatre. Indeed, most of our theatrical terms derive directly from the Greek. For example, the word “tragedy” comes from the Greek tragoidia, meaning “goat-song,” in reference to the fact that it arose from the mimic representations, in dancing and singing, of satyr-like Dionysian revelers dressed in goat costumes; “comedy” similarly comes from the Greek word, komos, “to revel;” Drama is itself a Greek word meaning “action;” and “theatre” comes from the Greek theatron, which in turn is believed to come from the Greek word theaomai, meaning “Behold!” A spectator of a fifth century B.C. dramatic performance (or play) would walk along the level aisle (diazoma) and climb up the steps (klimakes) to reach his seat in a given section (kerkis) of the horse-shoe shaped theatre (theatron), a semi-circular ascending stepped bank of seats which looked down upon the performance. The theatres were quite large, in fact, the theatre of Dionysus in Athens seated some 17,000 persons. Before the spectators lay a level circular area called the Orchestra, in the center of which stood an altar, which often served as a stage prop in the plays. The performances were often religious in character and the throne of the presiding priest of Dionysus was the best seat in the house. Most of the maneuvers and dance figures which were performed by the chorus as they presented their Odes were performed in the Orchestra. To the right and left of the Theatron were the Parodoi, which were entrances and exits for both spectators and for masked actors or chorus members. Directly beyond the circular Orchestra lay the Skene, or scene-building. In most plays, the skene represented the façade of a house, a palace, or a temple, and normally had three doors which served as additional entrances and exits for the actors. Immediately in front of the scene-building was a level platform, called the proskenion, where most of the dramatic action took place. Flanking the proskenion were two projecting wings, called the paraskenia. Dramatic productions of the Fifth Century B.C. often employed two mechanical devices. One, the Eccyclema, was a sort of platform on wheels which, so far as we can discover, was rolled out from the skene and held stage setting intended to represent an interior scene. The other was the known simply as “the machine.” Often at the close of a play the dramatist resorted to the introduction of a god into the action, in order to miraculously resolve unresolved problems and tie together loose plot elements. Such a god would naturally be expected to appear from above, so the dramatic deity was brought in by some sort of crane or derrick, called “the machine,” and lowered onto the stage, perhaps suspended on the end of a rope. Inasmuch as the god who was lowered into play in this way usually served to disentangle the complicated threads of the plot, and often seemed to be brought in gratuitously by playwrights unable to work out a dénouement from elements already in play, the term deus ex machina, (“the god from the machine,”) has become standard in dramatic criticism. [The plot of Khan Amore’s novel, HYPATIA, might be said to involve a “deus ex tempus machina.” ] In Athens of the Fifth Century B.C. dramas were presented only twice a year, during religious festivals. Elsewhere, and at other times, plays were presented at rural festivals in various Greek communities, when the productions were “taken on the road.” In the city, the less important of the festivals, called the Lenaea, or Festival of the Wine-Press, was held in January/February of each year. The more important festival, though, was the so-called Greater Dionysia, which was celebrated annually in March/April in honor of the god, Dionysus. Huge audiences attending these orgiastic festivals also made it a point to watch the dramatic performances, which were held daily for about a week in each of the two seasons. Early in the Fifth Century B.C. the admission to the performances was free, but later the cost was two obols, which could be refunded by the State to anyone who could show that this cost would inflict undue hardship. Under Pericles, these admission fees to the theatre were secured from the public treasury for each citizen who chose to ask for it. Present-day miserly American Philistines affiliated with the Republican party may grumble that even the original “Democrats were “bleeding-heart, artsy-fartsy, tax-and-spend liberals,” but it must be kept in mind that taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society, and in the higher civilization of the ancient Greeks, the theatre was the equivalent of the modern pulpit, press, and television rolled into one. The policy of paying everyone’s admission to the theatre was not merely to keep the populace entertained, but was rather a measure intended to edify and to advance the intellectual training of the citizens — citizens who needed to be kept educated, for the welfare of the state depended upon their wisdom, as they were the true rulers of the Democracy. Just as in ancient Rome, where it was the duty of emperors, senators and wealthy aristocrats to foot the bill for public entertainment (“Bread and Circuses,”) so in ancient Athens a wealthy citizen stood the cost of theatrical production — it was a responsibility which was placed upon him by the State, and was regarded as a legitimate obligation of his high position and citizenship in a society which was, after all, the source of his wealth and privileged existence. Thus it seems that the wealthy pagans of ancient Greece felt it was their sacred duty, through patronage of the arts, to pay back the society which had given them so much.

3. The ancient Greeks invented Logic. The science of logic was first formulated by Aristotle. Later investigations into this field served only to extend his work, but did not alter its basic principles. Logic is the science dealing with the principles of valid reasoning and argument. Aristotle devoted his attention almost exclusively to a priori or deductive logic, which derives the particular from the general, and this form of syllogistic reasoning served as the primary tool of thought which enabled the development of Euclidean Geometry, which in turn continues to serve as the foundation of mathematics in general. (The fuller development of logic’s inductive form had to await the arrival of Francis Bacon and John Stuart Mill.) Again, Logic may be defined as the Science of Reasoning, or the Science of the Laws of Thought. The laws of thought are natural laws, like gravity, with which we have no power to interfere, or to change, as we can do with man-made laws. Logic is quite simply the most powerful tool of thought in man’s possession. It enables us to determine with complete certainty, whether a given proposition is correct or incorrect, from the form of the argument itself, without even knowing any of the particulars. To illustrate the power of this tool of reasoning, consider the well-known syllogism: 1) All men are mortal. 2) Socrates is a man. Therefore, 3) Socrates is mortal. We may not know whether or not all men are mortal, or whether Socrates is in fact a man, but Logic assures us with complete certainty that if these two premises are correct, then the conclusion (i.e., that Socrates is mortal) is without a doubt correct, too. The logical, rational, Greek mode of thought disappeared from the face of the Earth right around the time of Hypatia’s brutal public assassination by a band of Christian monks under the command of Saint Cyril. At that critical juncture in history, when the Last Keeper of the Flame of Greek Knowledge was snuffed, Faith finally vanquished Reason, and for a thousand benighted years the mind of man stagnated and wallowed in the violence and madness of religious superstition.

4. The ancient Greeks invented Science. (this statement can be disputed somewhat, Latter-day Saints should see the Book of Abraham as to how astronomy was restored). Not this science or that science, mind you, but science in general. The word itself derives from the Latin Scientia, from scire, “to know,” although this derivation is misleading, for science is by no means Roman in origin. The literal meaning of the word Science is “knowledge,” but the term is really taken to mean “a systematic body of knowledge of the physical Universe and all it contains, derived, formulated, and accumulated in accordance with logical and scientific principles.” Science may be divided into three types: 1) Applied Science, a discipline which uses the methods and findings of science solely for the practical purpose of developing and producing new technology, products, or structures, 2) Natural Science, a study dealing with material phenomena, and based mainly on observation, experiment, and induction (as in chemistry and biology), and 3) Pure Science, a pursuit of truth or knowledge depending on logical deductions from self-evident truths (as in the fields of mathematics or logic) without overriding concern for practical applications. It should come as no surprise that the same people that gave us logic should also give us science, which relies so heavily on logic. Mind you, some attempts at the systemization of knowledge were made in the older civilizations of ancient Egypt and Babylonia — attempts which included the designation of units of measure, the development of a simple arithmetic and geometry used mainly for land surveying, and the elaboration of a calendar based on the observed periodicity of astronomical events, but the Egyptians and Chaldeans, clever as they were, did not use logical reasoning as a general method of discovering Truth as did the Greeks. The earliest peoples to attempt to discover the causes of natural phenomena through observation and reasoning were the Ionian Natural Philosophers of ancient Greece, including Pythagoras of Samos, who derived the earliest system of geometry. Later Greeks, including Plato and Aristotle, largely abandoned the observational method of the Ionians in favor of metaphysics, although Aristotle did not discard the observational method entirely, for he did attempt biological experimentation. In the 3rd Century B.C. (in the “Alexandrian Age”) the Alexandrians Aristarchus and Hipparchus applied scientific methods to the study of astronomy and Archimedes devised the elementary principles of mechanics and hydrostatics, thus laying the groundwork for the development of both Physics and Calculus by Isaac Newton almost nineteen centuries later. Indeed, some of the findings of the ancient Greek Natural Philosophers have been incorporated without alteration into modern science. Even today, just as every beginning student of Mathematics must still learn the Pythagorean Theorem, so every beginning student of Science and Engineering is still taught Archimedes’ Hydrostatic Principle, and Archimedes’ principles of levers and compound pulleys. Mind you, Archimedes did not invent the lever. That tool has been in use from time immemorial — even an ape may use a stick as a lever — but it is one thing to use or even to contrive a device, and quite another to lay bare its exact mathematical principles, and to follow these principles to their logical conclusions. This is what Science does, and this type of logical analysis is the gift that the ancient Greeks gave to the world. Indeed, this was the whole trend of the Greek mind. As Edith Hamilton puts it in her excellent work, The Greek Way to Western Civilization, “To be versed in the ways of nature means that a man has observed outside facts and reasoned about them. He has used his powers not to escape from the world but to think himself more deeply into it. To the Greeks the outside world was real and something more, it was interesting. They looked at it attentively and their minds worked upon what they saw. This is essentially the scientific method. The Greeks were the first scientists and all science goes back to them.” After the Church gained ascendancy, and religious Faith ruled the world, this rational, free-thinking, quintessentially Greek mode of thought disappeared from the face of the Earth for nearly a thousand years. Throughout the Dark Ages and Middle Ages, when the Church ruled Europe, Science made little advance other than in the work of the Arabian alchemists. Then, near the close of the Middle Ages, when those few surviving earlier works of the ancient Greek scientists were re-discovered (having been preserved in Moslem libraries), Greek rationality came once again into the world, and the foundations of modern science were laid on this substratum of ancient Greek wisdom.

5. The ancient Greeks invented Lyrics. The lyric was originally a song to be sung to the accompaniment of the lyre — an ancient, three-stringed to twelve-stringed (usually seven-stringed) instrument having two horns and a sounding board made of a tortoise shell covered with bull’s hide. The poet and musician, Terpander (“Delighter of Men”), who was born on Lesbos, is known as the first Greek lyric poet because he was the first to set poems to music. Having killed a man in a brawl, this inaugurator of the Great Age of Lesbos was exiled, and found it convenient to accept an invitation to live in Sparta. There he lived the remainder of his days, teaching music and training choruses. It is said that his life ended at a drinking party, when he was singing. It seems that one of his auditors threw a fig at him while his mouth was open wide to sing one of the extra notes he had added to the music scale, and this edible token (whether of reward or criticism) lodged in his windpipe and choked him to death in the very ecstasy of song. (Because praise and criticism were more likely to be expressed physically in earlier times, when a performer “died” on stage in those days, he really died.) Terpander was followed later in the 7th Century B.C. by those other famed lyricists of Lesbos, Alcaeus, who invented the Alcaic Strophe, and Sappho, the greatest poetess of all time, whose lyrical love poems are the most sublime ever written.

6. The ancient Greeks invented the field of study we call History. The word itself means “investigation” in Greek. Of course, since the end of Pre-Historic times, men had been recording chronicles, legends, and myths, but there is a difference between story-telling and unbiased, unjudgmental, strictly factual history, and the man who is called the “Father of History” was a Greek. His name was Herodotus. Born in Fifth Century B.C. Halicarnassus (a Doric Greek colony in Southwest Asia Minor, which at the time was under the domination of Persia), Herodotus wandered the world in search of knowledge, enjoyment, wonder, and beauty, recording all he saw in a delightfully selfless, unfiltered and unprejudiced style. He was the first sight-seer in the world, and perhaps the happiest one as well. His journeys practically reached the boundaries of the known world of his time, and he recorded the many wonders he saw in his book History a term used for the first time by him, in our sense of the word. The hallmarks of Herodotus’ style were those of the ideal historian: the complete omission of personal bias, the unflagging allegiance to truth rather than dogma, and the complete suspension of judgment. His writing is without mannerism, without an iota of self-consciousness. It is always simple, direct, lucid, interesting, and readable. As an example of his open-mindedness, and of the care he always took to differentiate what was known from what was merely believed, of the West he wrote:

“I am unable to speak with certainty. I can learn nothing about the islands from which our tin comes, and though I have asked everywhere I have met no one who has seen a sea on the West side of Europe. The truth is no one has discovered if Europe is surrounded by water or not. I smile at those who with no sure knowledge to guide them describe the ocean flowing around a perfectly circular earth.”

— Herodotus

This is an example of the way in which the Greek mind worked. The great river Ocean encircling the Earth had been described by Homer, the revered, even sacred authority, and by Hesiod, second only to Homer, and yet Herodotus without a qualm about impiety blithely declines to accept the truth of this assertion on authority, yet he is always mildly tolerant of other people’s views and never dogmatic about his own. Quite as characteristic of Herodotus is his matter-of-fact statement that the priestess at Delphi had been more than once bribed to give an oracle favorable to one side in a dispute. This was attacking the Greek holy of holies — like accusing the Pope of taking bribes. Herodotus had a great respect for the Delphic oracle, but to his mind that was no reason to suppress a charge which he had investigated, and which the evidence supported — and it was certainly no reason to refrain from investigation. As Edith Hamilton put it, “When an authority, no matter how traditionally sacrosanct, came into conflict with a fact, the Greeks preferred the fact. They had no inclination to protect ‘sound doctrine taught of old.’ A new force had come into the world with Greece, the idea of Truth to which personal bias and prejudice must yield.”

7. The Greeks of the Sixth century B.C. originated the secular, rationalistic, empirical approach to Medicine which still today dominates mainstream medical practice. Man has practiced medicine from pre-historic times, but, although in earliest times some excellent herbal medicines were in use (notably opium), the healing arts were in general intimately associated with the rites of magic and religion. The duties of the shaman, witch-doctor, or medicine man of primitive cultures often included not only guardianship of health, but also propitiation of spirits to ensure successful crops, and the destruction of enemies with magical spells. Illness was attributed to evil spirits (which fetishes, amulets, and talismans were used to avert), the sick were sometimes killed to defuse epidemics, and the mentally deranged were regarded with awe. Primitive medical treatments were generally mystical in nature, although there was an extensive plant lore which in some cases may have exceeded our own knowledge of poisonous or healing plants (for example, consider the blow-gun poison, curare.) Medical practice in Egypt arose around 3000 B.C. but at first, it too, was magico-religious in nature. Gradually, Egyptian medical practice began to include empirico-rational elements such that, while diseases of inaccessible organs were still treated by the spells and incantations of the priest-magician, diseases of accessible areas (such as the skin or eyes) were treated in a more rational manner by healers which were the first in history to qualify as physicians, not mere sorcerers or priests. Third-Dynasty Egyptian medicine was the best of its day, and the ancient Nile-dwellers even practiced dentistry. In Mesopotamia, a vast number of medical remedies were in use (including more than 500 drugs), but, because of the theocratic system prevailing in Assyria and Babylonia, the practice of medicine in those countries could not break away from the influence of demonology and magical practices. Semitic influence on Mesopotamian life squelched any possibility of medical advance, as the concept of sin as the cause of disease grew predominant, and prayer supplanted medicine. Hebrew medicine was similarly retarded by the strait-jacket of religion. Disease was considered evidence of the wrath of God, and the only surgical procedure in practice was the ritualistic mutilation of circumcision. Ancient Hindu (Vedantic) medicine of 1500 to 1000 B.C. was far better. The Hindus of that time had a very rich materia medica — they even used marijuana and henbane for inducing anaesthesia, and the ancient Hindu drug Rauwolfia serpentina, became the first modern tranquilizer. In the field of operative surgery the Hindus are acknowledged to have attained the highest skill in all antiquity. They were probably the first to perfect skin grafting, and plastic surgery for the nose. Unfortunately, with the rise of Buddhism in India the study of anatomy was prohibited, and the Moslem conquest brought further decline and ultimate stagnation in the field of medicine. Nearby, in ancient China, doctors were paid when their patients were kept well, not when they were sick. Believing that it was the doctor’s job to prevent disease, Chinese doctors sometimes even paid the patient if the patient lost his health. If a patient died, a special lantern was hung outside the doctor’s house, and at each death another lantern was added. If a physician’s residence accumulated too many lanterns, his business would naturally decline, and the doctor would be left no recourse but to open a lantern shop. Lantern salesman probably abounded in those days, for in ancient China the progress of medicine was impeded by that culture’s abject reverence for authority. Although some effective drugs were in use (notably opium), and the novel form of counter-irritation offered by acupuncture was developed there, religious prohibitions against dissection in ancient China resulted in inadequate knowledge of body structure and function, and without anatomical and physiological research, medicine was unable to advance. Although the earliest Greek medicine also labored in the domain of magic and spells, by the 6th Century B.C. Greek medicine had become thoroughly secular, stressing the importance of clinical observation and experience. Around the 5th Century B.C. Alcmæon of the Pythagorean school in the Greek colony of Croton in southern Italy was the first to assert that it was the brain, and not the heart, that was the seat of the senses. In that same period, two other famous schools of Greek medicine flourished in Cos and Cnidus, under the semi-priestly sect known as the Æsclepiads. It is likely that students of both these schools contributed to the Hippocratic Corpus, a collection of writings by more than one author, although popularly attributed to Hippocrates of Cos, known as the Father of Medicine. In all these works there is no mention of supernatural cures. Although some of the medical theories that the ancient Greeks labored under may today seem absurd (such as the Empedoclean concept that disease is an expression of a disturbance or imbalance of the four “elements” of Anaxagoras, namely, fire, air, water, and earth) this was the first time in history that an entire system of medicine arose which intentionally and systematically excluded any element of magic, of religion, of the supernatural. Indeed, throughout the rest of the ancient world those who practiced the healing art were regarded as magicians or priests versed in supernatural magic rites, while the Greeks alone called their healers physicians, which means “those versed in the ways of nature.” The highest ethical standards were demanded from the physicians of that time, who were required to take the celebrated Hippocratic Oath, an oath still taken by physicians today. Knowledge of Anatomy was based on the study of animals, and Physiology was based on the four cardinal humors, or fluids, of the body, namely blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. Although this outmoded theory may today seem ridiculous, it should be remembered that a theory doesn’t need to be true to be of value in the ascent of man — if a theory generalizes a large number of seemingly unrelated facts, and is used to predict new results, and especially if it leads to new discoveries, then it has served its purpose well, and should not be regarded with embarrassment later, when that theory is discarded for a better one. The true genius of Hippocrates is to be found in the justly venerated Aphorisms and Prognostics, containing pithy expressions of philosophic outlook and vast clinical experience. Although not a practicing physician, the philosopher Aristotle contributed greatly to the development of medicine by his dissections of numerous species of animals. Not content with merely being the Father of Logic, Aristotle also made himself the Founder of the field of Comparative Anatomy. By the 3rd Century B.C. Alexandria — the seat of the famous Library, and the world’s first University, called the “Museum” — was firmly established as the center of Greek medical science. It was in Alexandria that the anatomist Herophilus performed the first recorded public dissection of the human body, and the physiologist Erasistratus established for all time the important nutritional function of the blood. Among the followers of these pioneers in the field of medicine were the medical empiricists, who, rejecting theory entirely, based their doctrine on experience gained by trial and error. The empiricists excelled in surgery and pharmacology, and a royal student of empiricism, Mithridates, King of Pontus, developed the concept of inducing immunity to poisons by the administration of gradually increasing doses of it (i.e., mithridatism.) Modern medical practice is in effect a direct descendant of Alexandrian Greek medicine, which was adopted by the Romans after they had conquered and assimilated Egypt. The chief medical writers of the Greco-Roman period which followed included Celsus, who wrote an encyclopedia of medicine in the 2nd Century A.D., Dioscorides, the first scientific medical botanist, and Galen of Pergamon who is regarded as the second most important physician of antiquity, after Hippocrates himself. Galen was held as the undisputed medical authority throughout the whole of the Middle Ages, although his anatomical knowledge of man was defective, having been based upon study of the ape. Indeed, some of Galen’s teachings actually retarded later medical progress, owing to the slavish and unquestioning submission to not only his authority, but to all authority, of the Medievals under the yoke of theocracy, throughout the thousand years when Faith ruled the world. During these Dark Ages the field of medicine, which had made great strides under the Greeks, descended again to the level of primitive superstition as the churchmen assured their flocks that illness was caused by demonic possession, to be cured by prayer, penitence (including monetary “donations” to the Church), and exorcism. As history has shown time and again, without the free-thinking, authority-rejecting mode of inquiry which was brought into the world by the Greeks, there can be no progress.

8. The ancient Greeks revolutionized Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting. By the year 500 B.C. Athens had experienced an artistic and intellectual development which made their civilization nobler and more promising than any the world has ever seen. Moreover, this civilization was essentially the beginning of our own. The remains of Egyptian or Babylonian sculpture and architecture arouse our admiration and interest as curiosities, but they are foreign to us. With the remains of a Greek temple, or a fragment of a Greek poem, of the year 500 B.C., we feel at home. We can’t help but feel this might have been built, or written, by our own people. This is because we are the children of the Greeks — Western civilization is but a continuation of the one begun by them. As Shelley put it, “We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our art, have their roots in Greece.” To this, Henry Sumner Maine added: “Except the blind forces of Nature, there is nothing that moves in the world today that is not Greek in origin.” Greek art was an unprecedented, seemingly miraculous emergence of a dynamic vital style which celebrates the beauty of the real world, and in which mind and spirit co-exist in serene equilibrium. Everyone on Earth today is familiar with Greek architecture, whether they know it or not. Almost every university or government building that is intended to be taken seriously is an imitation of Greek architecture. One has but to look at the apparent white marble and fluted columns of the U.S. Supreme Court Building, and the sculpted frieze on that building’s pediment, to see in it the intentional echo of a Greek temple. The intellectual and artistic genius of the Greeks exploded into the world during the Periclean Age, when Athens was at the head of a “confederacy of equal states” (which really amounted to an Athenian Empire.) Part of the policy of Pericles was to adorn Athens from the surplus revenues of the empire. This may have been an injustice to the other “equal member states,” but the result was to make the city the most beautiful in the world, so that, ever since, even her mere ruins have enthralled the admiration of men. Greek art was at that time just reaching its perfection, and everywhere in Athens, under the charge of the greatest artists of this greatest artistic age, temples, colonnades, and porticoes inimitable to this day popped up like mushrooms. No description can do justice to the splendor, the strength, the beauty, which met the eye of the Athenian, whether he walked around the fortifications, or through the broad streets of the Piraeus, or in the shades of the Academy, or amidst the tombs of the Ceramicus, whether he chaffered in the Agora, or attended assemblies in the Pnyx, or loitered in one of the numerous porticoes, or watched the exercises in the gymnasia, or listened to music in the Odeum, or plays in the theatres, or joined the throng of worshippers of the goddess, Athene, ascending to the great gateway of the Acropolis, and the crown jewel of the city’s citadel — the Parthenon itself. And this magnificence was not the result of centuries of toil; it was the work of a mere fifty years, and in those years architecture, sculpture, and painting achieved such perfection that even today they have yet to be rivaled. Every year the ruins of the Parthenon still bring millions of visitors to Athens. Perhaps the first impression one receives there is that the plan of the Greek temple was starkly simple, perhaps even austere — not at all like the vast, spacious Cathedral of Notre Dame, in which even the ornaments have ornaments on them. But it should be borne in mind that Greek temples were not churches for worshippers to congregate in. Greek temples were the homes of divinities — people only brought offerings to the gods and goddesses there, when they wished to ask for favors. In the words of Edith Hamilton, “ ... the Parthenon is the home of humanity at ease, calm, ordered, sure of itself and the world. The Greeks flung a challenge to nature in the fullness of their joyous strength. They set their temples on the summit of a hill overlooking the wide sea, outlined against the circle of the sky. They would build what was more beautiful than hill and sea and sky and greater than all these ... The Parthenon was raised in triumph, to express the beauty and the power and the splendor of man .” As with Greek architecture, Greek sculpture was marked by similar stark simplicity. Decoration did not interest the Greeks. In all their art, and even in their literature, they were preoccupied with what they wanted to express, not with frilly ways of expressing it; and florid, highly ornamented styles did not appeal to them at all. To quote Edith Hamilton yet again, “Greek art is intellectual art, the art of men who were clear and lucid thinkers, and it is therefore plain art. Artists than whom the world has never seen greater, men endowed with the spirit’s best gift found their natural method of expression in the simplicity and clarity which are the endowment of the unclouded reason. ‘Nothing in excess,’ the Greek axiom of art, is the dictum of men who would brush aside all obscuring, entangling superfluity, and see clearly, plainly, unadorned, what they wished to express.” As the ever-eloquent Will Durant put it, in Greek sculpture, “Technique had been mastered, anatomy was understood, life and movement and grace had been poured into bronze and stone. But the characteristic achievement of Pheidias [the greatest of the Greek sculptors] was the attainment and definitive expression of classic style: strength reconciled with beauty, feeling with restraint, motion with repose, flesh and bone with mind and soul ... [Greek sculpture] shows classic restraint at its best, and teaches even a romantic soul that feeling speaks with most power when it lowers its voice.” Unfortunately for the world, few undamaged originals of Greek architecture or sculpture are extant, and no Greek paintings whatsoever have survived. But we know from surviving written accounts of them, that Greek paintings were of the same high order of excellence as everything else the ancient Hellenes had a hand in. The Greeks adored genius in painting as in every other field, and a certain pupil of Apollodorus, named Zeuxis, through his use of perspective and chiaroscuro, made himself the supreme figure in Fifth Century B.C. painting. He was a grandiose character, bold, conceited, and self-assured of his brilliance. At the Olympic games he strutted about in a checkered tunic on which his name was embroidered in gold. He was quite wealthy, and he gave away many of his masterpieces, on the ground that no price could do them justice; and cities and kings were happy to receive them. He had only one rival — Parrhasius of Ephesus, an artist almost as great and quite as vain. Parrhasius wore a golden crown on his head, called himself the “Prince of Painters, and said that in him art had reached perfection. He did it all in good humor, though, singing as he painted. The rivalry between Parrhasius and Zeuxis eventually came to a head in a public competition. Zeuxis painted such a life-like picture of a boy holding a bunch of grapes that the birds flew down to peck at them. People acclaimed him the master-artist. “If I were,” he answered, “the boy would have kept the birds away.” When it came time for Parrhasius to reveal his entry in the competition, Zeuxis, confident of victory, bade Parrhasius to draw aside the curtain that concealed the Ephesian’s painting. But the curtain proved to be part of the picture, and Zeuxis, having himself been deceived, magnanimously acknowledged his defeat. He suffered no loss of reputation, though. At Crotona, a city famed for the beauty of its women, he agreed to paint a Helen for the temple of Lacinian Hera, on the condition that the five most beautiful women of the city should pose nude for him, so that he might select from each her fairest feature, and combine them all in a second goddess of beauty. Of course, this commission required much preliminary research, and the artist needed to bear the burden of fully inspecting all of the women of the city who were thought to be the most beautiful, so that he might find the five that he would use in his painting. When he finally found the five most beautiful of all of the city’s most beautiful, these he studied long and hard before painting his picture, and when he was done the painting was not a representation of any one of the lovelies he had studied, but fairer by far than the fairest of them all. Sadly, we will never be able to look upon this masterpiece, nor any other Greek painting. Almost all of Greek art was destroyed when classical antiquity gave way to the “Age of Faith,” a period known to us as the Dark Ages. In those benighted years, when Faith ruled the world, the mind of man dismissed the real world — saw it as hateful and hopeless. The artist turned his back upon things that are seen, in favor of the rapturous visions of his soul. He shut the eyes of his mind to the beauties of Nature and the real world, preferring instead visions of angels and of his crucified Savior. The art of the West, after Rome fell and the influence of the Greeks was lost, went the way of Eastern mysticism. Pictures grew more and more decorative. The three-dimensional realism of the Greeks was replaced by the flat unreality of the stylized until, at the Renaissance, the beauty of the real world was re-discovered with the re-discovery of ancient Greek culture. Once again, Edith Hamilton puts it too well for me to paraphrase: “Two thousand years after the golden days of Phidias and Praxiteles, of Zeuxis and Apelles, when their statues were defaced and broken and all but irretrievably lost, and their paintings were completely gone forever, men’s minds were suddenly directed to what was left of the literature of Greece and Rome. A passion for learning like that of Plato’s time swept Italy. To study the literature of Greece was to discover the idea of the freedom of the mind and to use the mind as it had not been used since the days of Greece. Once again there was a fusion of rational and spiritual power. In the Italian Renaissance a great artistic development coincided with a great intellectual awakening and the art that resulted is in its essence more like that of Greece than any other before or since. In Florence, where great painters had great minds, the beauty of the real world was re-discovered and men painted what they saw with their eyes ... [for once again men desired ] to paint realities, not heavenly visions [and once again, as the creators of beauty in days of old, men had been like gods.] ”

9. The ancient Greeks developed Literature, Oratory, and Rhetoric into perfected art-forms. Rhetoric is defined as the art of persuasive, impressive, or eloquent speaking or writing. Among no other people has public speaking been so important and effective as among the citizens of the world’s first Democracy, in which every decision of state was publicly debated in plenary assembly. For almost two hundred years, from Themistocles to Demosthenes, great statesman swayed the Athenian city-state by the power of their thrilling eloquence; and enthralled citizens daily packed the Pnyx to hang breathless for hours upon the persuasive words of their leaders. As in our own law courts today, it was often the case which was most persuasively presented that prevailed, not the case which had the most merit. For this reason, public speaking was taught by teachers of rhetoric, called Rhetors. The Sophists of the Fifth Century B.C. were rhetors who made a profession of teaching rhetoric to anyone who could pay their fee. The emphasis of their instruction was not on Truth or Knowledge, but rather on how to achieve victory in public debate. Many of these teachers became very popular, and amassed great wealth. As masters of the art of persuasion, many sophists came to believe that one proposition could be proved as satisfactorily as another, and some of them developed a skeptical attitude toward religion and morality. Because any questioning of the nature of Right and Wrong, or of the foundations of society, has always been regarded as a subversive activity, the term “Sophist” acquired a pejorative connotation which persists to this day (today, Sophistry is usually taken to mean “Captious or fallacious reasoning; reasoning which is sound in appearance only; specious reasoning; a false argument, especially one intended to deceive.”) The sophists merely studied and taught the art of political ascendancy and political expedience without regard for ideal or principle — their goal was to teach their students, for a fee, how to use rhetoric as a tool to get them the political power they desired. In other words, these “philosophers” trespassed into the realm of politicians, judges, and legislators who were already in power because they had used precisely these same skills. Those who were already politically entrenched were, of course, not pleased to allow these “philosophers” (i.e., the “sophists”) to go around teaching anyone who could pay for it the rhetorical skills which could be used by potential rivals to challenge or unseat them, and this might go far in explaining the trial and death-sentence of Socrates, one of history’s great souls, who was accused of sophistry, and of “corrupting the youth.” In the Athenian democracy, those who through their eloquence and rhetorical skills often prevailed in public debate were considered the mouthpiece of the common people, and were called demagogues (meaning, literally, “Leader of the People.”) Because there is a fine line between eloquently speaking for the people, and swaying the people, the term “demagogue” has come to connote “A person who stirs up the people by appeals to emotions, prejudice, etc. in order to become a leader and achieve selfish ends.”) It would seem that politics has always been a nasty business, then as now, but neglecting for the moment the political applications of skillful oratory and rhetoric, it must be said that the eloquence of the ancient Greeks was truly spell-binding. Athens was the principal city of the Greek state called Attica, and because the Ionian Greeks living in this region were famed for their eloquence, the term Atticism is still today defined as “Extreme classical elegance of speech; simple, concise, refined elegance of expression.” Although the art and architecture of the ancient Greeks has been copied everywhere even to the present day, their style of writing has remained peculiar to them alone. In their austere — yet powerful — manner of expression, they have no imitators. An example of this stark simplicity of speech is to found in Homer’s Iliad, when, during the Trojan War, the noble Trojan hero, Hector, falls. The Greek kings descend upon his dead body, “and no one came who did not add his wound. Another example of Atticism is to be found in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, where the God Hephaestus permits himself only the rebuke, “Cruel, thy tongue. And as if this were not elegant enough, much of the ancient Greek literature was not only expressed in Atticism, but had rhythm and rhyme as well, as it was meant to be sung to the lyre. Of the four masters of Tragedy three are Greek. One of these, Sophocles, in his Tragedy, Agamemnon, invokes the powerful and masterful simplicity of Attic eloquence:

Lo! Sin by sin and sorrow by sorrow —

And who the end can know?

The slayer of today shall die tomorrow —

The wage of wrong is woe.

While Time shall be, while Zeus is lord,

His law is fixed and stern;

On him that wrought shall vengeance be poured

The tides of doom return.

— Sophocles

As the great classicist, Edith Hamilton summarized the Greek style of writing: “...The lover of great literature when he is confronted all unprepared with the Greek way of writing, feels chilled at first, almost estranged. The Greeks wrote on the same lines as they did everything else. Greek writing depends no more on ornament than the Greek statue [or the Greek temple] does. It is plain writing, direct, matter-of-fact. It often seems, when translated with any degree of literalness, bare, so unlike what we are used to as even to repel ... Clarity and simplicity of statement, the watchwords of the thinker were the Greek poets’ watchwords too ... The Greeks were realists, but not as we use the word. They saw the beauty of common things and were content with it ... The Greeks liked facts. They had no real taste for embroidery, and they detested exaggeration ... The things men live with, noted as men of reason note them, not slurred over or evaded, not idealized away from actuality, and then perceived as beautiful — that is the way Greek poets saw the world.”

10. The ancient Greeks invented Philosophy. Not only a whole slew of specific philosophies, but the whole field, as well. The very word, Philosophy comes from the Greek, and the concept is quintessentially Greek. It means, literally, Love of Wisdom. The Oxford Concise Dictionary defines Philosophy as “Seeking after wisdom or knowledge, especially that which deals with ultimate reality, or with the most general causes and principles of things and ideas and human perception of them, physical phenomena (as in natural philosophy), and ethics (as in moral philosophy); advanced learning in general (as in doctor of Philosophy); a philosophical system; system of principles for conduct of life; serenity, calmness.” Philosophy and Science were born together in the Sixth Century B.C. Their birthplace was in Ionia, where, according to Herodotus, “the air and climate are the most beautiful in the whole world.” Will Durant, in his magnum opus, The Story of Civilization, Volume 2, The Life of Greece, explains why it was here, among the ancient Greeks, that secular rational thought first arose: “It was in this stimulating environment that Greece first developed two of its most characteristic gifts to the world — science and philosophy. The crossroads of trade are the meeting place of ideas, the attrition ground of rival customs and beliefs; diversities beget conflict, comparison, thought; superstitions cancel one another, and reason begins. Here in Miletus, as later in Athens, were men from a hundred scattered states; mentally active through competitive commerce, and freed from the bondage of tradition by long absences from their native altars and homes. Milesians themselves traveled to distant cities, and had their eyes opened by the civilizations of Lydia, Babylonia, Phoenicia, and Egypt; in this way, among others, Egyptian geometry and Babylonian astronomy entered the Greek mind. Trade and mathematics, foreign commerce and geography, navigation and astronomy, developed hand in hand. Meanwhile, wealth had created leisure; an aristocracy of culture was growing up in which freedom of thought was tolerated because only a small minority could read. No powerful priesthood, no ancient and inspired text limited men’s thinking; even the Homeric poems, which were to become in some sense the Bible of the Greeks, had hardly taken yet a definite form; and in that final form their mythology was to bear the imprint of Ionian skepticism and scandalous merriment. Here for the first time thought became secular, and sought rational and consistent answers to the problems of the world and man.” The title of “Father of Greek Science and Philosophy” is almost unanimously conferred upon Thales of Miletus (ca. 640-546 B.C.), although, because we have no writings by him but only a couple of ancient references to him, there are those that confer this title upon Thales’ better known disciple, Anaximander (611-547 B.C.) instead. Some of the theories of Greek Natural Philosophy may seem whimsical to us today (such as Thales’ hypothesis that all things came from water, or moisture) nevertheless, these were the first attempts by the mind of man to search for natural explanations, or Laws of Nature, instead of resorting to supernatural explanations. For the first time, when there was a question which needed an answer, or there was a problem to solved, men used the power of their own minds to find a natural answer using reasoning, instead of kow-towing to the gods in abject submission in the hopes of obtaining divine guidance or intervention. This was a momentous development in human thought — a development which directly gave rise to Science, and in turn to that child of science, technology, along with all its miraculous gifts to mankind.

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