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Showing posts from July, 2018

Accidental Stoicism: A 2,000 Year Ideology Behind the Superpowers of Nuclear Bombs

Stoicism was Christianity before Christianity. It came into being surreptitiously. Its founder was Zenon from Cyprus. Taking advantage of Greek freedom of thought, Zenon started preaching Stoicism in the shaded colonnade of the Athenian agora in early third century BCE. 
Plundering Greek culture
Stoicism decorated itself with Greek philosophical ideas like that of logos (reason). Fire was especially close to divine reason, a tradition the Stoics also adopted from philosopher Herakleitos, “a god-like man, the inspired glory of ancient Ephesos”(Greek Anthology 2.355). Herakleitos, c. 540 – c. 480 BCE, saw the stars as bowls of fire and fire as logos, the wisdom one gains in understanding the cosmos. Man was inextricably tied to nature. 
However, Stoics like Zenon broke with the Greek tradition of the polis (city State) and the philosophical ideas of Plato and Aristotle. Stoicism degenerated to the popular talk of the shopping mall: an incoherent, flexible formula of fears, ideas, superstit…

Trump, Pruitt and Pollution

We live in unchartered territory. With global temperatures rising, July has been uniformly hot. Yesterday, 10 July 2018, the temperature was around 100 degrees Fahrenheit – in Claremont, California. 
I started the day at seven in the morning: walking my dog, biking, and swimming. By then it was nine o’ clock. I felt good and had a great breakfast of organic cereals and fruit.
Bad poison habits out in the open
Yet, walking and biking also revealed the insidious hold of chemicals on the mind of Americans. About a hundred meters from where I live, a large house, just sold for more than a million dollars, was pumped full of poisons for the extermination of termites. A colorful thick plastic covered the entire house, giving the illusion to the neighbors things are under control and the poisons in the house are “safe.” 
In addition to this dramatic evidence of a breakdown in public safety, I saw a homeowner and a company man spraying roundup herbicide in the gardens of two homes.
In the cas…

Searching for Aristotle in Lesbos

Like most Greek islands, Lesbos has been lost in the obscurity of global wars, politics, and the insignificance of modern Greece. 
Greece without sovereignty
Since 2009, the country’s debt to European and American banks has dragged Greece to the Third World. The lenders demanded Greece abdicates its sovereignty to them. Greek politicians obliged and Greece has become the first European country to submit to the humiliations of being a dependency of Brussels. To the eternal shame of “civilized” Europe, anonymous bureaucrats from the troika – a cabal of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission – have been running the country.
Rubble and war refugees in the Middle East
Lesbos would have maintained its silence had it not been for the American invasion and destruction of Iraq in 2003. This American war gave birth to Moslem civil wars. 
The civil wars in Iraq and Syria did more than filling those countries with rubble and death. They triggered a r…

Stoking the Heat and Violence of Climate

June 2018 was extremely unusual. No less than three international conferences, two of them in Greece, addressed climate change. 
I attended one of these international conferences at the University of Patras in Peloponnesos. As usual, in large meetings like this, one cannot listen to every presentation. And, needless to say, one also hears objectionable things. 
One foreign scientist fooled the Greek reviewers and gave a propaganda talk, taking the mind of the audience away from the guilty petroleum, coal and natural gas parties. This person spoke primarily about personal things but avoided entirely the companies funding and creating doubt about global warming. 
I spoke about the unsustainability, indeed, the outright dangers of industrialized agriculture overthrowing ancient agrarian civilizations in India, China, Greece, Egypt and the Americas. At the same time, machine farming not merely adds teeth to plantations but becomes a huge source of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon…