My guy Nassim Taleb once again gets his history wrong.
In Greek vs. Roman he writes: “Plato’s disastrous chance at governing in Sicily”. He builds a BS model, exactly like the one he criticises & doubles down in historical ignorance. This is unfortunate.
Yes, the education of Roman elites gradually became more and more “practical”, thus ignorant of greek philosophy, similarly on how modern US education replaced the classics with STEM. It was all about power, not truth.
The english-speaking world is falling into the same trap.
Please think through the following questions:
(a) from 1 to 10 how important was greek philosophy (& Plato) to the founding fathers of US?
(b) from 1 to 10 how important is greek philosophy to Obama or Trump?
(a) 9 to 10 (classical liberalism)
(b) zero (scientism)
Example: Charles Bristed was an American scholar and author, sometimes writing under the pen name Carl Benson. He was the first American to write a full-length defence of Americanisms (vs. British language). We may claim he’s the first true “American scholar”.
Charles Bristed documented that in 1855 there was talk amongst the founding fathers, some of whom were proposing GREEK to become the OFFICIAL US language.
That was the extent of Platonic & Aristotelian thinking of the founding fathers of US. The face of no-BS pragmatism.
Unlike what Nassim Taleb suggests, the opposite is actually true. The Romans, not Greeks were a normative culture fixated with norms transformed to legal forms. The Romans hated medicine, the only true inductive science that the Greeks developed even during the Roman empire.
Back to ancient Romans: Knowing Greek became less and less common, unable to find or even copy greek texts, leading themselves to illiteracy gradually introducing the dark ages. Finally greek books got lost.
We see something similar with the introduction of STEM in US & UK today. An elite class is running business & academy, a whole generation virtually ignorant of greek or byz culture & history, falling to all kind of mental traps made by MARXISM or SCIENTISM / RATIONALISM.
Davis Hanson recently published his warning on US education:
“Who Killed Homer?: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom”
Twitter is not the place to write a PhD holding up against a storm of historical BS. I’ll just post an interview of Tim O’Neill, an atheist [often too cynical for my taste] summarising the failure of Roman education when they rejected Plato.
When the western Romans rejected greek education, guess who remained experts in Platonic philosophy? The Byzantines! they were teaching the classics with passion to the point that Julian the Apostate tried to ban christian teachers from teaching philosophy.
Note: Julian the Apostate was the last non-Christian emperor of Rome. He was the last emperor w/ astrologers as counselors, typical for Romans. When Western Rome went down, astrology went down as well. That speaks volumes on the no-BS approach of Byzantine greek culture.
Pinker in Harvard 2018, doesn’t represent Harvard of 1600. And it’s only 400 year difference. Neoplatonic philosophy of Roman era (400AC) is NOT platonic (400BC), 800 years later. The Academy of Athens was degenerated and it was the Byz, not the Romans, that closed it down.
Today If you search in google the greeks vs. byzantines the top result is marxist (pseudo)Macedonia propaganda.
This BS, backed officially by Trump, can pass in a western political elite that has no f#cking clue of greek lang & history. The Romans in decline all over again.
If you want to see the face of dark ages in english-speaking world, take a look at the comments here. Highly-educated people with breathtaking level of hist. ignorance. Proud Romans thinking in boxes, worshiping their leader. No debate based on sources.
Of course we see nothing random here. We see predictable patterns of behaviour within the current global power structure. There is a non-random predictable attack against everything platonic, greek or western, mainly on Whig & Judeo-Christian BS w/ illiterate population.
It’s reasonable to judge a character by their friends. We can’t escape the dynamics of the group we spend our time with. This amicable peer-pressure is a gradually blinding force leading to “bounded rationality”. I know it may seem cryptic, it’s the only thing I can say for now.
This is called “bounded rationality”. Yes, it happens to all of us. But he’s not that naive. He knows Gibbon was anti-Byz & Cato anti-Greek. It’s like quoting Fox News for Obama or CNN for Trump. He carefully selected his sources, playing games w/ the ignorance of the audience.
Question asked to Benoux: What is your suggested material on greek or byzantine history? Your posts imply that mainstream narrative is wrong.
Response: Original texts. I’ve never found a translation that I would trust. This applies also to New Testament. e.g. In the original NT the word “θρησκεία” (religion) is found only in one place w/ negative connotation (James 1:26-27). Translators put the word “religion” all over the NT.