RE: SETI-L: Lucretius & Psionic ET Machines

Clements, Robert (
Tue, 21 Sep 1999 15:26:09 +1000

To be fair, i rather enjoy all the classic Greek literatue as well; although
i tend to prefer my mythology reconfigured in terms of Xena-Warrior

Vaguely more seriously, the preSocratic thinkers have suffered from a
desperate absence of unambiguous textual material; & trying to get a clear
handle on their thinking often requires defiltering testimonials through
multiple generations of commentators over (literally) 1000s of years.
Notwithstanding Galileo's absurd parody of the man, Simplicus was one of the
most learned of these commentators... but he's writing a full millenium
after the thinkers he's commenting on & therefore has to rely heavily on
intermediary writings (particularly Aristotle); while the axes being ground
by Sextus - not to mention my apostolic father namesake, Clement of
Alexandria - make easy interpretation on what the original preSocratic
writing quoted were or meant anything but....

(Glad it ain't my job... i'm strictly a dilettante in this fields)

Guthrie's collossal study on Greek thought (6 vols; 2 of which deal
exclusively with the preSocratic tradition; with another half volume on the
Sophists) only dates from the 60s if i remember rightly (never guaranteed);
& the formidable DK (Diels-Krenz, if i remember rightly) catalog of
preSocratic writing is definitely 20th century. Certainly an area of
intellectual thought worth searching if you happen to live anywhere near

(I assume that you are already aware of Aristarchus of Samos's 18 century
priority on the Copernican revolution...)

Empedocles's version of evolution - there's some evidence that Democritus
pushed the envelope of this concept as well; & the mighty mythology outlined
by Protagoras in the Platonic dialog of the same name clearly explores
cultural eviolutionary ideas - is particularly wild; & visualises monsterous
creatures like heads without bodies developing with time into what he
perceived as the common sense of the human form. Not really Darwin @ all, of
course; & profoundly fantastical as well; but all he had to do was include
the words _natural selection_....

If only philosophy had retained its focus on the world around it rather than
reverting to the internalised mysticism of Platonism....

All the best,
Robert Clements <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
(or should that be Marcus Aurelius?)
> Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 1999 2:49 pm
> To:
> Subject: Re: SETI-L: Lucretius & Psionic ET Machines
> When I was in college I studied Greek mythology. Homer, Lysistrata,
> Antigone,
> all that stuff. It was excellent. Really cool. But I can now see that the
> real action was in the sciences or philosophy. I feel like I really missed
> the boat. Oh, well. There was only so much time in college in between the
> Math and Physics etc.
> If one believes in Darwin, then one must believe that Anaximander had it
> first. I suggest that the currently in vogue term "Darwininsm" really
> needs
> to be changed to "Anaximanderism".
> Maybe then the Kansas Board of Education will rethink their absurd stance
> on
> evolution, hehe.
> John Marcus.

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