Vanishing Pythagoras

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Vanishing Pythagoras

Postby robert 46 » Wed May 25, 2011 11:52 am

Several years ago I read a small book about Pythagoras. Small because the Pythagoreans were secretive and little is known about them. The death of Pythagoras, although generally apocryphal, is illuminating. A youth named Kylon from a wealthy family wanted to gain entry into the inner circle of the Pythagoreans without going through an apprenticeship. Flatly rejected by Pythagoras, and smarting at the slight he denounced the Pythagoreans and incited a mob against them. The mob burned down the Pythagoreans' meeting place, killing some and causing the rest to flee. Pythagoras was chased, and took refuge in a temple. The mob, being superstitious about entering the temple to kill Pythagoras outright stayed outside. Perhaps they thought the god of the temple would be looking down to witness all that happened therein. So they surrounded the temple with the intent of stabbing Pythagoras should he try to leave, and prevented any food from going into the temple. Whereas "the rain falls on the just and unjust alike", Pythagoras did not die of thirst, but in about a month died of starvation. Perhaps the mob departed satisfied that they had not violated sanctuary by going inside and stabbing Pythagoras. Yet it made not an iota of difference whether they stabbed Pythagoras through the heart or denied him food that he waste away. Thus the first of the ancient Greek philosophers vanished.
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Postby JO 753 » Fri May 27, 2011 7:37 pm

Humans! PHOOEEY!
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Postby robert 46 » Tue May 31, 2011 11:48 am

There is a great irony in this story which most people fail to recognize: it doesn't matter to the conclusion whether there is a mob outside the temple or not. The fact that food is not forthcoming to Pythagoras either means the mob is able to prevent his supporters from bringing aid, or if there is no mob waiting outside it means there are no supporters to give aid. So Pythagoras is either besieged and defeated, or abandoned and defeated; and knowing this he finds no hope and purpose in attempting to leave the temple. The story has so many variations that clearly the truth is unknown. Pythagoras may have been stabbed, subjected to starvation, or out of despondency deliberately starved himself to death- under the gaze of silent Apollo.
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Postby raydpratt » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:30 pm

In sociology, there are studies that show that people do not ascend in society without going through "gatekeepers." In much the same way as you suggest, it would not matter if a gatekeeper stood outside the temple and blocked food from entering in to Pythagoras or handled matters more directly -- the end result would be the same.
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Postby robert 46 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:21 am

raydpratt wrote:In sociology, there are studies that show that people do not ascend in society without going through "gatekeepers." In much the same way as you suggest, it would not matter if a gatekeeper stood outside the temple and blocked food from entering in to Pythagoras or handled matters more directly -- the end result would be the same.

Humanity regularly ignores, supresses, persecutes, and sacrifices those who are different- particularly when their victim is right and they are wrong.
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