The classical world’s free-thinkers and philosophers had the advantage of being relatively unburdened by the mythology that ruled thought and action until their time, and yet they still rebelled against it.
Harwood explains in Mythology’s Last Gods that the evolution of science and secular learning was largely a rebellion versus the unrewarding tribute paid to a myriad of conjured notions, hosts, and deities.
By rejecting such mythological superstition, the classical thinkers of that era, Diogenes, Pythagorus, Socrates, Plato, Plotinus, Archimedes, Aristotle and many others, proposed that math, science, and the objective examination of nature — and perceived reality — could be far more productive than relying on myth-superstition as the lens through which to view the world. Agree or disagree, the Aristotelian tradition of science and secular thinking has been a foundation for civilization ever since.*
But the Mystery School adherents of the Hellenistic era were not stupid. They knew that math and science together cannot explain the mysteries of the universe. By nature of our existence, humankind will always look for answers beyond that which can be empirically proven by science, mathematics, and individual perception/observation. Furthermore, the Rulers of the Planet understood that science, individualism, and secular thinking may challenge the collective conformist view which supports the State, and may even pose a danger to the existence of the State itself. In other words, from the Hellenistic Period going forward, the Rulers of the Planet had a problem: rational individual thought — in place of superstition and fear — was infecting the population with a notion of individualism and self-rule.
By the time of the Constantine the state as Empire understood that it could no longer oppose evolution in rational thought, and hijacked it. By the Edict of Milan, Constantine saw that Christianity had somewhat codified the secular ideals of Hellenistic philosophy in the form of an increasingly accepted religion.
Constantine further understood that by codifying the philosophy of the individual in the form of religious beliefs — related to a monolithic Church — free will could be repressed and manipulated. In other words, establishment of Empire was linked to monolithic institutionalized religion. In the west, this yoke of monolithic religious constraint on the masses would last for one thousand years, effectively suppressing advancement in thought, science, and industry.
But Empire in the west founded on monolithic theism became a victim of its own Imperial success… the outstanding example being the Crusades. Centuries of theistic and imperial conflict in the West then resulted in the Treaty of Westphalia, and the Age of Enlightenment. The idea being, that national sovereignty stands in opposition to the imposition of one hegemonic Empire.
In the modern era, the advancement of science and technology (which began in antiquity with the mathematics of Pyhtagorus, Archimedes and Aristotle) has been remarkable. Likewise, the model for repression of a populace based on religious bigotry has morphed into something much more: “psychological warfare”. And State-sponsored psychological warfare has progressed remarkably. In opposition to humanism, the media’s psychological warfare and trans-humanist agenda has (apparently) recently supplanted former Elitist ideas about controlling the population through conflict based on monolithic religious belief.
High speed communications, social media, and technology may be turned against us, while attempting to define us. That is, our perception of reality is stretched beyond limit via the high-tech “metaverse”; gender wars; social division; economic and military ambition… and a media that concentrates on all that. Just as in the Holy Roman Empire era — that era of Empire (in the form of the global hegemonic) is still with us. Apparently the West still hopes to conquer the Eastern world for Empire, just as it attempted to do from 1095 and for three hundred years thereafter. Today, the technology to do so is far more advanced, and far more dangerous.
In this era of the contagion, we are suspicious. Not because we as people wish to be suspicious, but because we are made to be. Depression may set in when we consider the delusional, illusory world we must confront today, which is far more complex than the ideas about the world that Aristotle set forth in antiquity.
Fortunately there may be a way to fight back. Get out of the markets. How about living simply and frugally? Don’t let the metaverse and “connected world” define you, or define us.
Advocating to turn off, tune out, and get off the grid, is hypocritical for me. Because I spend much time online, researching and writing such as this.. But these are the paradoxes that define us as human beings. Retaining our humanity, being opposed to war and aggression, learning about agorism and adopting the agorist lifestyle is perhaps key to exposing and opposing this new Dark Age.
Don’t look now. It is upon us. Recognizing that, is perhaps one-half the battle.
*Arguably the Mystery Schools of Hellenism stand in opposition