[extropy-chat] 300 and the Gates of Fire
avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 12 01:29:51 UTC 2007
--- Amara Graps <amara at amara.com> wrote:
> BillK and others:
> This has probably occurred to you, but if not:
> The Spartans, were as different from the Athenians
> as one could possibly
> be, yet at the end, they were the people who likely
> saved them.
> Isn't that interesting? Now do you see why I don't
> think it is wise
> to reject that part of ourselves?
I certainly do, Amara. I have ever since I read "The
Lion in the Gateway" when I was twelve. The Spartans
are an archetype of courage, skill, and tactical
prowess. The battle of Thermopylae is a textbook
example of the power of proper choice of battlefield
that is still discussed in military schools today.
As far as your more general point goes, I agree with
you there as well. There is a large amount of utility
in warriors, weapons, and the martial arts. Whether
that utility is positive or negative in sign depends
mostly on which side of the thin red line you are on.
One of the more interesting thing about the Spartans
were that they were for the most part independent
"stay at homes". While they did take over a good chunk
of the Greek peninsula in the Peloponnesian Wars, that
was the extent of their imperial ambitions. On the
evil empire scale, it falls far short of the likes of
Persia, Macedonia, Carthage, and Rome.
In fact neither Phillip II nor Alexander the Great
could threaten or convince the Spartans into helping
create a Greek/Macedonian empire. To be an independent
state in Alexander the Great's own backyard is quite
an accomplishment in my view, considering that Thebes
was burnt to the ground for challenging him.
As a side note, Sparta's tradition of leaving babies
who were weak out in the wild was probably the first
recorded example of a eugenics program of which I am
aware. Unfortunately it probably also hastened their
decline by keeping their numbers low.
Also Spartan women were somewhat fascinating as well.
Their whole tradition of sending their husbands off to
battle by giving them their shields and saying "with
this or on this" is rather powerful as they were in
effect saying "come back victorious, dead, or not at
all." How refreshingly Darwinian is that?
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu
"Now what I contend is that my body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do harm through my experimenting with it, it is I who suffers, not the state." -Mark Twain
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