[ExI] For the sake of argument

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Tue Sep 22 14:27:47 UTC 2009

2009/9/22 Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>:
> The tragic thing about Christianity is that it displaced the culture
> of ancient Greece, which had been allowed to continue under the more
> practical and less philosophically inclined Romans, albeit not at the
> incredible intensity of creativity it reached in Athens at around the
> time of Pericles. It wouldn't have been so bad if there had been
> nothing of intellectual worth before Christianity. When the Christian
> Emperor Theodosius ordered the destruction of pagan temples in 391,
> the Library of Alexandria was considered a pagan temple. It was not
> until the later Middle Ages that rationalism started to resurface, for
> example with Thomas Aquinas' rediscovery of Aristotle and attempt at a
> quasi-rational theology.

"Rationalism" may be an ambiguous concept, especially in a theological
context, but as far as "empirism" was instead concerned the truth is
that the classic age had been on the way of rather spectacular and
pre-industrial technologies.

>From a military and infrastructural point of view, or in terms of
knowledge of the human anatomy, e.g., one had to wait until the age of
Leonardo and beyond to see Europe getting back to the level of the
second century after Christ. And apparently the agricultural proceeds
of grains went back to their previous levels only during 1600...

This is absolutely on topic here, since a few lessons can be drawn
from a H+ POV:
i) our wishful-thinking "exponential curves" are neither continuous in
history, nor to be taken for granted no-matter-what, stagnation and
even decadence remaining a distinct possibility at any time;
ii) the cultural/religious/philosophical/worldview context has a major
impact on them;
iii) some contexts are demonstrably less favourable than others... :-)

Stefano Vaj

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list