History 104A, September 26: Gold leads to Art, Philosophy, Perfection and even War.


               First of all, the gamers association -- I thought it was a


          gaming club -- going out and shooting deer or something.  The gamers


          association at Ohlone is holding a Texas hold em poker tournament


          Friday, cafeteria, September 30th, starting at 1:00.  The games start


          at 2:00.  The sign-ups is at 1:00 or it goes until 9:00 o'clock or


          until you lose all your money.  Noncash prizes only.  Proceeds to go


          to the hurricane fund Katrina.  If any of you are interested in


          playing poker, since nobody seems to have any classes on Friday


          afternoons.  Does anybody have a class on Friday afternoon?  I take it


          back.  Four of you do.  Okay.  We are preparing, coming down for the


          exam that is scheduled for Friday.  We have a group meeting Wednesday,


          and some of you still have to turn in papers from missing the last


          group meeting, just as a reminder.


               We left off with the defeat of the Persians during what was


          called the Persian wars in 479 BCE.  And we are now going into what


          has been known as the golden age of Greece.  Building economics,


          social life, peace, part of what we refer to as a golden age, which is


          going to somewhat end in about 50-60 years with the Peloponnesian


          wars.  Peloponnesia, if you recall, is the peninsula that Sparta is


          located on in southern Greece.  And this is the war between Athens and


          Sparta, between the land power, Sparta, and the sea power, Athens.


          What happens at the end of the Persian wars is the beginning of


          Athenian imperialism.  Athens feeling its oats, feels superior because


          of the defeat of Persia begins to not only about an alliance between



          cities, but begins to force certain cities to join when at the name


          the Delian League, for the office like NATO, National Atlantic Treaty


          Organization.  It is the alliance quote/unquote of free states, not


          quite so free.  Fearful of Athens, as they always were distrustful of


          those New York liberals or San Francisco liberals, Sparta retaliates


          by creating a Peloponnesian league, a league of basically monarchies,


          aristocracies, and more the landlocked powers, although they do


          identify with certain colonies overseas.  During this expansion of


          Athens wealth booms into the city and a tremendous construction


          projects are undertaken, including the building of the Acropolis from


          wood and miner buildings to major monuments, major structures made out


          of rock.  And the most famous of which is the Parthenon.


               The Parthenon is dedicated to Sparta, Athena.  And there was


          supposed to be a statute in there some 80 feet high covered in gold


          army that was dedicated to Athena.  The Parthenon stood for a thousand


          years until about 1800 when Greeks went to war with Turkey.  And the


          Greeks kept their munitions there, and the Turks bombarded it and much


          of it blew up.  You can see it right behind me here on the hill --


          well, you can't see it too well.  My batteries are dead, up on top


          they're sort of faded in the background.


               An individual in the period of 1800 ADCE Greek declared its


          independence from Turkey and again war broke out and that was part of


          the reason for it.  Many Englishmen, romanticizing Greece, including


          lord Byron the poet, went to war there.  Another man, Elgin, and he


          proceeded to bring back to the British museum what were known as the



          Elgin marbles which are many of the pieces of the artwork that were on


          the Parthenon along the edges.  Now, the Parthenon is a fascinating


          structure because it very much reflects the Greek attitude in life,


          perfection, but the image of perfection, not necessarily the reality.


          The Greeks looked at everything from a sort of intellectual


          perspective.  And the Parthenon was built in such a way that from the


          city, the distances between the columns looked even, the shape of the


          columns looked straight up and down.  In reality, mathematically, they


          had figured out how to create that imaging by creating different


          features.  The columns would buckle sort of in the middle.  The steps


          would be a little uneven and slightly bent, so it would look perfect;


          in other words, the striving for perfection and certainly during the


          golden age.  And that's another element that I would add to Greek life


          with the hubris, the fates, the polis, is the striving for perfection.


               The 1950 comic book heroes were perfect.  They were super men and


          even Batman had his perfection, maybe a little perverted with Robin,


          but we can't be sure.  Has anybody seen the new Batman movie yet?  Any


          good?  The 1950s was a period where people strived for perfection.


          You lived for only two groupings.  One was the working class group


          that were imperfect, and I'm talking the ivy league look.  You sat in


          a classroom like in the 1950s and everybody looked alike.  Basically


          everybody had crew cuts or flat tops, buttoned down shirts, and the


          girls had madras dress and penny loafers for men and women and that's


          the way you dressed.  They looked like Rich Cunningham from Happy


          Days/Nickelodeon again.  And the women and the working class blue



          color group, when they went through college, they didn't go.  We have


          working class people today that didn't go to college.  They wore blue


          genes, T-shirts with cigarettes rolled up in the sleeves.  They had


          the long hair and sort of the Fronzerilli motorcycle jackets.  The


          women in that group wore pedal pushers, white sneakers, sort of like


          Grease with the jackets that were too big for them with the gang names


          on the back.  In the 1960s, and Superman we went through an era that


          was similar to the Hellenistic area in Greece.  We began to look at


          the particulars individually.  Today we see the long hair, short hair,


          beards, side burns, and that's just on the women.  Differences in


          choice and appearance.  Spiderman was not the perfect body.  He was a


          brooding hero, always feeling guilty, having trouble sleeping.  He


          didn't have that superman perfection.  And he even wound up with


          women, living with a woman as well.  Of course, as I said, superman


          was faster than a speeding bullet and don't mess around with women


          until basically the 1970s, but that's another story for those who know


          their comic book heroes.


               The Greeks even set the perfections of their heroes and they're


          Gods into a ratio so that you had a certain ratio -- two, three,


          seven -- anybody remember the ratio they used?  For the head, for the


          body, for the arm?  It was all done to create a certain level of


          perfection.  This was an am imagining of life.  And again goes back to


          what I said earlier -- well, maybe I didn't develop this.  I talked


          about hubris and not being as good as the Gods, and I talked about


          fate.  I didn't identify the difference between Greek Gods and our



          Gods.  Our Gods are images we are supposed to adhere to.  We try to


          achieve the perfection of our Gods.  Our Gods are trustworthy,


          healthy, loyal, cheerful, obedient, and reverent.  They're all good.


          To the Greeks, their Gods were something above humankind.  You were


          not to emulate them or imitate them because that would be committing


          hubris.  What they did, you would not do.  If Zeus ran around with


          other women and turned himself into a swan or became a snake and


          impregnated Alexander's mother so that it was a half God, we could not


          therefore run around with women because that would be committing a


          crime of thinking that they were as good as the Gods.  So it was not


          looking up to them in that sense.  They simply existed, which is


          difficult again for many of us to understand.  And so that perfection


          of the Parthenon or the attempt at making an imaging of perfection was


          that same imaging that existed in Greek society.


               During most of this golden age in the building and development


          the council, the man who reflect Athenian democracy was Pericles who


          we have at least a report of his words defending and identifying what


          democracy was all about.  Pericles received a lot of advise from his


          mistress who was educated and well read.  She was not Greek.  Greek


          women, as I said, were to be in the homes bearing children.  Pericles'


          mistress Aspasia A-S-P-A-S-C-I-A I think was a Persian and of the


          class of high class prostitutes.  She was a Geisha girl in a sense


          like in Japan, highly educated, well dressed, or what we call I guess


          in some cities, high paid escorts.  Yes, prostitution, the oldest


          profession has existed since Lilith as we talked about earlier in the





               The Athenians, as I mentioned, created an educational system that


          pretty much allowed the parents to dictate what the education would


          be.  And there was this conflict that was occurring in the background


          with Sparta.  In the year 43l BCE Athens and Sparta went to war.  That


          war was devastating for lots of Greeks because of the allied cities.


          The Spartans pretty well devastated the Athenian army, but Athens had


          its walls and could hide in its city; however, at around 429 BCE a


          plague broke out, perhaps the bubonic plague, wipes out a large


          portion of the city and within some time even killing Pericles, the


          counsel of Athens.  Yet Athens continued to hold behind the wall of


          the city and the Spartans had control of the outside carry.  The


          Spartans decided to build ships to cut off the trade that was coming


          into Athens.  And by 404 BCE, a war for almost 30 years, the Athenians


          finally fell to the Spartans.  The Spartans were magnanimous in the


          fact they didn't destroy Athens or didn't burn it to  the ground or


          occupy it for very long.  What they do was set up a government of


          Athenians who were favorable to the Spartan philosophy.  They created


          a puppet government, if you will.  It was, at this time, that a man


          named Socrates ran into trouble.


               Now understand that many times in the books you'll read that


          Socrates was a free thinker, that he believed in promoting democracy


          and that was this opposition to the Spartan government, that he was a


          sophists.  None of that is actually valid.  Socrates we have some idea


          of what his philosophy was from his best known student, Plato.  He



          believed in a republic which was a system where an elite group ruled


          and made the decisions for everyone else because they were


          philosophers, philosopher kings.  And it was a caste system, not an


          elected democratic structure.  And when he had students around him,


          when he questioned people in his Socratic method, he was leading them


          into a direction that we're going to talk about more when we discuss


          Plato, a direction of identifying the superiority of understanding


          wisdom, beauty, and justice.  He did not believe in the Athenian Gods,


          the Greek Gods.  And that certainly was detrimental to the ruling


          class now in Athens who use the Gods to control the people in the


          sense perhaps Carl Marx referred to it, religion is the opium of the


          people.  And in a church state where the state dictates to be the


          religious control, they can dictate to you your method of life through


          the religion, and pretty much that's what had now gone on in Athens


               In 399 Socrates was brought to trial for basically endangering


          the morals of minors, questioning the establishment.  And as I


          indicated, he was convicted and ordered to take hemlock.  And the


          jury, as I indicated, of 501 people gave him the death penalty.  He


          had the option of giving an alternative.  And he gave the option, the


          alternative that was to give him a pension for life.  He said he had


          lived his life, he was 70 years old, and he deserved a pension.


               The period of 399 to about 353 is still some development, some


          art, and much more creative kind of perfection art in Greece.  I


          mentioned one of the most famous statues from the period the


          Discabolos, the discus thrower by a man named Myron showing movement,



          showing the perfection of the body, the Hercules with the steroid


          looking body that they did during this period of time.  But the Greek


          cities still prevail, although once again, somewhat under the


          dominance of Sparta at this time.  Athens maintained its economic


          trade and yet had more of a conservative kind of government.


               But in the north of Greece, in a place called Macedonia, there


          was a new group arising.  And that was the Macedonians, under Philip


          of Macedonia and later his son Alexander.  But before I move onto


          that, I do want to talk a little about the culture of Greece and some


          of the philosophies, if you will, of ancient Greece including Plato


          and Aristotle.  I'm going to cut the computer for a second because I


          want to use the board here.


               The Greeks again perhaps famous for philosophers because of their


          belief in individuality, allowing free thought, emphasizing free


          thought, have come up with every kind of development almost that we


          have today including the atom theory.  Again, it's one of those


          periods in history where the individual was allowed to speculate.


          Obviously, we don't see much development in the way of science, what


          we would refer to them as armchair philosophies.  Another, Aristotle


          but quite different in philosophy, does develop on what we might call


          the beginnings of science in his approach, which is, some


          experimentation, some investigation, and some rational thought and


          rational interpretation.  Maybe I should deal with the Greek Gods


          first if I can remember them.  Maybe you can help me here.  Who are


          some of the Greek Gods?



          A    Zeus.


               THE PROFESSOR:  And Zeus was the chief God, the head God.  And


          the Roman name?


          A    Jupiter.


               THE PROFESSOR:  The 12 Olympians.  Zeus, Jupiter, identified with


          the sun basically.  The oak tree was identified with Jupiter -- I'm


          sorry, with Zeus and Jupiter.  Zeus had two twin brothers basically or


          they looked like him and it was often difficult to tell the


          difference.  Who were they?  Who were the basic brothers who looked


          like him and when we found statues, we had trouble telling who they


          were?  One was the God of the sea.  And his name?  What was the Roman


          name for the God of the sea?  Poseidon is the Greek name.  And the


          Roman name -- I'm surprised you didn't pick up on -- Neptune.  They


          were often made looking very much alike, but Zeus had a lightning bolt


          that he threw, where Neptune threw the trident, which is a pitch folk


          with three points to it.  And of course the other God identified as


          part of that trinity was Hades, God of the underworld, whose name for


          the Romans was Pluto.  Hades reflected wealth.  By way, Neptune was


          identified with the bull and horses, but guarded the sea.  Zeus'


          wife -- what was her name?  Hera.  And the Roman name for Hera was


          Juno.  She was the God of marriage despite the fact she had trouble


          with her own and was identified with the God, the mother Goddess also


          with the cow.  Any of the other Gods you can think of?


          A    Athena.


               THE PROFESSOR:  We mentioned earlier Athena was a Goddess of



          wisdom.  She also gave the olive and she was identified as a warrior


          God.  And as Goddess of wisdom, what animal symbolized Athena?


          A    An elephant.


               THE PROFESSOR:  An owl.  Many years ago I ran a chess program at


          a Chinese school called The Wisdom School.  I developed a logo using


          the owl.  But I found out that the owl is sort of an evil symbol to


          the Chinese.  It's not that symbol of wisdom, so they said it was


          okay, but you have to be careful on those things.  What is Athena's


          name in Roman Gods?  Minerva without my New York R at the end,


          Minerva.  Goddess of beauty?  Did you mention your own name?  I


          thought so.  Goddess of beauty?  Come on.  What's the Roman name for


          the Goddess of beauty?  You know this one I'm sure.  We're not


          studying any of these things in your readings?


          Q    Is it Venus?


               THE PROFESSOR:  Yes.  Venus is the Roman name for the Goddess of


          beauty.  Now, you know, yes.  But the Greek name for the Goddess of


          beauty is Aphrodite.  Messenger of the Gods?  Flew around with wings


          on his heels?


          A    Hermes.


               THE PROFESSOR:  Hermes.  And the Greek or Roman name or Hermes


          was?  Mercury.  How many have we got?  Some of you are writing them


          down.  How many have we got so far?


          A    Four.


          A    Seven.


               THE PROFESSOR:  Seven.  God of war, that's one that everybody



          knows too?


          A    Aries.


               THE PROFESSOR:  Aries is the God of war.  The Roman name is?


          Women are from Venus and men are from --


          A    Mars.


               THE PROFESSOR:  Mars.  The God of the smith, the God of fire, the


          God that loved Venus and who was married to her but she played Sex In


          the City.  The Roman name was Vulcan?


          A    Hephstus.


               THE PROFESSOR:  Hephstus, the God of fire, smith of the Gods.


          That should be 10?


          A    Nine.


               THE PROFESSOR:  Nine.  The God of male beauty and male wisdom?


          This God had body and mind, the Greek concept that you have to have a


          sound mind and a sound body?  And interestingly, the same name in both


          Greek and Roman?  Apollo.  Goddess of the hunt?


          A    Athena.


               THE PROFESSOR:  Athena was the God of wisdom and wore armor; is


          that correct?  The Goddess of the hunt, the Roman name was Diana and


          the Greek name was Artemis.  That's from the three musketeers.  I'm


          missing one.  Danged if I can figure out which one I'm missing.  Okay,


          we've got 11 of 12 anyway.  There were also some minor deities and


          they often fought among themselves, as we can see in the Trojan war.


          And they took sides in that war.


               We started to talk about philosophy.  And the first Greek



          philosopher that we deal with generally is writing in the -- just


          coming out of the just ages, the archaic sage and his name is Thales.


          He's often described as an absent minded professor, one of those


          nerds, constantly thinking.  And they talk about him one day staring


          at the stars trying to figure out the meaning of life and walking


          along and fell into a well.  It is also said that because of his study


          of the stars, he made a lot of money.  We could tell when various


          crops would be good.  We could predict good weather, poor weather,


          probably a meteorologist if you will.  And so he knew when to tell


          people when to put in large sums of money.  And he apparently became


          extremely wealthy, made use of it practically.  He talked about how


          the universe had originated, observing how a large part of water


          played in nature and how silt developed in the water and standing


          water.  And he concluded that all life originated in water.  Now,


          perhaps it came from outer space on meteors and landed in the water


          and therefore we have a so called surface now on tonight.  And he


          believed that all forms of life would return to water.  He believed


          that Earth itself rested on an ocean like a floating block of wood and


          that the heavenly bodies consisted of burning ground and that the moon


          received its life from the sun.  Now, remember this is in the sixth


          century BCE, some of it not quite as accurate.  We don't really -- as


          the Earth lie on an ocean, but close in the sense of the magma and the


          floating and certainly the floating apart of Earth in early millions


          of years ago.


               Again, in the early 16th century another Greek philosopher and



          I'll spell this one A-N-A-X-I-M-A-N-D-E-R.  Anaximander, he wrote a


          book called Nature.  He believed that the first principles of life


          were infinite and that it embodied all forms of matter.  In other


          words, he sort of saw it as the big bang thesis, that the heaven and


          Earth all had their beginnings at that time and they will return.  And


          also talked about the rough concept of evolution.  I'm not sure you


          need to know all these names by any means, but to get a feel for


          Thales, yes, Pythagoras, yes, but some of these others, like Heracles


          believed that fire was the primary form of life.  Pythagoras, of


          course you know, of course, because of the Pythagorean theory.  He


          developed in 474 BC and he migrated to a Greek colony.  His philosophy


          fell into mathematics and science and he organized it to religion.  He


          belonged to a discipline sort of like monks in the medieval system.


          His whole basic system was pretty much based on numbers.  We developed


          geometric theorems and he felt that a number held its place like for


          them -- water, fair, air -- held for the physicists.  Numbers were the


          primary methods or the numbers of the expression and he dealt through


          numbers.  We believed that the Earth was a sphere, round, and he


          studied the movement of the Earth and he was a firm believer in the


          transmigration of souls, the transmigration of souls.  What is the


          transmigration of souls?  What's the word we use for it?  Anybody


          here?  Anybody ever hear of transmigration of souls?  Or our next


          governor's sister, being Warren Betty or Beatty.  He's saying that


          he's going to run against Arnold.  Wouldn't that be a first, Hollywood


          stars running against each other?



          A    Shirley McClain.


               THE PROFESSOR:  Who is famous for her believe in reincarnation.


          Transmigration of souls is reincarnation.  And he believed that God


          was identified with one, the number one was God.  Again, one of those


          earlier philosophies.


               Xenophanes -- matter is indestructible, the universe always


          existed and studied fossils.  He believed that the God's crimes were


          shameful and that the stories were false, that Gods had to be


          basically good.


               Well, I've got about five minutes.  I think I'm going to jump


          ahead -- excerpt Democritus.  Democritus was the one who came up with


          the concept of atoms moving around an empty space and they were all


          part and made up of these atoms, these infinitesimal individual units


          called atoms.  Again, we're talking about the period 2500 years ago.


               Plato, fourth century -- basically again, in his republic and


          other writings, we delineate a concept.  To Plato, the universe was


          created out of basic form and it continued to develop and unfold.


          This form was not reality; it was the beginning of reality.  If you


          will, it was unreal.  And with this form's expansion, we saw people


          who were becoming an animal, becoming some of whom had more knowledge


          of what Plato called the universals.  Here we had particulars that


          came into being as a becoming and particulars, the parts.  The


          universals that a few people could understand were wisdom, perfection,


          beauty, justice.  In our world, we had the imperfect of wisdom,


          beauty, and justice, but a few individuals who were to become the



          philosopher kings could understand that perfection.  So Plato, we know


          this is a table.  We know it because somewhere in these universals


          there is an image of a table.  And so we understand what a table is.


          We understand what a cat is.  But they're not perfect.  You see this


          is that Greek sense again of that perfection that we can't achieve.


          But some people get closer to it.  They understand it better.  And


          these are the people that come out of these cogs, these wheels, these


          spokes that are going to be the rulers of society.  This is reality.


          This is what is.  And for Plato, in a sense, one might say this is


          God.  And there are people that understand God on a higher level.


          They will be the rulers.  They may come out of the working class.


          They may come out of the military class.  You go out and test to find


          those who understand it better.  It was sort of like a Mandarin system


          where, in China, they went around and tested the people in the


          villages to see if they could study in the universities and become


          part of society.


               Again, to Plato, the universals you cannot understand.  Most of


          us can't achieve this knowledge.  Most of us are in the world of


          becoming.  We see the elephant.  We may understand it.  But the men in


          the cave feeling the trunk, feeling the backside, feeling the tusks,


          will put together something else, but there may be someone who has a


          better understanding of what that elephant is in reality.  And


          Aristotle, although a student of Plato, was just the opposite.  That's


          what we'll finish up on on Wednesday.