Thursday, February 24, 2011



As I don’t have much architecture to do currently my thoughts have turned to the infinite. Ever since I opted out of the Catholic religion when I was 18, I have been searching for a substitute for Michelangelo’s God, like the one on the Sistine Chapel in Roma. I really never believed that the old man was able to cobble tegether the Universe, even in 7 days (or was it 6?). Christians have finally figured this out to be 4435 BC on a Sunday around 10.34 in the morning. The only other viable option I have come across is the concept that if there is not an uncaused cause,(or possible a caused uncause), then the entire Universe does really function quite well on certain laws of physics. In other words, the laws that govern the movements of atoms are the same ones that govern the creation of galaxies. (Here it gets a little fuzzy). Anyway, that seems a lot more plausible than that God, Jehova or Allah or even Zeus is conducting this symphony, down to listening to everyone’s prayers, brewing up devastating hurricanes, tsunamis & earthquakes, convincing everyone to get into his church or mosque, then destroy the entire building with all his faithful cowering in it. (Maybe by this time they may be his/her unfaithful). But I digress. I feel very comfortable considering an entity called Laws of the Universe as the creator and maintainer of the entire universe. To simplify this, I have tended to call this force (Remember the Force, Luke?) LU. I considered Universal Laws, but who wants to call the ultimate creator, maintainer & force UL?
Now aside from all this bullshit of creators & such, this has no relationship to whether we have a soul or no, since it’s mostly about religions. That’s really the burning question of the hour, (once we’ve solved the first burning question, see above). Even as far back as Socrates (see below), folks were beginning to suspect the existence of a soul, or some kind of essence or spirit that accompanied the body and left it at death as well as entering it at birth, of course. If we accept that proposition, we have to ask when a baby is born, when and where does this spirit of soul come from? The Christians have been fighting that one for years in order to ban any form of abortion. In other words, when is a human a human? They’ve probably got it back to about the fertilization of the egg, by the male sperm. Now we’re getting into sex! It won’t be long before they assume the sperm has the soul rider and to jerk off will be a federal offense.
So you can see there is a lot of murky thought to get into that end of the soul train so I am just sticking with the end of life part, as that is a lot closer for me than my origins. Now the problem here is that no one I know has come back from the dead to inform me what happened, if anything. I have a couple of books that describe many ‘Near death’ experiences collected by doctors. (Kubler-Ross, etc.) Most of these people have been in situations where they have been clinically dead for a few minutes (I’m not talking about just brain dead, like so many of our politicians and ministers of religions). There are peculiar similarities in their descriptions to each other and strangely, to descriptions of a few Masters from India . You know, a light at the end of the tunnel, friendly beings (No one saw the Devil so far). Now, the great masters don’t say they have died and come back. They attain inner states (You’ve got to meditate to do this) on several levels that culminate in the non-life area. In other words, they claim we need to ‘die’ while living and experience where it is we’re going when we die. This is not a new concept as it has been around for thousands of years but it certainly is new to us, within the last couple of centuries here in the Americas.

Published by I.F. Stone in the 1980's. He was the publisher of IF Stones Weekly, a muckraking independent journal. After a heart attack, he quit the journal, and decided to study freedom of thought in human history. He began by studying the English revolutions in the 1600's, which led him to the Protestant Reformation which in turn led to the Middle Ages when they had rediscovered Aristotle through the Arabic & Hebrew translations in the 12th century. That got him to study ancient Athens but he was disappointed in all the standard sources. Therefore, he had to learn Greek so he could go directly to the source and not rely on other’s commentaries. Now he was concerned about how could the trial of Socrates have happened in so free a society? His book,’The Trial of Socrates’ is about that.
In pursuing all the reports & writings in the original Greek related to Socrates and his concepts, he came to a startling conclusion. Socrates wanted to be convicted & possibly die. After all, he was seventy years old and that’s pretty old, even in our time. But more important, it becomes apparent that Socrates was a critic of democracy. Two of his students even became tyrants of Athens during a couple of rebellions that displaced democracy with Oligarchies. He was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens, not in a moral way, as the world of antiquity was pretty bi-sexual (chasing young boys around. This was the beginning of the priestly class)l, but convincing them that all should be ruled by one man, a philosopher, the ‘One Who Knows”. Of all the rulers in history, maybe Marcus Aurelius was such a one. But Socrates was an enemy of democracy, as is apparent from Plato’s Republic, a description of Socrates Utopia (or maybe distopia).
There were untold arguments that S. Could have used but didn’t. He was convicted by a very small margin of the 400 voters. He was then subjected to a sentencing trial, which due to his absurd defense, he was convicted to drink a draughft of Hemlock, not exactly a Cabernet Sauvignon. He could probably have gotten them to at least exile him, but to S., that would be worse than death. Remember, there was only one great Agora for him to strut around in and extol the intricacies of the universe to his adoring public, and that was in Athens.