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Newsletter - Animal Writes © sm
15 September 1999

PYTHAGORAS:
FATHER OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY

By VegerMAN@aol.com

In the 6th Century BC, three great contemporary prophets lived. The three prophets are Mahavira, Buddha, and Pythagoras. Mahavira lived from 599-527 BC, and he went on to form Jainism. Buddha lived from 563-483 BC, and he went on to form Buddhism. Pythagoras lived from 580-500 BC, and he formed a school of thought in the west that would later transform into Christianity. Pythagoras would be the first person to call himself a philosopher.

Philia means love in Greek, and sophia means wisdom. Thus philosophy translates to the love of wisdom. Western philosophy began in the 6th Century BC in a country called Greece where much intellectual development was progressing. One of the first philosophers in this area was a man called Pythagoras. Pythagoras, in his youth traveled to the East and accumulated a vast wealth of knowledge. He brought back his learning to Greece, which was geometry from Egypt, and oriental wisdom from the East. Eastern math and philosophy were to be the doctrines in his unique school that Pythagoras formed in Croton. Eastern philosophy was the cradle of Western philosophy. Pythagoras created a unique philosophy of cum science cum religion.

The Pythagorean society in Greece is the foundation of all Western thought. The school he formed was to change life on earth forever. In the school, men and women were considered as equals, and all were welcome to join. The property and discoveries were communal, and thus everything would be attributed to Pythagoras even if he did not come up with the theorems. No one knows for sure what was actually a Pythagoras discovery other than somebody in the society came up with the thought. The society came up with many discoveries, and had many prominent members.

The school that Pythagoras created could be considered like a monastery. Pythagoras was a master/teacher who felt he had an intellectual and personal responsibility towards his students. Learning was done on a personal basis. Pythagoras made sure that his students not only developed intellectually, but also morally. There were different degrees of teaching for different levels. His school went against contemporary custom by allowing Females to join in. The female disciples were extraordinary in his society and it is a disgrace to society as a whole that females have been discriminated against so largely for the last 25 centuries in the West. The world would be a much better place had there always been equality among the sexes. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and so much has been lost due to sexist views. The lack of women in math and science fields has definitely caused some monumental thought and technology to be lost. Pythagorus taught equality which Plato acknowledged. Plato allowed women in his academy, but his pupil Aristotle would have none of this. Aristotle thought women could not think rationally and thus he did not allow them into his school.

Many people would side with Aristotle and insist that women were mentally defective and inferior to men. People like Kant and Rousseau thought the creative works of science lay beyond the natural capacity of a woman. This thought would bar women from the academics. Around 4 BC Latin became the language for the educated. Since it was not a living language, it could only be mastered through an education. Women were not allowed an education, so they were not able to participate in the learned fields. It is unfortunate that people followed Aristotle view over a Plato/Pythagoras view. There have been many barriers towards women. Who knows what talent has been lost because women were not allowed an access to education. The insight and thought that was denied for over two thousand years has been lost forever.

Pythagorus was very open minded and he had a large following of both men and women. In his schools there were two types of pupils: the Akousmata and the Mathematikos. The Akousmata were basically novices. The Mathematikos were dedicated to a Pythagorean life. Divine knowledge was to be revealed only to those who had been purified in both mind and body, and thus all knowledge was kept secret in the community. Purification of the member entailed them to have a vegetarian diet. They were not allowed to eat any animal.

Pythagoras taught morals to his students. His disciples did the same. There has been a long list of people that have followed his reverence for life philosophy, or as the Jainism say “ahimsa”. This sort of karma Pythagoras felt made the world better. Ahimsa was so virtuously right that it is encouraged in such religions as Buddhism and Hinduism. About five centuries later another important religious group took up the cause. Jesus would live the same kind of life that Pythagoras introduced into Greece. Jesus and his followers are said to have practiced a strict vegetarianism. Gradually, Christianity would have reincarnation and vegetarianism removed from its dogma. The church would follow St. Augustine’s Aristotelian view that animals are machines and women are not of equal standing with men.

Many great men though would still follow a Pythagorean lifestyle which was contradictory to Aristotle. Men like Newton, Einstein, Edison, Da Vinci, and many more who felt Pythagoras beliefs both fitting and proper. Newton felt “science and religion were fundamentally necessary to a full understanding of the world around us.” Quantum mechanics was theorized by Einstein who also believed in divinity.

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