[Peisistratus and Solon], Ruling leads to Democracy

Power lay in the hands of kings, back in the 6th century.  Aristocracies and Tyrannies were part of the puzzle that led to democracy.  Thanks to the masterful acting of one ruler, history played a role in securing a big piece of the pattern we now call democracy.  Or this is what the Athenians call their government of the day. His name, Peisistratus, became a popular leader in the day.  And his struggles eventually won better ways to govern in this world.  In this dialogue, the ruler tells a good friend how he has gained power and why.

Peisistratus:  Solon, you make a better lover than a ruler.  And yet, you are my cousin the law maker.

Solon:  You might quench my lust, but me thinks you prefer power over bronze.

P:  Let me tell you how to have anything your heart desires.  Can you act Solon?

S:  As a lawmaker, I am asked to act out the role of many parts the people live through that may or may not be true.

P:  Exactly, I prefer to use life as my stage.  And I will insist the truth is mine to gain favor and power over the people.  Even, if I must allow people good government.

S:  But when you pretended your political opponent bloodied and damaged your horse and chariot, you invented a fiction to convince the mop.  You won favor and power that day.

P:  But that same political opponent won it back by accusing me of scandles and sexual abuse towards my wife.

S:  And now you have raised an army to win back the power through military action.

P:  Yes, the tools of power:  peace, war, acting and others.  Perhaps, my actions may even create a new form of government.

[Herodotus, Future Poet], My Biography 

In this dialogue, the sparse information about this Greek historian is expressed through the two characters.  By the end, it is clear that little is known about this author and orator.  

“The data are so few-they rest upon such late and slight authority;  they are so improbable or so contradictory, that to compile them into a biography is like building a house of cards, which will blow to the ground.  Still, certain points may be approximately fixed…”-George Rawlinson

Herodotus:  Do you believe in Devine Intervention?

Future Poet:  I can not lay claim to beauty and truth.

H:  I like to travel widely:  Asia Major to other countries, ports and cities.  Along the way, I interview men of interest.  I am recording history in our fair land.

F.P.:  More truth and beauty that lends itself to the patterns seen in the past.

H:  Have you seen the ‘harp player from Cyclades’?  A fine piece of marble sculpture that pays homage to the gods.

F.P.:  I believe your life work pays the best homage to the gods.

H:  I am both a speaker and author.  My only hope is that our brief encounter may help me be better at doing my two great passions.

[Epictetus and Student], Meditation: Experience showing the truth

In this dialogue, Epictetus(the philosopher) and his student discuss the use of thought, study, principles.  And how this is a form of meditation to help one give up or let go of everyday problems in daily living.

Epictetus:  Desire and aversion are two imposters that block us from living our lives.  We crave ways to be like our desires and aversions.  In this way, we suffer pain in our minds and body.

Student:  Yes, we all have problems, why do we become sick?  And how can we become healthy?

E:  All your problems will drop away by practicing principles of philosophy.  The proper use of impressions will show the way to meditate on your problems.  To awaken your mind is to experience the truth.  And you will see your mind as a powerful instrument.  You will learn to use your mind like a computer.  You will write programs to play that will help you master your problems.  In this way, you will stop making yourself sick and start becoming more and more healthy.

S:  But this must take a lot of hard work?

E:  Yes, but you will build a healthy personality and live a beautiful life.  To do this one thing will make your life important to yourself and others.

S:  But what about work and family, hobbies, and other parts of life?

E:  YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL .  YOU CAN DO IT ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

[Epicurus, Plato], Pleasure Centre, In the Brain

In this dialogue, the purpose of philosophy is to attain happy, tranquil life, which can be described by ataraxia-peace and freedom from fear.  By living with friends in a self-sufficient manner.  Epicurus teaches us to live without fear of reward or punishment from the gods:  death is the end of the body and soul and therefore should not be feared. And that events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.  These two great philosophers attempt to explore the way we feel pleasure and pain.

Epicurus:  The pleasure of foods in life are regulated by the pleasure and pain receptors in the body, but when we manipulate or process food, we no longer have a way to keep a balance.

Plato:  So this is why people become over-weight, have heart attacks and get sick?

E:  Yes, Take a glass of wine, it has very few calories, but it has more sugar and alcohol per volume than a large sack of grapes.  Or to put it another way, press the sack of grapes and process a cup of wine.  Drink this glass of wine and the pleasure center in the brain gives the body pleasure.

P:  It tricks the pleasure center because it concentrates the sugar and alcohol in the fermented juice by removing all the pulp and skin of the grape.

E:  Yes, we loose all the nutrients from the grape while retaining the alcohol and sugar in the fermented juice.

P:  And we get sick, if we drink too much wine.

E:  Yes, and what is worse, we feel like we only want wine because our brain feels pleasure.

P:  We would rather drink wine than water, even if it makes us sick.

E:  Yes, our ability to regulate the use and nutrients our body needs is lost due to the way we process foods.

P:  There must be a way to restore balance.

E:  Yes, it helps to talk about it and find ways to change back to eating food (grapes) that supplies us with what our body needs to grow and work in a better way.

P:  Sounds like a good subject to study.

E:  Yes, at least until we start eating in a more regulated manner.

[Greek, Roman], The Roman Empire

In this dialogue, a Roman master-race status is pitted against the superiority of Greek culture.  The two noblemen are at odds but the collaboration and cooperation are evident in the outcomes.  The two principles discuss the outcomes.

Greek:  As a master-race you would never have conquered Carthage without the superior knowledge of Greek Engineering, science and art.

Roman:  We are the master-race.  We have conquered the known world.  Yes, we had some trouble with Carthage but it has allowed the empire to absorb more people, places and things.  After all, to be a Roman of distinction, I speak Greek as well as Latin.

G:  Yes, and Greek art fills your home.  You were also tutored by a Greek to learn the basic tenets of Plato ethics and Aristotle’s logic and rhetoric.

R:  I admit you Greeks make great engineers because you did a splendid job with our Pantheon.  And your Greek philosophy have enabled us to fill out a framework for our law and history.  We love your consumer goods and your gladiators keep us entertained in the Colosseum.  But we are the master.  You make good detectives but we make the best rulers.

[Brother and Sister], Mom and Dad

In this dialogue, the two principles are talking about the welfare of the parents.  The brother says his mother has been on her own for over 10 years.  The sister asks what he thought of her future.  He goes on to talk about his father’s death and the legacy he left for the family.  The sister agrees, but points out some differences and the importance of caring for the aging parents:  in summary as in caring for the living mother.
They pick up on the conversation at this point in the summarization.

Brother:  Why do you want to care for mom when you know dad left her enough money to make her comfortable.  And I am here.  I see her every weekend, I call her, she calls me.

Sister:  I know you care for her.  I just mean dad’s memory is in her mind enough already.  We need to emphasize her worth to us.

Brother:  Yes.  I agree.  We have been doing it for over ten years.  And I am only talking to you.  And I say mom and dad left everything to us.  We need to remember mom is still in need of everything and it helps her when we treat her as the one in charge.  We need to help her remember her ability to take care of herself.

Sister:  We do, you do.  I do in my way.

Brother:  Good, we are on the same page.

 

[Hercules, Phoebus], Total Eclipse Of The Sun

Zeus’s son, Hercules, is talking to Phoebus (the sun god) about the sudden mid-day change that will bring certain destruction upon the Greek States.  But the sun god will have none of this talk, he reassures Hercules that the moon will only reveel the stars of the heavens and nothing more.  But he encourages him to seek advice from the local astronomer on how to view the proceedings.

Hercules:  Why do you allow the moon to block out your chariot, as you progress through the mid-day sky?

Phoebus:  I am only covered by the moon.  She will eclipse me for a few minutes at most.

H:  All Greeks believe you will allow much destruction to befall our fair land.

P:  I am too busy traveling across the heavens.  Yes, the stars will appear when I am covered by she for a few minutes.  But that is all.  Soon after, I will return the sky and continue with my daily journey.

H:  I am grateful for your wisdom and knowledge.  Long may you drive your chariot across the sky.

P:  Thank you, but I warn you about looking directly into the sun.  Task your local astronomer for proper instructions before watching the entire eclipse.

[Him and Her], Being Tougher than the Rest

In this dialogue, she is center stage because of her need for him. She has watched him love for such a longtime.  She has seen him handle himself through thick and thin.  The way she looks at him (when he unabashedly declares his love for her) says it all.  It is the heart of what sings out to both of them.  And while in this heightened state of love, they have a talk about what they are going through to get here.

Her:  I love you more.  You don’t see it now.  But I put up with all those other guys.  The ones you are tougher and better than.

Him:  Ya, I know you did, but you never really were a lone.  Yes, you felt lonely and that was painful.  And I had my own pain.

Her:  Yes and you are a fighter which makes you right for me.

Him:  You fight well when you do it for either of us.  Why are you looking like I’ve past some test?

Her:  You did.  And I am and I will.  Because, together we are going further than all the rest.

[Michael, Modern Day Philosopher], Jainism

In this dialogue, the two principles discuss religion that is not violent or odd in any way.  And neither of us are odd in any way, we sometimes take ourselves seriously because we are afraid of being different or misunderstood.

Michael:  It is refreshing to see a philosopher who is different and stands up to bigots and racists.  Someone who employs reason to understand and be understood.  Yet, we are different, each in his or her own way.  And we are proud to be ourselves.  Sometimes we get a little too serious or say things we do not mean.

Modern Day Philosopher:  Yes, I said Jainism is a harmless lot and we need not worry about them because they are pacifists like Gandhi, and vegetarian and always bending down looking at the ground so ‘they’ don’t step on a bug.

Me:  Yes, well, I’m sure you are not proud of calling non-violent people, pacifists.  And like Gandhi, have a humility and passion to allow humanity to reach beyond their grasp and strike them.  In this non–violent way they continue to fight for freedom that is best for all.

MDP:  I am sure I did not understand or saw how silly I was behaving when I said this about the ancient religion of Jainism.  And Gandhi was not a pacifist.  He stood up to the colonialism of the time to free the nation of India with the help of all the people.

Me:  Yes, sometimes, I do not see my difference when I play or turn away from myself or others.  Yet, we all do harm to ourselves and others.  We are only human and we have accidents and make mistakes.

MDP:  Yes, and we all deserve a second chance, if only we would take it.

Me:  I agree, and Jainism shows us all a way to take a second chance.  Humanity is lucky to have 6 million people practicing these kinds of principles in their lives.

[Socrates, Plato], Seeing With the Inner Eye

In this dialogue, the two principle characters talk about imagination.  The idea boarders on the use of a new kind of technology called meditation. They muse about the techniques which open the eye of the mind to see new ideas.

Socrates:  Every question may not have an answer but surely it leads one to speculate on ideas.?

Plato:  Yes, and a vision is a picture of these ideas that are conjured up in the mind.

S:  How do we see the ideas?

P:  With the inner eye, the imagination generates an image.

S:  Does this image stay static or does it flow?

P:  The idea can flow and be static.  The mind needs exercise like all other parts of the body.  Here I infer the mind is just a visualization of the workings of the brain.  The mind uses an idea to focus on like a point or fixed idea, or picture then it talks to itself to create additional pictures, thoughts, or ideas.  It is really the opposite of meditation or what I call visualization.

S:  It sounds like a new kind of mind technology: imagination, visualization, exercise for the brain, static and flowing images, and what about fixing on the idea not to produce more images, but to still the mind?

P:  Yes.

S:  And yet, the opposite is true.  You have called this visualization.  Now you talk about meditation.

P:  Yes, to still the mind is meditation.  The intented direction of the exercise for the brain.  To focus on a word or a phrase and reapeat it slowly to oneself while sitting or lying in a comfortable position.  Perhaps, writing down the ideas that the mind generates to speed the letting go process.  Treat the mind like a child that has strayed from the path and gently lead them back to the meditative phrase or word.  Continue repeating the phrase or word slowly.  You will see the mind relax and become still or quiet over time or practice.

S:  I think we have alluded to two major ideas?

P:  I believe we have agreed to call them visualization and meditation.