Brother AACOOLDRE : Socrates: The Stoics & the New Testament

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  1. AACOOLDRE

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    SOCRATES & THE STOIC IDEAS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

    By Andre Austin

    Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno in Athens Greece. Zeno ideas developed from those of the Cynics, whose founding father Antisthenes, had been a disciple of Socrates. Socrates thought highly of Antisthenes saying he was “noble”. Zeno was thought to have been mixed with Egyptian vine-branch blood because of his “swarthy” completion. Antisthenes, “from Socrates he learned his hardihood, emulating his disregard of [bad]feeling”. Or “to die happy” and be not be like the envious who are consumed by their own passion”. Pain is good for virtue and that virtue is an affair of deeds not words. Something the St James crew would have attached themselves to of Faith & Works. Antisthenes basically taught a philosophy of being indifferent to Pleasure or Pain= Hot pleasure and indifferent to Cold (suffering pain from evil) without returning evil in the form of Cold Love. “When we are cursed, we bless when we are persecuted” (1 Cor 4:12). The most notorious moment of returning a Warm heart to a person’s head that was a Volcano’s blast was Dyland Roof, South Carolina’s Nazi racist who killed 9 black church members because he thinks blacks were raping white woman in the image of bill Cosby who became symbolic of all black men. What did these air-head Christians do? They went running to the District court telling Roof they forgave him without him asking for it.

    Zeno once was chastising a slave for stealing, and when the latter pleaded that, it was his fate to steal, Zeno said, “Yes, and to be beaten too”. This piggybacks on Plato’s opinion about Temple thieves too should be branded and whipped and thrown out the city naked (Laws Book 9.41). Plato thought that no penalty imposed by judges of the law has an evil purpose, but to achieve two effects of making a person more virtuous or less wicked.

    Socrates was the son of Sophroniscus, a sculptor and he was a stone-mason/marble-cutter by trade. In Plato’s Euthyphro (11c-D)Socrates says he’s descended from Daidalos, a sculptor and architect. Daidalos was the great-grandson of Egyptian king of Athens Erechtheus who also brought the Eleusinian mysteries based and modeled on Osiris & Isis, (like avoiding wickedness to avoid the soul must face punishment in the endless passageways of the underworld see Phaedo), to Greece from Egypt. Socrates taught that Knowledge is good and Evil was ignorance. The comic poet Aristophanes and his friends help stir up controversy on Socrates that helped persuade the powers that be to arrest and indict him on a charge of impiety and corrupting the youth. The official charge read:

    “Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus of Alopece is guilty of refusing to recognize the gods by the state, and of introducing other new divinities. He is also guilty of corrupting the youth. The penalty demanded is death”. (Lives of the eminent philosophers Volume 1 by Diogenes Laertius)

    He was put in prison but had the chance to escape into exile and within a few days drank the piousness Hemlock. Before this suicide happened he had a noble discourse with Plato recoded in Phaedo.

    Socrates thought of himself as part of the government and that by submitting to the Law helped make it operate in an orderly manner. Like a stoic it was necessary to submit and bow down to laws governing nature and human life. The world is ordered by reason and providence. The whole world is a living being endowed with soul and reason with the heavens as its ruling principle. Aristophanes attacks on Socrates in his plays,(turns him into float in a Basket case), for making the worse appear the better reason was just the opposite. The Socratic doctrine that virtue/temperance consist in knowledge in the sense that harmony/balance of the three elements lead to happiness and justice of the soul. So when a Stoic followers like Epictetus is beat and crippled by his master Epaphroditus he calmly smiled and submitted to it. He was indifferent to Hot pleasures of sin or the Cold mistreatment of Pain of torture. This similar behavior is to found in Paul and Peter letters where Paul doesn’t inwardly burn towards mistreatment and Peter advises slaves to endure a beating wrongly or rightly given. Even Jesus taught followers not to allow their love to grow cold towards those who treated you wickedly. Your heart was to maintain a state of Equilibrium/Balance or “Lukewarm”. For Socrates Truth/Justice, the ultimate end of philosophy, can be achieved only when the soul is no longer deceived by the sensual pleasures Hot passions and Cold Love of Pain by returning evil for evil. Harmony was being whole balance towards good and Discord was evil deeds. Hegel said people become Stoics when there is a high regard for the powers of the intellect to know the truth.


    CONFLICT WITHIN THE SOUL

    “Plato is very well aware of how much capacity there is in the human soul for inner conflict, for ill health and misery. Reason, the drive or need to reach the truth of the forms and the idea of Good, come into conflict with the bodily appetites, since human nature desires knowledge of the forms but also struggles against his Knowledge. While the irrational appetites pull us toward their gratification, reason acts as an inhibiting principle. As Plato tells us. The third and intermediate element, the high-spirited part of the self, consisting of such emotional drives as anger, ambition, courage, pride, aggression, serves as mediator of conflicts between the other two elements; it is capable of acting on behalf of either reason or the appetites.

    The key to mental health and to morality and justice is the proper integration of these potentially conflicting parts of the self. The problems that reason has in mastering the appetites and the spirited element are illustrated unforgettably by Plato in another dialogue, the Phaedrus (not to be confused with Phaedo), in which he presents the figure of a man in a chariot, driving two horses. One horse (The white spirited element) is Good , needs no touch of the whip and spur, is guided simply by the charioteer’s voice. The other Black horse ( the bodily appetites) is Bad uncontrollable by the whip, bits, bridles, Halter or spur, Has an abusive tongue and keeps trying to plunge off the path and run away. The Charioteer (Reason) is pulling at the two horses, each rushing in different directions. Plato here portrays the three conflicting elements of personality and their potential for producing disorder, extreme conflict, and breakdown. And in another section of the Republic, Plato compare the element of reason to man, the spirited element to a Lion, and the bodily appetites to a many-headed dragon. The problem of achieving integration in the soul is this: how to persuade the Lion to help the man to keep the dragon in check.

    (Antisthenes joked on Plato and said: “It seems to me that you would have made just a proud, showy steed”. Steed being a spirited horse).

    In the just, moral, or sane personality, reason rules, and when it is fulfilling its function as a master of the other elements of the soul, reason exhibits its proper virtue, which is wisdom. In the same way, when the spirited element performs its aggressive, ambitious and heroic functions within the limits set by the structure of the soul, it exhibits its proper virtue, which is courage. One can be courageous in love, in war and in athletic or business or intellectual competition with virtue by staying within bounds or Limits”. (From Socrates to Sartre By T.Z Lavine p.51). In the NT Paul saw himself as being in a ran, contest for a prize in his debates, letters against James and his followers (Super Apostles). Unfortunately he didn’t play by the rules. He made up his own (My Gospel) by his schizophrenic visions/dreams conversations with Jesus that others couldn’t hear/understand. He won the prize by admitting his craft and trickery in the same manner of Hermes from which he was equated with. He went outside the limits of the Law and became not a disciple for Jesus but a foolish mule and tool & puppet for Rome.

    Plato studied in Egypt for over a decade and George G.M. James states this teaching came from the Egyptian mystery schools. See his book Stolen Legacy.

    The Letters of James 3:1-12, Jude 1:5-13, ( additionally, Both paraphrase from Plato to bolster attack Paul),2 Peter 2:10-22 & Revelations 6:5 as lampooning Paul as a Horse, Donkey and foolish/unreasonable, unbalanced Scales of a Mule taking their cues from Plato and even in Proverbs. The above mentioned James, etal were upset that Paul said the Law of Moses was a curse, so they cursed Paul with a quote from proverbs each taking a section of it within their letters with 2 Peter 2:10-22 leaving behind a clue to what was going on.

    St Paul reminds me of Proverbs 26:1-3

    “An undeserved curse does not come to rest:

    A whip for the Horse

    A Halter (strap/restraint) for the Donkey

    A rod for the backs of fools”.

    I like 2 Peter 2:10-22 who quotes directly from Proverbs 26 but at a later verse 11, but still in full context he mentions a Donkey and brute beast that do not understand (Donkey/Mule).

    The James followers when thinking of Paul shared the same view of Stoic member Antisthenes “That ***** are horses” to men like Paul who was untrained in the Law and self-elected apostle. This was done because Paul admits he is related to the Herod’s (Romans 16:11) who were Arabs. All Arabs trace their ancestry to Ishmael whose descendants will be violent like Wild-***** (Donkeys) see Genesis 16:11-12). Even Josephus Flavius refers to one of the Herod’s as a “wild Beast”.

    By the literature means of Typology I would apply the Lion into being Judah, James followers, (even though the Roman’s had teeth like lions too), attack on the Dragon (Nero, St Paul and his two beast, Vespasian and Titus). We do have the white horse judge of Justice (Domitian) in Revelation killing the Black Horse with unbalance Scales (Paul, etal) with blood going all the way up to his halter, bit and bridle strap.

    This is plausible to see a battle in Rev as between a Black Horse (bad people) and a White Horse.

    Just read Chapter 9 of Revelation where Horse/Man is used in conjunction with eachother. Like locust looking like Horses for battle, had hair of a woman’s hair (i.e A Roman helmet with horses tail of his hair on top) the sound of their wings where like many horses/chariots. Had a scorpion tail which is the nickname of a Roman catapult of stones or arrows. “The power of the horses was in their mouths and tails”. A white horse of Justice (Rev 19:11-20) then comes to kill the Black Horse’s (Rev 6:5) a symbol unbalance scales) and blood coming up to their Horse’s bridles in (Rev 14:20).

    CONCLUSION

    I think these guys took went too far with their Stoicism. I wouldn’t take a beating from my master and smile. They would be like saying thank you sir my I have another. In American slavery they had the black woman trained like a tamed mare bringing in a whip to the bedroom and striping down to be raped as seen on the film (Goodbye Uncle Tom). Slaves had to submit to castration like they were Horses and bulls and stand naked on the auction block. Socrates went out like in the 1886 story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who was dealing with what we would call bipolar disorder in 2016 of fighting Good & Evil within himself, a conflict within the soul. Jekyll’s irrational and unreasonable conclusion was to get rid of Hyde he must commit suicide by coming up with his own concoction of a Hemlock drink. His last drink was his Last Supper that I would equate with Socrates and the so-called Jesus misrepresented in the NT & of course the Sicarii/Zealots who jumped on their own swords at Masada. I think the Christians would have said Socrates soul will remain in Hades because he committed suicide. However, they would have to square this with their injunctions to obey the government and masters in “everything”. As for me I want to live on to fight another day making to make sure that evil doesn’t get a decisive victory over good. Readers, yeah. Is anybody hot? No. is anybody Cold? No. Want to know why? Why. Because I’m “Lukewarm”.


    Notes:

    Many themes in the Bible have correlation in the Plato’s writings.

    For example in Matthew 20:1-16 & Phaedo both share the same quote “Many are called but few are chosen” in conjunction with these similar activities going on.

    In Phaedo (67A-68E)this above quote is said in conjunction with souls in the House of Hades going through mystic rites of symbolic Death & Resurrection with trade of coins/currency between opposites of greater for less, and same Pleasure for Pleasure, Pain for Pain. Socrates isn’t upset about his sentence because he will find “good Masters” and “good comrades” there from Hades to Heaven.

    In Matthew 20:1-16 Where the Kingdom Heaven like unto a man that is an Householder (Hades?) who hires workers to attend his vineyard. Every man is equally given a penny no matter what time they came into work. So the Last (less work) and the first (greater work) where paid the same and the “goodman” of the house trade of his penny for all was considered evil for doing good.

    2 Peter 2:20 says “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud”.

    Socrates says something thing about those going through mystic rites says “the uninitiated and unconsecrated when he comes to the house of Hades (underworld) will lie in mud, but the purified (cleaned by justice) will dwell with Gods” (Phaedo 67A-68E). Why mud? Because the ancient Egyptians buried their dead in the underground/underworld with placing Mud bricks on top of grave. Now on point with the other matter of purifications, as a matter of fact this was the same position Flavius Josephus had of John the Baptist of souls being purified by righteous deeds (The Antiquities of the Jews book 18.5.2)
     
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