Give the masses a full stomach and fill their eyes with games and the consequential battle of ideas and politics will be fought by the few. Exhaust them with mindless work during the week and distract them with trivial games on their time off and you have an apathetic citizenry. The political and business giants fleece an entertained and impotent flock. Either by distraction or by exhaustion the mass of men are not able to engage in the commanding heights of economics, politics and philosophy.
“During the economic boom of the 1990s, the longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history, publicly funded stadiums became the substitute for anything resembling an urban policy in this country. These stadiums, ballparks, arenas, and domes were presented as a microwave-instant solution to the problems of crumbling schools, urban decay, and suburban flight. They are now the excrement of the urban neoliberalism of the 1990s, sporting shrines to the dogma of trickle-down economics. In the past twenty-five years, more than $30 billion of the public’s money has been spent for stadium construction and upkeep from coast to coast... in the service jobs created not only by the gentrification that surrounds Camden Yards but the stadium jobs themselves. They are poverty-wage occupations where $7.00 an hour is the going rate."
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses." Juvenal, the Roman poet Juvenal (circa 100 AD )
Key historical developments such as the Jews under Persian rule (424-331 B.C.), Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Period (331-167 B.C.), Greek rule under Alexander (331-323 B.C.), Egyptian rule under the Ptolemies (323-198 B.C.), Syrian rule under the Seleucids (198-167 B.C.), the Maccabean revolt and the Hasmonean dynasty (167-63 B.C.), the Roman period (63 B.C. to Christian era), must be studied to understand the rivers of history and how they mix to set cultural trajectory. In the religious realm, the Jews were exposed to beliefs like Hellenistic religion, traditional mythology, philosophies like Stoicism, Epicureanism, Cynicism and Neo-Pythagoreanism, mystery religions, Gnosticism and Emperor worship.
Matt Ridley speaks about how ideas have sex and the mating of these ideas create hybrid ideas that have cultural consequences. In history the expansion of Roman power and influence into Jewish Culture in Palestine allowed for an exchange and mating of cultural ideas that led to very consequential hybrids. One powerful hybrid being the religion of Christianity and the rise of Monotheism globally. It was Roman authority, Jewish mysticism and pagan mystery occults that gave birth to Christianity. It was Roman Crucifixion, A Jewish Jesus and Pagan familiarity with divine humans that were ingredients to a soup that would set much of human history on a certain trajectory. The Divine Augustus a Son of God would be replaced in some 300 years with the Divine Jesus the Son of God. It was a hybrid of Rome & Jerusalem and carried with it a hybrid theology from paganism and Judaism. The idea of God as Trinity (3 Gods who are 1) is a mix ofpagan Monotheism. A hybrid idea of cultural consequence. Without the mating of Rome and Jerusalem there would be no Christianity. It is clearly nourished by human history and not set apart from it.
Even logistically without the infrastructure of the Roman Empire it would have been impossible for Christianity and the Apostle Paul’s message to spread to the extent it did. The genius of the formation of early Christianity was to take Roman punishment and humiliation as the spiritual and theological significance of their movement and thereby turning death into life and tragedy into a triumph. It was a brilliant form of populism. It was a story that touched the masses where many lived lives of hardship compared to the ruling Roman elite. Jesus was a god of the people not of the state. Not until Christianity became popular in the Roman world and it became politically expedient for the Emperor Constantine to use this religion to solidify his power and unify the empire. In doing so Constantine gave the death blow to Hellenism (which had a fatal turn of events many years before in the Maccadean Revolt 166 BC) and now through Roman power gave rise to the Monotheistic State. An idea from Jerusalem to Rome that birthed a new era of political Monotheism that would not be challenged until the historical currents of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment.
To live life fully, one must accept that it ends, says the existential psychoanalyst. "Of all the world's wonders, which is the most wonderful? That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die." -- Yudhishtara answers Dharma, from "The Mahabharata"
"Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler. But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way. There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon, No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus. All we who are dead below Have become bones and ashes, but nothing else. I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler, Lest even while dead I seem loquacious to you."
"Well, did the last 5 billion years bother you? I mean, it seems to me that what happens after we die is not really the problem. It is a kind of peace. The challenge for us is how we live between now and then, whether we have the courage to stop denying it and use our anxieties to live more authentic, meaning-filled and purposeful lives."
"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter" Dr. Martin Luther King
Author of Blog
Born in the United States of America. Spent my Childhood in Kenya, East Africa. Graduate of George Mason University in Global Affairs with a concentration in Africa and the Middle East. What I desire is not total agreement but thoughtful people. To share ideas and expand knowledge in the era of globalization.