— Marcus Aurelius
"Asia and Europe: tiny corners of the Cosmos. Every sea: a mere drop. Mount Athos: a lump of dirt. The present moment is the smallest point in all eternity. All is microscopic, changeable, disappearing. All things come from that faraway place, either originating directly from that governing part which is common to all, or else following from it as consequences. So even the gaping jaws of the lion, deadly poison, and all harmful things like thorns or an oozing bog are products of that awesome and noble source. Do not imagine these things to be alien to that which you revere, but turn your Reason to the source of all things."
— Marcus Aurelius
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.
Cyrus (Kurosh Persian کوروش کبیر ; Kouros in Greek) is regarded as one of the most outstanding figures in history. His success in creating and maintaining the Persian Empire was the result of an intelligent blending of diplomatic and military skills and his rule was tempered with wisdom and tact.
While Diogenes was relaxing in the sunlight in the morning, Alexander, thrilled to meet the famous philosopher, asked if there was any favour he might do for him. Diogenes replied, "Yes, stand out of my sunlight". Alexander then declared, "If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes."
When Plato is asked what sort of man Diogenes is, he responds, “A Socrates gone mad”
He is labeled mad for acting against convention, but Diogenes points out that it is the conventions which lack reason.
Diogenes is a harsh critic of Plato, regularly disparaging Plato’s metaphysical pursuits and thereby signaling a clear break from primarily theoretical ethics.
One guiding principle is that if an act is not shameful in private, that same act is not made shameful by being performed in public. For example, it was contrary to Athenian convention to eat in the marketplace, and yet there he would eat for, as he explained when reproached, it was in the marketplace that he felt hungry. The most scandalous of these sorts of activities involves his indecent behavior in the marketplace (masturbation), to which he responded “he wished it were as easy to relieve hunger by rubbing an empty stomach” (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 6, Chapter 46).
Diogenes is clearly contentious, but he is so for the sake of promoting reason and virtue. In the end, for a human to be in accord with nature is to be rational, for it is in the nature of a human being to act in accord with reason. Diogenes has trouble finding such humans, and expresses his sentiments regarding his difficulty theatrically. Diogenes is reported to have “lit a lamp in broad daylight and said, as he went about, ‘I am searching for a human being’” (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 6, Chapter 41).
As a homeless and penniless exile, Diogenes experienced the greatest misfortunes of which the tragedians write, and yet he insisted that he lived the good life: “He claimed that to fortune he could oppose courage, to convention nature, to passion reason”
"Man is the most intelligent of animals -- and the most silly."
“When I look upon seamen, men of science and philosophers, man is the wisest of all beings; when I look upon priests and prophets nothing is as contemptible as man”
“Diogenes, when asked from what country he came, replied, "I am a citizen of the world”
"Of what use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings?"
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."
— from the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
"... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
— from Article VI of the U.S. Constitution
"The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."
— from The Treaty of Tripoli, written during the administration of President George Washington, signed by President John Adams, and unanimously approved by the Senate in 1797
"E Pluribus Unum" (Out of many, one)
— The original national motto
"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."
— Albert Einstein, letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, 1/3/1954
I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms."
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-born American theoretical physicist, quoted in The New York Times obituary, April 19, 1955
"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
— Albert Einstein, 1954, from Albert Einstein: The Human Side
"I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for their numerous stupidities, for which only He Himself can be held responsible; in my opinion, only His nonexistence could excuse Him."
— Albert Einstein, letter to Edgar Meyer, 1/2/1915
"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."
— Thomas Paine
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind."
— Thomas Paine
"What is it the Bible teaches us? — raping, cruelty, and murder. What is it the New Testament teaches us? — to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief of this debauchery is called faith."
— Thomas Paine
"And to read the Bible without horror, we must undo everything that is tender, sympathizing and benevolent in the heart of man."
— Thomas Paine
"The prejudice of unfounded belief often degenerates into the prejudice of custom, and becomes at last rank hypocrisy. When men, from custom or fashion or any worldly motive, profess or pretend to believe what they do not believe, nor can give any reason for believing, they unship the helm of their morality, and being no longer honest to their own minds they feel no moral difficulty in being unjust to others."
— Thomas Paine
"Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course; but we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time; it is, therefore, at least millions to one, that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie."
— Thomas Paine, ibid.
"Reasoning with one who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to a dead man."
— Thomas Paine
"The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion."
— Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794)
"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church."
— Thomas Paine
Alexander III (late July, 356 BC–June 10, 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, in Greek "Megas Alexandros", King of Macedon (336 BC-323 BC), was one of the most successful military commanders of the ancient world. Following the unification of the multiple city states of Ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon, Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia, and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as India. Alexander integrated non-Greeks into his army and administration, leading some scholars to credit him with a “policy of fusion.”
May all mortals from now on live like one people in concord and for mutual advancement. Consider the world as your country, with laws common to all and where the best will govern irrespective of tribe. I do not distinguish among men, as the narrow-minded do, both among Greeks and Barbarians. I am not interested in the descendance of the citizens or their racial origins. I classify them using one criterion: their virtue.
"Alexander's Oath given at Opis", as quoted by Nikos Martis
March from Oria to Pura takes 60 days, and many of his men and animals die along the way. Alexander is alone offered water at one point, which he grandly pours out to show his solidarity with his men.
"There is no part of my body but my back which has not a scar..."
In 332-331 BC Alexander was welcomed as a liberator in Egypt and was pronounced the son of Zeus by Egyptian priests of the god Ammon at the Oracle of the god at the Siwah oasis in the Libyan Desert. He founded Alexandria in Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic dynasty after his death.
Dhu al-Qarnain is Alexander the Greek, the king of Persia and Greece, or the king of the east and the west, for because of this he was called Dhul-Qarnayn [meaning, "the two-horned one"]... Ibn Hisham
If I were not Alexander, I should wish to be Diogenes. After Diogenes of Sinope who was lying in the sun, responded to a query by Alexander asking if he could do anything for him with a reply requesting that he stop blocking his sunlight. As quoted in "On the Fortune of Alexander" by Plutarch
If it were not my purpose to combine barbarian things with things Hellenic, to traverse and civilize every continent, to search out the uttermost parts of land and sea, to push the bounds of Macedonia to the farthest Ocean, and to disseminate and shower the blessings of the Hellenic justice and peace over every nation, I should not be content to sit quietly in the luxury of idle power, but I should emulate the frugality of Diogenes. But as things are, forgive me Diogenes, that I imitate Herakles, and emulate Perseus, and follow in the footsteps of Dionysos, the divine author and progenitor of my family, and desire that victorious Hellenes should dance again in India and revive the memory of the Bacchic revels among the savage mountain tribes beyond the Kaukasos… As quoted in "On the Fortune of Alexander" by Plutarch
Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously.
No catalogue of horrors ever kept men from war. Before the war you always think that it's not you that dies. But you will die, brother, if you go to it long enough.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I...I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter"