Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War/Meetings/2008-April-05

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This is the chat from our meeting on 5th March 2008 in #thucydides about Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War.

People joining the chat: Daan, Erkan Yilmaz, Ramac

15:30 - Daan joined
15:30 <Daan>Hi Erkan
15:33 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ciao Daan
15:33 - Ramac joined
15:34 <Daan>I don't know
15:34 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ciao Ramac
15:34 <Daan>Hi Ramac

15:37 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so, lets begin ?
15:38 <Daan>Okay.
15:38 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I didn't read all, was stopped due to time at start of Diodotus' speech, but I know about what he says
15:38 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so, post the agenda please
15:39 <Daan>How did you know about Diodotus?
15:39 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Ramac - you are in ?
15:39 <Daan>Because of the book you read?
15:39 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I created articles about him in Wikipedia :-)
15:39 <Daan> * The bad leadership of Alcidas, sailing too slow, killing neutrals, not taking a risk, but rather going home.
15:39 <Daan> * Democracy at work: Cleon versus Diodotus. Cleon could be described as a conservative and Diodotus as a liberal. Cleon defends terror and Diodotus defends free speech and carefull analysis.
15:39 <Daan> * The speech of Diodotus compared to other speeches so far.
15:39 <Daan> o Diodotus versus Archidamus Book I, aphorisms 80-85. Archidamus has a different kind of 'conservatism' than Cleon, defending not to change anything. 'Real conservatism', so to say.
15:39 <Daan> o Diodotus versus Pericles Book II, Aphorisms 60-64. Pericles is positive about the wealthy, while Diodotus is clearly negative.
15:39 <Daan> * Cleon mentions the Sophists in his text and is negative about them.
15:39 <Daan>Here are some points i wrote this afternoon.
15:39 <Daan>points.
15:39 <Erkan_Yilmaz>
15:40 <Daan>So, Diodotus aligned with Pericles?
15:40 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so it seems
15:40 <Daan>alligned
15:40 <Daan>I could assume something about this.
15:41 <Daan>No, it is too complicated.
15:41 * Erkan_Yilmaz reads agenda
15:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>read
15:42 <Daan>I didn't make a summary this time, but just wrote the things that i find interesting.
15:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>that is fine
15:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>we can make the summary here
15:43 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so lets start with Alcidas

Mythilenean situation[edit]

15:43 <Daan>After the speech of Diodotus, nothing really happens apart from that Pachus nearly killed the Lesbians, but they were saved in the last moment.
15:43 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok lets do that
15:44 <Daan>My analysis about Alcidas: he was too inexpreinced and his fleet as well.
15:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes, how fate can save or not save sometimes is interesting
15:44 <Daan>Yes.
15:44 <Daan>I thought about hippies, strangely enough when i read that text.
15:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>hippies ?
15:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>why is this ?
15:45 <Daan>Because they were saved at the last moment, love conquers all.
15:45 <Daan>:-)
15:45 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah,
15:45 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I am not sure if the Athenians really loved them :-)
15:45 <Erkan_Yilmaz>probably they loved the money which they will bring when they survive
15:45 <Daan>Well, they felt sorry for them, so they didn't kill them.
15:46 <Daan>Okay, this doesn't sound like love.
15:46 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well there is also one-sided love like:
15:46 <Erkan_Yilmaz>masochist
15:46 <Erkan_Yilmaz>the masochist loves to ....
15:46 <Erkan_Yilmaz>from that point it could be seen as love
15:47 <Erkan_Yilmaz>first bring them fear and pain
15:47 <Daan>Hippie love is not masochistic.
15:47 <Erkan_Yilmaz>:-)
15:47 <Daan>Did you see the Beatle film All you need is love?
15:47 <Erkan_Yilmaz>nope
15:47 <Daan>It is really great.
15:48 * Erkan_Yilmaz looks in Wikipedia
15:48 <Daan>but completely unrelated to Thucydides.
15:48 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah ok, then I will postpone this to later
15:49 <Daan>No, the song was in the film.
15:49 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok
15:49 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so most of the people of Mythilene were saved
15:49 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but they lost their freedom to past times
15:50 <Daan>Yes.

Cleon + Pericles[edit]

15:50 <Daan>Thucydides sides with Diodotus instead of Cleon.
15:50 <Daan>He calls Cleon cruel.
15:50 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I assume Thucydides does not like Cleon much
15:50 <Daan>Well, he doesn't like cruelty.
15:52 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well Cleon was mostly against Pericles
15:52 <Daan>Yes?
15:52 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and since Thucydides favors Pericles could be perhaps of this ?
15:52 <Daan>You know more than i do.
15:52 <Daan>Yes.
15:53 <Daan>What was the difference between Cleon and Pericles?
15:53 <Erkan_Yilmaz>they came from different socials
15:53 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Pericles came from an aristocratic family
15:53 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Cleon's father e.g. had a tannery
15:54 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and became from that rich
15:54 <Daan>okay
15:54 <Daan>But, was their political difference?
15:54 <Daan>what was
15:55 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Cleon: seems to have been: demagogue, advocate of war, vulgarian
15:55 <Daan>Aha
15:55 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Pericles was in the "moderate" faction
15:56 <Daan>While Pericles wants to do what is best to keep the empire.

Pericles and Diodotus[edit]

15:56 <Daan>But there is a difference between Pericles and Diodotus.
15:56 <Daan>It resembles in their speeches.
15:56 <Daan>Diodotus has a different mindset.
15:56 <Erkan_Yilmaz>tell me, didnt read Diodotus' speech
15:57 <Daan>I will take two quotes, but it will take a moment.
15:57 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok
16:00 <Daan>I can't find the quotes of Pericles in which he speaks about the wealth of Athens.
16:01 <Erkan_Yilmaz>let me see
16:02 <Daan>Diodotus says: "For poverty inspires necessity with daring; and wealth engenders avarice in pride and insolence" aphorism 45
16:02 <Erkan_Yilmaz>II 65, but let's continue here
16:03 <Daan>Both Diotdotus and Pericles try to maintain an empire.
16:03 <Daan>Diodotus
16:04 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so the poor have nothing to lose and dare to do anything to get their situation improved ?
16:04 <Daan>Yes.
16:04 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and rich try to maintain it
16:04 <Daan>Nope.
16:04 <Daan>Rich are proud and greedy.
16:05 <Daan>They see there proud in being greedy.
16:05 <Daan>So, the rich try to gain more.
16:05 <Daan>And are proud in the attempt to try to gain more.
16:06 <Daan>Insolence means being without shame.
16:06 <Daan>They are greedy, proud and shameless.
16:06 <Daan>While the poor are down to earth.
16:06 <Daan>They do what is needed to survive.
16:06 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I remember that in Pericles' speech P. tells that he didnt use the argument of wealth and predominance in the cause for the fight against Sparta in the speeches
16:06 <Daan>There is honesty in being poor.
16:07 <Erkan_Yilmaz>his reason was: that Athenians don't get too overconfident
16:07 <Daan>Yes, perhaps it is good to see what Pericles said.
16:07 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and he uses it the first time to motivate them again
16:07 <Daan>Yes.
16:07 <Daan>He tries to influence the Athenians.
16:07 <Daan>The speech of Pericles is paternalistic.
16:07 <Daan>While Diodotus speaks his mind.
16:07 <Daan>Diodotus has less power compared to Pericles.
16:08 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok
16:08 <Daan>So, his way of inlfuencing the Athenians is more honest?
16:08 <Daan>I don't know.
16:09 <Daan>Pericles tries to get the Athenians to defend there state and uses words for this purpose.
16:09 <Daan>Diodotus is perhaps more focused on long-term setting of goals.
16:09 <Erkan_Yilmaz>probably what also is influencing the mimic and gestic and sound of voice while doing the speeches, which we don't have info
16:10 <Daan>Yes.
16:10 <Daan>We need a timemachine ;-)
16:10 <Erkan_Yilmaz>cool
16:10 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so you are telling Pericles was not longterm oriented ?
16:10 <Daan>Than we can learn the Greeks about internet.
16:11 <Daan>Well, he tries to influence the athenians to take the right decision at a certain moment.
16:11 <Daan>Diodotus has less power. He has to stop an action, which Pericles would have prevented in the first place.
16:12 <Daan>I see Diodotus as a defender of liberal values.
16:13 <Erkan_Yilmaz>also the situations is a little different: in the one speech of Pericles: it is immediate danger to Athens from a direct enemy - in D. situation Athens already has power and can decide as winner over the "sheep"
16:13 <Daan>Yes.
16:13 <Daan>I have to look at that again.
16:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>(immediate danger meaning: the morale of Athens have sunk and they want also peace negotiations with Sparta, which Sparta declines)
16:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>one prob also is: we know a lot of Pericles, but about Diodotus there is not so much sources :-(
16:15 <Erkan_Yilmaz>could have been that in that moment he had also different goals - like seeing that he had a chance to triumph over Cleon in a debate which could have helped rise in more power for him ?
16:15 <Erkan_Yilmaz>because teh mood in Athens favored the next day to not punish the Mythilineans so hard, so he could have used this perhaps ?
16:16 <Daan>Well, personality shows also in the way a person tries to gain power.
16:16 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well Pericles e.g. started his career by attacking verbally Kimon
16:16 <Daan>Cleon would probably never try to gain power by preventing a massacre from occuring.
16:17 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and I assume in Athens you had to show that you are able to be verbally good rhetorician
16:17 <Daan>A good rhetorician is often the one who shares the opinion of the crowd.
16:17 <Erkan_Yilmaz>:-)
16:17 <Daan>So, that is a bit of disbelief of mine with Pericles and Diodotus.
16:18 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, it is a good point

future of this reading group[edit]

16:18 <Erkan_Yilmaz>we can do this as todo for the next cycles of discussion
16:18 <Daan>What do you mean?
16:18 <Daan>:-)
16:19 <Erkan_Yilmaz>in the chat logs there is always a section called: todo - who ever reads the chats again, has a way to add the info we didn't have or didn't pursue at that time, because we have a certain amount of time for the chats
16:19 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and next cycles means: later on people will profit from the chats
16:19 <Erkan_Yilmaz>they can build on what is written there, improve it, use it for their works
16:20 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I can imagine to read the chats in a few months again and smile like: ah, I missed this point
16:20 <Erkan_Yilmaz>or: interesting: why did I think like this and not like that ?
16:20 <Daan>I don't know, Erkan.
16:20 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, it is a vision of mine, we will see what happens really

philosophy excursus[edit]

16:20 <Daan>I am a bit postmodernistic.
16:21 <Daan>Nietzsche says kill the teacher and start over again.
16:21 <Daan>The world is going down, time for a new world.
16:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, in that way I guess there would not so much knowledge transfered and some works have to be done again
16:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>e.g. one way of learning is done by showing others
16:22 <Daan>Suppose an incredible work of knowledge is buld on one presumption.
16:22 <Daan>And this presumption is wrong.
16:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>because otherwise you would need more time to (ever) create the same learning level
16:22 <Daan>Than the whole work of knowledge falls down.
16:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>true, but it is often times easier to find an error when you see something build: if you don't have something you first have to do
16:22 <Daan>I can give you a historical event.
16:23 <Daan>In the 18th century, German printers tried to sabatoge the encyclopedia.
16:23 <Daan>Why?
16:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>was this about the French encyclopedia ?
16:23 <Daan>Because the enycclopedia would summarize all knowledge, making books unnecessary.
16:24 <Daan>Blaise Pascal already knew better.

16:26 <Daan>Well, the german version (answer to your question)
16:26 <Erkan_Yilmaz>hi
16:26 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so, if someone doesn't want to have previous knowledge, he is not forced to use it
16:26 <Daan>That is right.
16:27 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you have a link to this encyclopedia issue ?
16:27 <Daan>But there are so many books, why is our reading group a fresh start.
16:27 <Daan>We are standing on giants.
16:27 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes, the shoulders of giants
16:27 <Erkan_Yilmaz>
16:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well the reading group: when considering for me personally first:
16:28 <Daan>I think i read it on Wikipedia, but it was a few years ago.
16:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>a means to get me going with the topic Thucydides
16:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and when seeing it not only interior:
16:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>a means to get others approaching to the topic
16:29 - Ramac quited
16:29 <Erkan_Yilmaz>we don't discuss all in detail like e.g. a book would do
16:29 <Daan>That is right.
16:29 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but this reading group can also motivate others, sometimes you just need a little push to start something
16:29 <Daan>But we do something good:
16:29 <Daan>the universities have become too specialized.
16:30 <Daan>Internet can make people less passive and actively work with knowledge.
16:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>internet: yes


16:30 <Daan>University language often is not understandable even for academics.
16:31 <Daan>That a text is not understandable says nothing about the value of it.
16:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>language: I guess that is always depenedent on the person using the language, if there is a person making it right one knows the difference
16:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>the problem with specific language is:
16:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>1. it makes it faster for people using the language to communicate
16:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>2. but contradictory it makes it harder for externals to participate
16:33 <Daan>1 is right.
16:33 <Daan>2 is right as well.
16:33 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you could say the language is an identity of a group which distinguishes them as group
16:33 <Daan>But 1, what is the value of participating.
16:33 <Daan>?
16:34 <Daan>Yes, but some things in it are unvoluntary.
16:34 <Daan>You can be raised with a language against your will.
16:34 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes
16:34 <Erkan_Yilmaz>e.g. done on several revolutions
16:35 <Daan>And it takes an enormous effort to learn a language. The moment you take the decision to learn a language, the moments after it you are the slave of your own decision.
16:35 <Erkan_Yilmaz>when new people get to power they change the language to influence people's minds
16:35 <Daan>But they fool themselves.
16:35 <Daan>These people were influenced before they choose to try to influence others.
16:36 <Erkan_Yilmaz>just a question: is there ever someone who is not nfluenced ?
16:36 <Daan>It depends on the language to describe the word influence.
16:36 <Daan>:-)
16:36 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I give an example
16:37 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I could define: language is my dog who sleeps beside my feet at the moment
16:37 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and since you dont kow that definition we would be talking about comepletely different things :-)
16:37 <Daan>That is right.
16:37 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and then we would have to start to get to know our definitions
16:37 <Daan>But maybe i understand the defintion outside the world of words.
16:37 <Erkan_Yilmaz>which costs time, but certainly brings many advantages
16:37 <Daan>definition
16:37 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you assume you understand :-)
16:38 <Erkan_Yilmaz>e.g. imagine
16:38 <Daan>Yeah, imagine.
16:38 <Erkan_Yilmaz>when today someone would appear and tell he is Jesus I guess they would put him into psychiatric treatment
16:38 <Daan>Imagining is important in German philosophy.
16:38 <Erkan_Yilmaz>agree
16:39 <Erkan_Yilmaz>is important actually for many things
16:39 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but society normally doesn't support it much (though they say they do)
16:39 <Daan>Gnostic texts say that you are Jesus when you hear the word Jesus.
16:39 <Daan>So, than the crazy guy isn't crazy.
16:39 <Daan>He learned the word Jesus and decided he is him.
16:40 <Daan>Society is only a word. :-)
16:40 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I think many tings are words where people would have a problem to describe, they then describe the appearances instead the definition
16:41 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and that is probably because they either didn't think of the term or didn't use it in their life so far to take thoughts
16:41 <Daan>But, all words are invented, in my view.
16:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yup, but you need them, otherwise your life gets more complicated, because you must define them first, though the advantage of defining them again with others is:
16:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you discuss again
16:42 <Daan>The world consists out of atoms, everything else is imagination (Greek philosophy from the sophists)
16:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>in todays - fast behaving - society this is demanded (Erkan wonders if he makes now this :-( or this :-) smiley)
16:43 <Erkan_Yilmaz>probably we are just dreaming right now our existence and we are just a thought by something else
16:43 <Daan>That would be great!
16:43 <Daan>Berkeley, i presume.
16:43 <Erkan_Yilmaz>which Berkeley ?
16:44 <Daan>The philosopher.
16:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so my dear Daan
16:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>we turned the history into some metaphysical discussion
16:44 <Daan>I am looking at Wikipedia
16:44 <Daan>That is right.
16:45 <Daan>
16:45 <Daan>I am too much philisophical.
16:45 <Daan>philosophical
16:47 <Daan>Berkeley is of a similar opinion as Pascal and Nietzsche in this matter.
16:47 <Daan>See his biography.


  • differences with Diodotus and Pericles