Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War/Meetings/2008-March-16

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is the chat from our meeting on 16th March 2008 in #thucydides about Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War.

People joining the chat: Erkan Yilmaz, Daan

15:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so you read yesterday's log ?
15:14 <Daan__>Yes, i did.
15:14 <Daan__>Much about the plague.
15:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yup
15:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and some art
15:14 <Daan__>It was a good discussion.
15:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah but then it ended too quickly
15:14 <Daan__>Pity that the others didn't read the text.

15:15 <Erkan_Yilmaz>there must be definitely for a reading group 2 available who read the text, otherwise it is not so good
15:16 <Daan__>Okay
15:16 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so, what is the plan for today ?
15:16 <Erkan_Yilmaz>lets get your topics
15:16 <Daan__>Discuss the text.
15:16 <Daan__> * The view on the war becomes more pronounced by the speech of Pericles and the issue of Plataea. The Greeks are angry with the Athenians, because they use terror to subdue the Greeks. Pericles defends this terror by stating that it makes the Athenians rich and powerful, otherwise they might become the slaves of others. But even richness is not enough, serving and dying for the state is...
15:16 <Daan__> * Pestilence in Athens. Society breaks down.
15:16 <Daan__> * Pericles saves his skin. Athenians are angry with him for the unpopular war. Pericles convinces them to struggle on and preserve their empire which is hated by other Greeks.
15:16 <Daan__> * Thucydides gives a summary of the Peloponnesian War. He sees Pericles as a great leader. Athenian leaders after him blew it and missed out on an easy victory.
15:16 <Daan__> * Local conflicts are becoming part of the major war: Thracians want to conquer a town, Ambraciots take revenge on the Amphilochians, Plataea doesn't trust the Thebans.
15:16 <Daan__>...of the most importance according to Pericles, who has a distaste for easy temporary pleasures and individualism.
15:17 <Daan__>About the group, we could have a discussion on a topic related to the text first fo a wider public and than continue with a discussion among people who read the text.
15:18 <Erkan_Yilmaz>sounds fine

Pericles' speech

[edit | edit source]

15:23 <Daan__>I didn't agree with thucydides on Pericles.
15:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>what he said about as P. being great man ?
15:23 <Daan__>Yes.
15:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah, why is this ?
15:24 <Daan__>Pericles could have known how the Athenians were.
15:24 <Daan__>He could have seen what would be coming.
15:24 <Daan__>He could have reacted differently on the plague.
15:24 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you mean that they got angry and would deelect him in bad times ?
15:24 <Daan__>If half the population dies, why return to empire-building.
15:24 <Daan__>It is more than that.
15:25 <Daan__>Life became pointless, so why would the Athenians fight in a war when they could die en masse at home.
15:25 <Daan__>He also focusses too much on wealth.
15:26 <Daan__>It isn't true in my opinion that wealth creates good soldiers.
15:26 <Daan__>On the contrary, good soldiers nearly always are the ones who have endured hardships.
15:26 <Daan__>They are the ones who want to fight for a better life.
15:26 <Daan__>Rich people want to enjoy life.
15:27 <Daan__>See America now, a volunteer army consisting out of poor Americans.
15:27 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you mean like people being focussed and don't let them distract by luxury ?
15:27 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you mean American soldiers are weak ?
15:27 <Daan__>No, there is nothing wrong with welath, because there doesn't need to be war or an empire.
15:27 <Daan__>No, they often come from poor families.
15:28 <Daan__>Rich families in America hardly produce soldiers.
15:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>because they have other options to choose ?
15:28 <Daan__>President Bush for instance arranged for himself in easy time during the vietnam war
15:28 <Daan__>Better options.
15:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>here in Germany it is also mostly so, that people don't see army service as a good thing
15:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>they see it as time waste
15:29 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and what I hear from stories during the service it seems really better not to go there
15:29 <Daan__>In Holland hardly anyone goes to the army.
15:29 <Daan__>Yes, i agree.
15:29 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well we in Europe probably don't need army
15:29 <Daan__>Yes we do. No army is an invitation for enemies to invade and Russia is not a good neighbour.
15:30 <Daan__>But it can be sall.
15:30 <Daan__>small
15:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well in times of treaties/pacts it is harder to do such things anymore
15:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>perhaps with smaller countries it could work
15:30 <Daan__>Holland was invaded in 1940 and defeated in 5 days.
15:30 <Daan__>We had a very bad army.
15:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>or even better: why a complete army, just make a clone of the leader
15:31 <Daan__>Now we are part of NATO.
15:31 <Daan__>Hihi
15:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>theory: probably really the Lacaedaemonianns brought the pestilence to Athens :-)
15:31 <Daan__>Or a world government: no army needed.
15:31 <Daan__>Could be.
15:32 <Daan__>But probably not right.
15:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>world army: ah, not needed if you brainwash everybody from birth already
15:32 <Daan__>Yes.
15:32 <Daan__>Big Brother is watching you.
15:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I just look around, don't see anyone :-)
15:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>are you my big brother ?

influence of pestilence

[edit | edit source]

15:43 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok, let's continue with Thucydides
15:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yesterday Ramac told interesting infos about influence of pestilence on art
15:44 <Daan__>Yes, i read it.
15:44 <Daan__>And on religion.
15:44 <Ramac>:)
15:45 <Daan__>There is a theory that these kind of disasters led to the major world religions.
15:45 <Erkan_Yilmaz>really ?
15:45 <Daan__>The iedea of the afterlife.
15:45 <Daan__>At least christianity with its human suffering.
15:47 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so without pestilence still multiple Gods would be predominant (as it is in Hinduism e.g.) ?
15:47 <Daan__>That is right.
15:47 <Erkan_Yilmaz>who knows they might come back again - in the future
15:47 <Daan__>But somehow, the mindset changed in athens due to the disaster.
15:47 <Daan__>That is right.
15:48 <Daan__>But science is much more advanced now.
15:48 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you mean they became much more egoistic back then ? living for the day, no plans for the future
15:49 <Daan__>A disaster of this proportion would probably be human made, since most natural originated disseases will be more easily defeated.
15:49 <Daan__>Not only, also this focus on the own state.
15:49 <Daan__>In christianity, islam, buddhism and taoism, there is the universal aspect.
15:49 <Daan__>Which transcends the state.
15:50 <Daan__>So when the temporary society andstate collapses, humans still have an identity to cling on to.
15:50 <Daan__>In the Athens of the text, people didn't see any point anymore in the state.
15:50 <Daan__>And pericles convinced them with egoistic arguments.
15:51 <Daan__>Modern political ideologies also have this appeal to the eternal, like liberalism and socialism.
15:52 <Daan__>And postmodernism as well.
15:52 <Daan__>Or science.
15:52 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well wasn't eternity used to make the people calm, endure the barings on the earth ?
15:53 <Daan__>Socrates would probably be interesting to read for this.
15:53 <Erkan_Yilmaz>who knows we can do this also one time
15:53 <Daan__>I think it is a group unconsciously choosing for a certain mindset.
15:53 <Daan__>There is not an elite arranging it.
15:54 <Daan__>Often elites get destroyed by popular opinion.
15:54 <Daan__>I like the Nietzsche: being critical about language.
15:54 <Daan__>(scrapthe)
15:54 <Daan__>scrap the
15:55 <Daan__>I got a lot of philosophical ideas about the text for today.
15:55 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, pour them out
15:55 <Daan__>I already did :-)
15:55 <Daan__>Another topic:
15:56 <Daan__>The urge by people to help others.
15:56 <Daan__>During the plague.
15:56 <Daan__>You already talked about it.
15:56 <Daan__>But, also the other reactions:
15:56 <Daan__>Doing things that people weren't supposed to do.
15:57 <Daan__>taking the house of a rich family which was completely destroyed by the plague.
15:57 <Daan__>Evolution theorists could say that these are strategies for survival.
15:57 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, if nobody complained against it, could be done
15:57 <Daan__>I mean: helping others, could be seen as together we are strong.
15:58 <Erkan_Yilmaz>also probably other morales were thrown away
15:58 <Daan__>That is right.
15:58 <Daan__>But did they earn their riches.
15:58 <Daan__>?
15:58 <Erkan_Yilmaz>if people help others, than also the weak survive
15:58 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and then you could use from the large pool each others strong attributes
15:58 <Daan__>Nietzsche is against the evolution theory.
15:59 <Daan__>The evolution theory only looks at certain specific moments of change.
15:59 <Daan__>But neglects the long periods in which nothing happens.
16:00 <Daan__>He also sees that humanity will once be gone.
16:00 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah, why is this ?
16:00 <Daan__>Sorry, i get to much overblown by ideas.
16:00 <Daan__>Can't think striaght anymore.
16:01 <Daan__>straight.
16:01 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah don't tell me: is for me the same
16:01 <Daan__>Maybe an example on evolution.
16:01 <Erkan_Yilmaz>sleeping less is not so good :-)
16:01 <Daan__>That is right.
16:01 <Daan__>There is a crab of which the male has a huge claw.
16:02 <Daan__>He has two claws, a small one to get food and a big one which does nothing.
16:02 <Daan__>This big claw can sometimes be so big that he can't move anymore.
16:02 <Daan__>So why is the claw so big?
16:02 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but it must have an advantage otherwise he would be extinct or ?
16:02 <Erkan_Yilmaz>perhaps
16:03 <Daan__>Because female crabs fancy the males with the biggest claw.
16:03 <Erkan_Yilmaz>to make other bigger animals avoid him ?
16:03 <Daan__>It is only about sex.
16:03 <Daan__>Male crabs with a smaller big claw can't reproduce, because he can't get a wife.
16:04 <Daan__>And male crabs with too big claws can die because they can't feed themselves.
16:04 <Daan__>So, is the evolution theory right in this context?
16:04 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well the females must be attracted for some reaosn to this
16:04 <Daan__>The crab really exists, by the way.
16:04 <Daan__>Why are there gays?
16:05 <Erkan_Yilmaz>probably there were always gays
16:05 <Daan__>Why is there misinformation which exists for thousands of years, like christianity and islam existing next to eachother?
16:05 <Daan__>Yes, but gays can't reproduce.
16:05 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well that is true
16:05 <Erkan_Yilmaz>probably it is a mindset like having a certain experience in youth
16:06 <Daan__>Well, they can reproduce, but they don't have an urge in there body to do so.
16:06 <Daan__>their
16:06 <Daan__>There are also many gay animals.
16:06 <Daan__>Birds, dogs etc.
16:07 <Daan__>Many gays act feminine even from a very young age.
16:07 <Erkan_Yilmaz>can't say this - perhaps just a clichee ?
16:07 <Daan__>Yes, but not in the context of the evolution theory.
16:08 <Daan__>But, i don't know what i want to say anymore.
16:08 <Erkan_Yilmaz>:-)
16:08 <Erkan_Yilmaz>we were talking before about that the pestilence brought down normal behaviour
16:08 <Daan__>The good thing about writing essays is that you can think of the best words to use.

usage of audio ?

[edit | edit source]

16:08 <Daan__>Chat isn't good for philosophical discussion.
16:09 <Daan__>Yes.
16:09 <Erkan_Yilmaz>probably audio would be better - because then you can hear from the voice the emotions and get more inspired to cnotinue on stuff where the other person is interested
16:09 <Daan__>yes.


[edit | edit source]

16:11 <Daan__>We could talk about the speech of Pericles and the war.

16:14 <Daan__>What i wanted to say is that the speech of Pericles and the acts in the war strengthens the picture of earlier.
16:15 <Daan__>Pericles is much more blunt and to the point.
16:15 <Daan__>The Plataea affair was interesting again.
16:15 <Daan__>That can also be seen philosophically:
16:16 <Daan__>Language is nearly always describing the own side as good.
16:16 <Daan__>Sparta says that it is good, but Plataea doesn't trust the Theban allies of the Spartans.
16:16 <Daan__>Would Sparta live up to its words?
16:16 <Erkan_Yilmaz>nope
16:17 <Daan__>Athens says it defends the interest of Plataea, but athens can't even send an army.
16:17 <Erkan_Yilmaz>they would certainly have to obey a little to Thebans wishes, since they are a strong ally
16:17 <Daan__>On the long run however, Plataea is in between thebes and Athens.
16:17 <Daan__>Yes, and drop Plataea perhaps.
16:17 <Daan__>But, not if he gives his specific word of honour.
16:18 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well the prob is that Plataea is too weak and must watch how others play it
16:18 <Daan__>But words of honour have to be honoured, Athens also has a word of honour, but doesn't have the power to live up to it.
16:19 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you could also see it like: if Plataea doesn't do as Athens wishes, how could Sparta trust Plataea later on that they won't switch sides again ?
16:19 <Daan__>Another question: Plataea pays a high price for independence.
16:19 <Daan__>So, would they be better of under Thebes?
16:19 <Erkan_Yilmaz>with being decimated, perhaps some would still survive under Theban regime
16:20 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so from seeing as a tribe some genes would survive :-(
16:20 <Daan__>Yes, but humans are nearly similar to eachother.
16:20 <Daan__>So, genes are not much important.
16:21 <Daan__>See the example of the crab.
16:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well but the clans make a difference between each other
16:21 <Daan__>That is right.
16:22 <Daan__>But the winner of the conflict will lose in the long run. So, winning is not important.
16:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>which conflict ?
16:22 <Daan__>The good genes of one tribe could be lost and than come back again under different circumstances.
16:22 <Daan__>Between the clans.
16:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>probably during fighting of clans the best genes will be destroyed
16:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>because normally lets say the strongest fight at front and have higher risk to be killed (somehow)
16:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so at least each clan member should have a child or so before going to war
16:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>wasnt this also in the film 300 shown ?
16:24 <Daan__>But, women fancy succesfull men, so in a society of warriors, the warriors will have the babies, regardless if they die en masse in battle.
16:24 <Daan__>I didn't see that film.
16:25 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you see it under the emancipation of these days
16:25 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I guess in the earlier days women had to do what they were told
16:25 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so they would also been married to someone not being strong, but lets say rich
16:25 <Daan__>there are some hinduists in India, where the men are slaves of the women they married and have to sleep outside at night.
16:25 <Erkan_Yilmaz>:-)
16:26 <Daan__>India also got atheists in the 13th century or something.
16:26 <Daan__>But, that is way off topic.
16:26 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah today we nearly got everything covered :-)

next meeting

[edit | edit source]

16:30 <Daan__>I will be busy at saturday, but 10 is good.
16:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>lets make two dates and lets select then
16:30 <Daan__>Okay.
16:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Saturday 10:00 Am or friday afternoon 14:30
16:31 <Daan__>Yes.


[edit | edit source]