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October 17 2009 7 17 /10 /October /2009 19:59
I will try to make with you some experience. I will not speak about identity but about energy. Identity is a derived issue form energy. There is a possible synthesis of European culture and thought that I will try to deal with in this presentation. Energy makes culture. So I will try to offer you an other vision,making links with differents things. First I will talk you about History, about the sicilian expedition and the importance of sailing in the Greek world. Secondly I will talk you about philosophy or if you prefer systems of thought and thoughts without system. Finally I will talk you about gestion and the governmental view put on the world 

The Sicilian Expedition  and the end of Hellenism

The Sicilian Expedition was an Athenian expedition to Sicily from 415 to 413 BC (four hundred and fifteen to four hundred and thirteen before Christ), during the Peloponnesian War. Athens responded to an appeal for help from city of Segesta, who was at war with Selinus, her neighbour on the island, but the real reasons for the expedition were to curb the growing power of Syracuse, the most powerful city on Sicily, to gain a foothold on Sicily, and to obtain complete control of the sea. Syracuse responded exceptionally slowly to the Athenian threat, and as a result was almost completely invested before the arrival of a Spartan general, Gylippus, which galvanized its inhabitants into action. Sparta was the main adversary of Athens in the Peloponnesian War. The expedition was the greatest naval and military force ever mounted by a Greek city, but it failed disastrously. It was commanded by the incompatible Alcibiades, Lamachus, and Nicias. Alcibiades was soon recalled on a charge of sacrilege, but he escaped and went over to Sparta; Lamachus was killed in a fight; and Nicias, who was left alone in command, had opposed the invasion from the beginning and proved an incompetent general. He besieged Syracuse in 414 but was crushingly defeated on land and at sea. At the end the entire expedition surrendered or was destroyed in the Sicilian interior. Hundred ships and thousands of soldiers —an appreciable fraction of the city's total manpower— were lost in a single stroke. Athens lost more than 30,000 soldiers and 200 ships. Blows and highness from which she never recovered. The impact of this defeat on Athens was immense. Athens' enemies on the mainland and in Persia were encouraged to take action, and rebellions broke out in the Athenian. The failure of this expedition marks the begining of the decline of Hellenism, the culture and energy very speciic of the Greeks, That is to say Greeks by their dring, by their courage knew how to resists to invaders even if their organisation were dispatched in cities. The population of Athens was almost 250.000 inhabitantsso the loss of 30.000 strong soldiers was terrible. In result,of this event, the democracy was made fragile, there were attempt to impose dictature like oligarchy, government by few people . Plato, the philosoher, the inventor of philosophy, was not a sage, however he make a track during is life like a sage but he wasn't a man separated from the city because he lived in an institution, the first Academy. At this moment, after the death, he took a position toward these anti-democratic events and considered life and democracy. He put a severe judgement of them and reject them. All the Greek world was an world of government, government of the city and the people and government of the soul. There is nothing out the relationship of family, they called it the Genre. It put the limit of which nowadays we call reality

Athenian cosmology


For Plato there are three kinds of men, those are alive ; those are dead ; and those are on sea. That is to say those whose destiny is in the hands of uncertainty, whose their fate is delayed in the hands of the Gods, like Hermes for the Sicilian expedition, The boats which are destroyed by Sicilian resistance were called for example the Hermai. Thus, there came into existence two schools of thought. One school is attributed to Plato, and finds that Nature is a structure that is precisely governed by timeless mathematical laws. According to Platonists we do not invent mathematical truths, we discover them. The Platonic world exists and physical world is a shadow of the truths in the Platonic world. This reasoning comes about when we realize (through thought and experimentation) how the behavior of Nature follows mathematics to an extremely high degree of accuracy. The deeper we probe the laws of Nature, the more the physical world disappears behind mathematics. The other school held that mathematical concepts are mere idealizations of our physical world. The world of absolutes, what is called the Platonic world, has existence only through the physical world. In this case, the mathematical world is the same as the Platonic world and would be thought of as emerging from the world of physical objects. In these both worldviews Mathematics transcends the physical reality that confronts our senses. So they are closed system with seperatade world. Both Plato and Pythagoras influenced the first logically consistent cosmological worldview, developed by the Greeks in the 4th century B.C. This early cosmology was an extrapolation of the Greek theory of matter proposed by Empedocles from Sicily. This theory states that all matter in the Universe is composed of some combination of four elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air. These four elements arise from the working of the two properties of hotness (and its contrary coldness) and dryness (and its contrary wetness) upon an original unqualified or primitive matter. The possible combinations of these two properties of primitive matter give rise to the four elements or elemental forms. Since the four elements are two pairs of opposite elements, so also are the four properties - hotness being the opposite of coldness and wetness the opposite of dryness. This is Aristotle's physic. So they are both closed system, because one thing transcends the other. We can find other closed system in Antiquity, more general, after the Athenian decline. They are worldview or cosmology as an explanation of the world.

With the Ptolemaic cosmology the Eath is at the center.

An other example of cosmology : The Egyptian

The development of cosmology in ancient Egypt followed practical lines. Early man's impressions of the night sky formulated into various myths which then later became the core of Egyptian religion. Since its principal deities were heavenly bodies, a great deal of effort was made by the priesthood to calculate and predict the time and place of their god's appearances. Because the sun god, Ra, was the pre-eminent god, the annual solar motion along the horizon was a key astronomical observation for the Egyptians. The timing and position of the northernmost and southernmost turning points, the solstices, ultimately fixed the mythology of Egyptian cosmology. Egyptian legend declares that the sky goddess Nut gives birth to Ra once a year, catalysing both calendar development and the concept of divine royalty plus the matrilineal inheritance of the throne. Nearest, We also find this divine royalty in the Middle Age system of feodality.

Systems of Thought


So we can repeat, there are three kinds of men, those are dead ; those are alive ; and those are on sea. So three kinds of behaviour : the first is to have stupor or terror toward death. That is resumed by this sentence : pholosophying is learning to dead. The second behaviour consists in following is intuition and experience. The third and last behaviour is to have a posture, for example to be a nomad or to make experimentation that they are not recognize by history, like sailors going far from the land : we don't really if they are alive or death, from the city, from the port. Perhaps you have listened about the Schrodinger's cat in quantic mechanics : a cat loched up into a box, with a bubble of poison : it's the same thng we don't know from your point of veiw, if it is alive or death. Their state is beyond all the systems a reality we don't take account. Death or alive, or incertitude. It's only an incertitude for those which don't live the real experience, for those that don't sail like the sailors. There are two kinds of system, whose are closed and whose are open. So we can resume the differents forms of thoughts : the systems which express a moral jugdement on reality and reject complexity, they put in exergue the idea of Good, common good, general interest (the philosophy of Platon or Aristote or other schools of philosophy like stoïcism or scepticism, et caetera... This is comtemplation life. Even if the Stoïcian think since Heraclitus that there is a fire that burn everything and generate again the Nature. The systems they maintain life and nature like the raising of substance up to infinite. We can think about Spinoza with his God like Nature or Bergson with is time in varation. This is expression of God or of Nature. The last kind is a jump out of the systems, where the more important is activity. We can think about Voltaire, Goethe, Nietzsche and their own fights.

Cybernetics and system dynamics as art of government

Nowadays there is a word in fashion : “gouvernance” it’s like “government” but it insists of gestion side more than the driving side. In Italian or in all all latine languages “governare” (govern) or “conducere” (drive) are the same thing for politics and sailing (navigation). In greek, 'Kybernetes' means steersman, governor, pilot, or rudder — the same root as government. Kybernetes > Kubernere > Gubernare > Governare. What is cybernetics ? The study of communication and control of complex systems, within and between humans, machines, organizations, and society. This is a modern definition of the term cybernetics, Contemporary cybernetics began as an interdisciplinary study connecting the fields of control systems, electrical network theory, mechanical engineering, logic modeling, evolutionary biology and neuroscience. The term cybernetics stems from the Greek 'kybernetes'. We talk about it in the first part. Cybernetics was first utilized by N. Wiener in 1948 to designate a broad subject area he defined as “control and communication in the animal and the machine.” It is closely related to control theory and systems theory. It means that we are of the sphere of representation and recognition, but energy, we talk at the beginning, is beyond this sphere, more than the sphere. There specific researches is this sense, A link could be made with the origins of cybernetics as the art of sailing and governing and the Sicilian expedition which marks the beginning of the decline of the Athenian democracy and also of the era f the pre-Socratics thinkers or sages, like Heraclitus from the actual Turkey (Smirna), Empedocles from Agrigento, Anaxagoras of Clazomenae); it will also be a mean to call forth the dogmatic and systemic scheme of the philosophical academies (through Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism, Skepticism, etc.). 

System dynamics is a similar and older approach than cybernetics to understanding the behaviour of complex systems over time, invented by Jay Forrester. It deals with internal feedback loops and time delays that affect the behaviour of the entire system. At the beginning Jay Forrester worked on servo-mecanism electric system for General Electrics. Everybody knows what is a thermostat, it permits us controlling the temperature of a room : it’s a form of servo-mecanism or closed system. An other example of open system : The interaction between traffic  and road infrastructures.  We build road to compensate for traffic congestion but new roads improve the traffic too… System dynamics and Cybernetics are manners to conceive a point of view. We can apply it for globalization (“mondializasione” in Italian)

Now we have a triple alternative :

1°) Making operations like a part

2°) Making contemplation like ancient philosophers

3°) Making action like an autonomous individual, an antique heroe.

System dynamics and cybernetics both tend to reduce the part of action substituting of human being and the mistakes each of us produces for operations of a system (but you have the same aim of governance in the politic system of Plato : the Republic).


As to conclude, there is a way now for European thought, that like with Voltaire for the French culture or Goethe for the German culture are on our own activity and not operations of a global system.

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