HYPATIA )))))))))))))))) by Ron McVan
"Neo-Platonism is a progressive philosophy, and does not expect to state final conditions to men whose minds are finite. Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.”
The ancient Greeks were the founders of democracy, which in itself would become their own undoing and strip them of their vital ethnic nationhood. Once Greece began to push for freedom of the individual instead of unity as a folk and nation, their days of empire were numbered. Never were the Greeks to rise again and they simply vanished forever as an empire. The splendor of Greece died, and with it, centuries of some of the Western worlds most splendid and exquisite culture was left to ruin. Rome easily snatched up the gauntlet of power as Greece continued to weaken, but Rome too would soon find itself declining as an empire and culture for much of the same reasons. In modern times we have watched a very similar rise and fall of Britain and now the United States, (which are no longer united as an indigenous people) not unlike Britain, find themselves on an irreversible decline into third world status and quickly losing respect among the nations of the world. Once a race gives up their nationhood they have signed and sealed their death certificate and extinction of that people and culture is very soon to follow as sure as the day we are born. Democracy is a lethal cancer to any nation. Democracy is only beneficial to the Power Elite who control the worlds finances while keeping the people in a constant state of want and struggle. The best days of the ancient Greeks and the Trojan's as well, were during the days when Greece and Troy were unified and strong.
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." .........Thomas Jefferson
Lord Byron in the first half of the 19th century was as saddened by what the once glorious ancient Greece had become. He made the observation that travelers to Greece of his day would find themselves venturing into a land once glorified by poets and philosophers---a land whose ancient artists and sculptors had depicted a godlike race of marble heroes and beauties---and found dirt, squalor, brutality, and ignorance on every hand. Crippled beggar's crowded the steps of the Parthenon, and in the sordid alleys of Sparta and Thebes, flies crawled on the faces of children. Part of this dismal picture could be blamed on the degradation of the Turkish occupation, but as time went on, it seemed to European observers, no matter how sympathetic, that the land of wit, light, and philosophy had somehow become peopled with an apathetic, incompetent race composed equally of simpletons and brigands.
" Democracy means not "I am as good as you are" but "You are as good as I am."
During the later half of 300 A.C.E. in Alexandria there was a scholar by the name of Theon, who was at that time the most learned of the Alexandrian aristocracy, an astronomer and mathematician as well as the last director of the Great Library of Alexandria. Perhaps the most durable scholarly achievement of Theon was his edition of an elaborate commentary, or series of comments, on the 'Almagest' and his editing of Euclid's "Elements" which was published around 364 A.C.E. in the days of Emperor Theodosius. Theon may well have been forgotten over time had he not been the father of the extraordinary and highly gifted Hypatia. She was the first woman mathematician well known for her extravagant intelligence and wrote highly respected commentaries on the "Conics of Apollonius of Perga" the "Astronomical Canon of Ptolemy" and the "Arithmetica of Diophantus". Her writings were later consumed by flames at the time of another burning of the Library of Alexandria, this time by the Mohammedans. Hypatia was a philosopher as well as a mathematician and could hold her own with any of her male counterparts. It was known that she was highly inspired by the works of Plotinus. Truth be known, Hypatia was superior to all known Philosophers of her time which is quite unusual for any woman throughout the history of the Western World in the field of philosophy. Not only was Hypatia exceptionally brilliant, eloquent and modest, she also possessed the beauty of a living goddess and remained steadfast to the ethnic spiritual paths of her ancient ancestors.
Hypatia loved her father and quickly absorbed most of what he had taught her. By the time Hypatia was twenty-five years old, she was already quite famous throughout the eastern Mediterranean. The people of her day who were absorbed in the field of philosophy came from all over the world to study under her in Alexandria. Students everywhere flocked to hear her lectures and surrounded her wherever she went. With her exceptional inquisitive students she would delve deeply into the works of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle and the more recent Plotinus. The thirst for knowledge that Hypatia always generated did not stop at the school, even her private home became an intellectual center where scholars gathered to discuss scientific and philosophical questions. In those declining days of Greece, Alexandria stood apart and still held the torch of culture, beauty and wisdom. Theon had specifically taught his daughter that all systems of religion that pretended to teach the whole truth were to the greater extent narrow minded and fraudulent. "All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final", said Theon to Hypatia. "Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all." Hypatia would later instruct her students that to teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child-minded accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can they ever in after-years be relieved of them. In fact, men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth---often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you can not get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable. Only superior people she would say, have a capacity for doubting.
"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." ........................George Bernard Shaw
Hypatia in her early twenties was five feet nine, and weighed one hundred and thirty-five pounds. So beautiful and intelligent was she, that many found themselves convinced that she surely must be the goddess Minerva in the flesh. Hypatia was known to easily walk ten miles without fatigue; swim, row, ride horseback and climb mountains with much grace and ease. Through a series of gentle calisthenics invented by her father, accompanied with precise breathing exercises, she had developed a body of rarest goddess-like perfection, combined with her superior strength and vitality. In her student years Hypatia studied at the school of Plutarch the Younger. She belonged to the mathematical tradition of the academy of Athens represented by Eudoxus of Cnidus. Hypatia spent a space of several years in her youth visiting all of the greatest living philosophers. Some of these philosophers were so awestruck at her beauty and knowledge that they wanted to marry her and a prince or two did likewise pursue her. Hypatia held the thirst for intelligence and spiritual awakening above the human animal desires and would tell her suitors that she was wedded to truth. In simple fact Hypatia never met a man whose mind matched her own. Though many men desired her she remained a virgin all of her life.
Socrates was perhaps the first thinker to usher in what we have come to express as the New Thought, and he got his que from Pythagoras. Hypatia found in this idea of New Thought a direction much in accordance to her line of thinking as well. It was Hypatia's mentor Plotinus who first used the phrase "Neo-Platonism", and so the philosophy of Hypatia might most accurately be called, "The New Neo-Platonism". Plotinus made a study of all philosophies---all religions. He traveled through Egypt, Greece, Assyria and India. He became an "adept", and would soon discover how easily the priest drifts into priest-craft, and fraud steps in with legerdemain and miracle to amend the truth. As if to love humanity were not enough to recommend the man, they have him turn water into wine and walk on water. Plotinus believed in all religions, but had absolute faith in none.
"To know but one religion is not to know that one. In fact, superstition consists in this one thing---faith in one religion, to the exclusion of all others."
Plotinus taught that there is an ultimate reality which is beyond the reach of thought or language. The object of life was to aim at this ultimate reality which could never be precisely described. Plotinus stressed that people did not have the mental capacity to fully understand both the ultimate reality itself or the consequences of its existence. Lanblichus distinguished further levels of reality in a hierarchy of levels beneath the ultimate reality. There was a level of reality corresponding to every distinct thought of which the human mind was capable. Hypatia taught these philosophical ideas with greater scientific emphasis than earlier followers of Neoplatonism. She was described by all commentators as a charismatic and captivating teacher. Hypatia not infrequently appeared in public in the presence of magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more.
"A good politician under democracy is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar."
The emperor Constantine had done much to destroy the nature based free thinking paganism of the Greeks. In 361 A.C.E. however, the new emperor Julian, himself a Greek humanist and pagan, sought to reverse the trend of the alien upstart Christian takeover with laws designed to make the rise of Christianity difficult, if not completely illegal. Emperor Julian may well have succeeded in doing just that had he not been killed in battle while fighting the Persians. His successors reconfirmed the semiofficial position of Christianity as a state religion by the most brutal and heinous means imaginable. Enter the Emperor Theodosius I, (378--395 A.C.E.), a violent and fanatically devout man, who did everything in his power to impose Christian orthodoxy upon his subjects, going so far as to close down the two greatest Pan-hellenic pagan institutions, the Olympic Games and the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. Apollo, in fact, had himself predicted the end of his worship thirty years previously, sending to the emperor Julian the following sad oracle from his Delphic priestess: "Fallen lies the well wrought hall. Phoebus has no longer a chamber, nor laurel of prophecy, Nor murmuring spring; the water of speech is halted."
Friedrich Nietzsche himself a great lover of the ancient Greek culture, believed that innovators were constrained---in the name of morality--- by values that set them on equal terms with the mass of mankind. Nietzsche keenly observed that what enabled human beings to emerge from the animal state, and to develop civilization, including everything we mean by the word culture, was the perpetual elimination of the weak by the strong, the incompetent by the competent, the stupid by the clever. Only because these processes carried on over countless ages did the things that we most value about our human existence come into being. But then along come the so-called moralists and said that these values were all wrong---that there should be laws to protect the weak against the strong, and that justice should reign, not strength; and that the meek, not the enterprising should inherit the earth. The very process by which man had been raised above the animals, and civilization brought into being, were put into reverse. Natural leaders---the confident, the courageous, the innovators---were shackled by value systems that set them on equal terms with the mediocre mass of mankind. The typical characteristics of slaves were hailed as virtues: a life of service to others, self-denial, self-sacrifice. Even gifted individuals were what Nietzsche calls "un-selfed" by this. And it all done in the name of morality! It is all, says Nietzsche, "the worst possible decadence, a denial of everything that has produced culture and civilization. If it is allowed to go on, it will put an end to everything that we value most in our world. We must on no account continue with these slave-moralities!"
Everyone deep down knows that Nietzsche is correct in his view although certainly it does not mean that the strong would be going about eliminating everyone that does not measure up and be completely devoid of compassion for the weak. The strong, the heroic, the innovators, creators and men of genius should never be hindered from reaching their highest potential nor held down to the level of the mediocre mass man. The accomplishments of the higher man are of benefit to all of mankind and the world! Democracy is a total sham! The best possible system for all of mankind is a "Meritocracy" where each man and woman are afforded the chance to rise unhindered to their highest natural potential and thus experience complete personal happiness and self-fulfillment instead of the burdening and confining chains of mediocrity and decadence. God never created mankind to live like insects! Dare to become what you are! This is how all living creatures behave spontaneously in Nature!
"A number of writers have credited the teachings of Hypatia with being Christian in spirit; in fact she removed the veil of mystery in which the new cult had enshrouded itself, discoursing with such clarity upon its most involved principles that many newly converted to the Christian faith deserted it to become her disciples. Hypatia not only proved conclusively the pagan origin of the Christian faith but also exposed the purported miracles then advanced by the Christians as tokens of divine preference by demonstrating the natural laws controlling the phenomena."
.................Manly P. Hall
.................Manly P. Hall
It was only a little more than a hundred years before the time of Hypatia that the Roman Empire became Christian. From that time every Pagan temple became a Christian church, and every priest a Christian preacher. Despite the growing triumph of Christianity under the rule of Theodosius I, Paganism flourished in many parts of the empire---particularly large urban centers with a long history of culture and intellectual pursuits. An intellectual elite all the more ardently espoused pagan philosophies in Athens, Antioch, and Alexandria, and the Platonic academy flourished until it was closed by decree in the the year 529 A.C.E. When Cyril became the patriarch of Alexandria in 412 A.C.E., he began a program of oppression against anyone that he believed challenged Christian authority in Alexandria. By nature, Cyril was arrogant, intolerant, and capable of vicious hatred. The prefect of Egypt, Orestes, was a good friend and disciple of Hypatia and would often visit her for conversation despite the fact that he was a devout Christian himself. Cyril by now had spread a vicious rumor that the prefect Orestes was being corrupted by his friendship with the pagan Hypatia. For Orestes to grow interested in the teachings of Hypatia, instead of siding with the Bishop, was looked upon by Christian loyalists as little short of treason. Cyril had a small army of Nitrian monk thugs and on one occasion the monks actually went as far as to assault Orestes while he was riding through the city. Hypatia was lost in her studies and unaware of the encroaching danger seething for three years and gathering momentum around her. There is a saying, "When the mob goes down the street, God goes inside."
"To rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world is just as base as to use force." ......................Hypatia
One sunny day during the season of lent, completely unaware of any danger, Hypatia rode into a mob of Cyril's monks who were waiting to ambush her on her usual route home. The monks immediately seized her from her chariot, stripped her naked, beat her and tore the hair from her head and dragged her into a nearby church where they sadistically tore her to pieces, hacking off all of her limbs and scraped the still quivering flesh from her bones with sharp oyster shells. They then burned all of her body parts in a fire in the attempt to hide any evidence. It was there in that gruesome scene that Hypatia died a most horrible death in 415 A.C.E. Orestes made a report of the affair then resigned from office. He asked for an immediate investigation into the matter but the church would not have it. With the onslaught of Christian fanaticism that would continue, Western mathematics went dormant for a thousand years of pious ignorance and an iron handed religious reign that we know of today as The Dark Ages. With the death of Hypatia also died the Greece that tried to discover truth and create beauty and that had also created that once great city of Alexandria!
"When a creator of New Thought goes into the business of retailing his product, he often forgets to live it, and soon is transformed into a dealer in Secondhand Thought. That is the way all purveyors in secondhand revelation begin. In their anxiety to succeed, they call in the police. The blessing that is compulsory is not wholly good, and any system of morals which has to be forced on us is immoral. New Thought is free thought. Its penalty is responsibility. You either have to live it, or else lose it. Its reward is Freedom." ............Elbert Hubbard