Ancient liberty vs. Modern liberty, and the basic idea of Epicureanism.

1. What is the difference between the liberty of the ancients and the liberty of the moderns? What would moderns find lacking in ancient liberty?  The modern idea of liberty is based mainly on the right of the individual.  Every individual can make choices for themselves and on their own terms.  The ancients had a different idea of liberty, rather than individual rights, the city had rights.  The city made choices and acted on behalf of its citizens.  Many of the ancients were devoted to their cities, as if their city was a parent to them.  This is dramatically different from what we see today.

Modern individuals would find several things lacking in ancient liberty.  The main point they would find lacking is that individual rights were ignored. the cities were smaller, however they were deprived of freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, and many other rights that most modern day people associate with the idea of liberty.

2. Based on the Principal Doctrines, explain the basic ideas of Epicureanism.
The Epicureans were a group of philosophy founded by the Greek philosopher Epicurus.  These people sought after things in life that would give them lasting pleasure, and ultimate purpose.  They did not engage in gluttonous behaviors, that would give them pains the next day, they searched and engaged in the things that would bring them life-long pleasure.  The invested themselves in friendships, expansion of knowledge and sober-reasoning, things that would give them long-term fulfillment.

They believed that the universe was pointless and that there were no gods, and if there were, they didn’t care.  They believed that the universe was entirely material, and that there was no immaterial realm.  They did however, believe in free will and common sense.

What was Hesiod’s view of the mankind’s past and future?

Hesiod was a Greek poet assumed to have been active in 750-650 B.C..  Among his writings, he wrote a poem called “Works and days” in which he attempts to persuade his brother, Perses, to pay him his rightful share of the inheritance.  The poem is essentially divided into two sections, the first section provides ethical instruction in the way man should live.  The second section provides instruction for how men should live practically.  Hesiod tries to persuade Perses to listen to Zeus (the supreme god) rather than the courts, who may take bribes in making their decisions.  The persuasion of Perses was the purpose of this poem, but in persuading Perses, Hesiod shared his view of mankind’s past and future.

Hesios tells us that there were 5 ages in sequence of mankind.  We are the fifth race.  The first period, was the golden age.  Man lived luxuriously in a god-like lifestyle, men stayed young and healthy and saw no harm or despair.  The second period was the silver age.  These men, unlike the golden age, had to work, however, a child could play for up to 100 years before growing up.  The third period was the bronze age.  The people were made of bronze and lived in a bronze world.  The fourth period of mankind, were the demigods. The demigods were a god-like race of hero men, far more righteous and more noble than man.   Then, finally, there is the fifth period, the iron age.  The iron age is the era we live in now, and we are told by descriptions that this is the lowest of the 5 ages.

In terms of the future, we are told that we (the iron age) are ultimately doomed.  We are told that Zeus will destroy the Iron race, like he did all the others.  It is a pessimistic view, the iron race have nothing to hope for, because ultimately it will be destroyed.

While Hesiod provided this ultimate gloomy fate of men, he also said that men should have good ethic, and that men should pray to and rely on Zeus.  Hesiod gave reasons for short term optimism, but regarding the long term, he had only reasons for pessimism.  In this poem, he is telling mankind to live their lives in justice, and in hard work, but at death, it is over.  The only hope for mankind is death.

To live a prosperous life, according to Hesiod, man must pray to Zeus and live his life according to the will of Zeus.  If a person is unjust, Zeus will inflict sanctions accordingly.  To attain reward, humankind must live justly.  However, Zeus is inconsistent, he is not predictable.  If a supreme figure is not consistent in their laws of ethics, or in the sanctions inflicted based on those laws, then difficulty arises for the person trying to abide by said laws.  Man can attain short term reward, if he is able to please Zeus, but in the long term, there is only darkness and death to look forward to.

The Business Opportunity of SEO.

Over the past week of lessons (L36-L40) in the business 2 course of the Ron Paul curriculum, 4 different online business opportunities were presented.  Search engine optimization, Graphic design, website theme development, copy-writing.  Of these 4 options, I was intrigued most by the business opportunity of search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engine optimization is getting a website to the top of search engine results using natural techniques.  There are companies with websites that could vastly increase their revenue, with the help of someone who has experience in SEO.  The common person searching for a business does not go all the way to the 10th page of Google to find their results, it is rare for people to even make it to the 2nd page.  When  you make a Google search, the top few results are paid ads, then from there, the results are placed based on how the website is keyed and optimized.  It is crucial to apply SEO techniques to a website, and a specific article.  For a website to be successful, it must be visited, to ensure that a website is visited, SEO techniques must be applied.

SEO is getting ranked as high as possible through NATURAL tactics.  If you use “black hat” techniques rather than natural methods, you can be removed from Google, and lose time and money that you have invested. Essentially, avoid lying to people to get website views. It is crucial to only use natural techniques.

To become an SEO specialist, it is crucial to understand how to key and optimize a website.  it is important to know how to create a good SEO title, and how to insert the right, and effective keywords.  Good writing ability is basic to SEO, as it is basic to almost every field.  Luckily, SEO is based largely on logic, there is no confusing formulas, it is all very logical.  To attain the skills needed, you simply need good work ethic, and as much experience as you can get.

Cancer.

“Is cancer alive? Why aren’t doctors able to uncover a single cause or cure for it? Why isn’t cancer contagious?”

The human body is one big complicated system.  Many genes control different growth factors, and other purposes cells must carry out within this system.  A system this delicate and complicated, surfaces a lot of opportunity for things to go wrong.  Things go wrong when simple mutations occur in these genes, which prevent them from functioning properly.  Oncogenes are cancer causing genes, which are initially caused by simple mutations.

So, is cancer alive?  No, the cancer tumor itself is not alive apart from the living organism.  The tumor is made of abnormal tissues initially caused by mutations of genes that control essential functions of the cell.

Doctors are unable to develop a single cure, because they have not identified the single cause.  Doctors, scientists, and bio-technicians, are getting closer everyday to uncovering and understanding the single cause for cancer.  As of now, it is clear that it is the combination of many different mutations.

Why isn’t cancer contagious? A small percentage of cancers are actually hereditary, however, cancer is not contagious like a flu.  Cancer happens within the organism, caused by several different factors that produce excess proteins and tissues.  It is, in a sense, like a machine that develops minor issues that continue to build and expand and, over time, create a major, and possibly fatal, issue.  Cancer is not a virus that can be spread by contact, but rather, a disease caused by mutations in this complicated system.

Can we learn anything from Medea about the Greeks’ attitudes toward foreigners and women?

The Greek tragedy Madea, written by Euripides, in 431 B.C., gives us unique insight into Greek drama, and also the era from which this play was written.  This is an astonishing work, that is easy to follow because it translates well to the English language.  In this play, the character Medea, is betrayed by her husband Jason and thus her life turns to despair.  The pain done to her heart, changed her as a person.

Euripides was somewhat of a skeptic.  He used his plays as a means of criticizing issues and institutions he disagreed with in Greek society.  demonstrating societal issues through plays is a powerful way to make a criticism, and provides example to the audience of the error(s) in their society.

What does Medea tell us about the Greeks’ attitudes towards foreigners and women?  We can see from the text that male citizens of a polis have more respect, and are treated better than the rest of the population; the women and foreigners.  The foreigners are looked down upon and marrying a foreigner was perceived as shameful.

Madea gives us an example of the low treatment of women.  She is taken for granted, and her husband, Jason, leaves her and their family to marry Glauke, daughter of Creon, king of Corinth.  He did this for himself, to earn a higher, more respected position in society.  He did not have the respect for his original wife, Madea, to honor his promises to her.  This initiated the process of Madea being driven mad.  And finally her broken heart and the anger it inspired in her, resulted in her murdering the king and princess or Corinth, and her own children.

The main differences between Theogony and Genesis 1.

Theogony and Genesis chapter 1, have many differences.  In each piece of literature, we see the foundational concepts of two completely different worldviews.  The entire system of ethics, hierarchy, and sanctions is completely different.

Theogony was a poem written by the Greek poet Hesiod (c. 750-650 B.C.).  He began with his account on the Muses, 9 goddess daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne.  These Muses told him to sing of the races of the gods, and that is what Theogony is fundamentally about.

It was believed that chaos came to be, however we are not told how.  From this chaos, came Earth, followed by the gods she bore and their descendants.  The creation came about by means of sexual relation between the gods.

It is evident from this poem that the gods did not have a consistent system of ethics and sanctions.  The curses brought on man were not a result of the sins of man.  Sanctions were also imposed on the gods, however theses were also inconsistent, because there was no real system of ethics.

It is not said in Theogony, where men come from.  They were in a sense, just assumed into the text.  It is also apparent that Zeus, who is said to be the most powerful of the gods was not omnipotent.  He calls on the other gods to assist in the war against the Titans.  He is at the top of the hierarchy, but he is not sovereign over the creation.

In Genesis chapter 1, it is apparent from the first verse, that God is an omnipotent being.  He always was, and always will be.  Christians believe that God created heaven and earth.  He did not make heaven and earth, he created heaven and earth; he started with nothing, and with nothing brought forth the creation.  After each subcreation, God saw that it was good and continued.  God created day and night to separate the light from the darkness.  “God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ thus evening came and morning followed–The first day” (Genesis 1:5)  With each day he brought forth a new creation.  On the sixth day of His creation, He created man in his own image and likeness, he gives man a woman as a companion, and He tells them to go forth and multiply.

We cannot fully understand the concept of creating something out of nothing, it is beyond the human mind.  However, in Theogony, we are not provided with the origin of men.  Were men believed to have been created by the Greek gods?  We are not given an answer in this account.

While it is not included in Genesis 1, we see pretty early in the book of Genesis that God lays down a system of ethics and sanctions.  Sanctions are imposed based on ethics and it is a consistent system.  We do not find that in Theogony, it is evident that sanctions were imposed, but the system of sanctions was not consistent.  It was provided in Theogony that the curses man endure existed before man as a result of the behavior of the gods.

These are two completely different perspectives that disagree with each other on many terms.  They are completely separate worldviews, that are mutual in very few aspects.

A Potential Web-based Business Idea.

There is a lot of online business opportunity in today’s world that is laying there for any person who is willing to take that opportunity.  There are several web-based businesses that only require basic education and some experience in that field.

One of these opportunities that I find to be appealing is website production.  Knowing how to create, design, and develop a good website is a valuable skill that there is a constant demand for.  This is a skill that may take some time to learn, but with practice and experience, an individual can develop a unique talent.

A large percentage of businesses either have a website or need a website.  Of the small businesses who have websites, a significant amount of them need to improve their website.  A website needs to be functional, and be responsive on any platform.  A website is the storefront displayed on the internet, and in order to represent the business well, it must be well maintained.

There are several ways for an individual, such as myself, to go about website production.  Services can be offered locally, or world-wide.  Personally, I find it ideal to work world wide rather than local.  Marketing yourself world wide, and making your services available to businesses around the world, will obviously broaden your customer base tremendously.

Whether you improve websites, write the copy for websites, maintain websites, or produce and sell websites, this is a growing business possibility.  Attain the skill set to help other businesses find and connect with more potential customers.

Athenian democracy and Peloponnesian war.

Why was the Peloponnesian War fought? What was its long-term significance?  Greece was divided into independent city-states, these city states were independent from one another.  The two most significant city-states were Athens and Sparta.  After the Persian wars, that resulted in the weakening of Greece, Athens unified with other city-states and formed the Delian league to protect Greece from any further Persian attacks.  Athens, having a strong navy, supplied ships, while the other city-states contributed money.  However, after time had passed, there appeared to be no threat on Greece, and it appeared that this money was being used in the beautification of Athens.  When confronted, Athens argued that it was only fair as the Persians had destroyed their city, that they should take contributions to rebuild it.  It later appeared that Athens would not allow any of the city-states to leave the Delian league.

Thucydides, the great Greek historian said the following “The growth of the power of Athens and the alarm that inspired in Sparta, made war inevitable.”  Sparta and her allies formed the Peloponnesian league, and in 431 B.C., they invade Athens.  Athenians turn to their strength; naval confrontation.  However in 430 B.C., plague breaks out and kills a majority of the Athenian population.  There is a truce from 421-415 B.C., war starts again with Athens’ expedition so Sicily, however, they were unsuccessful.  Sparta had taken up arms again, Athens routed but the Peloponnesian war continued.  Finally, in 404 B.C., Sparta is victorious.  The Delian league is dissolved and Athens has to submit herself to Sparta.

How was Athenian government organized? How much citizen involvement in government was there?  Athenian government had four groups of authority.  The first, the assembly.  the assembly consisted of all Athenian citizens.  To be an Athenian citizen, one must come from two Athenian parents, and it is presumed that they must be male.  The second group of authority was the council of 500, this council consisted of 500 citizens chosen at random.  The council of 500 decided what matters should be presented to the assembly.  The third group was the  law court, the law court consisted of of 600 citizens chosen annually, this was the group from which the jurors were drawn, there were no professional lawyers, just 501 jurors.  Lastly, the Magistrates, about 1,000 citizens elected to fill political offices, these offices were available to most Athenian citizens.

The Development of Ethics in History Influenced by Biblical Material.

What is the view of the biblical materials on the role of ethics in the development of history?

There are many views conveyed in biblical material that present the role of ethics in the development of history.  These views were presented in Genesis, the first book of the bible, and they are consistent throughout the rest of the scriptures.  There are basic ideas that have prevailed through history and have been adopted by many societies today.  This system of ethics and sanctions is not exclusive to Christians, the ideas of this system conveyed in the bible, formed many aspects of western civilization.

A significant amount of the biblical passages possess one theme, sanctions will be inflicted according to ethics.  These sanctions are inescapable and it is the responsibility of the individual to follow the law of God and have good ethics, otherwise, he will ultimately receive negative sanctions.  In order to have good ethics and receive positive sanctions, the individual must obey the law of God.  The righteous who seek out wisdom and understanding, and submit themselves to the law of God, will receive eternal reward.  Evil-doers may receive a temporary earthly reward, but ultimately they will receive sanctions according to their ethics.

The system of obedience towards God’s law, and the sanctions afflicted accordingly is similar to the system of most civilizations of their state state laws.  This system of cause and effect in relation to law is basic to human reason.

It is demonstrated in biblical text that man has free will, men are agents of God, but they are not robotic instruments.  Individuals have the ability to think rationally and choose their own ethical path.  They cannot, however, determine the punishment or reward, except through the correspondence of their obedience towards the law of God, and their ethics.  Good ethics will result in positive sanctions, while bad ethics will result in negative sanctions.

Individuals can choose for themselves how they live out their lives, they can choose the sanctions they will receive, by choosing a lifestyle of wisdom and righteousness, or a lifestyle of wickedness.  This has remained consistent through the development of history.

If a life of righteousness leads to ultimate positive sanctions, why do men choose to participate in evil acts?  There are pleasures in evil, this is why man engages in it.  However, those pleasures are temporary, they wear off, this can result in an addiction to evil activity.  These are materialistic pleasures, but men are weak, they fall to the addictions of materialistic pleasures.  They lose mindfulness of the idea of ultimate sanctions, and forget about the debts they will have to pay back for their loans of temporary material pleasures.  Again, this idea has been consistent throughout the development of history.

The views of ethics as expressed in biblical text, have shaped western civilization.

Why men are 50% more likely to be colorblind than women.

Joking aside, why are men far more likely than women to be colorblind?

Men are more likely to be colorblind than women, why?  It is all about genes.  Our chromosomes come in pairs, we get one from each parent.  The female gamete has two X chromosomes, and the male gamete has an X and a Y chromosome.  For the child to be female, it must get an X chromosome from the mother, and an X chromosome from the father.  For the child to be male, they must get the X chromosome from the mother and the Y chromosome from the father.  The child will get an X from the female gamete regardless.

The genes for colorblindness are on the X chromosome.  If a female has something wrong with one of her X chromosomes, she has another to back it up, she would thus need two damaged X chromosomes to inherit colorblindness.  Males, however, only have one X chromosome, so if this chromosome is damaged, there is not another one to back it up.  Women have a chance of inheriting colorblindness, however, men are 50% more likely than women to inherit colorblindness.