The State of Hellenistic Philosophy Five Minutes Before Pythagoras


Previously: Five minutes before stoicism and five minutes before cynicism.


The family home is no fit location for the site of mysteries. Mystery cults should only be based in temples, cave complexes, or very special hills

As enlightened tyrants go, Polycrates is a pretty good one. On balance the island of Samos is better off as a result of his policies, and I would rather live here than travel through Egypt and Babylonia

Moderation and piety are all well and good in their place, but I wouldn't go so far as the emphasize either of them

The only triplets any philosopher should concern himself with are the three Cappadocian redheads I've invited to the feast tonight!!!

You can make a statue of Mercury out of pretty much anything

Rituals, strict ascetic practices, etc, are nice but probably not necessary for attaining spiritual purity. It'll come when it comes!

If someone is really your friend, they'll respect your private property

Humans probably should act in appropriate ways, but I'm sure there are lots of extenuating circumstances that mean it's not always possible to do so

Beans are a relatively inexpensive alternative to meat in times of scarcity

Probably the highest reward that a human being could attain on behalf of their soul would be to return to the cycle of reincarnation, in order to have more experiences. Experiences are so interesting and you really can't have too much of them

All numbers are pretty much the same. Some are bigger and some are smaller but that's basically it

The best and most reliable roads are the public ones. You should take them as often as possible

You can't make friends or influence public thought if you hide yourself away in a secret cave. You've got to get out there into the marketplace of ideas!

If you want to measure Hercules, start with his head

Who doesn't like a little luxury every once in a while? And if it's a little more often than once in a while – what's the harm? You only live once; enjoy yourself!

Getting into bed at the end of the day is no time for contemplation or moral examination. You're tired! Get some rest! You can think about those things tomorrow

The number three isn't any better than the number two, for example. And you would need a great many more things than just numbers if you wanted to construct the universe!

Don't worry about searching for arete. When the time is right, arete will find you!

The stars are self-evidently quiet. Who ever heard of a loud sunset?

Your first instinct is usually the right one. Go with your gut! Reflection is for wells and pools of water!

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