Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Lifting from Christopher Hitchens' ridiculous column in Slate, one Rabbi Michael Lerner said the following:

Along with Greek science and military prowess came a whole culture that celebrated beauty both in art and in the human body, presented the world with the triumph of rational thought in the works of Plato and Aristotle, and rejoiced in the complexities of life presented in the theater of Aeschylus, Euripides and Aristophanes.

I have no comment at the moment on Hitchen's chattering. But let's have something clear. Platonism in antiquity was not in any proper sense "rational." I will grant you "axiomatic" or "logical" or "mathematical", but all of those are crazy stretches. Plato's school was a mystery cult, and Plato's "philosopher" was more like a Buddha crossed with a Sufi mystic than what might reasonably be called a philosopher in the sense of a rational investigator.

It is a safe rule to apply that, when a mathematical or philosophical author writes with a misty profundity, he is talking nonsense.

That, or he's talking theology, which is not intrinsically nonsense as far as I'm concerned. The point being, it is not possible to rationally argue your way into knowing what God is like.