April 1, 2011


GW: ... that most exemplary of spectacles ...


 In 2009 I started a series in Nederlog called GW  - favourite quotations with some explanations, notes, or comments by me - that did not grow into much, because as it happened I wrote last year mostly about ME. Yesterday I wrote rather a lot, so today I give just a small quotation, mostly to provide some perspective on human nature:

... Hippo, the tyrant of Messana (..) was captured as he tried to escape by ship. The people of Messana brought him to the public theatre and summoned their children from the schools to witness that most exemplary of spectacles, the punishment of a tyrant: they then tortured him and put him to death.
Plutarch, Life of Timoleon (*)

I like Plutarch (<-Wikipedia), though I don't always believe him or agree with him, and their are several good renderings of his "Parallel Lives" in English, that may teach one rather a lot about human beings and in particular about the ancient Greeks and Romans.

The point of this quote is the opposition of "that most exemplary of spectacles" and what that spectacle is: "the punishment of a tyrant: they then tortured him and put him to death". Indeed, in "the public theatre", with their children summoned from the schools to witness that most exemplary of spectacles.

As I said, I quoted it to provide some perspective on human nature, here manifested by events on Sicily in the 4th century B.C. I do not think Plutarch was in any way ironical: This is what he thought.

There's more of him here: Works by Plutarch, in the Gutenberg Project.


(*) From: The Age of Alexander - Nine Greek Lives by Plutarch, Penguin Books, 1973, p. 182, translated by Ian Scott Gilvert

P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence".
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

    "Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources

Maarten Maartensz (M.A. psy, B.A. phi)

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