Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

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Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby ZaphodBurner » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:56 pm

[quote=Eric]
However- Leonidas was an tyrant- an absolute monarch, Athens only allowed the vote to propertied Athenian males, and only some of them (oh, and they liked to cast votes to banish people who pissed them off), Athens was hated by other Greek city-states because they enslaved them & treated them like dirt; and the Persian Empire was much more sophisticated than any of the Greek city-states. There's a reason the "Golden Age" of Athens was less than 200 years.

Ghandi did much more to bring Democracy to 600,000,000 people than Leonidas ever did for Greece. There's a difference between propaganda & action. [/quote]

I think you missed the point, which is understandable.

First, Leonidas was NOT an absolute monarch. Leonidas was not, in fact, even a tyrant. His enemy, Xerxes, who declared anything and everyone in the scope of his realm his property and servant, was a tyrant. Sparta was ruled by TWO kings and the Ephors. An athenian woman once asked a Spartan woman why Spartan women were allowed to make decisions over men, two which she replied "Because only Spartan women produce men." (Fascinating read: The Women of Sparta]

Second, Leonidas didn't just defend Greece, I said he defended DEMOCRACY.* The Spartans and associated Greeks that rallied under him at Thermopylae delayed the Persians, who were seeking to DESTROY ATHENS, THE VERY CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY.

The concept of Democracy survived the Persian invasion, but when the Persians sacked cities they destroyed everything in them, and so the world really has no idea what other great ideas were lost. It is believed that Athenian observers held astronomical calculations and a helio-centric model of the solar system, but these were destroyed by the Persians of Darius or Xerses.

The Persian Empire's destruction of Greece and enslavement of its population was not prevented by pacifists. It was preserved by men sacrificing themselves against overwhelming odds behind oaken shields and metal swords. If the Persians had won, there may have eventually been some form of Democracy, but it wouldn't be that word, and it might have been hundreds or thousands of years before the concept was attempted again and allowed to grow. Because it only reemerged within the last 2.5 centuries.

Ergo, were it not for the most aggressively warlike and institutionally-violent civilization in the history of the human species--the human Klingons--Democracy would have vanished from the world consciousness entirely by 300 BC. Gandhi would not have been able to sit on a blanket and resist the Persians because they would have simply trampled him into the soil.

In FACT, it is known that when Philip II sent a courier to Sparta saying that if conquered them and entered the city, he would kill the animals, enslave the women and destroy the city. The Spartans--who invented the one-liner--sent a message all the way back to Philip that said, simply: "IF." Ol' Phil went around. The Spartans did not invest in city defenses, castles or fortifications because no army in its right mind dared invade Sparta. Mostly because even their children could kick the average peasant-soldier's ass.

( I betcha they don't teach THAT shit at Berkeley. )

You know who was radically inclusive, by the way? The American indians. Imagine Geronimo, Crazy Horse and Chief Joseph standing on a hill watching millions of emigrants pour into their land, going "Well, we gotta let them all in. We have to be radically inclusive to that nice blonde-haired gentleman in the blue uniform because what we really need out here in the west is some fresh blood."

* No doubt about it, Sparta treated slaves and non-citizens of their own region worse than anything we can imagine, and still somehow better than slaves fared in other city-states. One can't ignore that, but must also recognize that concepts such as individual freedom and democracy were still in their infancy. The Greeks, like the rest of the world, knew no other way. The difference is, the Spartans used the helots to grow crops and tend to the homes while the citizens were sent to 13 years of boot camp followed by the expectation that they would die for Sparta. Take your pick. Either way, fuckin' crazy. An amazing book is "Gates of Fire" by Stephen Pressfield.

Looking forward to your thoughts.
Last edited by ZaphodBurner on Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby 48_love » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:02 pm

FIRST

lol
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby ZaphodBurner » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:10 pm

Do you have something to contribute other than a text-message? :D
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby 48_love » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:17 pm

Just some Interwebz snark ... I thought a mod might've broken this out and it was going to quickly sink to the bottom. I just now read your post from the other thread.

I posted something in another thread about inflection points and history. The issue with making sweeping historical parallels to current events is that we are so close to current events that we don't know what they mean in the long term scope of "History".

Also, appropriating history to get on a soap box and make some point about Burning Man just seems a stretch. A futile stretch.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby ZaphodBurner » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:29 pm

48_love wrote:Just some Interwebz snark ...
Also, appropriating history to get on a soap box and make some point about Burning Man just seems a stretch. A futile stretch.


Believing in the lottery system was a futile stretch. :shock:

The reason the discussion is here (for others who are wondering WTF) is because it started elsewhere and quickly veered off-topic. The reason I wanted to continue it is because Burners, IMO, have immensely interesting minds and aren't afraid to kick dust on each other's shoes in the free exchange of ideas. The odds of a political/philosophical meltdown into Republican-Democrat name-calling and Obama-bashing (etc) are radically less here than any other forum in which people aren't likely to all agree.

So, here we are.

I'm interested in hearing your opinion on the contributions of Gandhi versus Leonidas (or Lycurgis, if you prefer) because that's the topic of this discussion. It has to do with the concepts of pacifism vs militarism in terms of preserving democracy. The quote was offered: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind," to which I responded with additional Gandhi quotes:

"Democracy necessarily means a conflict of will and ideas, involving sometimes a war to the knife between different ideas."

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby trilobyte » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:14 pm

I'm moving this over to open discussion.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby Eric » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:02 pm

I'll play:

ZaphodBurner wrote:Second, Leonidas didn't just defend Greece, I said he defended DEMOCRACY.* The Spartans and associated Greeks that rallied under him at Thermopylae delayed the Persians, who were seeking to DESTROY ATHENS, THE VERY CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY.


They were seeking to control the states outside their empire that supported a revolt within it (I won't use modern standards to judge the validity of ancient concepts of empires because, honestly, they're all pretty immoral by 21st century American standards, Athens & Sparta included). Besides, Athenian democracy was destroyed 100 years later by Philip II of Macedonia, and stayed destroyed. Nothing Leonidas did at Thermopylae changed the ultimate destruction of Athenian Democracy- it did, however, let the "Golden Age" of Pericles occur, so there's that. Of course, it also let the Athenians become an empire of their own that became so hated their client states formed a league against them, but that doesn't fit your neat little story.

The concept of Democracy survived the Persian invasion, but when the Persians sacked cities they destroyed everything in them, and so the world really has no idea what other great ideas were lost. It is believed that Athenian observers held astronomical calculations and a helio-centric model of the solar system, but these were destroyed by the Persians of Darius or Xerses.


Such an incredibly Euro-centric view of the world. The Persian Empire was much more advanced in many ways than the Greek states, and frankly Greece (specifically Epirus, Thessaly and everything south) was an irritating gnat on the left side of nowhere for it. Also, like I said above, Athenian Democracy was crushed 100 years later anyway.

Ergo, were it not for the most aggressively warlike and institutionally-violent civilization in the history of the human species--the human Klingons--Democracy would have vanished from the world consciousness entirely by 300 BC. Gandhi would not have been able to sit on a blanket and resist the Persians because they would have simply trampled him into the soil.


You are absolutely correct- Ghandi would be crushed by the Persians, just like Leonidas eventually was. However, if you want to play "yank them out of their context", Leonidas would have been crushed by the British- just look at the Sepoy Mutiny. Taking a figure out of their historical context and placing them in another is a frivolous game. Look at the actual effects in the actual time frame that come due to someones actions.

Leonidas- stopped the Persian invasion of "Southern Greece", gave Athens the breathing room to create a Golden Age for 80(ish) years until it's client states revolted, Athens shortly after falls to Macedonia, Athenian Democracy dies.

Ghandi- leads roughly 600,000,000 Indians (including what is currently Pakistan & Bangladesh) in a non-violent protest against the British Empire, one of the largest Empires the world has ever known, against tanks, guns, and brutal suppression with thousands dying for the cause, and wins. 600,000,000 people have democracy. His actions later inspire Martin Luther King Jr. to use non-violence to inspire the US civil rights movement, bringing democracy to African-Americans. Those non-violent methods are used in what is then Czechoslavakia to bring down Communist rule (the "Velvet Revolution") and, after they're used in the Soviet Union to stop a hardliner coup in 1991 (causing the fall of the USSR & the birth of pseudo-Democracy in Russia), it's later used to topple the Ukrainian communists (the "Orange Revolution"). The fall of the rulers of both Egypt & Algeria also come from mostly pacifistic protest (though the Arab Spring is a huge mixed bag, and way too large to try to mash into a simple analogy)

( I betcha they don't teach THAT shit at Berkeley. )

Didn't go to Berkeley.

Which shows more courage- standing with a gun to face your enemies knowing you probably can kill some; or being the lone man standing in front of a tank in Tienanmen Square, knowing at best you'll be beaten & imprisoned. Which of those is going to inspire others the most? Hard to say- depending on the situation it could be either. I know from personal experience that it's a lot harder to stand unarmed in front of a screaming crowd than it is to do it thinking you have the safety of a gun.

As for the native American bit, not sure where you were going with that so I'm not touching it.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby ZaphodBurner » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:48 pm

Eric wrote:Such an incredibly Euro-centric view of the world. The Persian Empire was much more advanced in many ways than the Greek states, and frankly Greece (specifically Epirus, Thessaly and everything south) was an irritating gnat on the left side of nowhere for it. Also, like I said above, Athenian Democracy was crushed 100 years later anyway.


Wait... I have euro-centric view of the world talking about ancient Greece from the western US. Okay. But the Persians enslaved everything in their path and forced armies to fight for the glory of the King. That's why they were much more advanced in many ways; they had the navies Egypt, for example, that they could order around to fight for them. The people that stopped the the Persians from annihilating Greece and enslaving them all were led by 10,000 Spartans, otherwise, there wouldn't have been an Athens for Philip to crush...

"Athenian Democracy was crushed 100 years later anyway. "

Because they were not Spartans.

Sparta had no ramparts, walls or other civil defenses. They lived in glorified wooden huts and longhouses, but Phillip II didn't screw with Lacedaemon because it was The Home of the Spartans.

Eric wrote:You are absolutely correct- Ghandi would be crushed by the Persians, just like Leonidas eventually was. ... Taking a figure out of their historical context and placing them in another is a frivolous game.


OH YEAH?! Okay:

QUESTION:
Who would win in a fight between 300 Spartans against 50,000 burners and Ghandi?

ANSWER:
The Burners. Why: FLAMETHROWERS. 8)

(Enjoying your message, by the way.)

Which shows more courage- standing with a gun to face your enemies knowing you probably can kill some; or being the lone man standing in front of a tank in Tienanmen Square, knowing at best you'll be beaten & imprisoned.


I don't remember the name of the guy who stood in front of the tank at Tienanmen Square but we seemed to have sold our souls to a nation with one of the largest records of civil rights violations, intellectual property theft, human rights abuse and environmental disregard in modern history, so, neither am I entirely clear on what he accomplished. The playa will be awash with blinkie lights and batteries made by teenagers in factories none of us here can fathom. China continues to protect North Korea's totalitarian regime. The monk who set himself on fire in Vietnam didn't solve anything either, but I will absolutely not challenge either of these men's courage.

The men of Warsaw were courageous but it didn't save them. What they needed was an atomic fucking bomb. :twisted: Nothing says Keep Your Panzers Off My Lawn like being the most dangerous SOB in the neighborhood. (...other than a sign that says Keep your Panzers Off My Lawn.)

This is all obviously a philosophical exercise, because you and I both know there's no way Gandhi would allow Burners to use flamethrowers against the Spartans. Which brings us to: What would Gandhi think of Burning Man? Are we cherry-picking his wisdom a little, our would you have found him sipping tea at the temple with Jesus and Larry?
Last edited by ZaphodBurner on Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby lemur » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:51 pm

THIS THREAD NEEDS MORE CAPS AND HUGE FONTS........ IN RED
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby Eric » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:57 pm

ZaphodBurner wrote:This is all obviously a philosophical exercise, because you and I both know there's no way Gandhi would allow Burners to use flamethrowers against the Spartans. Which brings us to: What would Gandhi think of Burning Man? Are we cherry-picking his wisdom a little, our would you have found him sipping tea at the temple with Jesus and Larry?


He would probably wonder why we were wasting our time & money playing in the desert when there are hungry people outside our doors, homeless people across the country, rights being taken away...

He would also be finding sparkle ponies to "celibately" sleep next to, to prove his will power...
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby ZaphodBurner » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:04 pm

lemur wrote:THIS THREAD NEEDS MORE CAPS AND HUGE FONTS........ IN RED


What I like about you is that even when you have nothing useful or relevant to say, you don't let it stop you.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby ZaphodBurner » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:54 pm

Eric wrote:He would probably wonder why we were wasting our time & money playing in the desert when there are hungry people outside our doors, homeless people across the country, rights being taken away...

He would also be finding sparkle ponies to "celibately" sleep next to, to prove his will power...


My thoughts exactly. Although I imagine he'd have a circle of tens of thousands of listeners--which radically-includes giggling e-tards. horny, naked swingers and drunken Woo-Hoos peeing on stuff--all of whom would be personally convinced that as soon as the drugs wear off, they're going to go right out there and Change the World!

I had no idea that Gandhi was into playa virgins. Far out! Please nobody dose his tea with ecstacy or he might turn into Michael Jackson.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby Bob » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:44 am

Ppphhhttt. Terrain doesn't favor Leonidas unless he's defending one of the hot springs, but his crew is really no better than an Earth Guardian armed with a radio.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby Box Burner » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:45 am

‘‘Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.’’
— Mahatma Ghandi, "Gandhi, An Autobiography", page 446
Dance in the heart of chaos. . . . .

ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --- Σωκράτης

.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby knowmad » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:18 am

Totally thought this thread was going to be full of Hunky Greek Gods and Balliwood Babes.

-1
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby graidawg » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:18 am

this is an interesting discussion. i for one beleive that nothing works with out the threat of violence, sure gandhi freed india from the british suppression but i think getting 600 million people to come sit on your lawn is a pretty good threat, sure they may not be doing anything now......
the arab spring has shown some great examples of violence and the people that are not getting vioent are getting violence done to them.
pretty much every disagreement throughout history has been solved with violence. the strong will always dominate the weak.

modern society is trying to change that and to a certain degree succeding but its simply changing the nature of violence, threats of monetary punishment replace threats of physical punishment, but they are still threats. we have all seen that without some means of controlling others simply relying on good will does not usually result in a good outcome. Having said that I personally do rely on a good and jovial nature to get a good result and it usually works for me and when it doesnt i simply move on. I have less friends that way but a better quality of friend.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby Simon of the Playa » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:54 am

is it too early to throw hitler in the mix?
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby junglesmacks » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:47 am

Image
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby 48_love » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:40 pm

knowmad wrote:Totally thought this thread was going to be full of Hunky Greek Gods and Balliwood Babes.

-1


page 2 will be here soon enough
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Re: Gandhi Vs. Leonidas

Postby Bin Noddin » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:08 pm

Leonidas makes better chocolates.
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