On silence

Plutarch writes

Before you speak, reflect on the following

  • what is this word that is so eager for utterance
  • to what is this tongue marching
  • what good will come of speaking now or what harm of silence

He proceeds to ask

if words are neither useful to the speaker, nor necessary for the hearer, nor contain any pleasure or charm, why are they spoken?

Plutarch’s morals 

The philosophers tell us that some bodies are composed of distinct parts,as a fleet or army; others of connected parts, as a house or ship; others united and growing together, as every other animal is. the marriage of lovers is like this last class, that of those who marry for dowry or children is like the second class, and that of those who only sleep together is like the first class, who may be said to live in the same house, but in no other sense to live together. but just as doctors tell us that liquids are the only things that thoroughly mix, so in married people there must be a complete union of bodies, wealth, friends and relations. And thus the Roman legislator forbade married people to exchange presents with another, not that they should not go shares with one another,  but that they should consider everything as common property. 

I think that is sound advice. 

quotes

In a day or two I will write a review of The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality. While you wait for that, in referring to a seminal work, Race et Intelligence, he writes, quoting Jacquard

determining intelligence with IQ is as ridiculous as confusing rectal temperature with health. The real problem is to understand why some people pose this question. Their true aim is to justify social inequalities by means of alleged natural inequalities.

Diop,Cheikh Anta. Civilization or Barbarism, pg65

 

 

on gods

In the beginning man created god. No. Diop didn’t write that. But he alludes to it in this passage

Because of the requirements of agricultural life, concepts such as matriarchy and totemism, the most perfect social organization and monotheistic religion were born. These engendered others; thus, circumcision resulted from monotheism; in fact, it was really the notion of a god, Amon, uncreated creator of all that exists, that led to the androgynous concept. Since Amon was not created and since he is the origin of all creation, there was a time when he was alone. To the archaic mentality, he must have contained within himself all the male and female principles necessary for procreation. That is why Aomn, the Negro god par excellence of the “Anglo-Egyptian” Sudan (Nubia) and all the rest of Black Africa, was to appear in Sudanese mythology as androgynous. Belief in this hermaphroditic ontology would produce circumcision and excision in the Black world.

[..]By contrast, the ferocity of nature in the Eurasian steppes, the barrenness of those regions, the overall circumstances of material conditions, were to create instincts necessary for survival in such an environment. Here, Nature left no illusion of kindliness; it was implacable and permitted no negligence; man must obtain his bread by the sweat of his brow. Above all, in the course of a long painful existence, he must learn to rely on himself alone, on his own possibilities. He could not indulge in the luxury of believing in a beneficent God who would shower down abundant means of gaining livelihood; instead he would conjure up deities maleficent and cruel, jealous and spiteful; Zeus, Yahweh, among others.[emphasis mine]

And elsewhere he writes about the human origins, he says

Although scientifically attractive, the hypothesis that man existed everywhere at the same time will remain inadmissible so long as we fail to find fossilized man in America, a continent not submerged during the fourth quaternary when man appeared and on which we have all the climatic zones from the South Pole to the North Pole

On women

It’s a shock that these brilliant minds of the enlightenment period did not see the link between denying women opportunities for leadership and their absence from those posts. Almost all of them argue women are not fit for leadership because there have been no women leaders. I however believe had they lived long enough to see that when given opportunities, women can and have made good leaders.

With that, we can listen to Spinoza

But, perhaps, someone will ask, whether women are under men’s authority by nature or institution? For if it has been by mere institution, then we had no reason compelling us to exclude women from government. But if we consult experience itself, we shall find that the origin of it is in their weakness. For there has never been a case of men and women reigning together, but wherever on the earth men are found, there we see that men rule, and women are ruled, and that on this plan, both sexes live in harmony. But on the other hand, the Amazons, who are reported to have held rule of old, did not suffer men to stop in their country, but reared only their female children, killing the males to whom they gave birth. But if by nature women were equal to men, and were equally distinguished by force of character and ability, in which human power and therefore human right chiefly consist; surely among nations so many and different some would be found, where both sexes rule alike, and others, where men are ruled by women, and so brought up, that they can make less use of their abilities. And since this is nowhere the case, one may assert with perfect propriety, that women have not by nature equal right with men: but that they necessarily give way to men, and that thus it cannot happen, that both sexes should rule alike, much less that men should be ruled by women. But if we further reflect upon human passions, how men, in fact, generally love women merely from the passion of lust, and esteem their cleverness and wisdom in proportion to the excellence of their beauty, and also how very ill-disposed men are to suffer the women they love to show any sort of favour to others, and other facts of this kind, we shall easily see that men and women cannot rule alike without great hurt to peace. But of this enough.

on good and evil

in the state of nature, wrong doing is impossible; or if anyone does wrong, it is to himself, not to another. For no one by law of nature is bound to please another, unless he chooses, nor to hold anything to be good or evil, but what he himself, according to his own temperament, pronounces to be so; and to speak generally, nothing is forbidden by the law of nature, except what is beyond everyone’s power.

[..]men are chiefly guided by appetite, without reason; yet for all this they do not disturb the course of nature, but follow it of necessity. And therefore a man ignorant and weak of mind, is no more bound by natural law to order his life wisely, than a sick man is bound to be sound of body.

Spinoza in his posthumous work, the political treatise

Additional reading:

THAT IN A FREE STATE EVERY MAN MAY THINK WHAT HE LIKES, AND SAY WHAT HE THINKS

On the supremacy of civil law

On this count, I agree with Spinoza again on his conclusion when he writes, regarding what laws should have supremacy

We conclude that the sovereign power, which alone is bound both by divine and natural right to preserve and guard the laws of the state, should have supreme authority for making any laws a bout religion which it thinks fit; all are bound to obey its behests on the subject

The above is so that the likes of Davis cannot fail to do their civic duty by cutting religious reasons for then everyone would cite a religious reason for disobedience to the state. And in such a scenario, only chaos would result.

Elsewhere he writes, and I think agree

No one knows by nature that he owes any obedience to God nor can he attain thereto by any exercise of his reason.

In another place, he writes

It is not only in respect of ignorance that we conceive the state of nature as prior to, and lacking the divine revealed law and right, but in respect of freedom also, wherewith all men are born endowed.

Say what you will, but one must agree that Spinoza was a head of his time and maybe even ahead of some of us in respect to freedom of thought and separation of church and state.