Of ancient philosophers

You have heard the saying or if not, read, that the best thing in life is “not to have been born and the second best is to exist sooner”. Epicurus is one of his discourses asks why didn’t the author of such utterance take his life sooner? He should therefore not be taken seriously. I don’t know what then would be said of the antinatalist movement.

Elsewhere he says one would rather believe in the old myths instead of the determinism of the physicists.

Diogenes the dog threw away his goblet because he saw a young man drink water without one and he would not accept to be outdone in simplicity.

Plato was a book burner. Destroyed the works of Democritus. In fact, I think there is no mention of him anywhere in the many works of Plato and if it is, then negatively only.

The lives and opinions of ancient philosophers by Diogenes Laertius makes for very interesting reading.

Have a reflective weekend everyone.

Some forgotten sayings of Socrates

The second year of this pandemic is coming to an end and if you are reading this, you are still alive having avoided death by the pandemic, death by the police and if you are a Kenyan death by a myriad of things from flash floods to hunger depending on where you live or how well you pray to the different gods. But before we get to the business of this post, I take this great opportunity to wish you all a happy and cheerful holiday season. Stay alive!

Leisure is the most valuable of possessions

There is only one good, knowledge; and one only evil, ignorance.

Riches and high birth have nothing estimable in them, on the contrary, they are wholly evil.

On why he was learning to play the lyre, he said, it was not absurd to learn anything that one did not know.

Those who bought things out of season at an extravagant price did not expect to live till the proper season for them.

What was the virtue of a young man? ‘To avoid excess in everything.’

Should one marry or not? Whichever you do, you will repent it, was his advice.

Young man, keep constantly looking at the mirror, for if you are handsome, you might worthy of the beauty, and if ugly, you might conceal the unsightly appearance by their accomplishments.

against religious indoctrination in schools

Today is Mashujaa (Heroes) Day here at home. For those who do not know, this is the day, many years ago that the Colonial administration declared state of emergency in Kenya and began the arrests of those who claimed to be Mau Mau leaders and their sympathizers, The arrests began on the night of 19th October and proceeded for many days followed by trials of the leaders and the eventual jailing of some in Kapenguria and a draft of other measures. But that is not what this post is about.

In our primary and secondary schools, there is a subject on religious education indoctrination offered depending on your religious persuasion and the schools sponsor. So for example, schools that are sponsored by Muslims would offer Islamic religious education. But it is not education what they do. It should rightly be called indoctrination. It is taught as if those things in the Koran or the bible are really fact. In essence it is to make religious believers out of young impressionable minds.

And they are most often a captive audience with little opportunity for rebel. They can’t opt out without consequence. If you are unlucky and ended up in a school run by the catholics, they will try and make a catholic out of you, Mass is mandatory regardless of whether you are muslim or a believer in voo doo. It just doesn’t matter.

I argue here that it is not the role of educational institutions to indoctrinate our children. Whether children want to or not attend church cannot be made mandatory by school administration. Religious indoctrination does not prepare these young ones to be critical thinkers or good citizens. It only prepares them for church work or sheep. Mostly sheep. And this should be a private affair. If your parents are sheep, that is theirs, but children as impressionable as 4 year olds should only be taught that which can be known.

Schools should teach them social skills. Arithmetic. Science to the level of their understanding while all the time encouraging curiosity and critical thinking. If any philosophy is to be taught in schools, it should start at a level where they can now begin to process abstract concepts but only as preparation for being good citizens.

If you are of a different opinion, I would like to hear it.

we have had this discussion before

But it is one of those I like having. Maybe I am predisposed to like indefiniteness. Or maybe because most if not our knowledge is provisional and open to revision when our ways of gathering data improves or when a challenge is mounted on current knowledge that shows our understanding of a given topic has been wrong or misguided.

It could also be possible that whilst some questions have been settled, there is reluctance to accept the answers. And this reluctance could be sustained by the fact many believe the old answers without reflection or are afraid that accepting the new answers would turn their worlds topsy turvy. For example, it is settled that asses never spoke nor snakes walking upright or men fish eating men and surviving whole for 3 days under water or that some man was born without a father and then committed deicide. These are just a few of the old answers that we cannot accept as true knowledge.

Tell me what you think.

What sort of evidence are you looking for?

Is a question many atheists have been asked in one form or another. Many have given varied answers to the question and my contribution, though not new, is to say evidence that would be accepted by any reasonable person/observer.

But who is a reasonable observer/person?


Abstract philosophy and exercise is only suited for that person who is well fed and housed. The practical man or woman has use for philosophy to the extent to which it is relevant to their lives and until professional philosophers address issues of practical men and women, their works will remain in university bookshelves read only by other professional philosophers.

Science and philosophy

Philosophers should be scientists and scientists philosophers. The current rigid separation of science from philosophy is dangerous, for it encourages acquiescence in partial knowledge, leaving the ultimate and all embracing concern with truth only to faith and ideological and racist obscurantism. The separation denies scientists human wisdom and philosophers the sober knowledge of nature. Science without philosophy is wrongly authoritative, while philosophy without science is seriously limited.

Odera Oruka

Monday highlights

I was crawling on the internet and came across some very interesting articles for Monday.

Is gender a social construct?

What is the future of religion?

Who knew

For one thing, many atheists are ignorant of the religion they criticize. They think about religion a lot, especially Christianity, but most of what they think they know about it is wrong. I realize that there are plenty of thoughtful atheists who harbor no ill will against believers and respect their beliefs. The trouble was I kept running into the other kind.

and when did argumentum populum become a valid argument? And just in case you don’t know it yet, there will be no atheists in 2050. The world will have become peaceful and prosperous.

And finally something on the enlightenment