The origins of our present order
the Great Chain of Being was thus undermined by sixteenth century intellectual developments
Puritans, protestants, humanists.
This is where the blank slate doctrine seems to have emerged. I’m looking at an essay now on Erasmus who I’ve mentioned a couple times. For him, behavior rather than birth should determine someone’s worth.
Degree in society should correspond rather to virtue, and virtue, in Erasmus’s experience, seemed all too often to bear an inverse relationship to exalted birth.
Lots of corrupt “nobles” and hereditary kings in his day (1466-1536).
Remember the satirist Lucian who lived between the pagan and Christian worlds? Erasmus was a big fan of his.
He was concerned about a real aristocracy, that’s how he differs from people of today. The aristocrats weren’t true aristos in his eyes. In our time neither birth or behavior determine someone’s worth- they are simply considered “noble” for having been born at all. Unless you were born white of course
You know the MSM doesn’t report on all the shootings that go on in the US, right? On a given weekend 100 people get shot in Chicago for instance. And can you guess the color of the skin of those shooters?
We’re still living in the prot revolution. I don’t “brag about my noble blood”, I only acknowledge that crime and intelligence are statistically observable in varying degrees in different human groups.
With Erasmus it’s another case of “returning to originary being”. He’s considered the first “modern intellectual”. It’s interesting what you find at a given “beginning”. I tried to you that with Greek drama for instance. In this case it’s the radical questioning of the Great Chain of Being. He didn’t want to do away with it, he thought people in high places didn’t deserve to be there. I.e. he still believed in the Great Chain of Being, he just thought it was upside-down in a certain way and had to be turned right-side up.
Do you see the pattern of the types of figures I tend to discuss? Erasmus was challenging the theological-political of his day.
This is similar to how Deleuze yesterday answered the question What is Philosophy?
More, Erasmus and many of the Oxford-London academic community participated in a “sixteenth-century Greek revival in England”
It’s the unknown jester behind so much of the classic humor in the canon
Erasmus is the beginning of questioning the Great Chain of Being. Have we gone wrong since him? Is what we see today what he intended? I don’t think so. We need a new satire to be written in Lucian’s tradition to eviscerate the reign of ignorance and superstition.
I always talk about Socrates VERSUS Aristophanes. It’s possible to fuse the two together. That doesn’t exist in our so-called “funniest movies of all time”.
This is on Voltaire’s Conversation referenced above
This Erasmus is your precursor if you’re an egalitarian. He wasn’t like the ones of today. They’re the ones who do the burning, and it’s not to put the Great Chain of Being in right order, it’s to abolish it altogether, or more precisely to deliberately turn it upside-down. This is a crucial distinction. Maybe you should learn from your “ancestor”.
Humor is reanimated in different epochs. Its true meaning is forgotten through custom and ossification.
Do you think I’m funny? I never try to be, I’m a theorist. Okay, I was trying to be funny yesterday with those Game of Thrones gifs.
I try to show people with the real jester nature obscure resources, because I want a 21st century Molière to emerge and put our order to hilarious ruin. This is what “egalitarianism” used to be about, lampooning the powers that be.