Social Algebra

My Agora’s Serapis post talks about social algebra: I create this post to talk further about it, making related comments as well.

In the movie Hypatia I used an argument of Euclid’s to make a social point: her students and she (and her slaves) had more in common than not: more united them than divided them. The movie’s characters, like real characters thereafter, run the analogy ragged. Running logic ragged is an ancient human activity, and the logic defenders are typically in the majority, have the weapons, have few qualms and no humility.

If A is equal to B and B is equal to C, Euclid says that A is equal to C. Is it? I don’t know. Is Orestes equal to Hypatia? No. Is Davus equal to Synesius? No. And neither is Synesius equal to Davus. Or to Hypatia.

But equating things is what we do. Put a penny in the poor box. Poor box = money for the poor. Did the poor get the penny? Or is some priest driving a Cadillac while the poor are still poor?

I knew a woman launching a business as a foot doctor. She screamed that she had her office, that Jesus had given her the money! Was it really Jesus? How could we tell? Has she paid Jesus back?
How? Does she have a cancelled check? Will Jesus confirm that he gave her the money?
Or are we going to get double talk from Orestes, and Synesius, and Bishop Cyril, and President Obama?

Does Euclid endorse the contorsions made in his name?

When I was in public school the geometry teacher read from a text book. She said that what she was saying were “Euclid’s axioms.” She was speaking English: Ameican English. She was speaking the teacher-speak text-book version of American English. The axioms she taught us were neither Euclidian nor accepted by modern mathematicians according to my seventh grade math teacher. He’d warned us about the text books to come.

My Agora posts refer to Agora’s Bishop Cyril reading 1 Timothy to his congregation, his gangs of hoodlums in the marketplace. Specifically he read what purports to be Saint Paul assigning a back seat to female Christians. Clearly he had philosopher Hypatia in mind: no woman should try to teach any man anything. Then he says that This is the word of God! But of course it isn’t. Neither is it the word of Saint Paul. 1 Timothy is a forgery: pretending to be an epistle by Saint Paul. It’s as if I read a document, said it was written by Abraham Lincoln, and this Lincoln documents said: n-s [Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 03 Offensive terms go dosido in fashion.] is inferior, slaves is slaves: the way things used to be is the way things should be …

gotta go, I’ll be back later


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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