The consolation of philosophy

Boethius_imprisoned_Consolation_of_philosophy_1385When we try to understand the problems we are in, we often reflect them in earlier times, and try to understand them in the light of the foregone.

A popular parallel between today and other historical events is Rome. Some see us as a corrupt and falling superpower. A power that has seen better times, and is ripe for conquest and annexation.

In some ways this is right, in other ways this is wrong. It is right in the sense, that we have become corrupted. It happens when you have no enemies. You begin to relax and believe the power you hold will last forever. This is a fallacy, what comes up must come down. As did the Romans, as did the Egyptians, as did the Phoenicians, as did England.

Or what? What is the common fault of all these ancient powers that came and went. First of all, it looses its coherence. In the Phoenician wars, the Roman people were strong and united. There were politicians who put the commonwealth above themselves, and Rome ultimately won by taking the punches, and rallying resources again and again. But after the Phoenicians were conquered, Rome fell apart. The agrarian population of Rome was supplanted with huge estates driven by slaves, hereby removing the basis of the cohorts (the common soldiers of Rome were free peasants). The ruling elite ruled for themselves not the people, and so on. In other words; corruption. In Babylon it was the same, in England the same and so on.

So what is the medication? It is the philosopher, the one shining knight in intellectual armor, that will come and save the nation. At least, this is what Plato prescribed. Then who controls the philosophers? G-d does, that is the simple answer. The population should never listen to philosophers who do not believe in G-d and feels responsible for his connection to G-d in a crisis.

But, if we do listen to the philosopher, we have a chance. It can also be a very good man as Abraham or Moses. It can be any who are serious and courageous.

This is what redemption is all about, and we have come some way. But there is still a long way to go. But we do know the outcome if we do not change our corrupt ways; history tells us. We will be the Romans crying in the prison as the barbarian laughs at our thrones. We will be the persecuted Egyptians, controlled and crying for redemption, we will be the victims.

Someone once said, that if we do not learn from history, we will just repeat it again and again. We have a chance to learn from Rome, Babylon, Athens and all the other foregone world powers, and if we do, we will survive. Egypt once did, and so can we.

G-d bless the will to survive.

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