Archive for the ‘greeks’ Tag

05/09/2023 “SUPERSTITIONS”   Leave a comment

We humans are a superstitious lot. We love things that make us shiver and if we run out of those kinds of things, someone steps forward to think up some new ones. I guess we need a certain level of that superstitious nonsense to make our lives a little more interesting and give us something to chitchat about with our friends. I’m all for bizarre and crazy superstitions but I decided to do a little research to try and determine where they actually originated. I’ve had a little success and I’ll pass that information along to you now.

FOUR LEAF CLOVERS

A lot of things from the ancient world are laid at the feet of the Druids. They seem to be a catchall for anything that no one can identify or explain. Well, it appears that the four-leaf clover superstition actually did originate with the Druids. During many of their rituals several times a year they gathered at Oak tree groves to settle disputes and make other sacrifices. They ended these gatherings by looking for four leaf clovers because they believe it helped the owner to perceive evil spirits and witches so they could avoid them. Sounds good to me but I.ve found a number of them over the years and I have yet to see any evil spirits or witches. All I ever saw were bitches not witches. I guess I’m no Druid.

KNOCKING ON WOOD

Some claim that this superstition came from a religious source during the Middle Ages. I assume it was because Christ was crucified on a wooden cross, but it certainly didn’t bring him much luck. Both Native Americans and the ancient Greeks developed the belief independently that oak trees were the domain of important gods. By knocking on wood, they were communicating with the gods to ask for forgiveness. The Greeks passed the tradition along to the Romans and it became part of European lore. The religious types adopted it for their own use as they are apt to do even now.

Even celebrities, my readers favorite topic, believe in superstitions.

  • First on my list is John Madden former coach of the Oakland Raiders football team. He wouldn’t let the team leave the locker room until running back Mark Van Egan had belched. I’d love to hear the backstory on how that developed.
  • Tennis player Jimmy Connors wouldn’t compete in a tennis match without a little note from his grandmother tucked into his sock.
  • Former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan always wore the shorts from his college basketball uniform under his professional uniform. “As long as I have these shorts on… I feel confident,” he said.
  • Tennis player John McEnroe thinks it’s bad luck to play a match on Thursday the 12th. He is also careful to avoid stepping on the white lines of the tennis court. Strange but true.

😬😬😬

The only superstition in my family was that if we kids made a great deal of noise and commotion, there would be hell to pay. Especially if the head god (my father) happened to be napping. There would be no luck but bad luck then.

WATCH YOUR STEP

05/28/2022 “Lefties”   Leave a comment

Are you left-handed? I’ve been reading up on left-handedness and right-handedness after watching my two grandsons play in a Little League baseball game. I began wondering why we become one or the other. I was apparently born left-handed, but my father changed all that. When I was about 11 years old, he decided that in order for him to have a lifelong golfing partner he had to teach me how to play golf. Unfortunately, we weren’t a wealthy family, and I was taught to golf using right-handed clubs. After a time, I made the adjustment and moved on with my life. Later in my Little League years I was a pitcher. In one game I actually pitched half of the game right-handed and the second half left-handed. I’ve been ambidextrous ever since.

I decided to look a little further into the history of left-handedness and here’s the result . . .

  • In ancient Egypt artwork and hieroglyphics, it appears that most Egyptians were right-handed. They portrayed their enemies as left-handed, which can be seen as derogatory.
  • The ancient Greeks never crossed their left leg over their right, because they believed a person’s sex was determined by their position in the womb with the female, or “lesser sex”, sitting on the left side of the womb.
  • The Romans also had a bias against left-handedness. Roman customs required that when entering a friend’s home, it should be done placing the right foot forward. Also, Romans should always turn their head to the right when sneezing. The Latin word for left was sinister (meaning evil or ominous), the word for right was dexter (meaning skillful or adroit). Even the word ambidextrous literally means “right-handed with both hands”.
  • The Anglo-Saxon root for left is lyft, which means “weak”, “broken,” or “worthless”. Riht is for right and means “straight”, “just”, or “erect”.
  • The Bible is totally biased in favor of right-handed people. Both the Old and New Testaments always refer to “the right hand of God”. There is also a distinction made even in religious art. Jesus and God are nearly always drawn giving blessings with their right hand, and the devil is usually portrayed doing evil with his left.

I feel a bit slighted by all of those old-time religious fanatics and the Bible as well. It seems to me that the Greeks, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and damn near anyone else had been brainwashed with the idea that left-handedness is evil. Even the Muslims require that you only eat food with the right hand. Just one more reason for me to take anything said by any organized religion as utter and complete nonsense.

LEFTIES ARISE AND PROCLAIM YOUR LEFTINESS TO THE WORLD

12/07/2021 Lucky Number?   Leave a comment

Over the years I’ve voiced my opinions concerning people obsessed with the supernatural and occult. Unfortunately, I haven’t always been kind in my criticisms and opinions about them. I’ve never been a believer of these superstitions like black cats walking in front of me or walking under a ladder. I always thought them silly, without basis in fact, just superstitious nonsense passed down from generations who apparently didn’t have a clue either. I hate to admit it, but I may have to eat my words.

While I totally scoff at almost everything superstitious, I discovered quite by accident that I’ve been paying closer attention to one superstition over the years and didn’t realize it. My obsession is and has been the number three. For most of my life I considered that my lucky number and if something occurred where I had to make choices and the number three was involved, I always picked number three. I don’t know why, it wasn’t planned, and I really didn’t realize the extent of the human races’ obsession with that number until now. So, I decided to do a little more research which opened my eyes even further. Here’s my homage to the number 3.

THE GENIE GAVE ME THREE WISHES

Three is the average number of seconds visitors to an Art gallery spent in front of each painting. Triceratops means three horned faces. Three goals are a hat trick. A triathlon is a three-part swim, run, and cycle competition. Any national flag made of three bands of color is a tricolor. The Three Musketeers in the novel by Alexander Dumas’s are Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Dante’s Divine Comedy is structured around the number three, alluding to the holy Trinity. That book has three parts; Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso – each divided into 33 cantos in terza rima (three-line stanzas).

In Greek mythology, the three Fates control birth, life, and death; the three Furies upheld sacred laws; and the three Graces bestowed beauty and charm. The ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans all had Trinity’s of God’s. Jupiter’s symbol is a three-forked bolt of lightning, Neptune’s a three-pronged trident, and Pluto’s, a three headed dog. Hindus worship the trinity of Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Perseverer; and Shiva, the Destroyer.

In Christianity, Christ represents one third of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost); he was visited by three wiseman at his birth; 33 years later, after Judas betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver and Peter denied him three times, he was crucified at 3 PM and rose from the dead three days later.

Time is threefold: past, present, and future. Pythagoras called three the perfect number, denoting beginning, middle, and end. The strongest shape is a triangle. The three states of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. Earth is the third planet from the sun. White light is made from three primary colors: red, blue, and green. The three primary colors of pigment are red, yellow, and blue, whose totality is black.

I suspect that all of the number three’s I listed above are only a small sampling of the use of the number three. Over the course of my existence, I’ve been subconsciously pelted with the number three in virtually every phase of my life. How could I not have three as my favorite number? Brainwashing at its absolute best.

REMEMBER THOSE “THREE LITTLE WORDS” TOO!

04-15-2018 The Frightening Human Virus   Leave a comment

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The human race in my opinion is seriously flawed. There’s all sorts of speculation from the scientific community these days concerning the coming “Singularity”. They say that’s the point in time when the machines will be more intelligent than mankind and will assume control of things. I actually read one recent statement that machine intelligence could be the next logical evolutionary step for the human race. I honestly have no answer to that kind of thinking but who knows. There are times when I think machines would probably do a much better job than we’ve done so far. Everything humans get involved with starts with strong emotions which and slowly devolves into ethnic and religious biases and conflicts. Nothing gets accomplished and the arguing and fighting eventually result in some sort of armed conflict and endless killing.

I’m sick to death hearing about religions spewing their self-serving propaganda to any fool who’ll listen. I don’t hate or even dislike people who are true believers in their religion of choice but I also need to make clear that I have no love whatsoever for any current organized religions or sects. That being said I intend to pass along a few tidbits of information supplied to me by a trusted friend. He’s a diligent researcher and most of what he’s offering is factual. A few of you religious fanatics out there will insist on refuting everything I’ve written but I honestly could care less. As we all know opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and this one is mine.

I’ve made a point over the years to read everything I could find on as many religions as possible. I had the pleasure of reading translations of the Torah, the Koran, Old and New Testaments of the Bible, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, and many associated writings of the Greeks and Coptics. What it all has amounted to for me is a forty year migraine headache. The only thing worse that reading religious propaganda is trying to rationally discuss religion with allegedly intelligent religious people. These are the people who are similar to the People’s Temple Kool-Aid drinkers that followed the Reverend Jim Jones to their death in Guyana in 1978. They hear only what they want to hear and immediately attack anyone who disagrees in the slightest. They loudly disagree only to interrupt any discussion they might bring into question their own belief system.

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Here is the information as I received it.

* * *

The following paragraphs are just rough estimates of all of the fine works accredited to RELIGION. Read them and weep for mankind.

German Peasants’ War – A series of peasant revolts during the height of the Protestant Reformation, spurred on by a mix of economic and religious causes. 100k deaths for Christianity.

Moro Insurgency – Islamic rebels in the Philippines have a long, bloody history of resistance against colonial and Philippine governments alike. 120k deaths for Islam.

Northern Crusades – Crusades to root out the Baltic pagans. Couldn’t find any good casualty estimates, but 150k deaths for Christianity seems reasonable.

Algerian Civil War – More Islamist rebels. 200k deaths for Islam.

Lord’s Resistance Army – Christian militants in Central Africa. Remember Kony 2012? 200k deaths for Christianity.

Albigensian Crusade – France leads a crusade to root Cathar heretics out of the Languedoc. Estimates vary wildly from 7k to 1mil, but let’s just say 200k deaths for Christianity.

Great Turkish War – A “Holy League” of Christian states rolls back the Ottoman Empire’s conquests in Eastern Europe. 300k deaths for Christianity.

Afghan Civil Wars – A variety of Islamists, including Al Qaeda, vie for control over Afghanistan. 400k deaths for Islam.

Rashidun Conquests – The Islamic Caliphate conquered its way from being a desert backwater to the world’s most powerful state in an incredibly short period of time. I can’t find anything resembling an estimate for the casualties involved, so I’m going to completely BS this one: 500k deaths for Islam. Trust me, it won’t affect the winner.

Ottoman Conquests – Mehmed II leads the Ottomans on a merry path of conquest over Eastern Europe. 800k deaths for Islam.

The Crusades – All of Christendom spends a few centuries banging it’s head against a Holy Land-shaped wall. 1mil deaths for Christianity.

So far, Christianity’s crusading habit is definitely a big source of casualties, but those pesky Muslim militants have pushed Islam into the lead. The score is neck and neck at 1,950,000 deaths for Christianity and 2,120,000 deaths for Islam.

But three wars that most people have never heard of completely blow this competition out of the water.

French Wars of Religion – The French Protestants and Catholics spend 36 years massacring each other silly. 3mil deaths for Christianity.

Thirty Years’ War – Protestant and Catholic princes duke it out for control of the Holy Roman Empire (modern Germany). War is waged between mercenary companies that loot the countryside to support themselves. One third of Germany dies. 10mil deaths for Christianity.

So that’s 15 million deaths for Christianity and a mere 2 million for Islam.

But in the year of our lord 1850, a new challenger blows them both out of the water.

Taiping Rebellion – Hong Xiuquan was born into a poor family in southern China. In 1837, he fails the imperial civil service examinations– his only hope of getting ahead in life– and has a nervous breakdown. Long story short, he reads some pamphlets from Portuguese missionaries, gets some freaky visions, decide’s he’s Jesus’s younger brother, rounds up some followers (known as the God Worshippers), and launches a rebellion against the Qing Dynasty that results in the deaths of over 20 million people.

It’s entirely possible that Christianity has made up the 5 million death gap with smaller wars and general low-intensity persecution over time, but without any good statistics on that, I’m going to say the most bloody religion of all time is the God Worshippers, a religion that existed for less than 30 years.

EDIT: Meir Lipnick points out a glaring oversight– Timur used Islam to justify his conquests, adding 17 million to Islam’s score. I’m sure there are plenty other wars I’ve missed.

* * *

This deadly human virus arrived on this world in an unknown fashion and as any good virus will do . . . it slowly began to methodically destroy it’s host.

Let’s hope the machines do a better job.

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