European culture for harmonious civilization
Law of Harmony
The ninth monad of Pythagorians is the law of Harmony. The law of harmony ensures the balance between the worlds, the formal existences as well as the intellectual existences and it places limits in the event of freedom of action of these, in order that with the event of law of their freedom, is not caused restriction of freedom of other.
In the intellectual level the law of harmony is expressed as law of Justice.The definition of Justice: Justice is the judicature of Right or else the conformity to legal, the observance of laws, the directness, the impartiality.
(Article by Dr Stylianos Takas - magazine"Secret harmony Greece" June 2007 pg 19)
With Love peace and harmony
student of this life
The Light of Harmony in Western Civilization
Although often not visible in the fog of war and violence, the law of harmony, of equilibrium, of the golden mean is the major theme of Western civilization. Harmony is planted deeply in the psyche of Europe . We will look in short essays at the way in which the torch of harmony has been passed on from hand to hand, from country to country. We will look at the light of harmony as it shines through myths, through literature, through political writings, and through the creation of institutions.
The manifestation of harmony is the aim of the hero in the trials of initiation. Initiatic trials reveal, in a dramatic form, the way in which the spirit transcends a fragmented world in order to discover the fundamental unity of life.
Toward the Light
In the “Cave Allegory” of Plato’s The Republic, we learn of the strange prisoners living in an underground den who apprehended truth to be nothing but the shadows of the images that the fire casts on the walls of the cave. Plato explains that if the prisoners were to be freed from the darkened cave, initially they would continue to see the shadows. Next, they would develop the ability to see themselves and objects as reflected in the water; later they would be able to decipher the objects themselves. As these prisoners became accustomed to their growing sense of light, they would be able to gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars. Lastly, they could behold the light of the sun by day.
The allegory is probably based on some of the Orphic initiations practiced by Pythagorean communities which had been created some 50 years before Plato wrote The Republic and had their center at Tarentum, a Greek colony in what is now southern Italy . Disciples spent time in a cave or a dark place in order to meditate and to learn the deeper significance of ideas that they were being taught in more conventional settings. At the end of the period of instruction and meditation in the cave, the students would all return to the bright sunlight outside, a ritual symbolic of the light of new knowledge integrated into the full consciousness of the person.
There is for everyone coming from a dark place into bright sunlight a period during which the eyes need to adjust, when for a few moments there is a need to gain balance and to see objects as they are. There is a need to find a new harmony between the darkness and the light.
Plato is using this symbolism in his major teaching on the nature of the good state and on the nature of justice. He stresses the relationship between the nature and degree of enlightenment of the individual and the nature and enlightenment of the government.
Plato was writing at a time of political unrest and change. All of Plato’s childhood and youth were spent in the shadow of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta . The war was a clash between business interests for commercial supremacy, and it was reflected by a struggle between the rich and the poor within each state. However the conflicts for the sake of getting money were masked by an ideological coloring where one side professed to be upholding the constitutional equality of the many, the other the wisdom of an aristocracy.
Plato believed that only reason could bring an end to violence and division. Yet reason had to be embodied in people who had learned to think through a long process of study. Thus he created a school to train future political leaders. The school owed its name to the grove of a hero Academus in the garden where the school was built — giving us the term “academy” for an institution of learning. The school was presided over by the Muses and their leader Apollo, symbolized by the sun. It was for the students in the Academy that Plato wrote his most famous dialogues such as The Symposium and The Republic.
Plato thought of his students as future rules of the state. Thus they had to be guided by reason. This required the transformation of the lower instincts into the higher qualities. Such transformation involves the elimination of the undesirable qualities which hinder the light. Yet if this opening to the light is done without balance, a condition of blindness and lack of equilibrium will follow.
Therefore, there needs to be an equilibrium between light and dark, between matter and spirit, between mind and body. As a poet has written
“ to seize the absolute in shapes that pass,
to fix the eternal’s touch in time-made things,
this is the law of perfection here.”
Representative to the United Nations, Geneva , of the Association of World Citizens.
This is the first of what I thought of a short essays on harmony in Europe. I know that I do not like to read too long texts on the screen and I think that is the case of many people. The drawing and the first two paragraphs would be used each time as it symbolizes what is to follow, then as this time, there would be a short title and my name, identification at the end.
What is Harmony?
Is it possible to bring the world into Harmony?
By Michael Holmboe
Many philosophers, aesthetes and Utopians of Enlightenment e.g. Schiller, Goethe, and also Kant owned the thought of art as one that could further a man ideas on reality, direct him from the chaotic and inharmonious world into harmony and shift him closer to the ideal to be reached. The ancient Chinese mythology has had an imagination about the primitive state of the world in chaos and the two contradictory rulers of that chaos: The heavenly Jang, and earthly Jin. Both of them, Jang and Jin, created in the midst of the chaos and heaven, from their lighter elements and earth from the heavier particles.
In Greek mythology, Harmonia is the immortal goddess of harmony and concord, also called Hermione. Her Roman counterpart is Concordia, the goddess of agreement, understanding, and marital harmony. Harmonia is rationalized as closely allied to Aphrodite Pandemos, the love that unites all people.
The world of today is in disharmony. The world is led to chaos, which in Greek mythology is named Eris. The most famous tale of Eris ('Strife') recounts her initiating the Trojan War. Ancient Greeks thought the Trojan War to be a historical event. They believed that it took place in the 13 or 12th century BC, and that Troy was located in the vicinity of the Dardanelles, which is in modern day Turkey. By modern times both the war and the city were widely believed to be non-historical. In 1870, however, the German archaeologist and treasure hunter Heinrich Schliemann, excavated a site in this area which he believed to be the site of Troy, and at least some archaeologists agree.
I do not need to be a treasure hunter, nor do I have to be an archaeologist to understand that too many children of the world is suffering from disharmony, or Eris if one prefer too call the chaos. The world has no right to call itself civilized in a harmonic meaning, when innocent children are victims of war and hatred, victims of slave labor, victims of discrimination and victims of indifference.
Right enough: Children's welfare has long been a matter of international concern. Both the League of Nations in 1924 and the United Nations in 1959 endorsed standards for children's rights. Children also were included under general guidelines for protecting human rights, especially during war. The first step toward helping the world's children who are suffering in war is learning more about their plight; though most countries ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is only the first step.
Less than a second
Children playing in a field or collecting firewood come upon small but insidious scraps of a recent or long-past war. With a click and less than a blink of the eye, then a blast, and their lives are lost—or if they're lucky, just one or two limbs. Some 110 million land mines threaten children in more than 70 nations with this very scenario.
Mines are cheap to use, yet they do the work of snipers without needing orders or compensation. Some 26,000 civilians are killed or injured every year, about half women and children. Add this to the estimated 1 million people who have been hurt or killed by land mines since 1975, and it's clear that these weapons are both a current and future threat. Land mines continue wars' terrors even after peace accords have been signed, catching children playing in fields, collecting firewood, or just walking down a road.
Women in every society are vulnerable to abuse. But the threat is more severe for girls and women who live in societies where women's rights mean practically nothing. Mothers who lack their own rights have little protection to offer their daughters, much less themselves, from male relatives and other authority figures.
Some families decide it's more lucrative to send their daughters to a nearby town or city to get jobs that usually involve hard labor and little pay. That desperate need for income leaves girls easy prey to sex traffickers, particularly in Southeast Asia, where international tourism gorges the illegal industry.
The frequency of rape and violent attacks against children in the developing world is alarming. Forty-five percent of Ethiopian women say that they have been assaulted in their lifetimes. In 1998, 48 percent of Palestinian women admitted to being abused by an intimate partner within the past year.
Education is the tool that can help break the pattern of gender discrimination and bring lasting change for women in developing countries.
War and violence will traumatize any child, no matter of national, ethnic background, religious or non-religious background. Horrors of war will traumatize any child. And this will bring the world into an endless circle of traumatized human beings. Children should not be shot down like animals. In a «civilized» world, children should not be abused. Any child of this world should have the right to be brought up in freedom and harmony, and not be neglected.
Three Scandinavian authors
Alf Pröysen (1914-1970), was a Norwegian writer and musician, considered as one of the most important Norwegian cultural personalities in the second half of the twentieth century. His childhood was typical for those of the “husmann” class, the landless lower class of rural Norway. This reflects in his songs and short stories, painting realistic, satirical and harsh pictures of class relations and life in rural Norway.
Though an underdog and outsider, Pröysen made outstanding contributions in many artistic fields: children's radio, short stories, theatre, and singer-songwriter. For most Norwegians, Alf Pröysen is synonymous with the carefree world of childhood bliss. Leaving an invaluable musical and literary imprint on Norwegian heritage; there are few Norwegians who do not know a Pröysen song by heart. Japanese world-music group Moto has adapted Alf Pröysen legacy to modern Japan.
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was another famous Scandinavian author and poet, most famous for his fairy tales. Andersen's father apparently believed that he might be related to nobility, and according to scholars that his paternal grandmother told him that the family had once been in a higher social class.
However, investigation proves these stories unfounded. The family apparently did have some connections to Danish royalty, but these were work-related. Nevertheless, the theory that Andersen was the illegitimate son of royalty persists in Denmark, bolstered by the fact that the Danish King took a personal interest in Andersen as a youth and paid for his education.
In the English-speaking world, the stories The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Princess and the Pea are cultural universals; everyone knows them, though few can name the author. They have become part of our common heritage, and, like the tales of Charles are no longer distinguished from actual folk-tales such as those of the Brothers Grimm. Andersen himself was highly inspired by the Arabian Nights.
A third noted Scandinavian personality, is the Swedish children book author Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002) whose many titles were translated into 85 languages and published in more than 100 countries..
Astrid Lindgren was well known both for her support for children's and animal rights, and for her opposition to corporal punishment. In 1993, she received The Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize), "...For her commitment to justice, non-violence and understanding of minorities as well as her love and caring for nature." In 1958 she became the second recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, sometimes known as the Little Nobel Prize, an international award for youth literature.
Toward Magna Carta of Harmony
There are good forces trying to bring this planet into Harmony. But there is still a long road from chaos to harmony - which is unless the world like children to be blown up by landmines, or the population of the world would like children to be abused in sex industry or as slave labors - never will be reached.
I would like to know how many head of states who wishes children to be brought up in chaos? At the same time I would like to know how many religious leader who whish children to be brought up in fear, and to be traumatized by wars.
There are many good and noble people in the world, man and women of integrity who have made footsteps in order to make paths. Often we do not see the good people. This might be a cleaner in a university whose name and face is unknown to most of the academic staff. But this very person could spark new ideas. Maybe we need to start to think in a new way?
Of those more known, I can briefly mention Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Martin Luther King jr. Franz of Assisi or Mahatma Gandhi. A person of integrity can make a difference and turn the world in to a more harmonious place to stay. Alfred Nobel, Andrew W. Mellon and Andrew Carnegie belonged to a remarkable generation of philanthropist.
In today society many people do not even know the meaning of “Philanthropy”, and how important such individuals are for the well-being or quality of life of a population is an important concern in economics and political science. Younger people have heard about the high-profile rock star Bono. However, very few know his campaign to alleviate Third World debt to developed nations.
Philanthropy is not always viewed as a universal good. Notable thinkers such as Frederic Nietzsche opposed philanthropy on philosophical grounds, and connecting it with the idea of the weak sponging off the strong. This is a view sometimes endorsed by those who oppose government welfare programs. on the other hand, social activists frequently criticize philanthropic contributions because of different business activities.
But then we should not forget that many non-wealthy persons have dedicated – thus, donated – substantial portions of their time, effort and wealth to charitable causes. These people are not typically described as philanthropists because individual effort alone is seldom recognized as instigating significant change. These people are thought of as charitable workers but some people wish to recognize these people as philanthropists in honor of their efforts of bringing the world in harmony.
Harmony opens itself for many different participating subjects. As am Andrew W. Mellon professor in the humanities at Boston University, author and Nobel Peace laureate, Elie Wiesel claims that “Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies”. And I agree upon that. I also agree when Wiesel, also a survivor and traumatized victim of war, writes:
“Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views that place – at that moment – become the center of the universe. “
However, I would like to add the importance and need for the Magna Carta for the whole humanity to gain harmony in The Global Village:
Above all remember your humanity and The Law of laws - eternal Harmony. There is no survival for humanity without peace from harmony.
On May 20, 2007
© Website author: Leo Semashko, 2005; © designed by Roman Snitko, 2005