Homer and the Presocratics Tthroughout time, philosophy and it’s philosophers have evolved and changed. Just like anything else in the world, it started off as Just a mere thought. Philosophy is the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence. Everyone tthroughout history has had a different view on things, though. Homer and the Presocratics weren’t any different. They, like many others, had differences in the way they thought about life and how things came to be, and why.
The poets thought of everything in the sense that there was a God or Goddess for verything, and they were responsible for the things that happened in life. Whether they were good or bad, a God/dess was behind it, and they did it on a whim. Whenever the higher being felt the need to do something, they would do it. Though the Gods did things on impulse, they were still influenced by others, especially by the Hands of Fate. Our class notes state, “Fate is something like the random working of nature which affects everything. It does not matter who it is, or what it is, Fate touches all and influences everything in existence. Another belief is that, “Homer’s work communicates that man is a being of both ind and body. ” (Western Culture Global) Meaning that man has both an inner and outer strength, alone with the fact that he must live up to his true nature. The inner strength simply mearns that man must use his intelligence and the virtue of his mind. Outer strength mearns that they must fight for what they believe in, to achieve the greatness that they are destined to have.
But not only does his worldview’s give light to those around him, it also had error to it. the fatalism and helplessness he expresses ” that a person only succeeds if and when forces largely beyond his control, i. . , the gods, are on his side would become a commonly held sentiment in Ancient Greece and Rome which would ultimately do much cultural harm. ” (Western Culture Global) But even so, Homer’s views were more for entertainment purposes. It began to influence people into learning out to read and write and think. Homer also believed in other things, such as true virtue.
He believed that true virtue was shown through acts performed by the warrior-hero. The virtue was an all- around cultivated person, someone who is ‘brave, noble, sthrong, powerful, wealthy, intelligent, moderate’. The warrior-hero preserved his family’s and his self honor because it was a moral duty. Homer wrote stories of a hero named Odysseus, who made the Gods look weak and feeble. Western Culture Global states that “they have the same foibles as mortal man, and when compared to a Homeric hero such as Odysseus, they are even morally inferior. (Western Culture Global) The result of Homer’s beliefs was the birth of philosophy, science, history, drama, and many others. Along with Homer, there was a man named Hesiod, who was a contemporary of Homer. HIS DelleTs were a lot like Homers. He Dellevea tnat occurrences In nature ere caused by the Gods. Though, he did believe that some of those occurrences were purely random happenings. He also believed in a creation myth, or Theogany. Gaia and Ouranos were created first, Cronos was created secondly, and many of the other Gods followed suite.
Zeus assumed control and power over any of the other Gods. It was said that the Gods could also have children with morals, thus creating demi-gods. Zeus was known to frequently go after human females, and incidentally impregnating them. Hesiod also believes that the highest good was doing your Job well, even if you were something as low as a farmer. But as more and more people begin to start thinking about existence and reality, the Presocratics came along. The Presocratics were before Socrates, and began to think that the world had it’s own ordered system.
They all had one major question. ‘What is the Ultimate force or substance that governs nature. ” Each of the philosophers would then have a different theory of what they believed was the ultimate force that was driving the ordered system. The first real philosopher and scientist was Thales. Thales believed that water was the driving force of nature. He believed that everything in life had a connection to ater, and was influenced by it. “While this belief is incorrect, Thales’s idea was revolutionary because it implied that natural forces are the cause of events, not supernatural ones. (Western Culture Global) Thales essentially became the father of theories, having started making assuptions about things in nature. Not only did Thales give birth to theories, he also predicted the solar eclipse. He proved to everyone that there was a system there, and that things did not Just happen by the whims of the Gods. Pythagoras was a presocratic that offically got the title of “philosopher”. He was ssimilar to Socrates in the way that he never wrote anything down himself. He had such an influence on those that he would teach. Pythagoras believed in the mathematical side of things.
He combined the scientific spirit with the religious mysticism. In our notes it states, “Pythagoras taught that in order for one’s soul to be released from the “wheel of birth,” it is necessary to purify the soul. ” One form of purifying the soul was vegetarianism. Those with a vegetarian diet are also said to be “Pythagorean. ” He also claims that gaining philosophical wisdom is another way to chieve purification. “For the Pythagorearns, there was no divide between the religious life and philosophy. Being pure and virtuous required rational, philosophical investigation. (In-class Notes) There are two types of presocratics. The first group are those that follow monism. Thales and Pythagoras were monists, and believed that in any position, there is only one principle of explanation or something that actually exsists. The second group are the Pluralists. They are those that reject the assumptions of monism. They ask questions along the lines of “How to separate things combine? and “How do things become separate? ” One of the pluralists is Anaxagoras. He believed in ‘spermata’ or the seeds that are elements which make up objects. Everything has its own kind of seed which can be mixed in many different ways with other seeds. ” (In-class Notes) In nature, the smaller seeds are all mixed together, but ssimilar ones group together to create the objects that we see today. This theory later influenced the atomic theory of Democritus. “Anaxagoras maintained that the original state of the cosmos was a mixture of all its ingredients (the basic realities of his system). The ingredients are thoroughly mixed, so that no individual ingredient as such is evident, but the mixture is not entirely uniform or homogeneous. (Curd) Some of these ingredients are of a higher concentration, thus the proportions vary from place the place. His view on the cosmos helped influence another Pluralists by the name of Democritus. “Democritus, known in antiquity as the ‘laughing philosopher’ because of his emphasis on the value of ‘cheerfulness,’ was one of the two founders of ancient atomist theory. ” (Curd) He believed that everything was made of tiny particles that re the foundation and building block of the universe, the smallest units of matter.
The Greek word for indivisible is atom, thus the origination of them name for this tiny particle. He also believed that we live in a Void with an infinite number of tiny balls that vary in shape and size. There is not an absolute up or down, no absolute weight, no natural order. He also described things as ‘chance’. Things happened at random, with no system, no order. The motion of the particles is eternal. Even Democritus’ number one critic praised him for arguing with firm consideration that applied to philosophy.
There are Atomists that believe that being calm and still settles the atoms and brings us a sense of bodily pleasure. The Prudent Hedoist seeks pleasure, but the highest form of pleasure would be from being tranquil and moderate. “Drink and be merry, for tomorrow may never come. ” was a phrase my father used to desribe them. “The reports indicate that Democritus was committed to a kind of enlightened hedonism, in which the good was held to be an internal state of mind rather than something external to it. ” (Curd) The Homeric Poets and Presocratics were not much different from each other.
Sure, they had differences in what they believed to be true, but all of them were starting to think. They were all starting to reach a higher level of thought process that would lead to many great discoveries. Knowledge is the best power, and when we think about new things, ideals, beliefs, we enhance our lives along with other people’s. Homeric Poets believed the Gods had control of the things that happened in nature. The Presocratics believed that other such forces were behind it. Either way you look at it, both knew something had to be the driving force.