Skip to Content

Pyrrho: The Greek Buddha

by on July 10, 2020

Written by Doug Bates, Founder of the Modern Pyrrhonism Movement and Author of Pyrrho’s Way: The Ancient Greek Version of Buddhism 
Even in antiquity Westerners looked to India for wisdom. The Neoplatonist philosopher Plotinus tried to go there but had to turn back. Some people claim – on scant evidence – that Jesus went there. But there’s only one Westerner from antiquity that we know went to India and brought back something that profoundly influences Western thought to this day. His name was Pyrrho. He was a priest at the Temple of Zeus at Olympia and a philosopher in the tradition of Democritus. Upon his return to Greece, he became the founder of the philosophy of Pyrrhonism.
Pyrrho successfully made the trip because he was a member of Alexander the Great’s court during Alexander’s conquest of everything from Greece to India. Alexander had assigned the philosophers in his court to learn everything they could about the philosophies of his newly conquered lands. Pyrrho spent a year and a half in India doing exactly that.
In the 19th Century, when Buddhist texts were starting to become available in European languages, scholars began noticing uncanny similarities between Pyrrhonism and Buddhism. Nietzsche even called Pyrrho “a Buddha.” Eventually, Christopher Beckwith, a philologist specializing in the ancient languages used on the Silk Road connecting trade between the ancient civilizations of the East and the West, proved that Pyrrho had borrowed key ideas from Buddhism.

Romulus and Remus: Murder and the Foundation of Rome

by on July 8, 2020

Written by Edward Whelan, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
The ancient Romans were so respectful of tradition and ancient practices that they revered the founder of Rome, Romulus, even though he murdered his brother Remus. In fact, the myth of Romulus and Remus was crucial to the construction of Roman identity and important in the development of their values and worldview.
The origin of the myth of Romulus and Remus
There is no single version of the myth about the two brothers. It may have been based on an early wolf cult that, at some point, became the foundation myth of the city of Rome. Archaeologists have found evidence of a shrine to Romulus and Remus in the heart of the ancient city, indicating that they were worshipped at an early date. There were many ceremonies dedicated to the duo, such as the Lupercalia. However, many Romans were uncertain as to the origin of these rituals and festivals. 

Stoicism: A Life In Accordance With Nature

by on July 7, 2020

Written by Van Bryan, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom

“That which exercises reason is more excellent than that which does not exercise reason; there is nothing more excellent than the universe, therefore the universe exercises reason.”

~ Zeno of Citium

Stoicism departs rather dramatically from the previous schools of thought we’ve been covering. With an emphasis on suppressing our desires for materialistic pleasures and promoting the pursuit of virtue for the sake of duty, Stoicism takes a different route to arrive at a good life.

Is Collective Guilt Good?

by on July 6, 2020

The teacher looks over the classroom, a frown conspicuously distorting her face. With knitted brow she passes down the aisles peering at each child suspiciously.
“NO ONE is leaving… until I found out who did it!”
The kids squirm. They furtively glance at the guilty and innocent alike.
“No one owning up, hmmm??? Okay, no recess for anyone!”

The Classical Wisdom of the Founding Fathers

by on July 3, 2020

Written by Alex Barrientos, Senior Editor, Classical Wisdom
The United States of America will turn 244 years old tomorrow.
From a historical perspective, the U.S. is quite a young nation. We’ve come a long way, and have much still to learn.
To those of you not already aware, it may come as no surprise to learn that the Founding Fathers of the U.S. were heavily influenced by the classics. They had a good understanding of ancient history, philosophy, and politics, and utilized that when crafting the founding documents of this country.

Date and Time in Ancient Rome

by on July 1, 2020

Written by Visnja Bojovic, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
Time. It’s an abstract concept, but it frames our life possibly more than anything else. We cannot touch time, we cannot feel it or see it, but we know for sure that, as the years pass, we will have (more) grey hair and a lot more stories to tell as a result of it.
Nowadays when we read articles and blogs about the importance of time, they are mostly related to the significance of time management and living every moment as if it was our last (Memento mori!). Of course, all of this is very important as we should be aware of the preciousness and uniqueness of every moment. However, we should not forget that time is important in a much more practical sense as well.
Imagine spending a day without being able to tell the time. Even just the thought of it gives you a certain amount of discomfort, doesn’t it? We are all completely dependent on a system of time measurement that is precise enough to prevent us from being late for an important meeting, that accurately counts the period between contractions, or that allows us to perfectly boil an egg.