Cathédrale Marie-Reine du Monde. Montreal. Click for credits
Cathédrale Marie-Reine du Monde. Montreal. Click for credits

This conversation between Paul Costopoulos, a Canadian of French and Greek descent, and Man of Roma, started from the noble death of the Stoicists and landed on many themes such as religion, the Old and the New World and change and continuity in history.

Paul
As for Antiquity as much respect as I may have for that era and it’s people I pretend that the mores then current are not relevant today.

MoR
Well, I don’t know Paul. Here in Europe religion is waning, people are trying to understand what their values are and sometimes do embrace weird beliefs (have you ever heard of the Temples of Damanhur in northern Italy?)

Personally, I prefer to get back to our Greco-Roman roots, which is not a barren exercise, ancient thought being totally incorporated in modern thought. As for Stoicism, human equality and brotherhood or natural law are elements of its legacy. And I wish I had a better knowledge to tell you how much of the American constitution is ‘ancient’.

Even in my curious for-fun exploration of science I recently discovered this connection between Pythagoras and the modern theories of the universe. We can ‘make sense’ of the universe, stated both Pythagoras and Einstein. Is there an affinity between our rationality (math etc.) and the universe? Fascinating theme.

I mean, WE are the ancients Paul …

The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy (M104). Click for credits
The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy (M104). Click for credits

Paul
I was steeped in classicism and Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy. A potent mix. However over the years I have taken leave of organized religions but not of the values I got from that environment. As many seem to have done, I have not thrown the baby with the bath water. This being said I have not reversed to Paganism.

As for the Stoicists, I respect their opinions like I respect other point of views but suicide is not my cup of tea to solve any problems whether of honor or health or a way to escape execution…let the tyrant kill me, I will not give him the pleasure of doing it for him.

As for being “Ancient” that notion is intriguing. I guess some of the values I still adhere to may make me Ancient, but I also feel modern and with my time. I’m sure you do too, otherwise what would we be doing here.

MoR
I feel modern too and I also feel that we basically agree. Although I think there are at least 2 differences between us:

1) I am agnostic, I don’t much imagine somebody superior up there (although how can I know) and I think that if this Being exists there’s no evidence that He really cares for us;

2) belonging to the 2 opposite sides of the pond we might have a different perception of what is change & continuity in history.

As for point 1) I confess I feel some void since I used to sincerely pray Jesus and my guardian angel before going to sleep until I was 12. Then I stopped. I attribute to this imprinting – not to Jesus’ power – the fact that when I go to bed I often need to read valuable books, and I found that classics, poetry etc. work fine for me, they give me peace and help me counter today’s superficiality.

Am I a neo-pagan? No Paul, I am not. Art and thought suffice. I am well aware I’m not such a great intellectual, but my approach suits me. I’m content with it.

[As for point 2 see the next post]

Paul
We are not so different. Yes, I believe in a God … but I cannot be sure there is one, this is called faith.
As for continuity well on this side of the pond, as you say, we keep on speaking European languages, we learn European history since our roots are out there. Even our monuments are, very often European inspired, for instance the Catholic cathedral in Montreal, Marie-Reine-du Monde, is St-Peter Basilica redux even to Bernini’s torsados over the Altar [see the image at the top of the page, MoR.]
We may look at diversity and development with less apprehension than Europeans though and we question the past maybe more easily, it is less heavy on us, what is 600 years compared to Rome’s over 3000? We cannot say as Serbia’s foreign minister during the most recent Balkan’s war: “My country has too much History!”

(The conversation continues within this post and its comments section.)

10 thoughts on “Change and Continuity in History. 1

  1. So much to absorb, and respond to. That I will do, later, when all is settled here this evening. Thank you for forcing me to dust out the innermost corners of my mind 😉

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  2. Isn’t being agnostic a bit like being bi-sexual? Sure, it increases your chances of getting “lucky” but eventually you will have to commit one way or the other.

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    1. Yes, a sort of ambiguity, you’re darn right, but the topic is a tough one. I / we have discussed /explained positions *here* and especially *here*. Just comments to comments, hope they can help to clarify.

      In any case since then my research on mystery religions is changing me a bit. You might notice it in my next posts, in case I’ll ever be able to write them.

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      1. I was being flip about the agnosticism. Though it is a bit like hedging one’s bet. I think Paul was right, even though I am atheist (though not the fanatical kind one too often thinks of… I place those people into the “anti-theist” category).

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        1. Paul is a sage. Well, I am agnostic in the sense I said in those comments.
          And I’m upset about the power of our church – especially THIS conservative church – me being anti-clerical, which is only a bit right, me seeing in the Church of Rome – and in the pope, Pontifex maximus, a Roman Magistrate exactly like J. Caesar was one too – survival bits of ancient Rome if u will. AND there’s a family link to the Popes from my mother’s side, Calcagni. We live in Rome, man, after all, with all it implies, ALL getting mixed up and a tad neurotic, boomer-neurotic, you can understand me, but only a bit, a tiny little bit.

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          1. My father was my study in agnosticism. Not quite willing to go that extra step to disbelief, not willing to accept the words of men (who, after all, run religions) on the matter. My mother was shocked by my atheism… each time she learned of it (conveniently forgetting each last time she learned)… and a Catholic who left her church willingly to marry her One True Love (he who was unwilling to convert or to allow his children to be raised in The Church). Their offspring, therefore, though given some religious schooling early on, were left to their own to discover what path they might follow. My own was a path of fascination with religion and its interaction with man’s cultural/civil evolution while I stayed “outside the fray”, so to speak.

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