Were Ancient Philosophers Smoking Crack?


I’ve always been interested in learning about ancient philosophy, even though I feel that most of it is way above my intellectual caliber. There is just something interesting about the way in which everything works or perceived from an ancient philosophical standpoint. Is red really red? If so, what is the redness of red really like? It’s rather mind-blowing.

Studying philosophy during my undergrad years was a bit of a mindfuck. I really didn’t care about being educated on philosophy at the time because I was just trying to get through it to go to law school. I was advised by my community college advisor to study philosophy at the university I was transferring to because it has been shown that those who study philosophy score really high on the LSATs. After all, the LSATs are comprised of a lot of analytical thinking, and that’s what philosophy is all about. I would say that metalogic is the go to course if you want to up your game on taking the LSATs. That class is no joke.

I do love philosophy but I don’t like learning about it from formal education, and so I dropped out my senior year and decided that self education was more of my style and I actually learned more on my own. Dropping out of the university I attended was an expensive sunk cost but to me that’s fine, whatever. It’s just money, right? I just didn’t feel like I learned enough to receive a paper that said I was educated enough in philosophy to receive my bachelor’s degree. Plus I didn’t exactly pass predicate logic and epistemology with flying colors. I also didn’t have the motivation to go to law school anymore. My desire to be a lawyer just kind of skidaddled. But that’s ok, I’m just fine and dandy with my associate’s degree in Social and Behavioral sciences.

So while I was studying philosophy, there was a course on Ancient Greek philosophy that interested me. Some of the theories I read about were just perplexed and sometimes made me question my own intelligence. Two of the theories I understood easily and found to be really interesting were atomism and Zeno’s dichotomy paradox.

Atomism focuses on atoms and the void. Everything is made up of atoms, and what isn’t, is the void. Atoms are infinite, uncuttable and cannot merge with one another. They did not come into existence and cannot be destroyed. They are so small that they cannot be detected by the human eye. So it seems as if they are large in size when really they are tiny. So basically everything in the universe is made up of billions upon billions of atoms but we can only see them as whole and what we cannot see is the void. Interesting.

Zeno’s dichotomy paradox is about how getting from one place to another is impossible according to logic; motion is impossible. There’s always a halfway point to the destination. Once you get to the halfway point, there will always be a halfway point from there to the destination, and so on and so forth. So according to logic, the amount of halfway points are infinite. So, you’ll never get there, right? Wrong. Even though it appears to be infinite, the distance will still add up to when the destination is finally reached. We just don’t need to try and calculate it.

I thought, wow, how did these guys come up with this stuff and why? They must have been flying high on some kind of hallucinogenic substance. Whatever it was, even if it was just their good ole vast range of intellectual caliber peaking at the forefront of their mind, naturally, it was fascinating. Don’t you think?




3 thoughts on “Were Ancient Philosophers Smoking Crack?

  • Your post tonight made me think of the book that altered my life: “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Goldblatt. It’s kind of the history of Lucretius’s “On the Nature of Things” and atomistic theories (primarily the unpredictable swerve of atoms when falling through a void). It’s a fascinating read but really caused so many of my beliefs to explode. Highly recommend the book.

    Hope you’re enjoying your hotel room tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am but looking forward to sleeping in my Jeep tomorrow night for some reason. Haha
      I’ve heard of Lucretius’ book but never read it. I’ll have to check it out now that you recommend it. Never heard of the other book you mentioned but I’ll have to check that out as well!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s