A tragedy words alone are unfit to describe
If one person deserved the fame and
reverence society has for Jesus Christ, it is an ancient Greek known as
Archimedes. I will spare everyone a boring history lesson and simply say
that if you’ve never heard of Archimedes and his conquests, you may
just find out why in this article.
In ancient Greece, among
other civilizations built on science, reason, and democracy, there was
an explosion of knowledge and invention that still underpins our way of
life today. Men strived to be geniuses and shared in the wealth of
knowledge contributed by others.
Even today, when you exclaim,
in frustration, that Pythagoras theorem is difficult to understand, you
are paying homage to the Greek Pythagoras who left it for us. If you are
memorizing the first 40,000 digits of PI like some Discovery Channel
savant, you are paying homage to Archimedes who discovered PI. When you
curse in despair at your defeat by Euclidean geometry, you are paying
homage to Euclid the Greek who discovered this sect of geometry named in
When you cast your vote to elect your leaders, you
are using Greek democracy (though standards have slipped in the last
century, as democracy became populism). The parenthetic insert in the
previous sentence is why you never hear historians complain that, when
we call it Western Democracy, we are robbing the ancient Greeks of
something they originally invented.
There is a lot more that we need to thank the ancient Greeks for, but that is something the reader can explore for themselves.
this wondrous way of life the ancient Greeks invented—always striving
to better itself and its people—came to an abrupt end after the death of
Archimedes, the last luminary Greek genius of this golden age.
Archimedes died like a common thief because of incomplete instruction
and mistaken identity.
Archimedes was unaware of the invasion of
Syracuse (where he lived) by the Romans, and did not attempt to hide
himself from harm’s way. Luckily, 50% of the reason for the invasion was
capturing Archimedes, because the Romans sought his exquisite
intellect, the productions of which had been besting the Roman Empire in
combat for decades. Unfortunately, the instruction to take Archimedes
alive and treat him with respect did not extend to all the troops
deployed to Syracuse.
So, when an ignorant Roman soldier barged
into Archimedes’ home, Archimedes simply told the soldier not to disturb
his circles (one many mathematical fascinations Archimedes had on
display). The Roman soldier took offence at the rebuke and ran
Archimedes through with his sword. The loss of this one mind set
advanced mathematics back until the mid-1600s when Newton came on the
scene and completed Archimedes’ work, the result of which is modern-day
Calculus. (If you want to worship anything, worship Calculus, because it
has given our technologically advanced society reproducible miracles in
all the fields of science and engineering.)
It is said that the
Roman general who oversaw the siege of Syracuse wept as he watched his
soldiers plunder and burn the great city into ruin. Even a man of war
could appreciate what the Greeks had built and what they stood for.
Unfortunately, not even a Roman general could intervene in the law that
stated that Roman conquest permits its troops to plunder, burn, and loot
what they had captured. I still hold back tears when reading this
story, because that is the day men of wisdom almost became extinct.
the fall of this great man, Archimedes, and the civilization that
birthed him, the world took centuries to recover. First would come the
dark ages during which mathematics was considered witchcraft, and its
practitioners were tortured and killed by the religious institutions
that reigned supreme and unchallenged.
philosophy, and reason were literally bleached from the pages of
history: Archimedes’ greatest work, a book called the Palimpsest,
suffered this fate to make way for religious scribbles. Luckily, modern
science is able to detect the writing of Archimedes under the defilement
now covering it, and his genius may yet live on as we rediscover what
Archimedes already knew 2200+ years ago.
To be fair (and
honest), religion does care a great deal about mathematics, too; the
basic arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication,
and division better used to calculate profits and the distribution
Many scientists believe that had Archimedes finished
his work, and had Calculus flourished as it did after Newton, then much
of what is Sci-Fi would be science fact: vacations on Mars,
interplanetary exploration, sustainable energy, and a life spent free
from the burden of earning a living through forced labour, all this may
have been. But we will never know and this is speculation at best. What
we do know, is that for 600 years after Archimedes, mathematics (and
society) did not advance, andfaith became the sole method if reasoning.
there is another tragedy much less spoken of that was set in motion
when Archimedes died, the end of the age of the autodidact.
Autodidacticism is what I refer to as the self-directed intellect. It is
the most difficult form of study any person can undertake, because it
requires a tremendous amount of self-verification, a process not
practiced in today’s orthodox institutions of education: universities
After the dark ages finally lifted and the rays of
reason again shone on men, never again has anyone understood so much
about the variety of subjects ancient Greek autodidacts mastered and
advanced in their individual lifetimes. In fact, probably never again
will anyone know so much about any particular subject the ancient Greeks
dabbled in without first making a substantial offer of currency to get a
‘formal’ education from a university, something Plato invented.
Unfortunately, just like democracy, the modern university stands as an
insult compared to what it originally was.
But I digress. We still have to deal with Jesus and why he was inferior to Archimedes.
Jesus, an undeserving celebrity of history
have to first state that I am unconvinced that Jesus, as described in
the bible, actually existed. I think he is a legend of a much simpler,
far less interesting man who rubbed some people the right way and others
the wrong way and thereby earned himself a place in history. I judge
his celebrity to be more a case of infamy than fame, and I don't believe
any of the divine or supernatural properties ascribed to the man that
the Jesus of Nazareth myth represents.
Compare Archimedes’ life
and death to those of the verbose proverbialist, yet somewhat
charismatic, Semite known as Jesus of Nasareth, whose main preoccupation
involved wandering about the streets of ancient Galilee, flogging
heavenly real estate to penniless paupers for the mere price of their
Jesus had a few quote-worthy sayings, no
doubt, but he did not advance society in any way. The concepts of
morality (and, in some cases, barbarity) that he spoke of were already
committed to print before Jesus was even born.
his own death by his obstinacy and defiance (byproducts of a mind that
considers itself special and exalted over all others) and, though his
death is well known, it only gave us a long weekend, chocolate rabbits,
and candy eggs! It gave religious people something to read, or else
they’d probably have chosen illiteracy (seeing as how they never read
anything but scripture).
Thus, I ask, what is so great about Jesus apart from the unverifiable divinity ascribed to him by his followers?
for what one believes in is an old stamp of authenticity long practiced
before Jesus committed his body to the cross. Wooing crowds and doing
conjurer’s tricks is something that should earn him the title as the
first professional magician, perhaps, but certainly not the title of the
most divine person ever to have walked the earth.
of glistening eyes and wide smiles of his adoring fans, Jesus looks
rather plain, boring, and unenviable. He was an antagonist even when it
achieved nothing in the end. He seemed to hate authority—a common trait
of those who want to be authority themselves—and mainly spoke to people
who were rather uneducated, poor, and impressionable—hardly credible
witnesses, not even in their time.
Archimedes, however, duked it
out with the best thinkers of his time and was revered by wise men and
kings from more than just his own tribe. Jesus never debated everyone,
and when challenged only invoked his divine status as a way to win the
argument—a tactic still used by his modern followers.
claims of superiority are unverifiable to thinkers of this age or any
before it. He left us nothing but parables, indirectly recorded by the
confused minds that followed him around hoping for an uplifting story.
So, the case for Jesus’ fame is pretty weak, much like the minds who
find comfort in his simple teachings.
How then did Jesus become more popular than Archimedes?
Thoughts & conclusion
can answer my last question that ended the previous section: Jesus is
more famous than Archimedes is for the same reason that people know when
Paris Hilton’s next CD is being released and not Stephen Hawking’s next
book! We are still living in a world that caters to the desires of the
masses. Intellectualism is still a condition most don’t want and want
those affected to be rid of.
Universities have successfully
convinced society that only people who’ve paid a lot of money for a
little paper scroll know what they are talking about. This is an elitist
mentality and an appeal to authority, something Socrates dispensed with
and proclaimed a logical fallacy hundreds of years prior to Jesus
breaking bread and passing fish around to retain a crowd who only
gathered for the free food, not the speech.
On the topic of free
food attracting a crowd, all our problems related to poverty and
ignorance indeed come from, as Hitler used to call them, the useless
eaters. Today’s elite call them the masses. Educated people call them
the fools. Atheists call them the religious. Socrates never called them
anything but only explained their behaviour in this quote most people
have probably never heard:
Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.
when the masses quote Socrates and study the deductions of Euclid,
Plato, Archimedes, and Aristotle (to name but a few of the luminaries of
knowledge we have to thank for our modern world) will we make any
progress towards a life more than that of a planet-wide parasite.
after the principles of science become pop culture and the spirit of
invention and advancement the latest obsession, will we see Jesus become
an deservingly obscure entity of history and the old world problems of
poverty, ignorance, master and slave, fool and wise man finally
committed to the pages of the past.
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