2 Aug 2011
When I tripped over the online Perseus entry for the word χάος which alludes to the Pythagoreans, it inspired me to pursue another new trail to experience. My google-fingers floated my mind across the ocean of cyberspace until I docked at a website about Pythagoras of Samos. Some fun reflections emerged from the deeps.
Pythagoreans are often said to be an important part of the foundation of modern science and mathematics. However I never really took the time to soak in how these philosophies contributed to modern rationalism and atheism. In a general sense, we might get away with saying that theories like those of the Pythagoreans arose from the rubble of religious contradictions noticed by the most astute iconoclasts of that period, offering us a new set of eyes to gaze into the heavens with, a new method of perceiving the cosmos whose doctrine would be increasingly shaped by logic and deductive reason.
It seems to me that a silent sin of religion is that it abstractifies the infinite Unknown into a fear-inspiring overlord standing over our helpless fate. But a deity is just our common anxieties anthropomorphized. The logic born from Pythagoras and similar philosophies brings remedy to that spiritual tyranny, lamping the path to our self-salvation, overthrowing the sadomasochism inherent in the unhealthy relationship between human and "God". So is it sacrilegious as an atheist to cede after all that that, in a sense, logical truth is Divinity expressed? Is Logic, floating on its flimsy axiomatic foundation called "existence", ironically nothing more than the most optimal faith of faiths?
And so I dedicate these humble offerings of finite perception to the Temple of Numbers. May it compute correctly. Amen.