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May 23, 2011

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Brian Zahnd

Thank you, Ron. I enjoyed this very much. I understand the lure of the "heroic" pre-Socratics, but they make me very nervous. Pre-Socratic philosophy/religion is what is really intended when we speak of the pagan.

The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus (of all people!) said, "Dionysus is the same thing as Hades."

Commenting on that, Rene Girard says,

"Dionysus is the same thing as hell, the same thing as Satan, the same thing as death, the same thing as the lynch mob. Dionysus is the destructiveness at the heart of violent contagion."

(Take that Nietzsche!)

And more on topic...I recently listened to some lectures on the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt. I think I'm beginning to appreciate her importance. Particularly her understanding of political evil and its tendency to "totalize" everything (thus Arendt's coining of the term "totalitarian").

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