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The Golden Verses Of The Stoic

Seneca and Epictetus refer to the Golden Verses of Pythagoras , which happens to provide a good framework for developing a daily routine, bookended by morning and evening contemplative practices. Zeno of Citium , who founded Stoicism in 301 BC, expressed his doctrines in notoriously terse arguments and concise maxims.  However, Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school, wrote over 700 books fleshing these ideas out and adding complex arguments to support them. 

Clarity v Propaganda (?)


On the Forbes website there is an article titled “Moral Clarity Is Needed In Countering Anti-Western Propaganda” -- which is well written and means well, but shows the level of misunderstanding about the effects and grit propaganda possess I find frequently displayed.  I like the author and enjoy her articles but on this one she missed. Again though, the misconception of how harsh the propaganda used today really is on its the victims is about normal

This is what I wrote in response.

The one thing I believe we don't have is a "moral clarity." How would we gather this? From the verbiage or the actions? We have right now a man running for president which is in fact a propaganda campaign. We have churches whose ministers are swearing that they will "Raise an army for the Republican's 2016" even though that is strictly against the 501(c)(3) mandates...and he had no problem with posing for the picture on the NY Times. So, first you would have to figure out, whose morality to use, and then you'll have to figure out how to keep it clear from those who you didn't pick, because in our current political environment the running law is "if we didn't say it, then it is wrong" -- and that's about as bipartisan as we get these days.

But I've personally never seen "clarity" battle propaganda with any success. An easy example is Common Core. A better one is the AP History thing that flared up last Oct. The propaganda stated that the College Board was leaving our History's Heroes out of the US History Course. This line ran so hard and so fast that even members of Congress were on the News Media denouncing the AP Course and the College Board. Another line was that the course was Far Left and taught the US History in dark terms and showed our worst points.

The facts were -- none of that was close to being true. In fact, there was nothing in the AP Course. No, I mean... "nothing". It was a framework. It was up to the teacher of the course to put in the curriculum. This fact was printed on page 2 of the AP History Manual It was also the first thing you read on the AP History Web Page. This was pointed out again and again by several people, including myself ( http://l.h4s.club/aphistory ) Hours, and weeks and days we spent trying to get people to open up a web link or read the source -- propaganda won out every time -- for months. In fact they were still going in February of this year -- well after the teachers were fully into the course and were using their own curriculum -- and people continued to believe this propaganda.

So, even if we did have this "moral clarity" and we all agreed on it (even though we can't even agree on a definition of Democracy) I don't believe it would do much good.

To truly go up against propaganda you have to be willing to use tactics that most people are not willing to do - because you are messing with memories and minds and there is no way to target or limit the effects. Those effects are going to be long lasting too.