Friday, June 29, 2007


Aristotle (384-322)

By Richard E. Noble

Aristotle was even richer than Plato. He came from money, married money, and was given money. He was loaded. This guy had more money than Ross Perot, and The Donald put together.
He liked books, read constantly, and had one of the largest libraries of the day. He is credited with the publication of over a thousand volumes himself. He wrote something on everything. He was the Isaac Asimov of the neighborhood. The only problem is that just about everything that he wrote about, or supervised, on whatever subject, was wrong. Socrates is called the Father of Philosophy, and Aristotle is called the Father of Science. You can read Socrates and learn about philosophy, but don’t read Aristotle expecting to learn science.
Aristotle studied under Plato for either eight years or twenty-eight years, depending on who you read. Everybody seems to agree that Aristotle had a period of sowing wild oats before he settled down; they disagree on how long it lasted. After Plato died Aristotle expected to become Dean of Plato’s Academy. It didn’t happen. He wasn’t a “local-yokel”. So Aristotle split.
This king Hermeias invited him to come and help govern his little province in Asia Minor. Aristotle did a little better than Plato in his attempt at government. Like Plato he got bounced, but Hermeias didn’t try to kill him, nor did he sell him off into slavery as happened to Plato. Hermeias told Aristotle to move on, but he must have liked him, because he paid him to take his adopted daughter Pythias along with him. And he paid him well, too! Then, of course, we have no photos of Pythias either.
Aristotle was then offered a job by Philip of Macedonia, to teach his young, epileptic, homosexual, alcoholic, uncontrollable, belligerent nitwit of a son, later known as Alexander the (not so) Great. It didn’t really work out. Teaching Alexander the idiot how to think was about as easy as teaching Helen Keller how to shoot pool. But nevertheless Philip ended up donating about 4,000,000 to Aristotle’s cause. Aristotle must have had something or Philip was drunk once again when he signed the check. Aristotle then went back to Athens and opened his own Academy, the Lyceum. The school obviously attracted a lot of other little rich boys, and did well, but his association with Philip and Alexander would come back to haunt him. Needless to say Alexander and his “Paw-paw” were not well loved.
After His daddy’s death Alexander kept conquering everybody. He liked hanging and crucifying people too. He hung Aristotle’s nephew, Callisthenes, because he refused to recognize Alexander as a God. In any case, Alexander got into a drunken brawl one night and was killed. This was great for the world at large but not so wonderful for Aristotle. He had always defended Philip and little dysfunctional Alex (4,000,000 buys a lot of good will), so when the people of Athens revolted, they reasonably decided to kill Aristotle.
Aristotle wisely decided to leave town. He didn’t want to let the citizens of Athens “sin” against philosophy once again as they had with Socrates. But nevertheless, it is claimed that he made a cup of his own Hemlock, and killed himself anyway.
Before he died, he freed all of his slaves. Since he was a confirmed elitist, aristocrat, and defender of the supremacy of “some” over the “many”, I wonder why?