Wednesday, June 25, 2008

#13 Bill Gates as God

"Constantly think of the Universe as one living creature, embracing one being and one soul [logos]; how all is absorbed into one consciousness of this living creature; how it compasses all things with a single purpose, and how all things work together [ethos] to cause all things to come to pass, and their wonderful web and texture"--Marcus Aurelius, Meditations IV 40, c. 170C.E.

Though Stoicism is often mistakenly thought to be a pessimistic world-view, its most famous adherent was decidedly not. Foremost--and you can hear it in his last words--he found the world profoundly INTERESTING. Do I harp too much on this? (Of course for the Stoic if you found the world of not much interest anymore, then simply... check out. Cf. Zsa Zsa ex-husband and actor George Sanders' suicide note: "I'm bored.") Despite all his problems--see Gladiator movie for quick reference--Marcus literally soldiered on, writing this optimistic stuff in his tent under siege or besieging. No personal god for him, however: his "religion" was pure materialistic pantheism--long before Spinoza, Einstein, or the Gaia movement. (I taught, by the the way, a non-credit course in Spinoza for the hippy-dippy Free University of Nashville [F.U.N.!] while at Vandy in the late '60's--a true sign of the times.) I see Marcus's world-soul as what some have called the "oosphere" (umlaut oh-oh), that thought-layer of ideas circling the globe about cranium-height, metaphorically, best actualized/instrumentalized/tapped-into it seems to me via today's INTERNET. I'll just take Marcus's words as amazingly prophetic, thank you, his "wonderful WEB and texture...." I'm a cockeyed Darwinian optimist, anyway; we'll all be linked together very soon, if only for the sake of survival.

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