04-20-2014 | Sunday Sermon

"Evil and World Order," William Irwin Thompson pg. 7

"At the time of Pythagoras, the Egyptian mystery schools were no longer forces of culture and civilization-building; they were probably priestly bureaucracies subsidized by the state to pass on harmless traditions by rote. The only way to preserve the purpose of the mystery school was to do something radical, radically conservative. And so Pythagoras created the secular school, the university. As civilization was moving towards entropy, he created a new form to hold old values against the flow of time.

The tragic background against which the school of Pythagoras at Crotona was figured continued, however, to its end. Many were accepted into the Pythagorean discipline, but some were rejected as morally unfit. One of the rejected students is reputed to have raised a rebellion against the influence of the school. In the conflict, the school was burnt to the ground. The Pythagoreans fled throughout Greece, but in their flight, they took the message to the Greek world. Like the seed-pod exploding in its death, the school created new lives, and one of those lives was Plato and his Academy.

Plato's Academy lasted from 385 BC to 529 AD; it became the archetype for all the universities that followed. Pythagoras's school at Crotona lasted only for twenty years. The Pythagorean tradition went underground, but like an underground spring it flowed beneath the foundations of many of the schools that came after. Iamblichus in Syria, Ficino in Florence, Copernicus in Fauenbeurg, Bruno in Nola, and Heisenberg in Munich: all identified themselves as Pythagoreans. Pythagoras may have died as an old man in exile and despair at the destruction of his life's work, but the success of his short-lived experiment rivals the success of institutions that endured for centuries."

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