Just started reading Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy. In fact I haven’t even finished Pre-Socratics and came across this sect in which requires the followers to, among other things,
- To abstain from beans.
- Not to pick up what was fallen.
- Not to touch a white cock.
- Not to break bread.
- Not to step over a crossbar.
- Not to stir the fire with iron
- Not to pluck a garland.
- Not to eat the heart.
- Not to let swallows share one’s roof.
- Do not look in the mirror beside the light.
Now one of the best parts about this lovely religion? It was founded by Pythagoras. Yes, the mathematician and scientist Pythagoras.
Pythagorean-ism also believed in transmigration of souls, which is not exactly surprising considering the time and place. And to his credit, Pythagoras was the first person to propagate equal rights for men and women and Pythagoreans were the earliest vegetarians.
Russell claims philosophy is the no man’s land between theology and science and that no philosopher was ever perfectly neutral. They took sides and the natural assumption is that being the scientist he was, Pythagoras must have taken to science more. And assuming that, I want to believe that there is a logical explanation behind every statement of his.
So let us consider the last one. We rarely look into the mirror beside the light because of the glare. So it makes sense. Does that mean that every statement has a similar reason behind it? Or that inspite of his scientific background Pythagoras did take a mystic approach to his philosophy?
And if it is the latter, I have a doubt. Why?