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Philosophy and Winot?
The Stimulating Role of Wine in Greek Philosophy

By Ion Saliu,
Wining Philosopher At-Large, Founder of Philosophy of Wine

The essay of Wine, Greek, Philosophy, Socrates, Plato; The Dialogue of Symposium.

Written and published on June 28, 2000 (0 WE) — ulterior updates inspired by O tempora, O mores!

That is, "philosophy and wine ... why not?"

I talked several times about the supreme principle of life: Fear_Survival. My sketchy thoughts in this regard are the stuff the CompuPsychology page is made of. I said how FearSurvival created Philosophy in Ancient Greece. Probably natural catastrophes put in contact many populations of many religious beliefs. FearSurvival forced people to doubt religious faith. They realized there were so many gods and so little comfort for humans. The humans also realized that gods everywhere reflected the worst in humans. There was one common thread in all beliefs: the gods used their powers with the utmost cruelty. Actually, that's how humans behave at their worst. Philosophy was born from this doubt.

But why was philosophy born in Greece?, I asked myself. There must have been another element that stimulated reasoning. I believe I had the best explanation when I remembered the god of wine: Dionysus. The classical Greeks really celebrated him! No other god has ever been more joyfully celebrated than Dionysus (and his Roman replica, Bacchus). I made two more associations: “Wine unleashes the tongue” and In vino veritas = The truth is in wine.

All these made me strongly believe that philosophy was born in Ancient Greece because of wine, in addition to FearSurvival.

The Egyptians were more advanced than the city-states of Ancient Greece for two thousand years. But the Egyptians remained enchained by religion until their vanquishing. They could not drink wine due to the very hostile-to-wine climate.

Luckily for humankind, Greece was fertile to wine. The Classical Greeks needed real courage to express their doubts outside religious frameworks. Wine gave them Greeks the courage to doubt, therefore reason; stimulation to reason, therefore reason to exist.

All humans today have the sacred duty to lean (and DRINK) a glass of wine to… WINE! Wine made possible everything good that we have today. (The wars were NOT the invention of the Classical Greeks or the Wine.)

I read again Plato's Symposium, the great Dialogue of Love as a Universal virtue. They could not separate philosophy from wine during Socrates' life (probably hundreds of years before that and after Socrates). One should go beyond the fact that Symposium describes a gathering of homosexual men. I had myself a problem with homosexuality. It ignores an essential principle of life: The unity of the opposites male and female. (I was also displeased with aggressive behavior towards yours truly by a group of gay men at one time.) But nobody should use their perceived rights or privileges with aggression against different behaviors. Tolerance and acceptance are yarns in the fabric of social life.

Just go back to wine… red wine. You can see how important wine was for philosophy back then. My, oh, my, did they drink wine back then, or what? By the barrel! Wine was the fuel of the Classical Greeks to reason and express unimpededly their thoughts, with no-fear-no-care in the world. That no-fear-no-care attribute is common to most European cultures. I remember an old Romanian Brindisi song saying: “This is how I'd like to die, with the glass of wine near me…” ("Uite asa as vrea sa mor" - YouTube)

We need sometimes to take a strong, very strong position on some issues. To that goal, we need strong will, real courage to express our position. I did an experiment not long ago, over the past days (something like between June 18 – June 25, 0 WE). I made available a so-called lotto wheel and generated a heated debate in rec.gambling.lottery. The debate would have died soon, hadn't I have used very strong words. I was attacked viciously soon after I started! I cannot duplicate such language, unless I use, guess what, wine. Actually, I used distilled wine at that time (a.k.a. cognac or brandy). I also needed it as medicine against my tooth infection. Even when some participants in the forum tried to soften me, I kept “hitting” them with strong language. The fact is, the results were remarkable. Many surpassed themselves and came up with their best ideas in the lottery field. I gained myself new perspectives. I pondered at this idea: wine stimulates reasoning. It gives courage, for one thing. It also intensifies the mental energy. More brain energy undoubtedly leads to new ideas. More courage, on the other hand, makes possible the expressing of new ideas. Now they seem to have a withdrawal in r.g.l. There are no longer strong viewpoints to read... actually, nothing of interest is debated anymore...

Speaking of new ideas, it was announced this week that the human genome project was completed. It is a very important achievement in human history. What bothered me was U.S. President Bill Clinton's reaction: “The human genome represents the code GOD used to create life.” Clinton and God?! Clinton to make God the Chief Scientist of the Universe?! NON! I think it is a hypocritical statement. Clinton believes in God?! NOT! It is the statement that falls into the same category as another famous one. Remember 1998? Bill Clinton pointed his “white plastic finger at us” (per Jimi Hendrix): “I never had sexual relationships with (…) Miss Lewinsky…” I wonder how an intelligent man, married to such a brilliant woman, can behave that childishly?

See now how effective wine is in expressing the truth? I was not afraid to attack my “king”. The same way, the Ancient Greeks did not fear attacking, verbally, their kings or gods...

Long live wine! Winot?

“They don't see the big birdie I am
I fly high to the sky
To plunge hard in that barrel of wine
Like a meteor of my God.

Preliminary down, hypothetical up
I splurge my wine and I shout 'Whazzup?'
I program my moves like a Python in the pub
I can't exit the loop, but I can surely snub."

(A brindisi drinking song possibly sung by Socrates at philosophical symposiums.)

Ion Saliu loves red wine - it stimulates his philosophical creativity.   This Ion Saliu (royalty name Parpaluck) loves red wine, stimulator of philosophical creativity… by the dog in Athens I swear! Bravo, Socrates! Bravo, Plato! — The great-great-great....great-grandfather of Jesus, Zeus, never said “Drink this wine... it is my blood!”

The important role played by Wine in Greek Philosophy is analyzed here.

Resources in Philosophy, Humans, Humanities, Ideas, Truth

See a comprehensive directory of the pages and materials on the subject of philosophy, humans, humanities, ideas, truth, Human_Computing_Beast.

Socrates and Plato were notorious wine drinkers, lovers of wine, all red wine in those times.

Wine and Greek philosophy are major topics in any intelligent discussion.

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Wine and philosophy in Ancient Athens appears in the great Symposium by Plato, disciple of Socrates.