IN THE LAST FEW chapters we looked at PTV, the Plato Truth Virus. We saw how the 'thinking' hackers of ancient Athens - Socrates, Plato and Aristotle - fooled around with 'thinking' software and how they developed and packaged the concept of 'absolute truth'.
In these next few chapters we'll explore how PTV was picked up and spread throughout the Western world, infecting millions of minds and killing millions of human beings and still flourishing 2,500 years later.
In tracking the spread of a virus, we can try to find our way back to the identification of its Patient Zero. Who was the first patient who really got the virus going? Who was the one to spread it around enough to let it take hold?
Well, when it came to the spreading of Aristotle's Logic Software (already infected with PTV) no-one was more successful than a young Italian nobleman, Thomas Aquinas.
Doctor Truth and The Truth - InDOCTORnation
Born in 1225 into powerful nobility near Naples, Aquinas outraged his family when he decided to become a Dominican friar. When it comes to truth freaks, Thomas was one of the greatest ever. He was Doctor Truth himself!
Thomas discovered a new translation of Aristotle from the Greek and so he set out to synthesise Aristotelian ideas in such a way that it was useful for defending The Truth.
Of course, as far as The Truth was concerned, there was never any doubt for our Fra Thomas. No need to look around. No need to search. He already knew exactly where and exactly what The Truth was. There was no further search required for The Truth as far as Aquinas was concerned. Just a matter of defending it and preserving it from any attempt to change it.
The Truth, proclaimed Thomas, was the teachings of the Church. And whose church might that be, Thomas? The Muslims? The Buddhists? The Jews? Picture Thomas opening the envelope, "And the winner is ... The Catholic Church".
That's it! Nothing else. Stop looking. Here it is. The lucky winner! Well, now, the winning True Church also happens to be YOUR church, Thomas old chap. What a coincidence! What a stroke of luck!
As it happened, Thomas' Church was an information monopoly. All European universities were run by the Church with head office in Rome. Rome literally owned all of knowledge and was busily exporting its corporate education system. The powerful but flawed thinking software, logic, was the cognitive operating system they used, courtesy of Aristotle via Aquinas.
This educational enterprise amounted to programming brains with what the church taught - verbatim - and repeating it back again. Scholarship was reduced to mere defence of Vatican teachings, which were known collectively as - The Truth.
Only Microsoft's export of Bill Gates' DOS has ever rivaled the Vatican's export of Thomas Aquinas' PTV.
At this writing in 1997, there are around 170 million PC users in the world and when they turn on their desktop or laptop computer the first thing 150 million of them see is "MS-DOS" with "Windows Operating System" built on it. This is an amazing accomplishment for Bill Gates and Microsoft in less than 20 years. This is only beaten by the fact that all 170 million PC users are also necktop users. And, all 170 million are using a Vatican-exported logic operating system to work their computers so they can work their PCs!
In the original Thomist Aristotle neuroware, operating system worked like this:
TRUTH: Vatican teaching is The Truth.
ITEM: Using Aristotle's logic to match things we are meant to ask: Does ITEM match TRUTH?
LOGICAL CONCLUSION: If YES, then it is RIGHT and it is TRUTH. If NO, then it is WRONG and it is HERESY.
Even people with the most superficial knowledge of history know what happened to heretics.
I (Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson) was recently in Amsterdam and paid a visit to the notorious Inquisition's Torture Museum. This popular tourist spot features a collection of the 'truth machines', an extraordinary array of macabre machines, racks, tongs, and spikes.
These and other implements of torture were used by the Inquisitors to 'purify' the heretics. One could only marvel uneasily at the cold-blooded ingenuity that went into the design of these instruments of truth.
The Inquisitors, invariably, were Fra Thomas's Dominicans. They were quite willing to inflict unspeakable horrors on thousands upon thousands of fellow human just for disagreeing. Thomist Aristotle doctrine could show up any contradictions.
It could show that their point-of-view did not exactly match The Truth and so they were heretics. Cut out their tongues! Crank up the rack! Get me the branding iron! Off to the stake!
It still sends shivers down my spine.
'Angelic Doctor" Truth
In the 14th century the "Angelic Doctor" was canonised for his great contribution to the defence of truth, and Saint Thomas Aquinas became a kind of god in the church. There even is a famous painting by Zurburan called "The Apotheosis of St Thomas Aquinas" which shows Thomas, resplendent on a cloud in heaven in those frightening Dominican Inquisitorial robes, with popes and scholars at his feet. And below on earth, other popes and cardinals look up and pray to him in admiration.
John XXII said that to deny Aquinas was tantamount to heresy. Later, in 1879, Pope Leo XIII proclaimed that Thomist Aristotelian doctrine should be accepted as "the official doctrine of the church".
Exporting the Virus
Since Aquinas imbedded Aristotle's logic into the Vatican's education system it has become the main thinking software of Western civilisation, wherever it has been exported.
Since then, The Truth has been carried to all parts of the world with missionary zeal. In fact, Western education may be medieval Europe's most successful export.
Australia is a good example. Although Australia is geographically in South East Asia, it has culturally been in Europe for the past 200 years. At that time, along with rabbits, the Western education system was imported into Australia.
Since World War II, however, Australia has become less Eurocentric and more Euro-Asian. Australia is now one of the world's most successful multi-cultural societies. Accordingly, 'unique rightness' has become a less useful cognitive asset to Australians than 'tolerance and plurality'.
Today, Aussie kids are less interested in defending a medieval European truth, and are more interested in designing new Aussie truths that are useful and relevant to life in the Third Millennium.
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