Political Revolution

Ancient Greeks: Pythagoras on Repeating Patterns

JoAnnChateau.com - Quotes | Ancient Greeks
Written by JoAnn Chateau

There is geometry in the humming of the strings,
there is music in the spacing of the spheres.

Pythagoras, (born c. 570 bce—died c. 500–490 bce), Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the Pythagorean brotherhood that, although religious in nature, formulated principles that influenced the thought of Plato and Aristotle and contributed to the development of mathematics and Western rational philosophy.” ~ Encyclopaedia Britannica

READ MORE: Pythagoras | Encyclopaedia Britannica

Human nature has not changed over the millennia. The question is, do we learn from history?

People tend to think they and their personal experience are unique and special. Yet the repeating patterns in nature reveal a Divine Design that is based upon principles — and principles work the same, regardless of person, thing, place, or time.

That’s one of my thoughts. Care to share what you are thinking?

Ancient Greek Wisdom  

About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


  • >>> “Human nature has not changed over the millennia. The question is, do we learn from history?”

    >>> “People tend to think they and their personal experience are unique and special. Yet the repeating patterns in nature reveal a Divine Design that is based upon principles — and principles work the same, regardless of person, thing, place, or time.”

    I can’t say that the design is “Divine,” but the principles do work the same. The point about people thinking they are “special” is well taken. A related point I’ve made over the years is that each successive generation believes it is better than the last, and that it won’t repeat the same mistakes. Both attitudes, I believe, are rooted in egocentricity; or, to put it another way, a psychological desire to lift oneself above the banality and/or frailty of our collective humanity.

    • We are pretty egocentric, all right. If I were in the Betsy DeVos shoes, I’d begin meditation classes/periods in kindergarten. Good for both learning and mental well-being.

      Speaking of not repeating mistakes, Germany has addressed the horror of their own complicity in the Holocaust and took steps to prevent such a thing happening again in their country. (Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’ covers it in one of the segments.) It seems they learned something from their own recent history and accepted a measure of responsibility.

  • I’ll leave the ‘Divine Design’ idea alone because it is not something we can know but take on faith. Do we learn from history? Not very well, from my observations. After teaching history in the high school classroom for 35 years, I’ve heard a plethora of reasons from my students why history is irrelevant. The most common of those is that history won’t get them a job.

    I publish a daily blog about events in history and it is interesting to see comments where readers will express surprise that many events from the past parallel current events. Having said that, I know that much human behavior is driven by emotional responses (especially voting!) and that makes it inevitable that history will repeat itself. People rail against politicians who make decisions based upon their own self-interest (lining their pockets, getting re-elected) but what about voters who cast their ballots out of the very same motivation. Who cares about the Common Good anymore? If voters in the western democracies continue down the slippery slope of blindly following demagogues or not voting at all, history will repeat itself as nasty, intolerant totalitarian regimes will be elected based on false promises and easy fixes. I’m positive Adolf Hitler II is waiting in the wings. I pray it isn’t The West Wing.

    • Great observations, John. Voting on principles for the common good isn’t so popular. History may not land better paying jobs, but it sure makes for better citizens (and perhaps a higher standard of living for all). Those liberal arts and humanities courses are the ones that teach students to ask questions. BTW, I’ve heard that in the olden days, businesses liked to hire liberal arts grads because they could better process the big picture and were more innovative.

      • Interesting about liberal arts grads, JoAnn, my students were told that if they didn’t opt into math and science programs they’d never get jobs. I remember a guidance councillor came into my class and touted that drivel.

      • That career advice may be practical in times leaning to fiscal austerity. But isn’t it indicative of a society that’s out of balance, regressing? There’s plenty of work that needs to be done in the social sciences and humanities. If only these sectors received funding, there would be jobs. These fields of work may not generate profits, but they SAVE society money and hardship, and are important for a certain standard of living.

      • I live in Waterloo, Ontario – home of Blackberry and the region is known as Silicon Valley North. As computer software/hardware, and cell phone companies were descending upon this region in the 90s and thereafter – there were lots of technical jobs up for grabs. I agree with you, our western societies are out of balance – let’s cut funding to the arts, etc!

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