On December 11th, 2016, afternoon, the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” celebrated the 2,400 birthday of Aristotle at the Hellenic Cultural Center at 27-09 Crescent St., Astoria, NY. The topics and keynote speakers were “the relevance of Aristotle’s ethical theory to the contemporary world”, Dr. Spyridon Rangos, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Patra and visiting researcher at Princeton and “Aristotle and the Regime of the Americans” in English by Dr. Peter Simpson, Professor of Philosophy and Classics, Graduate Center, CUNY, Staten Island, NY. Professor Demosthenes Triantafillou, President of the Greek Teachers Association ‘Prometheus” announced the founding of the “Hellenic Academy of Philosophy and Sciences” in the Year of Aristotle, 2016. A reception followed.
The program consisted of the following: Greetings: Dr. Thalia Chadzigiannoglou, Mrs. Maria Makedon, Mr. George Stamatiades; Cooperating Organizations, Pan Macedonian Union, New York city, Center of Macedonian Studies, International Foundation of Academic Studies (D.I.A.S), Society of Greek Writers of America, Dodecanesian Institute of America; Financial support, Dr. J. Kambolis, Mr. M. Servos, Mr. S. Mathews, Mrs. B. Triantafillou, Kontolios Family and others not listed in program who donated funds at program; Organizing Committee, M. Christodoulou, P. Mouzakis, M. Stratis, Dr. J. Nathenas, A. Fountas, Secretary General and Director of Technology Prof. A. Kolombos, Dr. J. Siolas, Dr. G. Melikokis, Mr. T. Kokkinos, Mr. S. Kakopierou, Dr. J. Antonopoulos, Mr. A. Gonidellis Mrs. D. Baltzis; Presenters President D. Triantafillou and Mrs. M. Kyriacou.
Dr. Rangos discussed Aristotle’s Ethics in Greek. Basically for Aristotle, moral virtue is the only practical road to effective action. What the person of good character loves with right desire and thinks of as an end with right reason must first be perceived as beautiful. Hence, the virtuous person sees truly and judges rightly, since beautiful things appear as they truly are only to a person of good character. It is only in the middle ground between habits of acting and principles of action that the soul can allow right desire and right reason to make their appearance, as the direct and natural response of a free human being to the sight of the beautiful. 1
Dr. Simpson came across “Aristotle’s Regime of the Americans” from a shadowy Hittite book dealer in the Troad on coast of Asia Minor where a famous library of Aristotle was before moving to Pergamum and Alexandria…The regime of the Americans seems an impossible topic…the world is eternal and experiences periodic cataclysms during which human civilization is reduced to primitive savagery whence it slowly rises, recovering all that was previously lost, until the next cataclysm destroys everything again.. Consequently, the regime of the Americans, or something like it, has already existed many times in the past.2
During the lecture, Dr. Simpson expressed the view that “virtue is not what goes on in the American system. American system is for the wealthy while the poor never get a chance and virtuous ignored.” In a thank you letter to the Prometheus board, Dr. Simpson said “Last of all, of course, we together owe a great debt of thanks to that incomparable Greek, Aristotle himself. “The master of them that know.” I wonder if the Greek Orthodox Church would recognize him as a saint?”
I visited the Annunciation Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin that was the private Church of Russian grand princes and Tsars for domestic and family ceremonies. The North western gate are painted portraits Ancient philosophers, poets, playwrights and historians such as Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch and Homer with a wreath on his head. Virgil and Ptolemy are dressed in Old Russian garments. All these great men were considered the predecessors of the Christian wise men.3
I visited Aristotle’s School at Mieza, Macedonia with our guide Matina of Dolphin Hellas Tours. The natural landscape had peacefulness, being close to nature and God. Aristotle taught «the doctrines of morals and politics” (Plutarch VII, 668) to the youths of the Macedonian Nobility. The landscape, where the Great Teacher rambled with his students on the fully vegetation riverbank trails, among calm and cool streams of water, gushed from the springs around, is completed by an even greater cave, a little further off, with two carved entrances, obviously for devotional use.4
Aristotle of Stagira was a Greek philosopher who pioneered systematic, scientific examination in literally every area of human knowledge and was known, in his time, as “the man who knew everything”, and, later, as “The Philosopher” (so named by Aquinas who felt one needed no other). In the European Middle Ages he is referred to as “The Master” in Dante’s Inferno. All of these epithets are apt in that Aristotle wrote on, and was considered a master in, disciplines as diverse as biology, politics, metaphysics, agriculture, literature, botany, medicine, mathematics, physics, ethics, logic, and the theatre. He is traditionally linked in sequence with Socrates and Plato in the triad of the three greatest Greek philosophers.5
In 343 BCE Aristotle was summoned by King Philip II of Macedonia to tutor his son Alexander (who, of course, would become Alexander the Great) and held this post for the next seven years, until Alexander ascended to the throne and began his famous conquests. The two men remained in contact through letters, and Aristotle’s influence on the conqueror can be seen in the latter’s skillful and diplomatic handling of difficult political problems throughout his career. Alexander’s habit of carrying books with him on campaign and his wide reading have been attributed to Aristotle’s influence as has Alexander’s appreciation for art and culture.6 The Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” remembered Aristotle’s legacy with a brilliant remarkable program.
- Peter L.P. Simpson, “Aristotle’s Regime of the Americans” (Occasio Press & Peter L P Simpson, 2011), introduction.
http://www.greekteachersprometheus.org/ – Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus
http://www.aristotelophile.com/- Dr. Peter Simpson website
https://goo.gl/photos/urGuiXT3j4N2gyL9A- photo album