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I received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1983 from The Ohio State University. After a sixteen year career researching and developing rapid, ultra-sensitive, quantitative DNA probe assays for the diagnosis and prognosis of deadly diseases, I have been researching and developing meals with optimal nutrition since 2000. Along the way I have also published many other books dealing with nutrition and general philosophical issues. See my Amazon, my Barnes and Noble, or my Smashwords links.

More logical implications re Cassandra

Obvious rule: most people, no matter what they say, do not and cannot have throngs of followers. Followers are necessarily many and leaders are necessarily few in number.

Rule: Most people who speak nonsense are not listened to, especially if they are certifiably insane, if they lack conviction, or if what they say is clearly recognizable as nonsense.

Exception: some people who speak a whole lot of nonsense, dressed up in the guise of sense, and particularly those who speak nonsense with great passion, have throngs of eager followers. Historical example: Hitler.

Rule: Those who speak sense are mostly not listened to. Historical example: Socrates, although, of course, I do not expect many people to think he was speaking sense. You have to know these things.

Exceptions: Occasionally, those who speak sense are sometimes listened to, at least by a few people, if only because of random chance (a broken clock is right twice a day) and the fact that man, while obviously foolish, is not a total fool.

What do we make of mankind’s most admired people who all have throngs of eager followers?

People like Jesus, Mohammed, and Shakespeare (his throngs of eager followers are mostly academics)?

By rule, they probably spoke a whole lot of nonsense to merit such large throngs following them.

But maybe one or more of this rather large group of “most admired people” is an exception to the rule.

How can we hope to know? To know, one would have to be a person who does not speak a whole lot of nonsense, and one would have next to no followers. To guess, one just has to be lucky.

Highly unlikely aside: what if I ever had a whole lot of followers?

This is a little different: in following me and my advice, they would only be saying that “I believe in nothing at all that is flat out contradicted by reliable evidence; I believe in nothing absolutely, not even what is in science textbooks – that is, I believe propositions to the degree that they are supported by reliable evidence.”

Again, it is a little different. I have no separate teachings per se and my principles are those of science, though so many have studied science for many years and never fully grasped what it is saying. Like Richard Dawkins, they think that science is a system of firmly held beliefs that oppose religious beliefs. The opposition to religion in 2017 is a result of science having been and always being what it really is – skeptical to its core, rejecting what is contradicted by reliable evidence, and only slowly coming around to what is supported by reliable evidence.

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How constant is the nature of man?

Probably almost as constant as the slowly changing speed of light.

In ancient Greek myth, supposedly for breaking her promise to him, made in exchange for the gift of prophecy, Apollo cursed Cassandra to always make true prophecies and for no one to believe her.

For me, I care not a jot about prophecy. The angle I am interested in that true prophecy necessarily contains sage advice about what to do, advice that we as listeners can embrace or not.

Is there a necessary connection between speaking sense and truth and not being believed?

Yes, the constancy of the nature of man – man is the same creature, more or less, that he was in ancient Troy. Man will listen eagerly to a passionate man telling big believable lies (especially when they appeal to deeply held prejudices) and advising senselessly, recklessly, and even immorally, but will more or less ignore any rational, self-controlled man speaking sense and truth, and advocating either justice or mercy, as appropriate.

The myth of Cassandra is replayed in the Platonic myth of Socrates. Plato portrays Socrates as a Cassandra, who gives wise advice, including maintaining an appropriate level of skepticism in the face of the certainties of others, including what the poets say about the gods (a reasonable skepticism deliberately misinterpreted by Socrates’ enemies as a lack of piety), who spoke as much truth as he was able, and is at first more or less ignored, and eventually exterminated as one exterminates a pesky gadfly.

Compare what happened to Cassandra – ignored repeatedly, and ignored again when her prophesy contained wise advice to the Trojans not to take the horse into Troy. Later she was physically restrained from destroying the horse, and during the Greeks’ sack of Troy, she was allegedly raped by Ajax the Lesser, and abducted as a concubine to Agamemnon, and eventually murdered by Agamemnon’s wife and her lover. What a curse! – A curse that, however, ended happily in Elysium, where Socrates would likely also end up.

Putting 2 and 2 together

  1. If a person has a large and eager audience, is it likely that he is a Cassandra?
  2. Does it matter what side of the political aisle he is on?

To both – No!

Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher say very different things, but both are more than likely self-deceivers and big liars, and both offer us unwise advice. It is unlikely that either is a Cassandra, and though they contradict each other point for point, they are both unwise in their advice and wrong-headed in their assertions.

A society that goes to extremes on the left or the right, is an emotionally unbalanced society, one ruled by emotion rather than reason, and is a society heading for extinction. Sense lives in the middle, and sense appropriately weighs important concerns.

Namians listen to their many Cassandras and ignore the few Rush Limbaughs and Bill Mahers as “clanging cymbals” and “blinking idiots.”

The namians have a method for appropriately weighting the most relevant concerns. In sense, they dwarf us, but as true superiors, they would never lord it over us. As lost souls, we have their sympathy, and their advice, if we were mature, smart and sane enough to take it.

A change of tactics

When Cassandra figured out that the Trojans would never listen to her, why did she not change her usual advice to be the opposite of the correct advice?

Seems simple enough.

Yet – looking deeper, the real curse on her was that she was doomed to tell the truth and to speak wisely when asked for advice.

No wonder no one listened.

Speaking truth and advising wisely imply not being listened to by others, perhaps never being listened to by the majority, who by rule speak falsehood and offer senseless but ingratiating advice whenever asked.

Anyone speaking senselessly or telling big lies is assured a wide and eager audience among humans, but nary a listener among namians or zetosophers. Makes me wonder about those who are widely admired by men.

While there are few Cassandras, the opposite type seems without number. The harm they do – or rather the harm we let them do to us – is enormous.

What one thing would the namians tell us to do to change this equation forever?

Never believe in anything that is contradicted by reliable evidence.

There has never yet been a single truth that is contradicted by reliable evidence.

When a single truth is discovered that is reproducibly contradicted by reliable evidence, then ignore the namians’ advice.