The wise philosopher Democritus (460-350 B.C) was born in Abdera, a town in Thrace and from a very young age he dedicated himself completely to philosophy, neglecting all other aspects of the everyday life by considering them trivial and mediocre. His father was a very successful merchantand when he died, Democritus inherited a hundred ancient coins, an amount that was considered a fortune at the time. Democritus immediately used this heritage to take a long journey around the world that was known at the time, in search of knowledge, wisdom and sightseeing. For many years he traveled from Egypt to Ethiopia, to Asia Minor, to Babylon, Persia and India.
Although the most unknown philosopher of all, he was perhaps the first multi scientist sage. We have learned from Diogenes Laertius that Democritus wrote manytreatiseson philosophy, astronomy, medicine, mathematics, physics, psychotherapy, anatomy, literature, aesthetics, technology, ethics, anthropology, etc. but none of his writings have survived. He was undoubtedly the greatest thinker of ancient Greece, greater even than Aristotle and Plato; he was gifted with a rare and special wisdom and a great talent in speech, but at the same time he was always eloquent and moderate, with unique spiritual charismas.
When Democritus arrived in Athens, totally unknown and in an old age, he was completely ignored by all the famous sages of the time. They had heard of hisstrange and pioneering work but acted as if it didn’t exist. It is certain that eventually Plato burned all the writings of Democritus that he had gathered (the Pythagoreans could not prevent this from happening every day) and so did everyone else who didn’t want these strange new theories to spread as this could contradict their own trivial theoriesthat people considered valuable and true up to that day. In the writings of Democritus and among his theories there were many secrets and revelations. The mystics of the timedid not want these secrets to be revealed in the form of a book, which could fall into the hands of everyone, while they jealously hid secrets and truths that could fit in ten pages all together!
In order to help the reader understand what took place, here is the only surviving piece of the voluminous work of Democritus entitled “About Hell” (Hades), which Proclus cites: “Democritus explains as follows how the deceased may be brought back to life. Death is not a necrosis, as it shows, of the entire body of life, but a loosening of life, probably due to a stroke or a trauma. But the life bonds that exist around the medulla, remained firmly rooted, and deep inside the heart the life spark was preserved. And since the deceased has kept these vital elements, he regained his lost life, being able to turn himself into an empowered existence”
As we understand, he was clearly referring to reincarnation.
Reincarnation is a strong belief among Buddhists as well. This is a truth known to all people from old times. But it is our egoism, the search for fame and applause, the power games and personal interest that hold us back. We want it all and we want it for ourselves. In the end, there is a point of view that claims it is better to destroy anyone and his work who could make us look lessknowledgeable.
Here is an excerpt from the thesis“About Ideas”, provided by SextusEmpiricus, who had in his possession only one part of it: “Man must understand that he is very far from reality. The thoughts we have developed clearly demonstrate that we have no true knowledge of anything, that people’s beliefs are formed from the stream of the individuals and from the images that are transmitted by things, and this is reflected on themselves”.
Democritus saw ghosts, “strange images” in the darkness of the tombs, and often suffered from visual hallucinations, and in some of them he foresaw future events which he could very accurate predict. He also believedthat the visions seen in a man’s sleep are of external origins and he claimed that dreams made in autumn are less reliable due to the air disturbances that manifest during this season. In addition, he used to say that what people call Gods are nothing but idol images, wandering ghosts, visions emitted by nature. Democritus spoke about reflecting spectral simulacra.
Democritus lived up to 110 years of age having applied all his theories for a healthy life. It is said that he even postponed his death in order to assist his sister that was getting ready to take part in a celebration called “Thesmophoria” and died right after it was held.
To close on a cheerful note, I should say that my grandmother was a small Democritus herself!I remember when she was on her dying bed and having no contact with her surroundings, I visited her for the last time. She didn’t recognize me, and although she didn’t seem to understand a word I was saying, I asked for her blessing and I begged her not to die, to hold on because I was getting married in the next two days. Suddenly, she opened her eyes, looked at me and said:“Have I ever left you? I will not leave you now either. Now go!” The morning after my wedding, she left for her long journey. Conclusion:Don’t mess up with philosophers and grandmothers!!!
(Part of the texts regarding Democritus are from the book “The truth about the ancient Greek philosophers” by PantelisGianoulalis).