300 is one of my favorite movies.
The story is of the great King Leonidas of ancient Greece and what he decides to do in the face of a massive Persian invasion of his small city state, Sparta. In proper scope, it’s a dramatized true story of what King Leonidas did in the face of a threat so great to mankind that if he failed, we might not be civilized today.
Persia, held by the man-god Xerxes, dominated the known Mediterranean world by brutal force and with conquered heads of Kings, threatens to annihilate Sparta along its path.
An advance patrol of messengers rides on horseback into Sparta to tell king Leonidas to submit with a simple offering of some earth and water. Fight and Sparta’s men will be annihilated, their women will be taken, the children sold into slavery!
Leonidas seeks word from the “oracle”, an ancient ceremony involving corrupt mystics seeking direction from a dancing young girl. He is disgusted with their advice to do nothing as he is unhappy with the politicians and council to refrain from war to stop the Persians advance.
Leonidas is standing naked in his bedroom, looking at the full moon. He is trying to decide his next move.
He goes to the bed of his Queen to wake her by gently running his fingers up her exposed back.
She wakes and say’s, “Your lips going to finish what your fingers have started?”
He just looks at her and she knows something is troubling him.
Queen: Has the oracle robbed you of your desire as well?
King Leonidas. It would take more than the words of a drunken adolescent girl to rob me the desire of you.
Queen: Then why so distant?
Leonidas: Because it seems, no slave and captives of lecherous old men, the oracles words can set fire to the one’s I love.
Queen: So that is why my King loses sleep and is forced from the warmth of his bed? There is only one woman’s words that should affect the mood of my husband. Those are mine. She gently places her hands on his neck and cheek.
Leonidas opens what so deeply troubles him: Then what must a King do to save his world when every law he has sworn to do, force him to do nothing!
She is looking at him, still holding him.
Queen: It is not a question of what a citizen should do, a husband or King. Instead ask yourself, dearest love, what should a free man do?
He looks at her and understands. He has his answer. They embrace.
I look and understand.
If reason is a prime, then she exercised it in great virtue when it was most needed. She had it. So did Greece. This enactment had to true to a large extent since the dramatized story is history. Greece did have such great people and Greece did make giant moves.
The Greeks did ward off a massive Persian invasion, beginning with King Leonidas at a northern pass. He saved not just his city state and his country; he saved the future from genuine darkness and barbarism. He fought the enemy and what they stood for, religion (irrationalism darkness) and nurtured for mankind, an age of reason and freedom.
Greece at that time must have been an anomaly, – different from all preceding kingdoms. Greece was reasoning, more secular than ever seen, practical, active, and non-worshipping. The Greeks had several “gods” but they were more like fantastic, imaginary stories and fables taught to children. The rest of the world actually believed and obeyed the tyrannical mystics of their lands.
The king could not be great by himself. His secular and proud stature was shared by the citizens of the country. The people were thinkers too. So, especially, was his beautiful Queen. She revealed her beauty by offering the best, at a most crucial moment, and it was pivotal in saving Greece and mankind. Leonidas went on to fight the Persian army.
The Queen didn’t offer short sightedness, but answered the core of Leonidas question with principle. That simple expression “what should a free man do?” makes her, in my mind, one of the most virtuous and beautiful of women.
Many women are intelligent and even witty, but what excites me and really gets me going is seeing that intelligence used honestly. Only reason can enable this.
The most attractive part of a woman is the way she chooses to turn out because of and in spite of academic education. The attractiveness is reason in action. Before I give my example, I’ll go back a little to my first part.
My previous post was a factual ideal. (Romantic realism) King Leonidas’ wife, Gorgo, was as close to a perfect wife any man could want; independent, strong, just, willful, eloquent, knowledgeable and courageous. At a most critical moment in Greece’s history, she did not waver and yield, but stood independent alongside her husband. She upheld reason in its darkest time. 1.
She fought independently and followed through with what was most needed by Greece at the time of their military and political crises. As a result of that secularism, Greece stopped the massive and mystical onslaught of the Man-god, Xerxes of Persia and ushered in the first major spread of reason to mankind. It was this kind of wisdom and courage to stand and fight for the beginning of the Grecian enlightenment that we are all able to have and enjoy a modern life.
Man for the first time, stood as human. It took men and women to go against everything they had been taught to uphold human principles.
Where are these women today? Where are the strong women who have their own minds and think? Where is that continuing western constitution with its passionate goals, desire for freedom and above all, active virtue and values?
Well, there are women in the world today who think and utilize reasoning, not just intelligence.
Let me choose Dambisa Moyo, an economist, who is urging the world’s governments to stop giving aid to Africa. She has several degrees, including a PHd from Oxford and Masters from Harvard. Dambisa Moyo is not betraying the westerrn tradition of enlightenment.
Her arguments are most importantly, reasoned, simple and eloquent. The icing on the cake is she is beautiful, a pleasure to listen to. However, she has done her work and her ideas radiate with virtue.
She argues, the billions in aid to Africa has done nothing but damage, not good. Aid has made the African leadership corrupt and lazy, fighting over United Nations scraps. She is rather in favour of direct capital investment and states this eloquently and clearly. Billions in private capital development and long-lasting employment will do more than the mere millions in Aid from western handouts.
Educated in Harvard and Oxford, she is using her education properly, – not to further tribalism, or connive for more demoralizing handouts, not to finance wars, not to build any kind of tribal clan nor nationalism.
Dambisa Moyo is out to change Africa by reasoned, secular means. Since the secular (reason-based) is the moral, it is therefore practical and life promoting. It is excellent and exciting!
Dambisi Moyo is listed in Times as one of the 100 most influential people in the world today and with good reason. She is running counter to the mindless altruisim (mindless giveaways) of the West. She has researched the decades of United Nations give-a-ways and has concluded their worthlessness. As ordinary people, we knew that, but to bring that research to the academics is most difficult. Dambisa Moyo has even turned against her own teachers, which I think is brilliant – a kind of Aristotle turning against Plato,… justice.
In Africa’s dark time, she is a voice of reason.
1. “Gorgo is noted as one of the few female historical figures actually named by Herodotus, and for her political acumen and wisdom.” (Wikepedia)