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2020-09-22 03:48:15


V.An unrighteous gain.

It is, perhaps, characteristic of the times that Aelian’s stories should redound more especially to the credit of Asclêpius and Heracles, who were not gods of the first order, but demi-gods or deified mortals. Their worship, like that of the Nature-powers connected with earth rather than with heaven, belongs particularly to the popular religion, and seems to have been repressed or restrained in societies organised on aristocratic principles. And as more immediate products of the forces by which supernaturalist beliefs are created and maintained, such divinities would profit by the free scope now given to popular predilections. In their case also, as with the earth-goddesses Dêmêtêr and Isis, a more immediate and affectionate relation might be established between the believer and the object of his worship than had been possible in reference to the chief Olympian gods. Heracles had lived the life of a man, his activity had been almost uniformly beneficent, and so he was universally invoked, as a helper and healer, in the sick-chamber no less231 than on the storm-tost ship.354 Asclêpius was still more obviously the natural refuge of those who were afflicted with any bodily disease, and, in a time of profound peace, this was of all calamities the most likely to turn men’s thoughts towards a supernatural protector. Hence we find that where, apart from Christianity, the religious enthusiasm of the second century reaches its intensest expression, which is in the writings of the celebrated rhetor Aristeides, Asclêpius comes in for the largest share of devotional feeling. During an illness which continued through thirteen years, Aristeides sought day and night for help and inspiration from the god. It came at last in the usual form of a prescription communicated through a dream. Both on this and on other occasions, the excitement of an overwrought imagination combined with an exorbitant vanity made the sophist believe himself to be preferred above all other men as an object of the divine favour. At one time he would see himself admitted in his dreams to an exchange of compliments with Asclêpius; at other times he would convert the most ordinary incidents into signs of supernatural protection. Thus his foster-sister having died on the day of his own recovery from a dangerous epidemic, it was revealed to him in a dream that her life had been accepted as a ransom for his. We are told that the monks of the Middle Ages could not refrain from expressing their indignant contempt for the insane credulity of Aristeides, in marginal notes on his orations; but the last-mentioned incident, at least, is closely paralleled by the well-known story that a devout lady was once permitted to redeem the life of Pius IX. by the sacrifice of her own.355

It will be seen that what has been singled out as an anticipation of the Darwinian theory was only one application of a very comprehensive method for eliminating design from the universe. But of what is most original and essential in Darwinism, that is, the modifiability of specific forms by the summing up of spontaneous variations in a given direction, the Epicureans had not the slightest suspicion. And wherever they or their master have, in other respects, made some84 approach to the truths of modern science, it may fairly be explained on their own principle as a single lucky guess out of many false guesses.


We now understand why Protagoras, in the Platonic dialogue bearing his name, should glance scornfully at the89 method of instruction pursued by Hippias, with his lectures on astronomy, and why he prefers to discuss obscure passages in the poets. The quarrel between a classical and a scientific education was just then beginning, and Protagoras, as a Humanist, sided with the classics. Again, he does not think much of the ‘great and sane and noble race of brutes.’ He would not, like the Cynics, take them as examples of conduct. Man, he says, is naturally worse provided for than any animal; even the divine gift of wisdom would not save him from extinction without the priceless social virtues of justice and reverence, that is, the regard for public opinion which Mr. Darwin, too, has represented as the strongest moralising power in primitive society. And, as the possession of these qualities constituted the fundamental distinction between men and brutes, so also did the advantage of civilisation over barbarism rest on their superior development, a development due to the ethical instruction received by every citizen from his earliest infancy, reinforced through after-life by the sterner correction of legal punishments, and completed by the elimination of all individuals demonstrably unfitted for the social state. Protagoras had no sympathy with those who affect to prefer the simplicity of savages to the fancied corruption of civilisation. Hear how he answers the Rousseaus and Diderots of his time:—

If private society exercised a demoralising influence on its most gifted members, and in turn suffered a still further debasement by listening to their opinions, the same fatal interchange of corruption went on still more actively in public life, so far, at least, as Athenian democracy was concerned. The people would tolerate no statesman who did not pamper199 their appetites; and the statesmen, for their own ambitious purposes, attended solely to the material wants of the people, entirely neglecting their spiritual interests. In this respect, Pericles, the most admired of all, had been the chief of sinners; for ‘he was the first who gave the people pay and made them idle and cowardly, and encouraged them in the love of talk and of money.’ Accordingly, a righteous retribution overtook him, for ‘at the very end of his life they convicted him of theft, and almost put him to death.’ So it had been with the other boasted leaders, Miltiades, Themistocles, and Cimon; all suffered from what is falsely called the ingratitude of the people. Like injudicious keepers, they had made the animal committed to their charge fiercer instead of gentler, until its savage propensities were turned against themselves. Or, changing the comparison, they were like purveyors of luxury, who fed the State on a diet to which its present ‘ulcerated and swollen condition’ was due. They had ‘filled the city full of harbours, and docks, and walls, and revenues and all that, and had left no room for justice and temperance.’ One only among the elder statesmen, Aristeides, is excepted from this sweeping condemnation, and, similarly, Socrates is declared to have been the only true statesman of his time.127

We have not far to seek for the cause of this fatal condemnation. Neo-Platonism is nothing if not a system, and as a system it is false, and not only false but out of relation to every accepted belief. In combining the dialectic of Plato with the metaphysics of Aristotle and the physics of Stoicism, Plotinus has contrived to rob each of whatever plausibility it once possessed. The Platonic doctrine of Ideas was an attempt to express something very real and important, the distinction between laws and facts in Nature, between general principles and particular observations in science, between ethical standards and everyday practice in life. The eternal Nous of Aristotle represented the upward struggle of Nature through mechanical, chemical, and vital337 movements to self-conscious thought. The world-soul of Stoicism represented a return to monism, a protest against the unphilosophical antithesis between God and the world, spirit and matter, necessity and free-will. Plotinus attempts to rationalise the Ideas by shutting them up in the Aristotelian Nous, with the effect of severing them still more hopelessly from the real world, and, at the same time, making their subjective origin still more flagrantly apparent than before. And along with the Stoic conception of a world-soul, he preserves all those superstitious fancies about secret spiritual sympathies and affinities connecting the different parts of Nature with one another which the conception of a transcendent Nous, as originally understood by Aristotle, had at least the merit of excluding. Finally, by a tremendous wrench of abstraction, the unity of existence is torn away from existence itself, and the most relative of all conceptions is put out of relation to the thought which, in the very same breath, it is declared to condition, and to the things which it is declared to create.

Finally, in man himself, thought is not distinguished from feeling; it is, in fact, the essence of mind, just as extension is the essence of body; and all spiritual phenomena are modes of thought in the same sense that all physical phenomena are modes of space. It was, then, rather a happy chance than genuine physiological insight which led Descartes to make brain the organ of feeling no less than of intellection; a view, as Prof. Huxley has observed, much in advance of that held by Bichat a hundred and fifty years later. For whoever deduced all the mental manifestations from a common essence was bound in consistency to locate them in the same bodily organ; what the metaphysician had joined the physiologist could not possibly put asunder.


Institute of Plasma Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (ASIPP, HFIPS) undertakes the procurement package of superconducting conductors, correction coil, superconducting feeder, power supply and diagnosis, accounting for nearly 80% of China's ITER procurement package.

"I am so proud of our team and it’s a great pleasure for me working here," said BAO Liman, an engineer from ASIPP, HFIPS, who was invited to sit near Chinese National flay on the podium at the kick-off ceremony to represent Chinese team. BAO, with some 30 ASIPP engineers, has been working in ITER Tokamak department for more than ten years. Due to the suspended international traveling by COVID-19, most of the Chinese people who are engaged in ITER construction celebrated this important moment at home through live broadcasting.

One of ASIPP’s undertakes, the number 6 poloidal field superconducting coil (or PF6 coil) , the heaviest superconducting coil in the world, was completed last year, and arrived at ITER site this June. PF6 timely manufacturing and delivery made a solid foundation for ITER sub-assembly, it will be installed at the bottom of the ITER cryostat.

Last year, a China-France Consortium in which ASIPP takes a part has won the bid of the first ITER Tokamak Assembly task, TAC-1, a core and important part of the ITER Tokamak assembly.

Exactly as Bernard BIGOT, Director-General of ITER Organization, commented at a press conference after the ceremony, Chinese team was highly regarded for what they have done to ITER project with excellent completion of procurement package.


The kick-off ceremony for ITER assembly (Image by Pierre Genevier-Tarel-ITER Organization) 


the number 6 poloidal field superconducting coil (Image by ASIPP, HFIPS) 


ITER-TAC1 Contract Signing Ceremony (Image by ASIPP, HFIPS)

World dignitaries celebrate a collaborative achievement

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