Alexander the Great -or- The Oracle of the Dream
Last year (October 2010) I visited Greece for the first time. I had always felt that I wanted to go there when I was older, when I would appreciate the philosophical experience of walking in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks. I visited the ancient ruins in Athens, Olympia, and Delphi among other sites.
The Oracle at Delphi -or- Ancient Greek Seers and Oracular Dreams
From a historical perspective, the oracle at Delphi's pronouncements are numerous, one of the greatest was that there was no one wiser than Socrates. The pagan oracle at Delphi spoke to the inhabitants of ancient Greece and Rome for over 800 years and was silenced when Christianity became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire.
Even though, the likes of the German poet Hölderlin had tried to resurrect the poetic spirit of the ancient Greeks in the 19th century, the oracle at Delphi no longer speaks to us. Yet, the story of Socrates and how the oracle sent him on a philosophical journey is the stuff that the ongoing story of Western philosophy is built upon. As legend tells us, Diogenes was also informed by the oracle to go on a political iconoclastic mission in ancient Greece.
Alexander (the Great) sought Diogenes counsel. A humorous anecdote that has been handed down; tells of Alexander asking Diogenes if there is anything that he could do for him. Diogenes reply, he would thankful if he (Alexander) would get out of his sunlight, he (Diogenes) was trying to sunbathe. History also informs us that Alexander had a "seer" who made sacrifices to the Gods and read omens. It has been reported, that this man correctly interpreted King Phillip's dream which prophesized the birth of Alexander (the Great). Alexander's birth would be seen and anthropomorphized as the coming a "lion". Aristander who advised King Phillip, would also advise Alexander.
During the siege of the city of Tyre, Alexander had a dream, which again would involve a half human animal; a satyr appeared at a distance and was mocking Alexander. The satyr eluded Alexander's grasp, however finally he was able to capture it. The dream was seen and interpreted by Aristander as a play on words. Dividing the word "satyros" into two words, "sa" = yours, and "tyros" = Trye, the dream then read, Tyre will be yours. Alexander intensified his assaults on Tyre and indeed it was his.
Today these pagan ideas and interpreations find expression in the literary genre of science fiction and have found a voice in the IIDR article Does God Play Dice -or- Dreaming the Future.