New Magnaura Circle unites people, who have decided to direct their worldly activity to the following global aim:
protecting people from delusions.
Undoubtedly, the first response which a similar intention could provoke would be the ironic smile, consecutively followed by the parallel to Don Quixote. The members of the Circle are ready to accept a similar attitude.
The second response perhaps could be expressed in a series of questions, some of them being defined as follows:
Another group of questions could be roughly defined this way:
Some of the first group of questions will be answered, or at least there would be sufficient commentary given after a certain preparatory period. This period of time is needed so that the views and opinions of a large number of people could be surveyed and summarized.
As far as the second group of questions is concerned, the following text will provide some answers, which have to be interpreted only as reference points in general.
The members of the Circle consider any activity towards protecting people from delusions as a high morality manifestation. They consider contemporary societies not capable of ensuring enough guarantees for their citizens against delusions and this is the reason why these societies are not moral in the utmost degree. Moreover, the responsibility for that fact should be shouldered mainly by the scientists and the teachers, by the politicians and the journalists, by the people of clergy, the artists and the tradesmen.
Some of those classes, for example the politicians, declare freely that their work is “dirty” by nature, and having that in mind they agitate people and societies not only to “get used” to the idea of being permanently mislead, but also to tolerate the wicked political activities. Ever since the days of Ancient Greece, according to the legends, the tradesmen had been bowing down before Hermes – the God of liars and the thiefs, and being their common patron he probably suggested some inherent intimate relations between those guilds. In addition, being the messenger of the Gods of Olympus, Hermes had undoubtedly managed to institutionalize and legalize the practice of involving into delusions. As for the artists – they have accepted for a long time that the applauses they get from the public are commensurate with their mastery in the latter practice. The so-called “artistic fiction” is their termless copyright, and there is hardly anyone today to remember how Plato protested, using all of his pathos, against the actors who corrupted the youth by demonstrating impersonation onto the stage.
We should make sure not to leave out the scientists, the teachers, the journalists and the religious workers, all of whom are raising the slogan: “We teach, we inform, we educate!” If these were true there immediately arises the question: “If that is the case, why is there such an infinite number of mislead people anyway?” It is more than obvious that such a situation would not constitute a fact if those who taught, informed and educated did their work properly and if they did not, in some cases, deliberately harm the others. And if the journalists could be somehow excused because of the shortage of time which probably is the reason for the half-truths they spread about, then what is to say about the scientists, the teachers and the religious activists? Are they in a hurry, too?
When a problem is of such magnitude, that it practically encompasses all human activities and when the delusions are like metastases spreading everywhere, it is very difficult for one to mark the initial point for its treatment. On the other hand the natural capillary link between all the aspects and points of delusion makes cases like this easy to solve because there is practically no great significance of where the start should be given. Keeping good pace is a guarantee for successful arrival at any real or thinkable delusion.
The members of the New Magnaura Circle take the intellectual human indolence as the immediate cause for the epidemic dissemination of delusions. Especially they have in mind that sort of indolence, which is considered normal. This combination is the reason why a high professional level in a single field is rated as “high intelligence”, even though it could be accompanied by total ignorance in all other walks of life. Once more this combination makes most people indifferent to the discriminating mechanisms for immoral mental manipulation, conducted by different imposter of society which, with or without intention, pursue the mutual goal: “To provide a sufficient number of narrow-minded people and especially such not conscious of the dimensions of their own restricted outlook”.
The members of the Circle do not accept as a normal phenomenon the enormous waste of social energy for various activities towards infiltration of meaningless, not proven and overtly false statements into the minds of millions of people, followed by series of greater efforts (if ever possible) to perform certain intellectual sanitary activities.
The members of the Circle presume that one of the chief problems they will come to will be the problem of the lack of motivation for more knowledge among the people. For it is quite certain that delusions are highly concentrated where knowledge is insufficient. Of course, the problem in question, together with the conclusions from it, is familiar. One has to look at a standard school and will witness a scene, where a large group of young people experience contacts with some older people who, on the average, are able to motivate them to study but only too poorly.
(Note in brackets. As a counterpoint it should immediately be noted that, the situation mentioned above could hardly be observed in a bank, for example. Furthermore, with certainty it could not be observed in any bank at all! The banking sector is a highly motivated world. And if from time to time we encounter some young people to show a particular interest in knowledge, this would not in any case change the sad conclusion. For even if there came a time when all the schools in the world decided to close doors, such e person would be able to continue to amass knowledge. And, probably he wuold find a job in, let’s say a bank, for example. And he would accumulate capitals – capital, including knowledge being a kind of capital. Meanwhile the others will amass delusions.)
Now that societies are liberalized to e certain extend, it is literally impossible to make someone study. (By the way, long before philosophical and political liberalism took over the world, the Bulgarians found out that you can take by force, but you can not give fy force, and that has firmly become one of the national sayings. Certainly other nations have done the same.) One of the most negative consequences of liberalism is that the exciting feeling of freedom is so strong that the preliminary sense of the possible traps is left behind. And one of those traps is the possibility for a person to voluntarily become the victim of various fallacies. That’s why it seems natural and absolutely moral to say, that people have to be trained in a healthier behavior under the circumstances of freedom. And those, who had rested on the wings of thought, believing that freedom gives everything itself, are about to clip their own wings when they come to realize their own general fault. In such case those who don’t manage to live up to that day may be considered fortunate.
One of the major and inevitable problems the Circle would face is the problem of the approach to the idea of protection from delusion. The choice is poor – only educational tools could be used. Certainly here comes the argument that those tools have proved their poor effectiveness down the ages. Unfortunately, mankind have not invented better ones yet. That’s why the right to undeceive, throwing light to the practiceof misleading, becomes invalid exactly where each and every individual would decide to stop it, not allowing the results of any educational activity interfere with his personal way of life. Moreover, it’s a fact that people love their delusions (although it sounds absurd) and they protect them against the slightest risk of losing them. Because of the same reason the members of the Circle are aware that their efforts could be overshadowed by the so-called “Cassandra Syndrome”, named after the case with the famous Greek priestess Cassandra, who gave warning of the deadly danger threatening Troy, but unfortunately there were not enough ears to hear her caution.
The members of the Circle well remember the advice of the ancient piece of wisdom, saying "a man must have the will to change what he can, the patience to reconcile with what he can’t, and the wisdom to tell the first from the second". They realize that their energy would probably be insufficient for a major change and that they have to reconcile with many things from the world of things. But they are filled with quite enough will to lay down the foundations, and to leave them to those who would follow with much more power and wisdom to build up on them in the future.
Members of the Circle realize it is quite possible that their activities could be taken as a self-proclaimed and abusing mentor’s pretence, in most cases addressing some middle-aged people. That’s why they unconditionally declare that they neither intend to play such a role, nor consider themselves teachers of mankind. At the same time they could not ignore the sad fact that, unfortunately, age is not any guarantee for intellectual maturity. For the purpose of eliminating any doubt about any kind of discrimination, anyone who wishes to contact the Circle, could do it anonymously, being more at ease in this way. Hopefully that sort of contact should significantly reduce any sort of embarrassment coming from the apprehension that the idea of protection from delusions could be a form of interference with strictly personal matters. However, the major question is not that both sides of such a process should unreservedly consider themselves absolutely equal, according to the implied code of ethics, but the fact that the person who has cultivated a delusion could do without having the chance to choose alternatively, that is why for him or her life in delusion has become sole reality.
The members of the Circle are willing to establish an environment free for opinions, supporting the personal growth of everyone above (probably) most of his own delusions. As far as this is concerned they feel obliged to explicitly underline the following:
The Circle does not represent any parties, religions, business-groups, universities or any other associations, except its own members, united in their will to realize the ideas of this Manifesto.
The members of the Circle realize one more possible risk: their activity could provoke suspicion and could even be qualified as a refined and disguised involvement into delusion itself. It is easy to guess how difficult it is to offer a counter-argument against such possible qualifications, especially if we keep in mind that those qualifications could be towards those human beings who have already become victims of a number of delusions. Here it is appropriate to mention a very important condition: one of the major threats against each and every initiative, even the noblest one, is the wrong impression which it could easily produce under the conditions of confusion about the used concepts – for instance if “delusion” is not strictly defined as a concept. In the obscurity of meanings everyone could embody the concept “delusion” with a customized sense. In addition there is another threat in this sphere of human activity, i.e. the popular opinion that people know the meanings of the words quite well and thus their comprehension is practically the same. In fact this is one of the most common delusions. It could be compared to a sort of mental and linguistic epidemic and the less people are aware of it, the wider it spreads out. Additionally here comes the pitiful fact that practically we all become infected and live with it since childhood.
Here is an attempt to define the term “delusion”:
"Delusion is every notion, not corresponding to reality".
It’s easy to notice that such a definition transforms many concepts into immediate delusions and lots of others into potential ones. For example, each hypothesis or forecast becomes a potential delusion, because the corresponding reality that should be tested has not come into view yet. Moreover, if we don’t strictly define the parameters of the concepts – “notion” and “correspondence to reality” we’ll never be able to expect a positive result. In fact, from the very beginning the members of the circle are aware that they would often have to carry out their tasks in an unspecified environment. They accept this as a matter of course.
Since delusions are practically to be found in any place where knowledge is lacking (either because someone has not gained it yet or because there is not any knowledge at all) it is more than obvious that this situation itself hinders the task completion course of the Circle. On the other hand, however, its members agree that they could define a range of general principles, inherent to each and every act of delusion and then to present it in a most convenient and convincing way. Such an attitude could economize lots of heterogeneous efforts to analyze the delusion in its rich spectrum. Of course, this does not mean that the fields with high concentration of delusion would be ignored.
The members of the Circle are intellectuals mostly. They do not in any way intend to form whatever that may be called “a closed society”. On the contrary – from the very first day in public they seek contacts and partnership with anyone who is occupied by or interested in the chosen direction.
The members of the Circle are fully aware that since each sort of useful communication needs a certain set of general regulations, it would probably take some time for such a system to start working and some people may consider this not quite effective. In fact that would be exactly that period of time needed to announce and put into practice the Constitution of New Magnaura Circle. One of its major points will be, for example, people’s obligations in the course of the discussions: the participants in the discussions will be required to express themselves in an easy to understand language to reach a maximum of partners. This process itself will probably take some time as well.
Finally, why the name New Magnaura?
Centuries ago, in 425, only three decades after the breakdown of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western, a High School was founded in Constantinople. Probably, those who laid down its foundations wanted it to become the center of the world knowledge. This school never received a particular name, but it has remained in history because it became the heart of the worldly science. Nowadays this story sounds like a legend.
In 7th century the School in Constantinople became an Ecumenicon Dedascslion, meaning Universal School. The rector was entitled Universal teacher. Religious people became teachers and were entitled holy men. Their major job was to educate the students in religion for the most part. However, a century later when some religious conflicts broke up (iconoclasm) the holy men appeared to violate the explicit holy command not to "create an idol or whatever image of what is in the heavens". At that time The Emperor of Byzantium – Leo III announced himself an ardent keeper of the Holy Writ and closed the Universal School down.
The break lasted until the middle of 9th century when the School in Constantinople opened up again, moreover – recovered to its initial state. The educational process was conducted according to the old model, known as the System of the Seven Liberal Arts. They were: disciplines of the trivium – grammar, rhetoric and logic; disciplines of the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music. In addition to the main courses students were taught in geography, philosophy, theology and poetry, as well as in different languages. The dominating rule of the School was that only the vast knowledge of a large spectrum of subjects could be essential for one’s education.
The School Magnaura was named after the place of its headquarters – The Big Palace (lat. Magna Aula) with a slight linguistic transformation. The Big Palace constituted of a large number of administrative buildings, great reception halls and halls for audience, cathedrals, gardens, fountains, libraries and stadiums. The School was the heart of it all. In fact the Emperor of Byzantium lived where the School was, and that is indicative. Was it because the Emperor wanted to show the world how much he cherished knowledge? Or was he eager to have it right before his eyes?
Magnaura welcomed only those who wished to become supreme officials: secular and religious.
The School teachers were polyhistors – that was how people of great erudition were called. Such a person was Its first Rector – Leo the Mathematician. He, along with his administrative duties gave lectures on arithmetic and geometry, philosophy, astronomy and music, and in case of need he transformed his huge intellectual potential into most concrete practical advices for farmers or military men.
Another polyhistor was Patriarch Fotius (820-891) who was pointed by some historians as the symbol of Byzantium during 9th century. Being only 20 years old, he became a Byzantine ambassador to the Arabic Caliphate, and later enthusiastically undertaking his job as e teacher, he exercised major influence upon his students, leading them beyond the obligatory religious awe and reverence. He was the father of a large encyclopedia of ancient literature, consisting of fragments from nearly 280 authors and supplemented by his own commentaries. This way he not only preserved precious parts of many subsequently lost works, but also defended his favorite idea of the necessity for such a historical reflex, which once implanted in people’s minds would make them remember the continuous development of their culture. Certainly Fotius, being a supreme official, was a brilliant master of the diplomatic art, but that did not interfere with (and even could have been the basis of) the idea to inspire and support the mission of one of his students (a colleague after that) – Constantine-Cyril The Philosopher, who together with his brother Methodius had to devote himself to the process of incorporation of the Slavic nations to Byzantium. The incorporation was to be carried out by means of a newly written alphabet for their language and translation of books with the new characters.
This historical act has always attracted observation because it was quite paradoxical: the barbarian tribes were supposed to be drawn by giving them their own alphabet. That meant they were directly driven and motivated to identify themselves. Was this all some kind of a mad enterprise? Wasn’t there anybody in Constantinople to forecast the inevitable? Or simply the two polyhistors Fotius and Cyril indulged in a dangerous competition in finesse, seemingly taking one and the same stand? Who was the winner?
The School won – the style of Magnaura won, the technology of Magnaura won, the system of Magnaura won, bringing up people of erudition into the world. Being practically rich with the entire world’s knowledge, those people were protected for life from the exalted fanaticism of the narrow-minded but painfully ambicious ignorant person.
For most people the vast knowledge of scientist in the Ancient times, the Middle Ages or the Renaissance has no place in modern life. Their general argument is: the volume of information is a dead weight. Nevertheless even at present there are people, who are called by the others “a walking encyclopedia”. For some, however, having such persons around appears to be a threat, that is why, they are often entitled “Mr. Know all”. That is easy to understand – knowledge is power, and fear is the first reaction to it.
Ancient people knew it with certainty. That is the reason why they introduced a strict rule: knowledge is not up to everybody, but to those who will have the power. Nowadays lots of people live with the wrong impression that the times are different. And they do not realize, that the average inhabitant of the planet is as much acquainted with, for example, the technology of the currency exchange rate, as the average inhabitant 4000 years ago was with the reasons for the eclipse of the sun and the moon.
According to a very popular doctrine, education should be pragmatic preparing the students to easily incorporate themselves into certain efficient social mechanisms being the perfect performers. The main idea of the doctrine is: people don’t need knowledge if they will not put it into practice. On this basis narrow specialists are born. Very often they even do not know for sure what exactly the product of the mechanism is. Usually they are well-off and do not feel seriously deprived of anything and thus do not realize why their ignorance should be a reason for fear.
Noble persons, who wish to give warning of the traps this lifestyle is offering, call this social and psychological status "an iron hand in a velvet glove".
Perhaps many would object to this. But most of their objections would result from the "the velvet of the glove", used to hold them now (or back in their childhood when they did not have any intellectual immunity). Those gloves are warm enough for the average person and he wants to feel their touch forever. He will probably never understand that he is being held and he will never see the hands inside.
Let’s say it again: giving knowledge is an act of ethics. It is not a commercial contract. Unfortunately, people have different ideas of ethics, and quite common idea of business. For many giving knowledge would be a burden, while doing business is almost a natural reflex.
The members of the Circle admire the School of Magnaura – the way it was before, and they will do their best to breathe new life into it today, without "huge administrative buildings, heavily ornamented halls" and so on for the time being.
The only thing from the past the members of the Circle would not adopt is the rule of discrimination regarding knowledge, a rule which the old Magnaura was subjected to. That is why they decided to name their society New Magnaura.