Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans. Pythagoreanism in philosophy

Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans. Pythagoreanism in philosophy
Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans. Pythagoreanism in philosophy

"Pythagorean pants are equal in all directions" - without exaggeration, we can say that 97% of people are familiar with this expression. About the same number of people know about the Pythagorean theorem. This is where the knowledge of the majority about the great thinker ends, and he was not only a mathematician, but also an outstanding philosopher. Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans left their mark on world history, and it is worth knowing about it.

So wrote Heraclitus

Pythagoras was the son of Mnesarchus, born in Samos during the tyranny of Polycrates. It is not known for certain in which year the thinker was born. Historians agree on two dates: 532 or 529 BC. e. In the Italian city of Crotone, who was closely associated with Somoza, he founded a society of his followers.

philosopher Pythagoras

Heraclitus wrote that Pythagoras was more learned than his contemporaries, but at the same time Heraclitus said that his teaching was a “bad art”, a kind of quackery, but nothing more.

It ended in tragedy

No one knows how long Pythagoras andthe Pythagoreans were in Croton, but it is known that the thinker died in another place: in Metapontus. It was to this city that he moved when the Crotonians revolted against his teachings. After the death of Pythagoras, hostility towards the Pythagoreans intensified not only in Croton, but in all the cities of Magna Graecia. In the second half of the 5th century BC. e. the confrontation turned into a real disaster. In Croton, many Pythagoreans were killed and burned in the same house where they met. Such a defeat was carried out in other cities, those who could survive fled to Greece.

Pythagoras himself never wrote down his thoughts and research results, the only thing that modern society can use is the few records of his students and followers. After the death of Pythagoras, his teaching lost its former political and philosophical significance, but the Pythagoreans continued to exist. They began to take an active part in the creation of Orphic literature, and by the end of the 5th century BC. e. increased their political influence in Greece. But already in the next century, Platonism came to replace the teachings of Pythagoras, and only a mystical sect remained from the old teachings.

From Plato and Aristotle

The teachings of early Pythagoreanism are known only from the words of Aristotle and Plato and from some fragments of Philolaus, which are recognized as authentic. Since Pythagoras himself did not leave any records behind him, it is difficult to determine the true essence of the original Pythagorean teaching under such conditions. Even Aristotle's evidence is contradictory and needs criticism.

early Pythagoreanism

There are prerequisites to consider Pythagoras the founder of a kind of mystical union, who taught his followers to perform purification rites. These rites were associated with the teachings of the afterlife, immortality and the transmigration of souls. This is stated in the records of Herodotus, Xenophanes and Empedocles.

Also, according to legend, Pythagoras was the first thinker who called himself a "philosopher". It was Pythagoras who was the first to call the universe a cosmos. It was the cosmos, the whole world in which order reigns and which is subject to the "harmony of numbers", was the subject of his philosophy.

It is believed that the philosophical system, which today is called Pythagorean, was created by his students, although the main thoughts still belong to the scientist.

Numbers and shapes

Pythagoras saw a mysterious meaning in numbers and figures, he firmly believed that numbers are the essence of things. For him, harmony was the basic law of peace and morality. Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans boldly, but rather peculiarly tried to explain the structure of the universe. They believed that the Earth and any other spherical planet move around a central fire, from which they receive life and heat. They were the first to point out that the planets maintain proportions in the distance between each other. And only thanks to this rotation and distance, harmony is formed.

study of tetrad numbers

Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans believed that the main goal of human life is the harmony of the soul. Only the soul that has been able to achieve harmony can return to eternal order.

Class division

Pythagoras and the early Pythagoreans were considered a religious-political society, which was divided into several classes. Esotericists belonged to the upper class. Their number should not exceed 300 people. These people were initiated into the secret teachings and knew the ultimate goals of Ifagora and the union of the Pythagoreans. The lower class also consisted of esoterics, but not initiated into the mysteries of the community.

To join the ranks of the esoteric Pythagoreans, one had to pass a rigorous test. During this test, the student had to remain silent, obey the mentors in everything, accustom himself to asceticism and renounce worldly fuss. All who were in this union led a moral life, followed the rules and limited themselves in many things. One could even say that the Pythagorean union was somewhat reminiscent of monastic life.

They got together to do physical exercises, mental activities, dined together, performed various cleansing rites. To everyone who was in the Pythagorean union, Pythagoras assigned distinctive signs and symbols by which his students could recognize each other.

philosophy, mathematics and religion in Pythagoreanism

The moral commandments were set forth in the "Golden Sayings" of Pythagoras. Those who did not follow the rules were excluded from the union. But this happened extremely rarely, the members of this community were so devoted to their leader that the words "he himself said so" were considered indestructible truths. All the Pythagoreans were inspired by the love of virtue and were in a brotherhood wherethe human person was subordinated to the goals of society.

Philosophy and power

Pythagoreanism in philosophy is a reflection on number and harmony, concepts that coincided with the concepts of law and order. Each of the commandments of the union was to bring law and harmony into the life of each person. Therefore, the Pythagoreans were intensively engaged in music and mathematics. They believed that these were the best means to achieve peace. They also practiced gymnastics and medicine to improve he alth and give strength to the body. Simply put, the harmony that the Pythagoreans were trying to achieve was not purely a spiritual prescription. A teaching of this kind could not be one-sided: both body and spirit must be strengthened.

It is worth noting that the union included not only ordinary citizens, but also very influential people of that time, so it had a significant impact on public and political life. In short, Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans created an alliance that was not only a religious and moral community, but also a political club. It was a strictly aristocratic party. But aristocratic according to Pythagoras. He wanted society to be ruled by the aristocracy of education, not the nobility. In an effort to introduce their ideas into politics, which contradicted the existing state system, the Pythagoreans brought disfavor upon their heads.

Teaching about numbers

Philosophy, mathematics and religion in Pythagoreanism harmoniously intertwined into one. Their ideas about the world were based on ideas about measure and number, with which they tried to explain the shapes of objects and their the primitive world. In the teachings of Pythagoras, the unit was a point, two was a line, three was a plane, and four was a separate object. Even surrounding objects, and not just geometric figures, appeared to the Pythagoreans as numbers. It was generally accepted that the particles of earthy bodies are in the shape of a cube, the molecules of fire are like pyramids or tetrahedra, and the particles of air are octahedral. Only knowing the form, you can know the true essence of the subject, this is what was the main teaching in the philosophy of Pythagoreanism.

Comparing matter with form, taking numbers for the essence of the objects themselves, and not for proportions, the Pythagoreans came to rather strange conclusions.

teachings of Pythagoras Pythagoreans

A married couple is two units, two. There are actually two, but they are one. If you hit one, then two feel the pain. But if they beat one, and the other does not care, this is not a couple. Yes, they are close, they live together, but they do not form one whole. If such people break up, then parting will not change anything in their relationship, as well as the subsequent connection.

According to their teaching, all numbers that come after ten are a repetition of a series from 0 to 9. The number 10 contains all the powers of numbers - this is the perfect number, which is considered the beginning and ruler of earthly and heavenly life. The Pythagoreans laid out the entire physical moral world into numbers. For example, they said that justice is the multiplication of equal numbers, they called justice the number 4, since this is the first square number, after it comes 9. The number 5 was a symbol of marriage, since itIt was formed from the combination of the male number 3 and the female 2. The number 7 acted as he alth, and the figure eight symbolized love and friendship. One was mind and two was opinion.


The doctrine of Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans about harmony was as follows. All numbers can be divided into even and odd. But only even numbers are considered unlimited. An odd number is power over opposites, so it is much better than an even number. There are no opposites in an even number, so there is no perfection.

Each object, taken separately, is imperfect, only by combining imperfect objects together can harmony be achieved.

Teaching about the Universe

Pythagoras tried to explain the origin and structure of the Universe. Thanks to constant study of mathematics and contemplation of the stars, the Pythagoreans gave a description of the universe that was closest to the truth. Although their ideas of how the world came into existence were surprisingly fantastic.

formation of the universe

The Pythagoreans believed that at first fire formed in the center, it gave birth to the gods, and the Pythagoreans called it a monad, that is, the first. Pythagoras believed that this fire gave rise to other celestial bodies. He was the center of the universe, the force that kept order.

Reflections on transmigration of souls

The philosophy of Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans was also aimed at creating a religious doctrine of the transmigration of souls. There is harmony in the Universe, it should be both in man and in the state. Therefore, a person should strive precisely for harmony, bring everything under it.conflicting aspirations of his soul, to take precedence over instincts and animal passion.

Pythagoras believed that the soul, connected with the body, thus bears the punishment for its past sins. She is buried in the body, as if in a dungeon, and cannot throw it off. But she doesn’t want to, she loves the body by definition. After all, it is only thanks to the body that the soul receives impressions, and when liberated, it will lead a disembodied life in a better world. In a world of order and harmony. But the soul can get into it only when it finds harmony in itself, reaches beneficence and purity.

An impure and inharmonious soul will not fall into this kingdom, it will return to the earth for subsequent rebirths, for wanderings in the bodies of people and animals.

In some ways, the teachings of Pythagoras and the school of Pythagoreanism were similar to Eastern ideas, where it was believed that earthly life is a time of purification and preparation for a future life. It was believed that Pythagoras was able to recognize in the bodies of the souls with whom he was previously familiar and he remembered his previous incarnations. He said that he was now living his fifth incarnation.

According to the teachings of the Pythagoreans, incorporeal souls were spirits, so-called demons, that existed in the air and under the earth. It was from them that the Pythagoreans received revelations and prophecies.

Miletian school

Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans are often mentioned in the Milesian school. This is the philosophical school founded by Thales in Miletus (a Greek colony in Asia Minor). The philosophers who were part of the Miletus school were the founders of the formation and development of Greek science. Here were createdbasic foundations of astronomy, geography, mathematics and physics. They were the first to introduce scientific terminology, the first to write prose.

Representatives of the Milesian school viewed the world as a single inspired whole. They did not see a fundamental difference between the mental and the physical, the living and the dead. It was believed that inanimate objects simply had a lower degree of animation.

pythagoras and pythagoreans alliance

These ideas included the developments of Plato, the thinker who created the world's first philosophical school. The disciples of Pythagoras could easily be recognized by their appearance and noble behavior. But this was only for appearance, so to speak, the result of the views of philosophical teachings. The Pythagoreans wanted to purify their soul in order to get into the world of eternal harmony, and their beneficent intentions had to be met externally as well.

He was not wise

Once Pythagoras said that he is not a bit wise, because only God is wise, he is just a man who loves wisdom and strives for it. The thinker often wondered what a person is. Is it really the one who sleeps a lot, eats a lot and thinks little? Is it worthy of a person? Not at all.

The Pythagoreans created mathematics as a science. Even the Babylonians could add watermelon to watermelon, the Pythagoreans singled out numbers and relationships between them as an independent subject. They ditched the watermelons, added some philosophy and a bit of lively imagination.

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