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Pythagoras and Religion – “A History of Western Philosophy” – Bertrand Russell

December 5th, 2010 · No Comments · Philosophy, Religion

(Pythagoras) may be described, briefly, as a combination of Einstein and Mrs. Eddy. He founded a religion, of which the main tenets were the transmigration of souls and the sinfulness of eating beans. His religion was embodied in a religious order, which, here and there, acquired control of the State and established a rule of the saints. But the unregenerate hankered after beans, and sooner or later rebelled. Some of the rules of the Pythagorean order were:

1. To abstain from beans.

2. Not to pick up what has fallen.

3. Not to touch a white cock.

4. Not to break bread.

5. Not to step over a crossbar.

6. Not to stir the fire with iron.

7. Not to eat from a whole loaf.

8. Not to pluck a garland.

9. Not to sit on a quart measure.

10. Not to eat the heart.

11. Not to walk on highways.

12. Not to let swallows share one’s roof.

13. When the pot is taken off the fire, not to leave the mark of it in the ashes, but to stir them together.

14. Do not look in a mirror beside a light.

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