Or better yet, don't validate people sensibilities. I suppose I'l rephrase. People's sensibilities determine what they flag.
Locke Tolstoy I confess I am almost stumped by whom to choose as the tenth figure. Benefactors who occur to me are the earliest figure whose law code survives practically in its entirety and BTW, a law code partly based on the mostly lost Urukagina statutes apparently: Again, this accomplishment stands as something worthy and pattern-setting -- to a degree.
For some, the most profound utterance on the human condition is the Hindu text, the Bhagavad-Gita.
Perhaps the first figure to articulate political freedom in a way and a context one can relate to today was Solon, the Athenian lawgiver, who also lived around the same time, I believe?
He also enunciated the principle: And now for Gandhi and King: In the first half of the twentieth century, a simple man in India, Mahatma Gandhi, brought one of the great empires in world history to heel through non-violent means. His example, partly influenced by Hindu philosophy in texts like the Bhagavad-Gita and partly by the example of Leo Tolstoy, inspired a whole nation to throw off an imperialist yoke and live free.
Finally, a whole people who -- to the country's shame -- did not live free, though dwelling in an assumed democracy, were finally afforded greater rights than their forebears although still not made entirely equal to their compatriots through the tireless efforts and eventual martyrdom of an apparent follower of Gandhi, of Jesus, and of Locke: Martin Luther King, Jr.
To choose just one amongst these towering six altruists may be impossible. One could perhaps argue that, with Hammurabi being an arguably transitional figure between Urukagina and Moses, Hammurabi is probably to be relegated to the next ten along with Mother Teresa and so on.
However, Vyasa is certainly a strong candidate, being a profound synthesizer of one of the chief global religions and a philosophical forebear of Gandhi. Solon is in many ways the Ur-democrat small "d"making him arguably as essential as Locke.
Democracy could not exist without the concept of equality, so Ulpian is pivotal here, too, although one could argue that Ulpian could not even have been possible without the prior example of Athenian democracy -- hence, Solon. Gandhi is the first one who had to carry out the Tolstoy philosophy on a practical globally transformative level, so one could claim him as central to the human condition today, even though Tolstoy was partly conditionally foundational for Gandhi in turn.
King, arguably, has three distinct forebears already: Jesus, Tolstoy and Gandhi.
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That leaves us, IMO, with at least two figures whom I find it impossible to ignore: This is why I am pretty much stumped in my choice of either one as the tenth.
If I were choosing a dozen instead of ten, both Vyasa and Solon would be easy, but then the 12th would become a difficult choice between Ulpian and Gandhi -- possibly Gandhi, but Sorry to be so inconclusive.
As for choosing the Evil figures, they frankly bore me. Cheers and feel free to put this up on your discussion page re the most significant Good and Evil figures, if you wishGeoffrey Riggs Reponse from David G.: Wow, Cliff, you've really ventured into a mine-field here, haven't you? I think that it will be very difficult to devise such a list, mainly because no one is entirely good or entirely evil.
And, often, even those with evil means are attempting to carry out good agendas although perhaps in the wrong manner. For example, I think most people would say that Adolph Hitler was the personification of evil.
However, at least, in the beginning, his intentions were good. He was attempting to rebuild Germany after the collapse caused by the loss of the first World War, and by the war reparations demanded by the victors which resulted in the financial collapse of the German economy.
While the means he used to accomplish this were rather draconian, he did achieve his goal of the reunification of Germany, restoration of civil order as opposed to the anarchy which was in effectand an improved economy. It was only later that he started his campaign of military assaults, and his crusade against various ethnic groups which, in my personal opinion, is the ultimate evil.
Additionally, in his younger years, he was an aspiring artist, and some of his paintings were rather interesting. Thus, even in the most evil person imaginable, it's possible to find good characteristics.
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