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Essays by Thomas McEvilley

Ankebuta, an ancient Babylonian scientist, wrote a work on "artificial productions" in which he claimed to have manufactured a living human being. Babylonian culture, which did without the idea of a soul, assumed that by meticulous imitation of natural processes humans could create plants, animals, and even other humans. Vain thoughts are a sickness, an ulcer, a thorn. But after overcoming all vain thoughts one is called a silent thinker. A case from Greek polytheistic mythology that of Asclepius, a human physician who became so skilled that he brought a patient back from death provides instructive contrast. Japanese culture is based to a large extent on the Buddhist idea of not-self, or soullessness. As certain areas of Eastern thought have paralleled the Western naturalistic view, certain areas of Western tradition have paralleled the not-self do.