Ancient's such as the Egyptians, Persians, and the Mesopotamians lack freedom of thought as the Greeks once did. The world in which we live in has surprising similarities to the way of life brought forth by the Greeks. Characteristics of both the moderns and the ancients are pertinent to our understanding of philosophy and how it has developed throughout history.
The ancients can be simply explained by living in a world of fear. Fears of expression of ones own mind; a fear of regressing from the religion of the tyrant; a fear of being "unholy" in the face of their gods. Much of the Egyptian culture centered on an interest in death. The thing that is most familiar to the society was death. This was expressed mostly throughout the art that has been found. They also relied on many unseen forces (gods) that human beings were constantly indebted to.
This feeling of liability requires the ancients to resolve a simple life in which there is not much room for the mind to breathe. The life of the ancients can be best summed up in a quote from Edith Hamilton's "The Greek Way."
In Egypt, in Crete, in Mesopotamia, wherever we can read bits of the story, we find the same conditions: a despot enthroned, whose whims and passions are the determining factor in the state; a wretched, subjugated populace; a great priestly organization to which is handed over the domain of the intellect (Hamilton 15).
The Greeks, on the other hand, were a society rich in thought and in many other aspects of life. They were the first moderns, believing in a reason for being through a logical worldly sense. Thus is born use of the intellect. A great attempt was made to connect the mind and the...