Wednesday, September 28, 2005

WEstern Thought Wednesday: Plato

Phaedo
So this is a week overdue. As much as I like the interaction with the slave boy, tonight I am finally struck by something worth writing about from this dialogue. I am writing this straight from the brain, so forgive me if it wanders a bit. The immortal soul is the subject. According to Socrates, a person has an immortal soul. The natural state of the soul is the time between death and rebirth. Given this, I now depart from the Phaedo.

As we move through life our minds, or soul, are changed by experience. Our choices limit or expand our further choices and our minds. Various events can happen that physically limit the mind, but I will ignore these as the vagaries of chance are irrelevant. Socrates says we should ignore the opinions of the masses but what should we do when we can not take his advice? Napoleon was a guy that could be said to be responsible for modern Europe with his agressive antiestablishment views. Given that he expressed these views with an army that was kicking all kinds of ass, it is now wonder that more than a few nations found him to be a threat. However, his views of empire weren't known until later in his life, after he had quite a few enemies that were worried about him setting up an imperial dynasty in Europe.

Perhaps a better example is Lenny Bruce. This guy was a comedian, then he gets hassled by the gubmint for a while. He ends up losing the comedy and just ranting about the gubmint.

You know, this post has jsut comepletely derailed. The key point is that no matter who you are born, you have the chance to be a good, decent, enlightened person. Some of those choices are hard and some are easy, but the important part is that you make them. The more you choose to sit in your apartment and watch tv, the less choice you will have in the larger world. Not really news to anyone. Charmides here I come! (This is a joke based on comments made by Socrates in the dialogue...hehe)

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