Thursday, August 25, 2005

Further on Apology

Per our conversation of the night before, I am posting this question. How does an examined life or knowledge of the self lead to wisdom in the greater world? If I know my motivations and needs, how does that help me to help others? Should I even be concerned with helping others? fulsome responded with the position that once a person understands their being, they will know how to act in every situation. Maybe this knowledge could not be used to help others, but one could lead an examined life as an example for those who are struggling through life. This reminded me of the small bit of Confucius that I have read which states that in order for s person to rule, he (gender is now irrelevant) must understand the motivations of his people. In order to understand the motivations of his people, he must understand the motivations of his household. Following this line to its finality, a ruler must understand their own motivations before they can rule anyone. Self-knowledge must be an awesome power and it is no wonder that so many people have written about it since. fulsome pointed out, again, last night that many have claimed that all of philosophy is but a footnote to Plato. Start at the top and make your way down.


fulsome said...

Confucious was very much a "law & order" type of guy. He thought that it was important to keep order and harmony first and foremost. That is one key distinction.

There is one time where he says something to the effect of, "If the government is corrupt, keep your morals in your pocket and lie low." This would somewhat contradict the western, i.e. Platonic, idea that "be true to yourself" is the overriding goal.

I will agree that I think the role of philosophy is to help people think more about themselves and it often gets lost because of the noise of society. Whether it is art, intellegentsia, or something else that makes you reconsider your values, what is important is that you are always willing to examine them.

Chuckles said...

I guess we could also say that all Western Theater is but a footnote to Plato. Polonius was a plagiarizing bastard.

I am hesitant to say that any investigation of the truth will lead to enlightenment. Some would say that Bible Study leads to enlightenment, while I would not. Self knowledge can only come from the study and understanding of your existence and to follow a watered down enlightenment would seem to me a false path. Kirkegaard was all about the examined life, but he thought that the impetus for this could only come from God, while Heidegger claimed that true examination only came from our ability to question our existence and our desire to question, if I remember Heidegger correctly.

If we examine ourselves in a framework that is limited in context, are we performing a harm to our souls? Or is any examination good?