Global Studies 2A:Comparative Political and Religious Systems
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
 
Nora
Global Studies 2A
September 1, 2003
What keeps people from harming their enemies?
People will not harm their enemy, because of established beliefs. They either believe in it because they’ve experienced it culturally and personally or believe it to be the truth based on set cultural boundaries. People are just because they may lack courage, or live in fear of the consequences they may suffer if they stray away from common social concept. People’s actions are strongly guided by cultural and time related perceptions. If common social boundaries and principles weren’t shared by all civilizations would be left with no form of organization at all.
Cultures and parents begin educating new generations at an early age, before their children reach school age. What better way is their than to engage and enforce concepts in children than through story telling. Aesop’s fables has been used for centuries to demonstrate, and entertain, the best way to behave. Adults that were brought up on stories like Aesop’s fables carry these morals engrained in them for the rest of their life. In Socrates’ ideal city he explains that carefully forming stories to be told to all children with hidden lessons and perspectives is the best way to shape the future generation with the best ideals, like justice. “And surely they are, as a whole, false, though there are true things in them too. We make use of tales with children before exercises.”… “For at that stage it’s most plastic and each thing assimilates itself to the model whose stamp anyone wishes to give to it.” [54. 377a-c] Though the stories may be false and perhaps unrealistic that generation will grow up with these stories embedded or, as Plato says, their souls shaped [55.377c]. The purpose of these stories is to implant ideals such as justice so that it becomes second nature, just like in the twenty – first century it is implicit that no one should steal. If justice is valued among a group and harm is considered unjust then an individual is less likely to harm their enemy.
In the first half of book two Adeimantus believes that if a person has divine character than they will be just. “someone who from a divine nature can not stand doing injustice”. So divine people, if they have enemies, would not be willing to do harm to their enemies for they would not be willing to be unjust. Adeimantus believes if you aren’t divine, there is no reason, aside from knowledge, to be a just human being.
During the building of Socrates’ hypothetical city he builds an army, a good strong one. Socrates says that to make the army strong the soldier needs to be full of character in order to make the army successful. “Haven’t you noticed how irresistible and unbeatable spirit is, so that its presence makes every soul fearless and invincible in the face of everything?” [52. 375a-b] If it is strong character that makes it possible for a soldier to attack his enemy then it is the absence of character that prohibits an individual from attacking the enemy. “because of a lack of courage, or old age, or some other weakness, men blame injustice because they are unable to do it.” [43 366d] Some people can’t find the strength, physically, mentally or both, to harm their enemy.
Socrates argues, using dogs as a parallel to humans, that all things alien to humans become an enemy even if there was no offense made. But all people we know, even people we dislike we are kind, or at least courteous to . “You know, of course, that by nature the disposition of noble dogs is to be as gentle as can be with their familiars and people they know and the opposite with those they don’t know.” … “When it sees someone it doesn’t know, its angry, although it never had any bad experience with him.” [53. 375d – 376a] An enemy is formed simply by the unfamiliarity. “It distinguishes friendly from hostile looks by nothing other than by having learned the one and being ignorant of the other.” [ 53. 376b] If people were able to at least learn more about their enemy they might discover their really is no need to be an enemy with that particular person.
Adeimantus also believes that unless a person has gained a certain knowledge about injustice that others haven’t than that person will not commit that injustice. An individual “who has gained knowledge”… “keeps away from injustice” Whether it be a personal belief or cultural value that justice is good someone who wishes to be just will do so even if they have enemies.

When an individual has suffered from a pain than that person, in the future, will be more sympathetic towards others who have or who are experiencing the same pain. If the pain of the first individual was caused by someone else’s unjust behavior than they are less likely to cause someone suffering by the same cause for they can relate to that pain and wouldn’t wish the pain on any one else for they understand what it’s like.
“They say that doing injustice is naturally good, and suffering injustice bad, but that the bad in suffering injustice far exceeds the good in doing it; so that, when they do injustice to one another and suffer it and taste both, it seems profitable - to those who are not able to escape the one and choose the other – set down a compact among themselves neither to do injustice nor to suffer it.” [36. 358e – 359d]
People are less likely to commit the crime if they previously were the victims of the same crime.
Many people are concerned with image, social status, and reputation. A person will be just simply to own a good reputation. Or they will be just for fear of the consequences of their reputation or personal suffering. According to the story about Musaeus and his sons the unjust are punished both when they are alive and when they are dead, told by Adeimantus. “So in these like ways they extol justice. And, in turn, they bury the unholy and unjust in mud in Hades and compel them to carry water in a sieve; and they bring them into bad reputation while they are still alive.” [41. 363d-e] Humans, though they may not agree with their actions, will contradict their opinion in order to do what is considered right and just for the time out of fear.
Beliefs, lack of courage, perceptions, and fear of judgment do not guarantee that individuals will not harm their enemies. For their will always be people who stray from ordinary. What these ways of life do ensure is that most people will believe and teach this as the just way of life.


Tuesday, September 02, 2003
 
you said has not had.
 
tim, if you have no enemys, that means that you have never hated another. Im sure that you have been angry before and when you are angry you feal enraged with something. Or in other words you feel hatred towards something and that is the defanition of an enemy. so unless, you've never once been angry in your life, then you have had an enemy-One who feels hatred toward, intends injury to, or opposes the interest of another; a foe. (Dictionary.com)
 
In responce to [ Tue Sep 02, 11:29:26 AM | sam bennett | edit ]

I have no enemies, maybe rivals.

Best Regards
Tim
 
Reflection Paper #2

What keeps an individual from going out and doing harm to his enemies? There must be something restraining the human population; for if there were no restraints, we would all go around harming any person that for one reason or another we don’t care for. From the text of The Republic, it is apparent that Plato understands that the most prominent restraint is fear of one’s own physical safety. The role of morality should also be considered, which Plato doesn’t mention in the publication.
Glaucon, a companion of Socrates, states that there are three kinds of goods. One, things we desire for their own sake. Two, things we desire for their consequences; and three, things we desire for their own sake and the reward we get from doing them. Glaucon then states that: “Doing injustice is good, and suffering injustice bad, but that the bad in suffering the injustice far exceeds the good in doing it” (page 36, 358 e). Glaucon continues: “When they do injustice to one another and suffer it and taste of both, it seems profitable—to those who are not able to escape the one and choose the other to set down a compact among themselves neither to do injustice nor to suffer it” (page 36-37, 358 e). In the text, Plato argues that due to the fear of your enemy inflicting an injustice unto you, you do not inflict pain unto your enemy. This is similar to the tariff system between nations; where one country does not raise tariffs, for the knowledge that the other country is capable of doing the same.
Although Plato discusses justice in great detail, he neglects to mention the role of morality. John Locke is quoted as saying: “To love truth for truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues” (freedomnest.com). Morality is defined as: “The system of ideas of right and wrong conduct” (Encarta 1999). John Locke touches upon the importance of acting in a moral manner. Every man knows this truth, and stores it away in his conscience. This conscience forces every man to rethink an action, which without his conscience would have been automatic. Although within some men this does not affect their decision to harm another human, it does affect other’s decisions. Nonetheless, it is an important element of the decision making process.
Fear of one’s own life being harmed, as well as morality, restrains humans from inflicting pain unto others. This fear is so great that it caused the ancient men of Greece to form compacts and make laws to protect them from others. These laws and compacts were so crucial they became the “genesis of justice” (page 37, 359 a).

List of Works Cited
Encarta 1999
http://freedomnest.com

 
What keeps you from going out and doing harm to your enemies?
by: Rachel Smith

There are many reasons and issues why the human race, doesn’t go out and harm their enemies. As Glaucon points out in Book 2, Justice is not something that we obey for our own sake, but something we do out of fear and weakness.
He tells Socrates and Thrasymaches the legand of the ring of Gyges, in which he proves his point that people in the world are only Just, because they are afraid of punishment and the consequences of being unjust. If people were allowed the ability of being “invisable” than of course, people would be getting into things that would nornally be considered wrong.
If their was no punishment in society for harming and/or killing others, than wouldn’t half the population be dead? However, every day on the news you hear about murders and no trace to be found on the person. Why is their so
many harm? Why is their not enough harm? How do people choose what are“good choices” in the world anymore? Glaucon quotes “They say that doing injustice is naturally good, and suffering injustice bad, but that the bad in
suffering injustice far exeeds the good in doing it.” {358 e} If you are a unjustifed person, he thinks, than you are rewarded with wealth. If you are justifed,you are scorned and wretched.
So again, why don’t people be unjust and harm enemies when they desire too? Because Justice is desirable. We desire it both for our own sake and consequences. This relates and has proof of Glaucons theory that all good is
divided into three classes:
1) Things we desire for consequence
2) Things we desire only for their own sake
3) Things we desire for own sake and what we gain from them
Nobody is just because we desire it in ourself. If their was no Justice in a humans life, their would be no point in living. We must desire it for ourown sake.

 
bibliography
Sam
The Republic of Plato, by Plato, 378 C
 
Sam
Global Studies 2A
09/1/2003

Everyone in the world has at least one person they disagree with enough to call an enemy. So what keeps us from going out and doing harm to them? To really answer that question, you need to know the reasons for and how much of an enemy a person is. You also have to look at how long this person has been an enemy for, and you need to look at it from the view of the enemy.

““Above all,” I said, “it mustn’t be said that gods make war on gods, and plot against them and have battles with them—for it isn’t even true—provided that those who are going to guard the city for us must consider it most shameful to be easily angry with one another.” This quote shows how the gods, the perfect people don’t do harm to there enemies. They may very well be fictional, but the idea still holds true. This might be one of those lies that everyone on the planet fell for, but if it is helpful, is it wrong? The gods are bringers of good, and they don’t do harm to there enemies and if it helps to prove an idea that seams to be true anyways behind the lie, then it is good.

There are many different levels of enemies. People vs. people, gang vs. gang, town vs. town, or country vs. country. If Bam and Susan don’t like each other, disagree about everything, and just bug the hell out of each other for a year. Susan isn’t going to try to take Bam out. I know this is a fact because of the obvious feud that is going on between two people with similar name. Since I know every aspect of the feud, I can make that assumption. Both Bam and Susan are respectful, law abiding citizens with enough know-how to realize that they have the option to do harm, but don’t want to deal with the consequences of it.

There are different degrees of enemies on a physical level, a mental level, and the consequences and risks involved. If you don’t take these things into account, you can’t decide if you should do harm to your enemies. Most people or groups of people have the brains to think these things through. All that really stops them is time. If you have time to think something through, you can way both sides, and decide if your plan is really a good idea. But if you act don’t act rashly and just go with the flow, you can make the mistake of not taking into account one or all of the above things.

In conclusion, I think that the only thing that stops people or groups of people from going out and doing harm to there enemies, is time and the ability to think about the severity of the issue, and the consequences of your actions.

 
Social Science 5a
Erica Boudette
9/1/03
Reflection-Enemies

What keeps you from going out and doing harm to your enemies? Why don’t you just go out and hurt or kill or steal from the people who you don’t like or who’ve done things against you? This topic is discussed in Plato by Socrates and Polemarchus, Polemarchus says justice is “…To give to each what is owed.” (331e) and “…An enemy owes his enemy the very thing which is also fitting: some harm.” (332b) So the definition of justice would then be “Doing good to friends and harm to enemies…” (332d). If this is the case, why don’t we all do harm to our enemies? After all, that’s justice, so since most societies are obviously not based on doing harm to one’s enemies, there must be something stopping us.
The thing that is stopping us from doing harm to our enemies is, consequences. Maybe it looks good on paper that you should do harm to your enemies, because they deserve it and that is justice, but, in the real world what is going to happen if everyone gets back at their enemies. If you think about probably almost everyone in the world is going to be someone’s enemy, if everyone was concerned with giving harm to their enemies than their society would turn to utter chaos and the chain of harm would escalate until “…a complete stranger was getting even with them.” This quote is from a young adult book, one chapter in this book is about the people who live in the Valley of Vengence, where everybody’s man concern is to get even with there enemies. That is was doing harm to your enemies is all about, getting even with them because if they are your enemies than they have obviously done something to you, either directly or indirectly, so when you do something to them you are really getting back at them, or getting even. Here’s what happened in the book, “…they were not quite as well off as their neighbor. So they’d get even by burning down their neighbor’s house. And he’d burn down theirs in return. So they’d burn down their neighbor’s relatives’ house. And steal the cattle and chickens and children that went with the house. But by that time someone else, a complete stranger perhaps, was getting even with them.”
Is there anybody who really wants to live like this? In a society were this idea of justice has escalated to this point. Because this is the consequence for doing harm to your enemies, they are going to get back at you, because you’re their enemy. Then you have to do even more harm to them and so on and so forth until the society is a complete disorganized mess and nobody even remembers what the original harm was done for anyway. Most people can look far enough ahead to see that is they do harm to everyone they’re against, even if they deserve it, that the consequences are going to outweigh the initial benefits of have your enemies be worse off or out of action. For the people who can’t see this, most societies have laws that punish people who do hurt their enemies. And so fear of what will happen to them is why people don’t go out and get back at their enemies.
This is also apparent in book 2 of Plato, because Socrates is one of those people who can look ahead and see the consequences. When he is designing the luxurious city one of the most important things he talks about is choosing guardians for the city. Because they “Must cut off a piece their neighbors’ land”(373e), in order to have room for them, and in doing it they are going to make their first enemies. The nature of the guardians is very important because the must be “Gentle to their own and cruel to their enemies.” Meaning the outside neighbors, not the people in the city. But if they are people who are willing to defend themselves against their enemies, “How will they not be savage to one another, and the rest of the citizens?” (375b). Socrates knows its important to not harm all of your enemies, technically the guardians could all be enemies of each other, since they all compete against each other and they probably have enemies in their ranks. Most likely they each have enemies within the citizens as well. But it would create a lot of chaos if they went after all of their enemies within the city, and even all of the neighbors who are their enemies. So they consequences of what could happen have to keep them in line, and only people with a certain personality could handle it in that situation.
So it is not considered acceptable to do harm to all of your enemies and most people refrain from harming their enemies, even though they may want to, because of the consequences that result from.

Sources:
Feiffer, Jules.A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears. Harper Collins Publishers, USA 1995

 
Tim
What keeps you from going out and doing harm to your enemies?

I think that the answer to this question is the golden rule, but otherwise, I think two main things keep people from going out and doing harm to their enemies. The first would be morals; this would include religious beliefs, and family values. The second thing that keeps people from going out and harming their enemies would be, consequences, which sort of ties into morals anyway.

I think everyone has a certain threshold, and when that threshold is broken; not morals or consequences can stop them, from doing harm to your enemies. For the most part though, I think the first thing that comes into mind when you are about to do something bad is morals. Your morals, are so familiar that you don't think about them, there just automatically there, they sort of create that threshold edge, morals decide when your going to get mad, and how much it's going to take to get you mad. As far as I'm concerned there are two different kinds of morals. First would be family morals. Which would be, how you grew up, what the rules were, how people around you treated each other, how they acted towards each other, your manners, basically how you were brought up and what the rules were. The second type of morals, are religious morals, for example the Ten Commandments in the catholic religion. For example the fifth commandment is "Thou shalt not kill." (Which Ten Commandments) There are also different stories in different books sort of create your morals. You'll find that a lot of stories, for instance in the holy bible, are the same sort of things that will happen to you. For example conflicts with others are both present in the bible, and real life.

The golden rule is the answer to why people don't go out and hurt their enemies. The golden rule goes as follows, "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."(Matthew 7:1) It basically means, treat others how you want to be treated. So, do not hurt your enemies unless you want them to hurt you. Or do not kill people unless you want people to kill you. The golden rule is basically cause and effect, you do something and something will happen to you. "The Golden Rule or the ethic of reciprocity is found in the scriptures of nearly every religion."(The Golden Rule) The quote before proves that almost every society, or religion has agreed on one thing and that's the golden rule, which is probably why it's called the golden rule.

Consequences is what keeps us from following through, and hurting our enemy, or committing a crime, unless of course our threshold has been broken, as said before. Consequences tie into both morals and the golden rule. As I said before families have rules and to keep those rules from being broken, there are consequences. As said before about the golden rule, the effect would be the consequence. For example today if you commit a murder, you can get the death penalty, depending on the state. For example in Missouri you can get the death penalty for: "First-degree murder"(Crimes Punishable by the Death Penalty) For committing a first-degree murder, you get executed. I think the hope of the death penalty is to keep people from committing the crime, just as I said before, there are consequences so that rules are not broken. This goes from rules that you had when you were in preschool to rules of the law. I think that especially with the consequences, when your threshold is broken, you don't think about the consequences you just think about the victim. If there aren't any consequences, and nobody was compelled to be moral, people would do harm to their enemies, and do unjust things. For example if there was a ring that a man could put on and he "had license to take what he wanted from the market without fear, and to go into houses and have intercourse with whomever he wanted, and to slay or release from bonds whomever he wanted, and to do things as an equal to a god among humans."(The Republic 360 b-c)

If you live by the Golden rule, which many have, then will not harm anyone, in theory. Otherwise morals come to your mind first then consequences.





Sources:

Which Ten Commandments
http://www.positiveatheism.org/crt/whichcom.htm
A Reprintable, Royalty-Free Handbill by Cliff Walker
and Jyoti Shankar



Matthew 7:1
The Universality of the Golden Rule in the World Religions http://www.teachingvalues.com/goldenrule.html


The Golden Rule
http://www.fragrant.demon.co.uk/golden.html

Crimes Punishable by the Death Penalty
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=144&scid=10
©2003 Death Penalty Information Center


The Republic of Plato, Second edition
Allan Bloom
Copyright 1986 by Allan Bloom

Monday, September 01, 2003
 
Will, you ask the question, "is it worth harming our enemies, and what stops us from harming people." Then you changed your mind and the question to, "Is doing harm to your enemies really worth it." this is the same question as before, but written differently. what were you really trying to say when you changed the wording? you start off by saying that "It is true that doing harm to your enemies will make you feel powerfull and above them," but then you disagree with yourself towards the end and say "i believe that doing harm to your enemies is not worth it." why then would you agree that doing harm to your enemies makes you more powerfull? obviously you do not agree with this if you think that doing harm to your enemies in the first place is extremly wrong. i, to begin with, don't agree at all with that statement because when one inflicts pain on someone deep down, they never end up feeling better than before because they know that "harms way" creates more problems. it is common sense that there could always be a consequence when one does harm; injustice. if this is so, i do agree with you when you say that harm is not the answer. but i'll ask you this...what is the answer?
 
John Donahue
9/1/03
Plato
Paper
What keeps you from harming your enemies?
Consequence is just another word for punishment. Before anyone does anything that they might get in trouble for, a common thought is, “ What will happen if I do this?” It’s fear of being punished that holds people back. Whether it’s fear of your parents when you are in your youth, fear of a spouse, or fear of the government punishing you that makes you not want to take that risk. Certain people don’t care about being punished, and feel they can do what they want.
Imagine if there were no laws or rules in a country? That country would crumble because no one would take anybody seriously. There would be endless amount of theft, and murder, and any other crime. In order for a country to operate correctly, there have to be rules and regulations that the citizens have to follow. “Justice is practiced only under compulsion, as someone else's good - not our own." (B.2, 360C)
This was a statement made by Glaucon to Socrates regarding justice. Everyone has a dark side, and Glaucon is saying that if there were no rules and punishments, there would be no need for justice. Occasionally, you would come across a moral man, but in a place with no justice how do you establish morals? What would be correct and incorrect? How could someone establish morals if there was no moral code to begin with?
We don’t harm our enemies because we have been brought up not to. There might be a little scuffle here, or punch thrown there, but as for going out with the intent to seriously hurt someone, most people brought up in well-to-do homes don’t do that. Young minds are very impressionable, that’s why parents don’t let there children watch violent shows when they are young, because they will try to mimic they see. Another example would be if you meet someone who is racist, chances something that person looks up to is racist, or has been around a racist environment. Those thoughts just don’t appear, they had to have learned them from somewhere. People often say, “I would feel morally wrong if I did that.” If justice was never there, would you have those morals?
Certain crimes are taken for granted. When you are young, if you were to get caught shoplifting, you would worry about what your parents were going to do to you more than anything. If you were older and you got caught, the only person you have to answer to is Uncle Sam. Shoplifting in the US is a minor crime, depending on how much you shoplifted. In certain cultures, shoplifting can mean you lose your hands. It’s all about fear, and if the US had that same law, shoplifting would happen as often.
Rules, fear, punishment, consequence, morals, these all have to do with why people don’t harm there enemies. People like to say, “ I could never harm anyone.” The bottom line is though, what if their was nothing to hold you back? No one to tell that it’s not allowed . Would you feel the same way then?


 
Will Meyer
9/1/03
SS5

When we talk about enemies and doing harm to them we must ask ourselves, is it really worth it? We must also discuss what stops us from going out and harming people that we do not like.

It is true that doing harm to your enemies will make you feel powerful and above them. However, are you, as a human being, ready to accept the consequences? For example, if you have an enemy and you go to their house and harm them in any way, you better be ready to accept the mental and physical consequences. Mentally you will feel guilty about whatever you have done. For example, if you punch your enemy, or hurt them severely your conscience will make you feel bad and you may become depressed. Physically you could be severely punished by the law, or your enemy might want to get back at you. For example, in the worse case scenario, if you were to kill your enemy, eventually the law would catch up with you and you might go to jail. Therefore, in my opinion it is just a bad idea to harm your enemies, and the examples above prove that it is a bad idea.

Plato’s argument about doing harm to your enemies takes a different form then mine. He describes doing harm to your enemies as a form of justice and injustice. In Book II, the philosophers gather around and talk about justice. Socrates starts out by creating a basic city, or in other words, a “healthy” city were everyone’s basic needs are met and the division of labor is practical and efficient. However, these people live without luxury, they have no fine arts, culture, or amenities. He then goes on to explain a luxurious city. In this city, lands and things need protection from evil doers. So, Socrates and Adeimantus decide that the city needs a guardian class. However, they decide that in order for this guardian class to work the guardians themselves need to be taught how to control things by the philosophers. Without the philosophers, the guardians would be too aggressive and might turn on each other or the populace. With the teaching of the philosophers, they can control themselves and others, and protect therefore protect all from evil doers.
This is an important theme because the philosophers are saying that to rule a society, without succumbing to evil things,. There must be a middle man to control the population. The middle men in this case are the philosophers. This theme in Book II also proves that philosophers believe that doing harm to your enemies can be a just thing. The reason that you do harm to your enemies has to be a good one, and you must be ready to suffer certain consequences. However, at the same time Plato is saying that doing harm to your enemies is a bad thing because it causes chaos in populations. So, the question really is, is doing harm to your enemies really worth it?
I believe that doing harm to your enemies is not worth it. I believe that the consequences for actions you take against your enemies is just too dangerous and the consequences too great. This belief coincides with that of Socrates who believed we need to be able to prevent the outbreak of chaos in society without doing harm to one another by establishing the guardian class.


 
Plato Reflection: “What keeps you from going out doing harm to your enemies?”
Andy Howe
8/30/03
If one were to ask the question of, “What keeps you from going out and doing harm to your enemies?” the majority of responses would be something lame such as, “because it’s wrong,” or “it’s not right.” These catchy phrases have all been preprogrammed notions that have been crammed into most everyone’s brain since we were young impressionable babies. Society as a whole has accepted these commonly known as; basic rules of life, such as no killing people or committing any form of harm. In Plato-terms, these rules and morals all just tag along with the concept of justice versus injustice.
Even with this common understanding stating that all people will not commit these acts, as we all know, people do them anyway. This is where the conflict of the justices comes into play. Throughout a society, the higher officials place rules and laws over the population. These rules and laws are put in place in order to establish some form of order, which serves the purpose bringing justice to the injustice. In terms of a literal meaning, justice is portrayed quite differently though a society. Justice is an eternal good through true deeds of which no desire for public recognition is sought whatsoever, but to a society through law; justice is,
“… a mean between what is best-doing injustice without paying the penalty-and what is worst-suffering injustice without being able to avenge oneself.” (359 a, page 37)
Societies come up with laws that formulate justice to their particular needs, the laws are shaped to most benefit the majority of the population in a way which is closest to the true meaning of justice. Punishments are assigned to crimes dealing with the justice policy of the society. These punishments highly influence in a positive way towards the actions, which the population choose to take. Now, if a person living in a city goes through his or her life without breaking any laws ever, this does not necessarily mean that this person is just.
This is where the confusion plays out with Plato. There are many cases where people are unjust but they have the illusion of leading the life of a just person and vice versa. People commit unjust acts all the time considering the degree to which they are able to go undetected. As one goes through life in a society, if they are careful, they have the ability to build a reputation for ones self. If someone creates a reputation for himself or herself as being a just man yet he commits injustices, he is golden. This person can now commit injustices and only experience the profits from that act and avoid the horrible suffering, which usually stops people from doing the injustice in the first place. It is evident through this quote in, The Republic of Plato, that this is in fact true;
“… he must be allowed to do the greatest injustices while having provided himself with the greatest reputation for justice. And if, after all, he should trip up in anything, he has the power to set himself aright; if any of his unjust deeds should come to light, he is capable both of speaking persuasively and of using force, to the extent that force is needed, since he is courageous and strong and since he has provided for friends and money.” (361 a; b, page 39)
It is very clear that having the reputation of being truly just even though one is not, the profits of injustice can still be enjoyed. The next quote from, The Republic of Plato, shows yet another dimension of the importance of a reputation,
“… a man simple and noble, who according to Aeschylus, does not wish to seem, but rather to be, good. The seeming must be taken away. For if he should seem just, there would be honors and gifts for him for seeming to be such. Then it wouldn’t be plain whether he is such for the sake of the just or for the sake of gifts and honors… his situation must be made opposite of the first man’s. Doing no injustice, let him have the greatest reputation for injustice, so that his justice may be put to the test… come to the extreme-the one of justice, the other of injustice- they can be judged as to which of the two is happier… the just man who has such a disposition will be whipped; he’ll be racked; he’ll be bound he’ll have both his eyes burned out; and, at the end, when he has undergone every sort of evil, he’ll be crucified and know that one shouldn’t wish to be, but to seem to be, just.” (361 b; c; d; e; 362 a, page 39)
Through this quote, it is painfully clear that it does not matter if you truly are just or unjust, what, in reality, only matters is what reputation you hold within a society. This importance of reputation is what holds back harmful spontaneous actions.
Getting back to the issue of, ’what keeps people from going out and doing harm to their enemies?’ I have covered one aspect, the desired reputation within a society, but another very important aspect deals with the concept of fear. Fear plays a very important role in preventing people from sinning and committing harm to their enemies. There is always the fear of having someone harm you as a result of your harm and then there is the fear of the conventional suffering of an injustice act. Plato makes it very clear that although injustice has profits, the suffering is far greater, thus having a desired reputation determines your lifestyle.
In the model city, which Socrates in the reading gives about a city in which he creates, high guardians would control and use propaganda to refine information about the ideals and goals of a society to their own needs. He speaks about how the gods are forever truly just and this ties into how having a reputation and preserving a reputation by not resorting to drastic measures on your enemy can, had, and will create and preserve a highly profitable and desired lifestyle. Socrates aims to achieve this goal by using poets and storytellers to write and speak in specific ways and tell certain altered stories. This brings us back to a reality shot and out of Socrates model world where artists reflect and ponder on such matters dealing with validity of the propaganda in which they are fed. For example, in the song, “Money,” by Pink Floyd, they reflect through this quote,
“Get a good job with more pay and you're O.K.
Money it's a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I'll buy me a football team… Money it's a hit
Don't give me that do goody good bullshit
I'm in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I'll need a Lear jet… Money it's a crime
Share it fairly, but don't take a slice of my pie
Money so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a rise it's no surprise that they're
giving none away.” (“Money,” Pink Floyd)
Money is a sort of modern evil that represents the profits of unjust acts. Specifically where it says, “Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit… I'm in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set…” the band is reflecting on how higher class people with this ‘do good justice reputation’, in reality, do not do justice at all. For in justice comes purity, and purity does not come from doing acts for profits, which is also presented in, The Republic of Plato. The band, Pink Floyd, has reflected that the goals of society are skewed in what happiness is; and for that matter, what a profit is. The minds of a population have been geared towards materialism and this uncovers the true flaw in the masterminded setup of capitalism. Through another song called, “Welcome to the Machine,” Pink Floyd thoughtfully comments,
“Welcome to the machine.
Where have you been?
It's all right; we know where you've been.
You've been in the pipeline filling in time… And you didn't like school,
And you know you're nobody's fool.
So welcome to the machine… And you didn't like school,
What did you dream?
It's all right, we told you what to dream.
You dreamed of a big star… So welcome to the machine.” (“Welcome to the Machine,” Pink Floyd)
The song deals with how materialism and knowledge are over-rated. The quote suggests with how it is still possible to be successful through means other than what the government has broadcasted. This all relates back the point of reputation. Through the world in which we live with the ideals of the government and through the realities of what is referred to throughout the quote as, “the machine,” that reputation has different importance to a population as a whole and individually. In what Socrates is saying, the public view of an individual success in being just has to do with the importance of acquiring and maintaining a reputation of justice through materialism. Pink Floyd’s reflections, however, highlight that justice can exist whether a person is a simpleton or not and still be happy if one’s world reality has not been skewed by the evils of materialism.
Out of the power of misfortune, we happen to live in a materialistic society created through a capitalistic lifestyle and government functions. The product of these materialistic ways, speaks to of greater benefit through the eyes of the majority of the population in the world today to have a reputation of being just as a high priority. Having this be a high priority and ideal to the morals of the population it is in the effort to preserve and maintain their reputation by seeming just and not committing obvious harm to one’s enemies. It is also out of the fear of losing one’s credibility to a reputation or social status by using drastic measure of harm towards one’s enemies. People see that the benefits of seeming just largely surpass the profits of blatant injustices. In conclusion, these reasons are the very ones that predominantly hold people back from doing harm to their enemies.





 
Will Meyer
SS5
8/26/03

In the modern world that we live in little time is taken to think about the world and how we function as a society. The few people that do take that time usually have been around for a while. Personally I believe that the young do not have enough experiences to be philosophers.
I believe that older people have a better grip and understanding on the world at large. Now, I am not saying that young people cannot philosophize. Socrates proved that wrong. In Plato, Socrates seems very interested in what Cephalus has to say. Cephalus is one of the older philosophers in the group. Socrates hangs on his every word and listens to everything he has to say. For example, when Cephalus talks about money and how he had to earn everything he owned, an excited Socrates replies, “but tell me something more.” Before this speech about money, Cephalus explains to Socrates the good and the ugly parts of old age. He explains that through old age there comes a great sense of wisdom, and sometimes even wealth. A bad thing about old age, he explains, that it sometimes makes people long for youthful spirit. Cephalus, however, does not seem to be bothered by old age and he goes on to tell Socrates about everything he knows. Socrates believed that the old deserve our respect because their wisdom far exceeds that of the young.
The young people in this world do not have bad or stupid minds. In fact, there are some young people who exceed older people in brain power. However, young people lack the life experience of older people regardless of how smart they are.
Today that belief has changed a little bit. You can see this change in media and the real world. For example, in The Simpson’s, Grandpa is mostly forgotten about in his nursing home, and no one really seems to listen to him. It makes for a funny episode but its not what I believe. In my opinion a real world example of this happening is President George W. Bush. It seems like he learned nothing from his father’s mistakes in office, and we now have an economy that is less than perfect. And we’ve been at war for the longest time since Vietnam. Maybe if “W”. had listened or learned from his father we would not have the same problems all over again.
More and more young people are not listening to the old. I believe that the old should be listened to in order to learn from their mistakes. Not only can we learn from their mistakes, but we can also learn from their story telling, and what happened during their times. I think that if this trend continues, more and more of the world’s former problems will resurface again.
My grandfather is a bed ridden 92 year old man. However, he is very smart and usually with it. His stories are a bit far fetched, but I still listen to them. I listen to them to gather knowledge and a understanding for what his generation did for our world at large. I take in this information and hopefully will be able to improve my own world in years to come.

 
Reflection paper on "what keeps you from going out doing harm to your enemies?"
-Tobi Drori

What good is it to do harm to anyone? Where does it get you in the end? The answer is simple, nowhere. Yes, true, one might have defeated their enemy, but if one thinks about their situation comprehensibly they will suffer more than the enemy. Using fire against fire is not the answer for solving one’s problems. Mentally, one can cause more pain for himself knowing that he has inflicted pain on others. In all situations, whether it is war or personal matters, the outcome to harm is negative.
Never once in history has there been a time where war closed in harmony and peace. Bloodshed is not the answer. There is always that thought of protecting oneself against their enemies, but one must think in logical terms. When inflicting pain against someone (an enemy), it generates in oneself a sense of guilt and a feeling of self-punishment. In The Republic of Plato, Socrates and Adeimantus discuss with each other how “they” should cultivate their ideal guardians in their impeccable city. Through logical reasoning, both knowledgeable men realize that in order for the guardians of this ideal city not to act against each other, or even for that matter the city itself, they need not to just be strong, impermeable men. They need to be “philosophers.” Learning not just the “gymnastics,” but also the “music” of life, these guardians will know what is right from wrong. Therefore, when they act upon their enemies, they shall see the immoral acts knowing that what was done, was not an act of justice.
Socrates: “and he must say the god’s works were just and good, and that these people profited by being punished.” (380 a, page 58)
Socrates does not wish for the gods to create evil and unjust works because then the people would learn nothing. By saying that god is the creator of all the good and just, the people will have no questions from where or whom this came . Good and just will contain no questions. If god were to have also been the creator of evil and injustice, people would react the same way; to accept that bad happens because the gods created it.
Socrates does not want to teach the students of his flawless city what the great poets like Homer and Aeschylus have written about the gods because then, they will not learn the greatest lesson. The difference between aid verses harm.
Aeschylus: “God plants the cause to mortals
When he wants to destroy a house utterly.”
This verse shows nothing but destruction. If the guardians of Socrates city were to learn poems such as these, they would never understand how harm is not the answer to one’s conflicts. If poems such as these were to be taught, then people would believe they enforce harm against someone else because of god’s doing. They would never learn. When Socrates makes this law, “the god is not the cause of all things, but of the good,” (380 a) the people of the city will know that when they create injustice, or cause harm, it will be their own doing and fault. They will have no one to blame the bad deed on, except for themself. From this, the people of Socrates and Adeimantus’s city will learn from their unjust mistakes.
Socrates and Adeimantus realize that in their ideal city there are needs of other people. For instance, Socrates states that they will need more farmers and other craftsmen if this city is to trade with other cities. In order for this particular event to take course, they will need someone who is good at this “art”.
Socrates: “So our city needs more farmers and other craftsmen.”
Adeimantus: “It does need more.”
Socrates: “And similarly, surely, other agents as well, who will import and export
the various products. They are merchants, aren’t they?” (371 a)
What might this say about their city? As it grows in advancements and technology the needs will become greater. Since every man has his own art to fulfill he cannot make shoes for himself, but needs someone else to do it for him; a shoemaker. This same situation keeps happening, and as it does, the city’s population will increase. What though, does this have to do with inflicting harm on one’s enemies? It has everything to do with it.
Socrates: “Then must we cut off a piece of our neighbors’ land, if we are going to have sufficient for pasture and tillage, and they in turn from ours, if they let themselves go to the unlimited acquisition of money, overstepping the boundary of necessary?”
Glaucon: “’Quite necessarily, Socrates, ‘ he said.”
Socrates: “After that won’t we go to war as a consequence, Glaucon? Or how will it be?” (373 d-e)
During this realization, Socrates and Glaucon see how, as the city’s needs increase, it creates problems of selfishness and greed within the community. This, according to Socrates, is where the “origin” of war is created, within the city walls. How can this city be ideal, or even perfect, if people insist on having more than what is necessary? The work of unjust deeds starts here with greed. When people don’t realize the absurdity in their actions, sabotage is used against one another. This does not get anyone anywhere. “We have in its turn found the origin of war—in those things whose presence in cities most of all produces evils both private and public.” (373e)
Why have evil when there is good? If we know that good is beneficial to us, then why would we choose to be harmful, which causes evil? The answer is uncertain, but we know that war and conflict does not solve problems in our world, nor does it enforce peace. Instead it causes pain and death.
I leave this question for anyone of any age to answer. We know that war only causes destruction. Then why do we continue to use harm against our enemies to solve our on going problems? When will we learn that evil against evil is never the answer.
What is the answer to our problems?


Sunday, August 31, 2003
 
Reflection Paper on Young and Old Philosophers
-Rachel Smith


It is possible to argue for both young and old people being effected philosophers. An older person has had many years to learn about life and many experiences to reflect and gain knowledge from. For some people as they age, they stop thinking about their own experiences, and begin to think about humanity in general, which can lead to more philosophical insights about life. However, older people can also be stuck in pre-conceived ideas, and can't think openly about certain subjects. They show that they are knowledgeable in an area because of the experiences they may have had, and are not willing to listen to any other side. In the Republic of Plato , Socrates brings up the question of �Is old age easier if you�re wealthy� to Cephalus. Socrates makes the point of telling him that he �didn�t seem overly fond of money. Those who do not make money themselves are that way.� {330 c} Cephalus agrees, but quotes �That when a man comes near to the realization that he will be making a end, fear and care enter him for things to which he have no thought before.� {330 e}
Young people, although they are limited in experience, are more open to new ideas because they don�t know what to expect. They want to explore the endless possibilities, and gain more knowledge in doing so. However, younger people can be naive. They don�t know a lot about life, so this can be a limiting factor for being a philosopher. Although they don�t know a lot, this can also be helpful because it does not limit their thinking. They�ve had less experience, and think more about different choices. In the Republic of Plato, Cephalus begins an argument with Socrates, with his son Polemarchus standing in front of them. Polemarchus, being young and listening intensely has his complete different views on matters, than the older and wiser Socrates. Plato was a young philosopher, and his way of thinking about life has influenced us for generations.
Therefore, I'm not sure age is the critical factor in someone�s ability to be a good philosopher. Other factors may be more important, such as being open to different points of view ability to reflect on experiences and possibilities.
 
Reflection Paper on Young and Old Philosophers



It is possible to argue for both young and old people being effected philosophers. An older person has had many years to learn about life and many experiences to reflect and gain knowledge from. For some people as they age, they stop thinking about their own experiences, and begin to think about humanity in general, which can lead to more philosophical insights about life. However, older people can also be stuck in pre-conceived ideas, and can't think openly about certain subjects. They show that they are knowledgeable in an area because of the experiences they may have had, and are not willing to listen to any other side. In the Republic of Plato , Socrates brings up the question of “Is old age easier if you’re wealthy” to Cephalus. Socrates makes the point of telling him that he “didn’t seem overly fond of money. Those who do not make money themselves are that way.” {330 c} Cephalus agrees, but quotes “That when a man comes near to the realization that he will be making a end, fear and care enter him for things to which he have no thought before.” {330 e}
Young people, although they are limited in experience, are more open to new ideas because they don’t know what to expect. They want to explore the endless possibilities, and gain more knowledge in doing so. However, younger people can be naive. They don’t know a lot about life, so this can be a limiting factor for being a philosopher. Although they don’t know a lot, this can also be helpful because it does not limit their thinking. They’ve had less experience, and think more about different choices. In the Republic of Plato, Cephalus begins an argument with Socrates, with his son Polemarchus standing in front of them. Polemarchus, being young and listening intensely has his complete different views on matters, than the older and wiser Socrates. Plato was a young philosopher, and his way of thinking about life has influenced us for generations.
Therefore, I'm not sure age is the critical factor in someone’s ability to be a good philosopher. Other factors may be more important, such as being open to different points of view ability to reflect on experiences and possibilities.

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