Global Studies 2A:Comparative Political and Religious Systems
Thursday, November 06, 2003
November 5, 2003
Global Studies 5A
Reflection Paper 10
Is a theoretical perfection really the truth? Or is it just another cave? We has humans are always trying to be perfect. But, really we are just trying to be less imperfect. Perfection is an unrealistic fallacy that we think we need to be.
What if we are perfect allreaky and just don’t know it? After all, our theoretical idea of perfection was created by us. If you look at all of the defferent areas of perfection over time, you can see how it has changed with our different cultures and societies. If you compare what these perfect models today look like, to the perfect models of the 60’s you can see that they look vary different.
Though out the book, you hear about the perfect city. “how will the city be sufficient to provide for this much? Weon’t one man be a farmer, another the housebuilder, and still another, a weaver? Or shall we add to it a shoemaker or some other man who cares for what has to do with the body?” (The republic of Plato, By Plato, 369d, P. 46)
A farmer, a housebuilder, a weaver, and a shoemaker. These are the components of the crudest perfect and just city. I sure as hell know that those wouldn’t have been my four choices. Could the all and mighty Plato actually be wrong? Of coarse he could, and he most definitely was in some respects.
I disagree with Plato’s idea of the perfect city. “So then, perhaps there would be more justice in the bigger and it would be easier to observe closely. If you want, first we’ll investigate what justice is like in the cities.” (The Republic of Plato, by Plato, page 45, 368b and 369a) He is always talking about perfection in some way. I don’t disagree with this at all. It gives an interesting insite, and I don’t want to fail.
In conclusio, perfection isn’t an unrealistic goal. We already have it. Whenever we think of perfection someone has created it. Unless the perfection that the person thinks of is the exact right one, out of an endless amount of wrongs, he is wrong.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
In responce to aaron and tobi, or Ultimate truth could be a nobel lie, and was made up to give hope, that there is this one answer, or many answer's. I'm basically saying, maybe we are not here for any purpose. If this were true, do you think that there would be chaos, if so, and you were the ruler what would you do, would you tell people that there is a purpose for us being here and if they asked what it was, what would you say? Would you tell them a lie or tell them a nobel lie.
Responce on john's paper, I think that you were wrong when you said, "Music should be censored more than television."
What about MTV, that's musical television, except it hooks you with one more sense which is sight. You can listen to music and do your homework, but with tv you can't use it properly and not watch it, tv is more powerful, more controlling.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Tobi-- i enjoyed reading your paper but is it possible that there is a set of multiple truths that individuals must find out for themselves, rather than just one singular truth... i find it very hard to believe an individual contemplating philosophy can one day say "oh now i have found the truth" rather i think that they shall over time find a series of truths that help them improve as a person
What’s Plato trying to show us about society and finding the truth, and how may one accidentally interpret in another way?
In Plato’s Republic, The Form Of The Good is responsible for all knowledge and truth, and understanding can only be achieved once the Form of the Good is grasped. Thought, unlike understanding can only be interpreted by unproven assumptions. Though forms cannot be seen, we grasp them within our minds and the Forms take the things we see with our own eyes, and make them into what they really are.
The Just city is shaped on the concept that each person excels on only one thing. He quotes “ For at the beginning of the settlement of the city you were founding, you yourselves agreed that each one must mind his own business according to nature.”(453 b) Socrates agrees that only the philosophers have the knowledge and they are the only ones who clearly can know what’s right for the city. Socrates concludes that the philosopher king has the right nature; therefore they are all we need to make the city possible. Then what good are we? Do we not have a voice? Socrates moves on to say that in Society, nobody knows the real knowledge, the real truth. Instead, we try to get ahead of our selves, make our selves be better by creating cleaver, unjust tricks. Socrates quotes, "evil is more opposed to the good than to the no-good" (491 D). However, Plato makes the strong point to say back that the reason philosophers are the best, is because they strive more towards finding the truth, and not what most Americans strive for these days. Meaning money, pleasure, and greediness. It’s not that our society today doesn’t want the truth. It’s just that we are greedy for pleasure. Not everyone has a reason in the world to be just. For the most part, people have believed that money will get you what you want. For philosophers, they know that money will only help a small fraction. But we must ask ourselves, what virtues does a ruler really need? If he happens to behave in a “virtuous” way, what do we care about what his other motivations are? Plato has brought up the point that people really care more about themselves than anybody else. Although that’s not a new concept, it may leave people with the feeling of, bluntly, “That sucks.”
Then there is the concept of corruption. Like in the case of the forms, there is an aspect of reality in which we are unable to see. The intelligible realm. Now again, remember that Socrates main point about the city is that the goal is to make everyone happy. Let’s bring up the movie “The Truman Show” This was based on a man who had no idea he was living in a fake world to make everyone happy that watched his show. He was trapped in a cave, with strong chains. However, the entire time he had no idea. Does the media completely manipulates us and controls us? Are we being corrupted and not even knowing it? So far, one could be very down on how they now, after reading Plato, precede the world. However, Plato tells us exactly how to break free from the corruption and how to help us find our own truth. He says they must study math and philosophy dialectic. These studies bring out the realm of becoming. Thus, breaking free and finding the visible realm. Socrates quotes “It probably is one of those things we are seeking that by nature lead to intellection; but no one uses it rightly, as a thing that in every way is apt to draw men toward being.” (523 a)
In conclusion, since this is the last Plato Paper, I admit Plato has made me think differently for the better and maybe a little for the worse. Society will NOT CORRUPT ME. Thank you, and goodnight. J
Question: Does it pay to be just?
If we should watch a city coming into being in speech, would we also see its justice coming into being, and it’s injustice. First, we’ll investigate what justice is like in the cities. Then, we’ll also go on to consider it in individuals” (369 a). In The Republic, Plato creates a utopian society to find the true form of justice, and whether it pays in the end to be just.
“I gave you the just man’s seeming to be unjust and the unjust man just. Even if it weren’t possible for this to escape gods and human beings, all the same, it had to be granted for the argument’s sake so that justice itself could be judged as compared with injustice itself” (612 c-d). Throughout the course of the discussion Socrates’ viewpoint appears to change, while in fact he merely feigned this metamorphism for rhetorical purposes. It is important to understand how Socrates to convinces his audience that justice in fact does pay.
Socrates emphasizes that although one might appear to be rewarded in the short term for injustice, the just individual is rewarded in the end: “Don’t the clever unjust men do exactly as do all those in a race who run well from the lower end of the course but not from the upper? At the start they leap sharply away but end up by becoming ridiculous and, with their ears on their shoulders, they run off uncrowned? But those who are truly runners come to the end, take the prizes, and are crowned” (613 b-c). Plato continues by detailing the awards and reputation the just man shall receive. “It’s precisely the just, when they get older, who rule in their city if they wish ruling offices, and marry wherever they wish and give in marriage to whomever they want. And everything you said about the unjust, I now say about these men” (613 d). As well as receiving material rewards in the long run, Socrates also argues there is moral rewards for the soul. “We found that justice by itself is best for the soul itself, and that the soul must do the just things, whether it has Gyges’ ring or not” (612 b). This comment refutes the earlier argument proposed by Glaucon claiming that individuals act immorally when given the opportunity not to get caught. Socractes believes that although the immoral action might have an artificial positive short-term product, it is actually detrimental to the morality of the soul in the long run.
Plato continues with this idea of being rewarded in the long run with his Myth of Er. In the Myth of Er, the just are rewarded by the gods, while the unjust are punished. “For all the unjust deeds they had done anyone and all the men to whom they had done injustice, they had paid the penalty for every one in turn” (615 a), yet: “If they had done good deeds and had proved just and holy, in the same measure did they receive award” (615 b-c). Tyrants such as Pamphylia, who killed his father and older brother, were dealt with even more harshly.
I agree with Plato that justice does pay, and if not in the short term, then in the long term. Yet, if I was to rewrite the Republic, I would focus more on simply being just for the fruits of living a moral life. Although Plato touches upon this issue, I do not think he gave it all that it deserved.
I find it difficult to read that individuals should lead a just life because they will supposedly have more rewards later on in life, as well as in the afterlife. Issues such as fate, and what happens to an individual after death are much more out of that individual’s hands than his level personal morality. Thus, the later fruits should be more emphasized, because they are solely dependent upon that individual, rather than other members of a society, or the gods.
In Book IX of The Republic, Socrates evaluates the happiness of each type of soul. One of his arguments in his conclusion that the philosopher is the happiest, uses the ideal of a tripartite soul. As done earlier in book V, Socrates splits the soul into: “That one element that gives him understanding, another spirit and enterprise” (580 d-e) and desire for such things as sex and money. He further decides to: “Divide the men into three basic types, according to weather their motive is knowledge, success, or gain” (581 c). To evaluate the amount of pleasure experienced amongst men who value, knowledge, success, or gain, Socrates views experience, intelligence, and reason. Socrates argues that: “The philosopher cannot help tasting the pleasures of gain from his earliest years; but the gain-lover is under no necessity to taste or experience the sweetness of the pleasure of knowing the truth” (582 b). Plato further comments that: “Of the three types of pleasure, therefore, the pleasantest is that which belongs to the element in us which brings us knowledge, and the man, in whom that element is in control will live the pleasantest life” (583 a). This man, according to Plato is a philosopher who values morality, and thus justice. Although Plato creates this argument adequately in book IX, he fails to sufficiently make the connection between the fruits of morality as a reason to be just and the tripartite soul when he was attempting to convince the reader in book X that it pays to be just.
Question: Is money a cave? Quick answer: Damn Straight.
I chose to write this last paper in the style of the republic, in honor of Plato. Basically through this dialogue the father, Charles is in the cave and he is trying to pull his son JT into the cave with him. This is basically what I think is happening today, the rulers only have to throw one generation into the cave, and then future generations would also be stuck in this cave. This can be applied to many things besides money. So my paper is the process of the older generation pulling the future generation into the cave. My goal in this paper was also to write what everybody thinks and what nobody says.
“Why do we work father?” JT said.
“We work to earn money,” Charles said.
“Why do we earn money?” JT said.
“So that we can have a happy life, and relax when we’re older,” Charles said
“Does the amount of money we have decide how happy we are, and how relaxed we will be?” JT said.
“Yes, the more money we have the more we can have fun, you can never have enough money, son” Charles said.
“So we must work hard when we are young and earn lots of money, so that we are happy and relaxed when we are older, but can I not play games or sports when I am younger?” JT said.
“Games!, games are a waste of your time, they will never help you earn money, they will turn you into a fool. You don’t have time to play games you should be working and earning money, trust me I know what’s best for you, and games are not it. I just want you to have a happy life,” Charles said.
“I’m sorry father, you are right, you are old and rich, you are of course right,” JT said.
“That’s alright, you are young and ignorant, but I will help you see the light, soon you will see what life is all about, soon you will take over my business. Soon you will be working just like everyone else does. You will earn as much money as possible, because the more money you have the happier you are. You don’t have to like your job, you just have to earn lots of money,” Charles said.
“What if I win the lottery, then can I play games, and be with my friends and play sports too?” JT said.
“You don’t need friends, money is your friend. Money will never let you down, money will never leave your side, you can always count on money, as long as you keep earning as you work really hard, and keep your nose to the grind stone, and always work overtime and have a really well paying job, money will never disappoint you. Your friends, and their sports will drag you down, they will cause you to forget about money, they will be talking about sports, and not what really matters, which is money. Do you ever listen to me and your uncle?” Charles said.
“Yes, I love to hear you talk about money,” JT said.
“Both your uncle and myself are very wise and rich, this is only because we always talk about money, and only money. We never talked about stupid sports, or any stupid board games you always ask me to play,” Charles said.
“Yes, I must only talk about money, but what if I win the lottery, what if I win 200 million dollars, then can I do as I please?” JT said.
“No, that’s nonsense, you can never have enough money, do you not remember what I said, the more money you have the happier you will be,” Charles said.
“I’m sorry I don’t mean to forget, I should have thought about our neighbor, Jeff. He won the lottery before and he still has the same job as he always has, whom happens to be a garbage man,” JT said
“Jeff is very smart, he has a year long subscription to the lottery, he gets the same numbers every week. It was only a matter of time before he won,” Charles said
“Yes, Jeff is very smart he uses his work money to buy these tickets, and then when he wins he continues to work, in order to make even more money and to be even happier,” JT said.
“You still look confused son, what troubles you?” Charles Said.
“If games and sports aren’t what you do to have happiness, then what is happiness?” Jt said.
“Okay, this is the last time I’m going to explain this, money is happiness. If this weren’t true then everybody in our neighborhood would strive for money, but they do, they do it because they want to be happy, everybody knows that money equals happiness, and that you can never have enough of it, you need to trust me and just accept my reasoning, or just look at all of my money, and look at how happy I am,” Charles said.
“If you can never have enough money, then won’t you be working until the day you die, and you will never be able to relax,” JT said.
“You don’t need to relax if you are happy how you are, right?” Charles said.
“I guess so,” JT said.
“I knew you would see the light,” Charles said.
Monday, November 03, 2003
Stasis: Is the cave a noble lie?
Is ‘the cave’ a noble lie? Well that depends on many different factors. In the polis the cave is a noble lie, but in present reality, the cave is a scam. The determining factors defining the line between being something noble and a nasty scam depend on the ruling class of the society.
The people in the Polis are being taught to value publicity, moderation, courage, equality, and personal greatness wielded for the gain of the city as a whole. In the interpretive essay, Allen Bloom points out, “friends in the city have all things in common-including women and children-for this total lack of privacy means that man cannot have a life of his own. Therefore a man’s soul must be satisfied by the community or not be satisfied at all… Socrates proceeds to try to make public or common everything that remains private… abolition of private property but also the sharing of women and children…” (Interpretive essay, 379, 380) It is evident here that in the Polis, Socrates is planning to make all things public to the point where people share women and children. This eliminates jealousy and having people feel their duty more towards their family than towards the city. By having everyone’s focus on the city, making them dependent on it, love it, putting their duty towards the city. Once everything in city becomes public less shame is produced through things that are usually private, such as nakedness.
The people in the Polis are also taught to believe in equality, quoting Socrates “one nature must practice one thing and a different nature must practice a different thing, and that women and men are different. But at present we are asserting that different natures must practice the same things.” (453 e) Meaning that even though men and women are not entirely equal in reality, the population must be taught in their education that they are because then women would serve as a weakness in the men’s efforts to protect them. The people must work together and the differences of men and women should not be acknowledged, also being achieved by making everything public. On the public note, moderation is also dealt out by lowering the sexual desires by making it common to witness the nakedness of the opposite sex.
With respect to the Polis; the cave is a noble lie. This can be rationalized through the rule of philosophers in the ideal aristocracy. By creating the cave, which is entirely unnatural, forces humans to function together in harmony and their beliefs and values support this success of the city as a whole.
A lie in this fashion and extent is collectively believed and proven through history that this does not happen. The Polis is the ideal, but as we all know; the ideal cannot be met, although one can get close. Somewhere on the spectrum falls the reality of our society, where people instead of valuing the good of the city as a whole, we value self-achievements and personal gain. Instead of working together as a team to produce necessities and pleasures for each other and to love the city instead of privacy which eliminates competition or converts those energies into positive efforts, we compete with each other for many things; largely dealing with material goods.
Instead of leading the life of harmony and lucidity, people live the life privacy and ignorance. People will commit countless injustices in order to accumulate wealth or to achieve the upper hand on almost everything. Roger Waters of Pink Floyd can be quoted, “You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed…
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking.
And after a while, you can work on points for style
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake
A certain look in the eye, and an easy smile
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You'll get the chance to put the knife in.
You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder
You know it's going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you get older
And in the end you'll pack up, fly down south
Hide your head in the sand
Just another sad old man
All alone and dying of cancer.
And when you loose control, you'll reap the harvest that you've sown
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone
And it's too late to loose the weight you used to need to throw around
So have a good drown, as you go down, alone…
I gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused
Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise
If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze?
Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending…
And you believe at heart, everyone's a killer.
Who was born in a house full of pain
Who was trained not to spit in the fan
Who was told what to do by the man
Who was broken by trained personnel
Who was fitted with collar and chain
Who was given a pat on the back
Who was breaking away from the pack” (Pink Floyd, “Dogs”)
Roger Waters (songwriter and bassist for Pink Floyd) has philosophized about what cave we are born into and how it is evil in the ways of injustices. Waters describes our society as a battlefield where the strategy is taking advantage and deceiving. “You gotta sleep on your toes… You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed… You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking…” saying that in order to succeed in our cave of society, one must do these injustices without being caught. This is followed by “…you can work on points for style… like the club tie, and the firm handshake…” alluding to after having mastered the earlier, more necessary/dirty work, skills; one can work on the trust and nobility of his or hers reputation, “You have to be trusted by the people who you lie to.”
Practicing the “seemingly” skill of casting the illusion of being something without actually being it, by backstabbing them when they turn on you. The song goes on to explain how lives are lead by always looking out for what you have and protecting it from intruders, and how to win in this battle you have to play the ‘game.’ Where you lie and deceive, and then once you have succeeded; you go south and rot like every other old person and no one will care about you anymore because you cannot help them accumulate more wealth anymore. While you’re in this time, you begin to realize that all your old friends were not actual friends and that you could have possibly just been another resource for them, which can be backed up by Waters, “I gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused. Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used. Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise. If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze? Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending…” where he also adds in the part of denial about one’s life of falsehood and that they need to keep on pretending to escape the pains of their realization.
Achieved through this realization, of which the last part of “Dogs,” is about says that one who is going through these realizations will reflect how they were born into this world of chaos and how they were brought up to believe, do, and be rewarded for doing injustices which produce profits only for money-loving individuals. His or hers nature for anything else has been molded towards personal gain by the propaganda army and all of the evils of our society today. These things are evident when Waters says, “who was told by the man, who was broken by trained personnel, who was fitted with collar and chain, who was given a pat on the back, who was breaking away from the pack.”
All of this competition for personal gain and selfishness has been created by the capitalistic views of the American government. Which was created as a lie, which is and has never been ‘noble.’ This life style has been chosen by the ruling class, who in fact are not philosophers unlike those who rule in the Polis, because it distracts the attention of the population away from the injustices and scams of the government, to things like competition for money and social views on topics such as fashion; which in reality should not have very much significance at all.
Thus, its is very evident that in the Polis, the cave is created as a noble lie, whereas in the reality of our current day society, it is created in the efforts of a scam. The rulers of the Polis are philosophers and are always thinking for the good of the population as a whole and never of just themselves, contrary to the selfish rulers of or current government and reality.
-anyone for being perfect?
Throughout The Republic of Plato, we are taught a methodology that will help us develop a system of thinking to better our soul and bring us closer and closer to the truth. Thus, when the individual becomes a more just person because of this “enlightenment,” it will further the society, as a whole, to reach perfection. In other terms, as the individual becomes a more just person he/she will become less imperfect, making the social order become less faulty. However, this impulse that society creates to reach perfection will never reach its endpoint. We as individuals and as a whole cannot have perfection, but that does not mean we should impede our search to better our selves and discontinue our goal, which is to find the ultimate truth. On the other hand, is the truth, true? By chance, what if there is no ultimate, one truth? The theory of this truth could just be a fabrication that is created in our minds in order for us to better ourselves. For instance the ultimate truth could be a noble lie designed to make our society and the individual have justice instead of injustice; to better and improve the individual and the society.
The ultimate truth is a goal that is set down for us to achieve, but what if there is no ending point, no pot of gold at the end of the line? A circle for instance is a geometrical shape that is 360 degrees around and has a radius of x that is equal from the center point to each point around the circle. This is a description of a perfect circle, but in reality, a place where we deal with “the muck of the world,” we do not have this perfect circle. Instead, we must strive to achieve it, and each time we do so, we reach a more and more ideal shape. This would be the more sufficient alternative than not trying to make something “advanced.” In terms of “is there one truth,” an individual has a different understanding, even more complex at times, than another individual would have. Each truth is significantly different, and might never be sought out for. Everyone has his/her own methods of reaching and acquiring that truth, but can it be possible that these, or more correctly saying the truth, we search for is just a concept we learn through out the courses of our lives to improve our existence and purposes in life? It is a set goal that is established for the individual and the society to become nearer to being complete.
The fact that we have this concept, or belief, that there is one truth gives the individual something to attempt to find. Each chapter of our lives, and each time we gain more knowledge and experiences, we enlighten ourselves by simply understanding a new level of what is good and what is bad. Each step of the way, we believe that we are coming closer to the light, not always realizing though, the more this happens the more we improve our continuation of life. All we have in life is this “goal” that we base our path on. Furthermore this goal, which is finding and searching for what the ultimate truth is, will only help us to become more just. This ultimate truth resembles a noble lie in that it is created for every individual in order for them to find their own way of making themselves be of justice rather than injustice.
Plato speaks of the perfect society and the perfect individual and what must be done in order to achieve such a thing, but then he admits that it is impossible to achieve perfection such as this. “What is most surprising of all to hear is that each one of the elements we praised in that nature has a part in destroying the soul that has them and tearing it away from philosophy. I mean courage, moderation, and everything we went through.” (491 b). What Plato is referring to here is that in every individual there is something that will corrupt the soul, making it impossible to reach perfection. Besides, if we think reasonably, once we reach this so-called “perfection,” won’t we believe that there will be no need to even contemplate on bettering, and making the society and the individual even more just? If this happens to be so, then the needs for improvement won’t be looked upon as “incomplete.”
There are two extremes in life. However, one cannot have or be either. They cannot be perfect for it is impossible. In every individual there are many things, like desires, that can ruin excellence. “Now consider how many great sources of ruin there are for these few.” (491 b). Yet an individual cannot do the other extreme, which is doing nothing to become better, and instead only focusing on self needs and wants. He/she will never make any difference if they choose not to do anything or only try to make perfection. If one suddenly realizes that they will never be able to create the perfect system of society, or they can never be perfect themselves, then they might come to the conclusion of “what is the point of life if there is no way of being perfect?” This will ultimately lead one to believe that they shouldn’t do anything anymore if they are never going to reach their goal. However, this does not solve problems, and moreover it does not generate an even more just person. One cannot just focus on their wants and needs because then nothing will get improved or “revised.” That is why if we have something that compels us to try and acquire a better existence, these two extremes will be eliminated and moderation will be discovered.
It is always better to do something rather than nothing. When looking at it in terms of improving oneself, to make them more just, it is better to strive to enrich the soul than not to. Why though, and what would be the point? These are questions that are frequently asked and are legitimate when an individual realizes they can never reach the perfection of their goal. However, one should not just give up all hope and only decided to live for them because then nothing gets accomplished. Plato explains that if one turns to self-needs, and chooses not to better them selves, only bad will result from this situation. “Being a monarch, will lead the man whom it controls, as though he were a city, to every kind of daring that will produce wherewithal for it and the noisy crowd around it—one part of which bad company cause to come in from outside; the other part was from within and was set loose and freed by his own bad character.” (575 a). What Plato is stating here is simply that being in a state of only focusing on what the desires of one are can only result in evils.
Looking at the situation from a personal standpoint, I know only that I must have moderation because of past experiences. I have learned through the striving to achieve my goal that I cannot have perfection, but I cannot at the same time do nothing. In truth, I am a perfectionist, and always have been. Yet through my experiences I’ve discovered that I cannot be perfect, but instead I can always try to better myself. With grades I have always been one to achieve the A, but I know that I cannot always. However, this does not stop me from trying to achieve that “perfect grade.” When I receive a mark that is below my “goal,” I learn that I can always improve myself and better myself with this situation. Moreover, I have also come to a truer understanding of what my goal actually is, and have discovered that it is not about receiving the grade, but it’s about understanding the information, and appreciating it. This does not mean that I won’t work as hard though. It means I will look at the situation differently, and come to a conclusion that perfection is not the answer, and neither is doing nothing. Rather, working to better oneself for the good, becoming more just, is the way to approach the situation of reaching a goal.
Why do we need censorship?
Through out the book, Plato talks about what impressionable minds that the youth have. He feels that to gain a perfect education, you must only be exposed to the truth. Plato would be against a lot of things today. He would dislike TV, the radio, most music, and more than half the books that have ever been wrote.
The idea of censorship is very complex because it involves everything around you. What you listen to, what you watch; how you act, what you wear has all has to do with censorship. Plato wanted strictly truth to be presented to children. “ Then we’ll expunge of all things.” Plato is talking about the notion of gods, and how kids should not be exposed to them. He was adamantly against the stories of gods, especially Hades, because he feels it will make the guardians weak and corrupt. Plato would have almost all magazines burned today. Most magazines are trash anyways. There are the magazines that make the girls hate themselves, because in our society a girl can only be beautiful when she is skinny, and then are the magazines that turn the guys into stalking perverts.
“ Then, concerning these tales too, it seems we must supervise those who undertake to these tales…”(386 C). People can be influences so easy, its not even funny. As a parent today, there is a lot of weight on your shoulders because you have to make sure what your child is watching is appropriate. I’m sure the parents of Stephan Rauen were real thrilled with the show Jackass after their son was killed trying to mimic a stunt from the show. He tried to jump onto a moving car, but instead was run over and dragged for about 50 feet. If Jackass were never on the television, would he have still tried it? Unfortunately, we will never know, but many more accidents have occurred with people trying mimic the TV show. Television can have a huge impact on you life because not only do you hear, but you see it as well. I don’t watch Television because a lot of it is just trash. I can’t stand to watch MTV because it has no music on it anymore. The only time music videos are played are from 2:00 AM to 6:00 7 days a week. It’s a joke, that’s why they made MTV 2, which is the primary channel that I watch.
Not only can television influence you, music can influence you as well. I know this because music has influenced me. Music should be censored more than television. Music goes directly into your head. Music such as Slip knot, and Mushroom Head and different types of gangster rap should be eliminated. Mushroom Head, hands down, the worst band ever. They produce the worst music in the world. Music about killing yourself and killing others should be censored.
The whole concept is something hard to get your mind around because when it comes down to it, Plato would basically want everything to be censored. He would like our technological advances, but strongly shun how we use them.
Sunday, November 02, 2003
If a philosopher was given the ring of Gyges would he use it for the common good of the people or would he only use it for himself? In other words would this philosopher transcend social boundaries of would he be able to use the ring for good?
The ring of Gyges is a powerful thing that makes it wearer invisible. I think that if anyone puts the ring on their finger they will be driven by it’s awesome power to do evil. It does not matter if they have the right kind of education, or if they have the will to resist it, they will eventually be driven to madness. Platos view of this subject relates perfectly to mine. Plato also thinks that if the just, or the unjust man puts on the ring it will give them the opportunity to use it for evil. This does not mean that all people who have the opportunity to do evil will do evil in this world. “We would best perceive if we should in thought do something like this: give each, the just man and the unjust man, license to do whatever he wants, while we fallow and watch where his desire should lead each. We would catch the just man red handed going the same way as the unjust man out of a desire to get the better.”(359b-c) This quote proves my point that I mentioned above, that no matter who possesses the ring they will eventually turn towards evil and the desire to better themselves in society. Thus according to Plato and I it really does not matter who you are, but as long as you heave the ring in your hands you will be driven towards evil, and deceit. There is a very good modern example of this happening.
JRR Tolkien came up with a idea that was taken directly from Plato. The one ring in his books is in fact the Ring of Gyges. Tolkien managed to cover everything in his books. He incorporated everything, the madness of all that touched it from the just to the unjust man. Tolkien created a world that revolved around Plato. He even shows the corruption of the ring on the wise people of middle earth. Particularly the Lady of the wood Galadrieal. The lady gets corrupted by the ring by just looking at it. Obviously the ring has immense power that no one can seem to handle. It appears that only the Hobbits can control the power of the ring. But how is this possible? Tolkien wanted his story of the Ring of Gyges to have some heroes. These heroes are the small folk of the Shire. The brave at heart. It seems in this story that they are the only people in all of middle earth who can resist the overall power of the ring. Not even Gandalf the wise can resit its power.
So in conclusion even Tolkien agreed with Plato in the fact that even the noble, and the wise can not resist the overall power of the ring. And eventually all will despair under its power and its grip on society.