“There is a muscular energy in sunlight corresponding to the spiritual energy of wind.”
― Annie Dillard
This quote by Annie Dillard does a very good job at personifying Plato’s metaphor and his foundation idea that the Sun = energy. Specifically, I like how Dillard compares the Sun’s light as “muscular”. To me, this gives it a strong connotation, something that is both consistent and competent at its job.
This video is such a great testament to the innateness of justice. The North Korean prison guard, despite his rather unjust and poor environment, escaped to China because of an inherent sense that the work camp activities were just not right.
After having finished rapping my song (yes, I am still coming to terms with the fact that I rapped a song in front of 20 or so people), I was actually pretty surpride at the feeling of accomplishment and pride I had. Obviously, my song was not the most harmonious, melodic, or well put together piece at all– I mean just look at Emma’s beautiful melody and acapella ensemble, or Jordan’s awesome narrative- but I think it made me very introspective, which in turn created a sense of pride. In terms of the actual writing, I’ll be honest- I didn’t start creating the actual song one or two days before the due date. But I did let the idea ruminate in my head several weeks prior to when I presented, which gave me a preexisting idea of what I wanted to talk about.
When I finally sat down, pen in hand, journal paper in front of me, everything that I wrote- I mean everything– sounded, in the words of my twin sister, “extremely corny”. And then I thought- I was just writing to write a song, not to actually fulfill any purpose in explaining who I am. The corniness was a biproduct of my ignorance/refusal to truly look deeper. And then I thought really hard, and decided that the poem should have some hint of suffering in it, and that perhaps it would work best to tie it into a running metaphor, because, after all, that’s all that I really know. I would incorporate two elements into it: difficulties (pain, having to finish it with little breath), and accepting the time for what it is and allowing myself the pleasure of not always achieving perfect levels of excellence (or attempting to, at least). At the end of the race, I was okay with my time- and that’s what drives me forward, knowing that I can always do better. I like running because it’s deeply individual, but also because it allows me to train at not trying to be so perfect all the time. I’ve learned to shrug things off with a laugh rather than get even more down on myself for not achieving what I wanted. It’s important to be proud of yourself- change negative self-hatred into a positive drive.
This may sound corny, but it’s extremely applicable to my life, and I know that one of my deepest flaws is always being disappointed, rather than proud.
Can we achieve happiness from not fulfilling our function?
I don’t think so. I think our function is inextricably tied with who we are, our personal integrity, morals, and character. So if we don’t properly fulfill something (and this doesn’t mean getting a ‘B’ on a report card, or failing, because failure at something can in many ways be success), then it means that we haven’t really utilized our full capacity as a human being to better ourselves and society. In this sense, Socrates’ theory of justice is very much individualized: self-betterment, or improvement, means that we can function more efficiently, and be happier. Only after we better ourselves, however, can we really begin to help society. This contradict’s Poymarchus’ theory of paying man his due because his theory of justice is more associated with external components as opposed to finding it within ourselves. He argues more for the individual bettering society, but, rather than start at an individual level, he thinks it should exist from human to human- and, as Socrates eventually points out, who are we to judge who deserves justice or not? Because human judgment is so flawed, it’s better for justice to be considered, or to start at least, at a personal level- that way we can discover what the sense of true justice is, and then spread it to others as well.
I think these might be more of my personal thoughts/un-sorted ideas, but I believe that this is what Socrates was trying to say.
Socrates argues that happiness is obtained by fulfilling each individual’s function that they were “born to do” or most good at. In The Republic, it is the task of the Guardians to practice the dialectical method to question each other’s knowledge to reach an absolute truth. I think this statement is somewhat hypocritical: Socrates lays out a plan with multiple Guardians so that they can test the fallibility of their knowledge and use reason to accomplish a unified society. By saying that every Guardians’ opinion must be taken into account, Socrates argues that each individual has their own interpretation and set of experiences that differs from the person sitting next to them, which can be contributed toward obtaining absolute truth. However, what makes the Guardians opinions higher than those of the common people? If everyone does have a different bias, or perception of the world and knowledge, then how can an ideal society be created where a clash in these ideas is supposedly resolved through the Guardians’ ability to question their thinking, and no one else’s? What makes the Guardians’ thinking superior to that of the common people?
The problem is that this system will become obsolete because the power to assert knowledge on the people will remain within the hands of only a few. This isn’t an oligarchical system, but I think it preaches elitism, which in some circumstances is a fatal flaw in governing systems because of how convenient it is to neglect the opinions of minority, or deviant populations of society. (artists, musicians, people who contradict mainstream theory)