Archive for the ‘Plato’ Category

ll wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth; and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body, because we are slaves in its service

November 17, 2009

Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires. All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth; and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body, because we are slaves in its service.

Socrates, Plato, Phaedo, 66c

NB the ‘body’ (i.e.physical nature) as cause. This is the problem for ancient Greek philosophy but of course there is little to be done for it. Contrast the Biblical account of the sinful nature as cause which can be transformed and overcome by the Spirit of God in the new birth.

Socrates seems to assume that wealth cannot be gained in peaceful manners too…


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The Greeks viewed time as cyclical

November 9, 2009

Platonism attributed a cyclic nature to the time process, and this idea was developed in the Stoic philosophy. Just as the seasons of the year rotate in a certain fixed order…so, they thought, did all events happen, history periodically repeating itself. Thus Aristotle remarks, ‘For indeed time itself seems to be a sort of circle.’

Raymond Abba, The Naure and Authority of the Bible, p.70 quoting Aristotle, Physics, 4.14

Which undercuts the uniqueness of the historical events such as Creation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, Judgement etc. since they would be wiped of their meaning when the wheel of time reverts back to a new cycle.

It means history has no goal or purpose ultimately – it’s reminiscent of Nietzsche’s philosophy or Eastern philosophies based on karma. Nothing is ultimately fixed – the tvery hing that lends weight to all our decisions.

Which gets me to thinking: since humans at once crave meaning yet run from responsibility we are caught on the horns of a dilemma. It is only a worldview that validates responsibility that secures meaning.

The inextinguishable instinct of humanity craves for a voice of revelation to solve the mystery of life and death

October 3, 2009

The inextinguishable instinct of humanity craves for a voice of revelation to solve the mystery of life and death.

Virgil

(we sail a vast sea of darkness and doubt on our ‘raft’ of understanding) not without risk, as I admit, if (one) cannot find some word of God which will more surely and safely carry him’

Plato, Phaedo

Philosophers must become kings

September 16, 2009

The society we have described can never grow into a reality or see the light of day, and there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, my dear Glaucon, of humanity itself, till philosophers are kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.

Plato, Republic, 473 d,e, (380BC)

And these philosopher-rulers (presumably men like Plato himself), says Plato, will be ‘saviours of our society’ (Republic, 502, d)

in The Republic, Plato’s hope for change for the better in man’s lot is the application of external factors, i.e. educational, environmental and of course through eugenics (good breeding). Bad nurture causes ills he avers.

Plato, like Marx and Rousseau failed to appreciate the need to transform man by the new birth. They believed in changing society to change man instead of changing man that society would be transformed.

The consequence of this thinking is the totalitarianism that flowed through their political children: From Marx the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union etc., and from Rousseau the Terror of the French Revolution.

A featherless two-footed animal

September 7, 2009

Plato had defined man asĀ  a featherless two-tooted animal, and his students agreed. The next day, Diogenes pulled the feathers off a cock and took it to Plato.

“Here’s Plato’s man,” he said.

Thereafter Plato corrected the definition to “a featherless two-footed animal with flat nails.

Raymond Abba comments:

Human personality is a fact which must be reckoned with. Man may be only a reed, but, as Pascal said, he is a thinking reed.

R.Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.109

man is a featherless biped with a soul.

Voltaire, Candide

Man is the only animal that eats when he is not hungry, and drinks when he is not thirsty.

unknown

Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed. There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. The universe knows none of this.

Pascal