on this day in 399 BC, that....

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on this day in 399 BC, that....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:07 pm

And on this day, Socrates was found guilty of impiety and
sentenced to death...

and to this day, we call Socrates the greatest Philosopher of
all time....but that brings about question, why was Socrates
the greatest Philosopher of all time?

It is said that he brought Philosophy out of the sky and down to
earth... and what does this mean?

Philosophers before Socrates were focused on what we might call
science... what was the nature of the universe?
what was the "key" element of the universe? For example, some
thought it was fire and some thought it was water and some thought it
was the soil and one even thought it was, "mind" Nous....
and of all of the possibilities for what the "key" element of the universe,
Socrates thought "Nous" came close...

so instead of doing Philosophy as it was done before, which was basically
science, Socrates took philosophy and made it about us, what is the
nature of us human beings...

Socrates did something new and radical, his engagement with philosophy
was about something that people didn't talk about before, and that was
the soul....

Socrates was engaged with discovering what was the soul... Look at Socrates life...
He didn't seek wealth or power or fame or titles....he was a seeker but not of
the baubles of existence...Socrates was a poor stonemason...he is said to have
worked on the Parthenon....as one of hundreds who did so....

and look at the questions Socrates engaged with... what was Justice?
What was right? what was wrong? was it right to escape Athens after
being judge guilty and escape justice? What is Eros?...what is virtue?
what is moderation? what is courage? what is piety? is excellence still
possible?

another way to look at it... he was about clarifying concepts...
probing assumptions... probing rationale, reasons and evidence....
questioning viewpoints and perspectives... probing implications
and consequences... and perhaps most important...
questioning the questions.....

in other words, Socrates was about the questions, not necessarily about
the answers....

think about why Socrates was the "wisest" man in Athens?

He knew he didn't know anything.... his claim to fame wasn't his
knowledge.. he didn't know anything.. he wasn't wealthy or famous
or had a big title... He didn't even collect money for his philosophical
questions....he was interested in the questions and answers for themselves,
not what they could bring him in terms of money or fame or power or titles....

what does it mean to be a human being?

and what should we pursue if we don't pursue wealth or fame or power or titles?

I can imagine Socrates asking, what is the point of existence?

Why are we here? and what should we be doing? and what should we be hoping for?

if he is the greatest philosopher of all time... perhaps we should look at his life
and emulate his life.... seeking wisdom and understanding and what it means
to be human......

today, we are so wrapped up in the baubles of existence...seeking the very things
that Socrates walked away from....perhaps he was the greatest philosopher of all time
because he did walk away from the search for the material goods of money, goods,
houses.....

he sought to explore the meaning of existence and those concepts that
makes existence worth existing for...... justice, love, questioning the questions....

follow Socrates and seek that which is within you... the questions of
what it means to be human..... what are our real questions?
not what is our answers, but what is our questions?

Kropotkin
PK IS EVIL.....
Peter Kropotkin
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Re: on this day in 399 BC, that....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:38 pm

ok, let us look at the two great sayings of Socrates....

One: know thyself...

Two: the unexamined life is not worth living......

think about this..... he doesn't talk about what is the primary element
in the universe...air, water, soil, Nous...
he doesn't give us some sort of "science"... he doesn't talk about the baubles
of existence... money, fame, titles, power....

he doesn't say the meaning of existence is.....
and he doesn't talk about anything external to us....
he doesn't reference the world, god, meaning, existence, goals,
concepts like justice or what he does or doesn't know....

he writes... to know thyself and to examine one's life....

both points are clear and refer to only one thing...

who are we?

the entire basis of the great sayings of Socrates is an engagement with oneself....

why not take him at his word and make an engagement with oneself.......

who are you and examine what you hold to be true.......

this is philosophy at its best and its most basic..

to know thyself..... and the unexamined life isn't worth living.......

which means only the examined life is worth living........

to fulfill Socrates saying, one must examine their life, both in context
and in what is believes....question the questions...
and question the answers........

what does it mean to be human?

Kropotkin
PK IS EVIL.....
Peter Kropotkin
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Re: on this day in 399 BC, that....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:59 pm

Hegel wrote this:

"The significance of that "absolute" commandment, know thyself-
whether we look at it in itself or under the historical circumstances
of its first utterance-is not to promote mere self-knowledge in respect
of the particular capacities, character, propensities, and foibles of the
single self. The knowledge it commands means that of man's genuine
reality--of what is essentially and ultimately true and real--
of spirit as the true and essential being"

and Hegel is flat out completely wrong....

to know thyself isn't about our historical circumstances or our "true"
spirit...it means exactly what it says.... to know thyself... to know what
we are and what it means to be human.....

Kropotkin
PK IS EVIL.....
Peter Kropotkin
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Re: on this day in 399 BC, that....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Mon Feb 15, 2021 7:49 pm

so what should we be seeking if not wealth or power or fame or titles?

we should be seeking values... values like love, hope, peace, honor,
justice..... but which values Kropotkin? which values should we be
seeking?

and we arrive back at Socrates.... he explored values and what they mean...
what is justice? should we make Justice as the "value" that we become
and/or seek?

when I wonder if I should hold as "my value" peace.. I am not
wondering historically... In other words, it doesn't matter
if I am an American or a man or born in 1959...the values we speak of
are independent of our historical circumstances.... it doesn't matter when I
was born or where I was born or who I voted for..... the values we should be
engaged with, are values that are independent of our historical circumstances...

justice is a value we can engage with since long before Socrates and long
after I am dead....am I being just? is that a value I should engage with?
as I have mentioned before, as a liberal, justice is one of the key values
that liberal engage with....and I have defined justice as equality... we treat
everyone exactly the same... that is justice.. that we politically, economically,
judicially and socially, treat people the same and that is justice/equality.....

so in my engagement with the Socratic ideals of "knowing thyself" and
"the unexamined life isn't worth living" I don't engage with those
two questions historically... It doesn't matter when I was born or
where or why I was born.... the questions of "knowing thyself" is
independent of the circumstances of my birth as is the question
of "the unexamined life"

I examine those questions as a seeker of what it means to be human
and that is independent of the circumstances of my birth....

what values should I hold to and, and become is of vital importance....

should I "become" justice or peace or love... for the values I hold must
also be the values I act upon and in so acting upon, I become those values....

it is not enough to see justice as some outside value that I can walk away from
whenever it is convenient... I must become justice for me to hold the value of justice....

and that means when I act, I act, in every circumstance, with justice... I
take the value of justice and apply it to every situation I encounter...no matter
how convenient or inconvenient it might be...

it is not enough that I hold the value of justice, I must become justice incarnate....
a value turned into real life actions and values.....or if I hold peace as my value,
then I become peace incarnate or if I hold love as my value, then I must hold
love as love incarnate....

it is no enough to hold our values, we must become our values......

but the question is, what values should we hold and become?

and that is the question.....

Kropotkin
PK IS EVIL.....
Peter Kropotkin
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 9203
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:47 am
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