Hard to stop watching . . .
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Monday, May 29, 2017
In early 2005 Murphy was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE as officer in charge of Alpha Platoon and deployed to Afghanistan. In June of that year, Murphy was leading a four-man reconnaissance team in Kunar province as part of a counter-insurgent mission (the other men in Murphy’s team were Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson and Marcus Luttrell). During the mission the team encountered a group of local goat herders.
A discussion was held among the four SEALs regarding the rules of engagement and what they should do with the herders, who were being held at gunpoint. Eventually the men decided to release them, but not soon after the SEALs were surrounded and ambushed by an overwhelming Taliban force. Murphy, who was trying to reach HQ via satellite phone, willingly exposed himself to enemy fire by stepping into a clearing where he might get a signal to make the call. Murphy was shot in the back, but still managed to calmly complete the call for reinforcements and return to his position to continue the fight with his men. HQ sent an MH-47 Chinook helicopter to rescue the team, but while attempting to set down in rugged terrain, the helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing all 16 men on board.
Murphy, Dietz, and Axelson were all killed in action. Luttrell was the only survivor and was eventually rescued after several days of wandering the mountain and being protected by the people of an Afghan village.
The actions and story of the SEALs on June 28th, 2005 are portrayed in the film ‘Lone Survivor’
Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courage and sacrifice that day. All three of his men were awarded the Navy’s second-highest honor, the Navy Cross, for their actions. The men who were killed in the rescue attempt were also honored. These included Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor and Lt. Michael McGreevy, who were posthumously awarded Bronze Stars for Valor and Purple Hearts. CrossFit HQ’s Russell Berger, who served in the 1st Ranger Battalion, writes of these men: “These men were fathers, husbands and sons. They were brothers to their fellow SEALs. They were also CrossFitters. In their actions, these men embodied the values and spirit of true heroes, and to immortalize their courage, bravery and self-sacrifice, the CrossFit Hero workouts were created.”
Friday, May 26, 2017
But have all these desires and seem to experience something called, "happiness."
|"Waiting For Godot" by Samuel Beckett|
Let me illustrate:
- One person is happy to sit on the couch and drink his tea.
- Another person is happy to sneak up and pouring boiling water over the head of the first person.
- The second person may think himself to be happy but in fact he is not because there is no unity of good between the two people.
- Additionally, think about what kind disunity must have occurred within the second person to think of such a horrible act.
This is not a purely theoretical illustration but the principle occur in real life in the forms of how we relate to others daily. The principle shows in the way we drive, in how we wait in line, in how we shop, at our jobs, when we play. Our state of happiness shows in the way we strive for the unity of good things with others. Peace is evidence of happiness.
The telling feature of true happiness centers on UNITY OF ALL GOOD THINGS. The short list we considered these last few days fail at delivering happiness simply because they are fractured from the unity of all good things. They cannot be isolated as the sole source of happiness. There must be a UNITY OF ALL GOOD THINGS.
In closing there might be considered another word here for happiness (I wish I knew the original word translated into English as "happiness" in Boethius): contentment. If one is content, then all good things are kept in balance.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Today's WOD was awesome. Feeling mighty.
4 sets 10 reps of Deadlift (135#, 150#)
AMRAP 10 minutes of
1 Power Clean
1 Front Squat
1 Shoulder to Overhead Press
Here's a couple post-WOD lifts cause I had a few more in there:
What brings happiness? In previous posts we've defined happiness and have put many sources of happiness to the test and so far, we're still trying to discover the answer to this age-old question.
Fame, what you get is no tomorrow
Fame, what you need you have to borrow
Fame, 'Nein! It's mine!' is just his line
To bind your time, it drives you to, crime
Could it be the best, could it be?" (David Bowie)
I'll say more on this in tomorrow's conclusion.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Enjoyed digging deep today 'cause that's where the gold is. Gold is deep.
Train for greater things. Bigger things.
Pain only hurts for a little while but then you get your head together, feeling mightier than before and you think, "what comes next?" Reflecting on the fact that I just turned a year older (50) and knocking this kind of stuff out just thrills me.
Heard a great thought recently that fits in nicely right here: "be an active participant in your own life." I'm tired of sitting by watching life pass me by. Sitting still hurts more than moving. That's why I train, to get stronger and "go places." And becoming an active participant in life has done just that. We'll all be active participants in our death, but why not live a lottle?
I admit: today's WOD got me like, "woah" but when I think that I'm not staying still, that I'm getting stronger--I get excited. Here's what we did today:
3 sets, 10 reps of Bench Press (115#, 125#, 135#)
50 wallballs (20#) buy in
3 rounds of
20 knees to elbows
30 HR push ups
40 walking lunges steps
50 wallballs (20#) cash out
My first day began with tea where I was introduced to local dignitaries along with my credentials and
|Me with Johann, my driver|
The attendees asked questions that revealed a deep desire to learn--very well thought-out, heart-felt questions. As the first day drew to close, a very old man sitting in the back rose to his feet and asked his question. My translator spoke loudly so everyone could hear (though he was translating into English for me). His question floored me--it went something like this:
"We understand you come from America and are University educated. We understand you hold College and Seminary degrees. We understand you are Licensed and Ordained. You can teach; that is obvious--but who are you? We don't know you. Why should we listen to you? Why should we trust what you say is true?"
About 1500 years ago, Boethius suggested that a man was "made" by places of honor and his high rank should bring a man happiness. Lady Philosophy made another suggestion and it sounded very much like this old African man's question. Is the greatest good for a man found in his exaltation above other men? (Book 3, "Consolation of Philosophy")
"The waiters know well Trump’s personal preferences. As he settles down, they bring him a Diet Coke, while the rest of us are served water, with the Vice President sitting at one end of the table. With the salad course, Trump is served what appears to be Thousand Island dressing instead of the creamy vinaigrette for his guests. When the chicken arrives, he is the only one given an extra dish of sauce. At the dessert course, he gets two scoops of vanilla ice cream with his chocolate cream pie, instead of the single scoop for everyone else."
How can a man be happy when he is not recognized or his credentials have no meaning?
Monday, May 22, 2017
AMRAP in 20 minutes of:
10 Push press (115#)
10 KB Swings (40#)
10 Box jumps (20")
Army Staff Sgt. Jack M. Martin III, 26, of Bethany, Oklahoma, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Fort Lewis, Wash., died September 29th, 2009, in Jolo Island, Philippines, from the detonation of an improvised explosive device. Martin is survived by his wife Ashley Martin, his parents Jack and Cheryl Martin, and siblings Abe, Mandi, Amber and Abi.
"Money, get away
Get a good job with good pay and you're okay
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 . . .
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."
Maybe we've got it backwards: less is more. The less one has, the more freedom from want he has. Things that make you go, "hmmmmmmm".
A PARABLE IN REAL LIFE--WHY THE GUY'S NOT HAPPY
I know a guy who began remodeling his home two years ago. His house was only four years old. I'm sure he's done a fine job on the inside of the house, but he's never finished working on it. He recently received two eighteen wheeler loads of bricks to build an outdoor living-room in this back yard. This guy also owns eight cars (that we can see)--although recently, I've only counted six. Always mystified when all the cars are gone but only two people live there . . . anyway he's always washing his cars. His front yard is beautiful, by the way. Mows it twice a week. Stayed green all winter, too.
I think the strangest thing he's done is to build a fence. Don't get me wrong, there was already a fence there--he just had to have his own fence right up against the existing fence--only a couple inches higher so he doesn't have to see the first fence. He likes to look at his own apparently.
I'm sad for him because he's got to pay for all those cars: insure them, secure them, protect them, wash them (by hand), polish them, gas them, oil them . . .
And the house and yard? Like everyone else: insure it, secure it, mow it, edge it, weed it, water it, paint it, exterminate it, heat it, cool it, provide utilities, sewer . . .
I'm not sure what he does for a living, but he's not happy. He's often on the phone outside yelling at somebody. Don't know why he can't do that inside. He's also often heard yelling at hired help for whatever reason--and we watch them shake their heads at him when his back is turned. We've never seen him smile. He rarely waves or says "hello."
What makes matters worse is that I know another guy who tries to copy everything the first guy does. But he's rarely ever seen because he's always working. I don't think he's happy either.
Know who's happy? The guy who lives by the rule: "keep what you must, share what you can."
He's the guy who eats to live. Know what I mean?
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Friday, May 19, 2017
When reading and thinking of The Bird for yesterday's post, the following poem came to mind and I feel I would be remiss if I did not stop to allow the poem to elaborate on that picture of the happiness of The Bird. (Side note: might there be more to Skynyrd's "Freebird" than meets the
Caged Bird (by Maya Angelou)
A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Now there are three cats in the house: a massive pure white cat named “Runt” (he was the runt of the litter), “Buddy,” a jet black cat who thinks he rules the world, and “Lilly,” the blondest a cat can possibly be. She’s alright. Runt keeps to himself, which is good. And Buddy . . . what can I say? “Get down!” “Stop that!” Things like that, I suppose.
There’s a beauty to animals, in the house or in the wild. But deep inside even the most domesticated animal is this burning desire to get out. Outside is too big for Buddy--scares him-- but he has gotten out a time or two and sits and the door meowing because he wants to try again. Runt gets out but he’s too fat to jump the fence, but Buddy could go right over.
Reminds me of the bass my dad caught and kept alive in a fish-tank at home (I was very young but remember this distinctly). Can’t have normal fish. Gotta have a bass. I think he was going to try to grow him to good “eating” size. One night we had some people over for games or dinner or something and the fish decided he wanted out. So he got out. Jumped right out of the tank straight down onto my mother’s hair and did his fishy, “Ohcrapohcrapohcrapohcrapnotagoodidea” dance all the way down to her lap. He wanted to be out of that tank because by nature, he did not belong in a tank.
But I digress: Lady Philosophy considers happiness as the first state in all living things (Book 3, Met. 2).
Caged and chained, living in fear of his master and eating from his hand but still a sight to behold. Let him taste fresh blood and “their latent will returns; with deep roaring they remember their old selves.”
Watch him fly, listen to him sing, catch and cage him, feed and water him and keep him. “[Y]et it he fly to the roof of his cage and see the shady trees he loves . . . the woods are all his sorrow calls for, for the woods he sings with his sweet tones.”
THE BENT BRANCH
“Phœbus sinks into the western waves, but by his unknown track he turns his car once more to his rising in the east.”
Conclusion: “All things must find their own peculiar course again, and each rejoices in his own return. Not one can keep the order handed down to it, unless in some way it unites its rising to its end, and so makes firm, immutable, its own encircling course. And you too, creatures of the earth, do dream of your first state, though with a dim idea. With whatsoever thinking it may be, you look to that goal of happiness . . .”
(Read Part 1, Part 2)
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
- Is happiness a destination or a by-product?
- Is happiness a choice?
- Is happiness good health?
- Is happiness a person? or people?
- Is happiness a warm donut? A warm puppy? A Warm Gun?
In Book 3, Prose 2 of Boethius’ “Consolation of Philosophy,” The Love of Wisdom (“philosophy”, personified as a lady in white) defines happiness as “a state which is made perfect by the union of all good things.” A much better definition. In other words, happiness is attaining the highest good. Written in the 400’s AD, Boethius reveals the question of happiness is an ancient one. Mankind across time in every culture has been pursuing happiness, each one on his or her own path to find it.
If The Love of Wisdom ("philosophy") is correct, then it would be right to say that mankind has a built-in desire acquire happiness, apprehend of that which is truly good. The problem is that man gets lost when he considers the many possible paths. Which should he choose?
- Does money bring happiness?
- Or admiration or perhaps places honor?
- Maybe happiness is found in power.
- Or in fame, glory.
- Or in pleasure.
Monday, May 15, 2017
The allegorical “Lady Philosophy” sitting on the edge of despairing Boethius’ bed asks if he just fell off the proverbial turnip wagon. He’s not a young man (most likely middle-aged) who has been digging himself an emotional hole from which “the love of wisdom” is trying to raise him. He’s up to his proverbial eyeballs in a veritable “slough of despond,”** the quicksand of despair, worrying over his loss of fortune. Truth be told, that’s the way the big wheel spins when it comes to fortune.
Lady Philosophy tells Boethius truthfully why he’s not happy as he is “paying the penalty for your mistaken expectations.” He has not lost his fortune at all! His wife’s father is distraught over his son-in-law’s unjust captivity, his wife longs for her husband and his sons are successful! “Fortune’s hatred has not yet been so great as to destroy all your holds upon happiness: the tempest that is fallen upon you is not too great for you: your anchors hold yet firm and they they should keep ever nigh to you confidence in the present and hope for future time.” (Prose IV)
Yet Lady Philosophy reveals an inescapable fact regarding happiness: “either its completeness never appears, or it never remains.” (Prose IV) One man has abundant wealth but his birth or breeding give him shame; Another man is famous for being nobly born but is without abundant wealth. A third man has wealth and good breeding but is without wife. A fourth man is happily married but is without children and has no heir. A fifth man has children but they bring him shame. “So none is readily at peace with the lost his fortune sends him . . the feelings of the most fortunate men are the most easily affected . . . so small are the troubles which can rob them of complete happiness.” Does this mean happiness is impossible? Or is man to simply be content with misery?
Man is given one possession that is key to his happiness: “If then you are master of yourself, you will be in possession of that which you will never wish to lose, and which Fortune will never be able to take from you.” In other words, happiness comes from a made-up mind and not from the supposed randomness found in the mechanics of the Universe. No, the machine grinds and the Fortune will never be attained due to uncertainty, as it exists outside the person.
Riches merely change hands, especially after one is dead, so riches cannot bring happiness. Riches wear out the man who accumulates. Precious stones are attractive, but they do not need a man in order to be brilliant. All of creation is beautiful and does not require man to view it; besides, “Fortune will never make yours what Nature has made to belong to other things.” Of all that man reckons would bring him happiness, not a single one actually belong to him. Like the saying goes: “you can’t take it with you.”
So what does a man have to bring happiness? “Cease then to seek the wealth you have lost. You have found your friends, and they are the most precious of all riches.”
Chris understood this.
End Part 1
*All quotes are from Boethius, Book 2.
** to borrow from Bunyan--or does Bunyan borrow from Boethius, as the latter precedes the former by nearly 1000 years?
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Friday, May 12, 2017
Philosophy (personified as a woman) was a brilliant psychologist for the lover of wisdom (the true philosopher) must nurture his soul. Boethius had not been doing that (what did Socrates say about the unexamined life?). The allegorical Lady Philosophy points out that Boethius has forgotten who he was so it should come as no surprise that he should sit in the proverbial darkness staring at the proverbial ground. “You are overwhelmed by this variety of mutinous passions: grief, rage, and gloom tear your mind asunder, and so in this present mood stronger measures cannot yet come night to heal you,” she says. He is distracted and deceived by his emotions and by a dream of things he cannot have (“fortune”). When she arrived, he was sitting with the muse of Poetry in tears; in effect, he maintained his own emotional wreckage by feeding his distress with dark and misguided feelings, thinking this would be the best for himself. Lady Philosophy observes, “How much I wonder how it is that you can be so sick though you are set in such a health-giving state of mind!”
There are only hints that the writer substituted the virtues of wisdom for the wealth of knowledge, replacing soundness of mind with the teachings of Epicurus and the Stoics, whose ideas still thrive to this day. The Epicureans believe we should “live by chance,” doing anything and everything that feels good. Just pursue happiness and be happy in that pursuit. Do your own thing, just don’t hurt anyone or interfere with someone else’s happiness. The Stoics thought we should “live by luck” by accepting things as they are--don’t fight your circumstances but pay attention to where they take you. Trust your feelings.
Lady Philosophy speaks truth: there is no light when stars are hidden by black clouds. Still water is clear like glass, but blow the wind and it becomes impenetrable and dark. Don’t let your joy die, put away your fear, let false hope go and stop grieving! “Where these distractions reign, the mind is clouded o’er, the soul is bound in chains.” The Universe is not randomly guided nor does it operate by chance. Enjoying the harvest of crops requires the order of seasons, so there is an order and a time for everything and a great designer behind it all.
There is a time and place for feelings and every man's fortune is his own but they must be coupled with wisdom. Wisdom keeps the emotions from wandering aimlessly and getting lost in the vast territory of the unknown. Fortune, that is, that which becomes the purpose of life is not without a guide otherwise fate would be cruel and unfair. Wisdom is the foundation of contentment and good judgment.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
and got back up again . . . and again . . . and again
MARSOC Short Card (modified)
30 Air squats
30 Mountain climbers (2-count)
30 Flutter kicks
10 Cherry pickers (4-count)
30 Star jumpers (or jumping jacks)
30 Back Extensions ("Supermans")
10 Chain breakers
30 Walking Lunge Steps
30 "Hello dollies"
10 Trunk twists
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
“TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT”
First, Socrates discourages the bribing of the guards on the grounds that two wrongs don’t make a right. “[W]e ought not to retaliate or render evil for evil to anyone, whatever evil we may have suffered from him.” Yes, there are problems in that an innocent man is condemned to death, but what happens to the integrity of a man if when he disagrees with an evil that he responds with an evil? This principle is so absolute these very words appear almost verbatim nearly 500 years later in the writings of The Apostle Paul and Peter (Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9*). Crito felt his reputation was at stake if he stood by and let Socrates be executed, but Socrates saw the bigger picture and by going ahead with his death, saved Crito from compromising his integrity by making the bribes.
Second, Socrates provides three reasons as to why he should remain in prison, the first being a metaphor of the State acting as his parent. His actual parents were legally wed by the laws of the State, he was born into the State and educated by the State. In effect, the State gives him identity, so if he were to escape, he would be disobeying his parent, the State. The second reason to stay in prison and go on to death is that the State has been generous, so what gratitude does he show by running away? The final reason is that by receiving the sentence of death, Socrates entered into an agreement with the State--and everyone should keep their agreements. Escape would be in violation to the agreement. Besides, what power remains in the State if he flees his prison?
* One wonders if this was a common teaching, of not repaying evil for evil, for it pre-dates King Solomon who lived roughly 500 years before Socrates. Solomon included this saying in his collection of Proverbs.
Tuesday, May 09, 2017
January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated the 35th President of the United States. At the inauguration, poet Robert Frost read his poem, "The Gift Outright"
The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.
Here are Kennedy's remarks again, describing the role of poetry and the arts in government, or all that man puts his hand to do, for that matter:
"Robert Frost coupled poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment . . . And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s hired man, the fate of having 'nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.'”
All this sounds very familiar when considers the role of the philosopher regarding society.
(ht: Open Culture)
Monday, May 08, 2017
“Apology” can be a complicated word, for one use communicates realization of inadequacy, regret by acknowledging a failure, repentance. One hears in “Socrates’s Apology,” the emphatic “I do not repent concerning my defense”--so why does Plato title this “Socrates’s Apology” if he is not sorry for anything? Socrates communicates to his judges that should they decide to put him to death, they are the ones who will be sorry. There’s a play on words in Socrates's statement which sets the tone for the entirety of the “Apology” for this is not a translated word, but a transliterated word meaning “a defense.” Literally defined, an “apology” is a speech of “putting off” (apo = away; logos = words/logic). So, what’s going on?
|"La Mort de Socrate" by French painter Jacques-Louis David in 1787|
But why? Why would anyone be so zealous for wisdom that he would die? What is wisdom? One might say wisdom is simply the discerning way of life.
In this defense, Socrates recalls how he heard that a certain individual asked the Oracle at Delphi if there was any man wiser than Socrates. When word got back to Socrates of this revelation, he put the proclamation to the test since he does not consider himself to be wise. He searched for someone wiser amongst the politicians, artists and poets and found none. But God (whoever that is to Socrates) has spoken through the Oracle, so the statement must be true. He calls his prosecutors to consider “the word of God . . . [for] God [whoever that is to Socrates] who cannot lie . . only is wise.” If there is any person wiser than he, then it must be a divine person. This becomes important when he defends himself against atheism, proving he believes “in a higher sense than that in which any of my accusers believe in them.”
Socrates plainly states that, “God [whoever that is to Socrates] orders me to fulfill the philosopher’s mission of searching into myself and other men, [if] I were to desert my post through fear of death or any other fear, that would be strange . . . “ As much as he loves his fellow Athenians, he chooses to obey God (whoever that is to Socrates) and “shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy . . . and I believe that to this day no greater good has ever happened in the state than my service to the God.” He will come right out and say it: Socrates sees himself as God’s gift to the state to prevent his fellow man from becoming apathetic and complacent, like a stinging fly. And what does anyone do when bitten by a bug, but swat at it.
Loving knowledge is much different than loving wisdom. The wise man keeps his mind open, to learn, to “entertain a thought without accepting it” as Aristotle would later say. Wisdom is discerning, leading to what is right and excellent and good for all. Yet history records many incidents of those who surrendered their lives for truth at the hands of people who cannot and will not tolerate truth, making themselves out to be fools.
Sunday, May 07, 2017
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.
(Henry Van Dyke, 1852 - 1933)
Saturday, May 06, 2017
On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!–
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.
In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!–
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.
In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my
This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me–
A place where none appeared.
Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!
Upon my flowery breast,
Kept wholly for himself alone,
There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.
The breeze blew from the turret
As I parted his locks;
With his gentle hand he wounded my neck
And caused all my senses to be suspended.
I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.
Friday, May 05, 2017
Thursday, May 04, 2017
Not many items on my Bucket List, but here's a peek at one of them: hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Or any portion of it (mostly the northern).
Described as "the wild and scenic path from Mexico to Canada" this 2,659 mile trail starts in the California desert, moves over a grand total elevation change of 420,880 feet through Oregon and ends in E.C. Manning Park, British Columbia, Canada. The highest point is over 13,000 feet.
This guy did it and put together a nice seven-minute video of 2600 miles. What an amazing contrast from beginning to end.
(ht: Boing Boing)
Wednesday, May 03, 2017
Meno wants to know if virtue (Ἀρετή, “arete”-- also translates as “excellence”) can be taught. What is virtue (excellence)? The beauty of Socrates is that when asked a question, he always assumes ignorance and through dialogue intends to search out an answer (in short, the second subject discussed in “Meno” is the subject of learning, where Socrates holds that since the soul is immortal and we already know everything, what we call “learning” is merely “remembering”). So Meno the student becomes Meno the teacher, providing Socrates with a definition that gets put to the test. Meno defines virtue as . .. well, he doesn’t. But they come close and Socrates has fun with the boy (one assumes he’s a boy). “Even someone who was blindfolded would know from your conversation that you are handsome and still have lovers.” That's rich!
No matter how hard they try (and they do try), they just can’t seem to define virtue (“excellence”). They are able to explore things that are considered virtuous, but the rock-bottom answer they seek is elusive. One fact they can agree on is the answer to their question formed a different way: is virtue acquired (as in by learning) or is it a gift (something given)? You'll have to read to find the answer.
Regardless, this dialogue returns us back to the age-old dilemma regarding trying to discover "what is right" and "what is good." We may disagree on the particulars of what is "right" and what is "good," but we all agree there is this thing called "right" and this thing called "good." We know that leadership or housekeeping can be done with excellence, but what is it exactly? We know . . . but we don't. And that's Socrates' point. We don't fully understand until we sit down and talk it out. The answer is there. Find it.
Tuesday, May 02, 2017
Monday, May 01, 2017
Meeting at Magistrate court, the priest wondered what the philosopher was doing there. The philosopher explains he is being indicted for corrupting the younger generations by rejecting the state gods and replacing them with his own. [I can't resist posting a clip from one of most favorite movies of all time, ever, "Fun With Dick and Jane" . . . I could loop this movie and never tire of it.]
One feature of the conversation that should not go missed hinges on the reason Socrates is being indicted: he “thinks” and there is no room for this in a pantheon of ancient gods. This is important because Euthyphro is convinced he knows all there is to know about what pleases the gods. First, Socrates rejects Euthyphro’s first definition of piety saying, “you did not teach me adequately . . . but you told me what you that what you are doing now, prosecuting your father for murder, is pious.” There are many pious actions. Next, the priest says, “what is dear to the gods is pious.” Socrates reminds Euthyphro that the gods are known to quarrel with one another, but if they can’t agree on what is beautiful, good and just, then what is dear to them? Zeus may approve of the prosecution, but what if Kronos or Uranus disapprove? The conversation wanders about like a wind-up toy and Socrates (this writer imagines) enjoys watching the man talk himself into revealing his own ignorance. By the way, “Euthyphro” in Greek means, “think in a straight line.”
A major portion of the conversation centers on the question: what do the gods love? If it is the pious, then the gods must not love the impious. Do the gods love the pious because it is something to be loved, or is it being loved because they love it? If sacrifice (giving gifts to gods who already have all they need) and prayer (begging from the gods for what is needed) is piety, then piety is merely a trading skill between gods and men. Euthyphro prosecutes his father for murder because the priest is religious. It’s too bad in the end that the priest literally runs off leaving Socrates ignorant.
What is “right”? What is “good”? How do you know if what you are doing is right? What is the measure of “good”? Socrates gives a hint very early when he begs for an absolute by which to compare all things. We must know what that is because we all agree that something can be called “right” or “good.” We may not agree on what is beautiful, but we all know there exists a thing called “beauty.” I think this measuring tool is connected with the conscience (“con” meaning “with”; and “science” meaning “knowledge”).
Read "Euthyphro" online here.