On Plato’s Theory of Forms

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*N.B.: This essay is based in part on excerpts from Great Books of the Western World (1952), Vol. 2, chp. 28 – Form and Vol. 7 – Plato Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool. We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. ~ Plato (427-347 B.C.) Prologue to Plato’s Theory of Forms In April, 2011 … Continue reading

On Socrates: life and legacy

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Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people. ~Socrates Prologue In my ongoing series on the Classics of Western Civilization, we now come to Plato, however, since Plato was a student of Socrates as well as the primary source for what we know of the man, and Socrates left no written works that have come down to us, I will write this weeks’ essay on Socrates, particularly his exemplary life and his enduring legacy and his zealous pursuit of Veritas – truth. Paul Johnson, an impressive British historian, in his 2011 book titled, Socrates: A Man … Continue reading

On fate

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The three Fates *N.B.: This article is based in part on excerpts from Great Books of the Western World, Vol. 2, chp. 27 – Fate and Vol. 6 – Herodotus and Thucydides Fate is a disposition inherent to changeable things, by which Providence connects each one with its proper order. ~ Aquinas (attributed to Boethius) The idea of Fate in literature, poetry, philosophy, politics and history was often presented in human form, sometimes abstractly personified as the opponent of freedom in the spectacle of human history and life. This was the understanding of Fate to the Greek poets and philosophers … Continue reading

On love

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*N.B.: This article is based in part on excerpts from Great Books of the Western World, Vol. 3, Chp. 50 – Love and Vol. 4 – Homer: The Iliad, The Odyssey Dilige, et quod vis fac – “Love, and do what you will.” ~ Augustine According to the theologian love is not restricted to realm of the divine and human, nor to those beings inferior to man who possess conscious desires. Natural love, Aquinas writes, is not only “in all the soul’s powers, but also in all the parts of the body, and universally in all things: because, as Dionysius … Continue reading

On tyranny

*N.B.: This article is based in part on excerpts from Great Books of the Western World, Vol. 3: The Great Ideas – A Syntopicon, Chp. 95: Tyranny, Mortimer J. Adler, Editor in Chief and Vol. 5 – Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes Again, where the people are absolute rulers of the land, they rejoice in having the openness and exuberance of youth, while a tyrant counts this a danger, and seeks to slay or silence those possessed of spirit, while the discreet fear his power and violence. ~Euripides, The Suppliants The world is in an existential state of chaos and war … Continue reading

On courage

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*N.B.: This article is based in part on an excerpt from Great Books of the Western World, Vol. 2: The Great Ideas – A Syntopicon, Vol. 1, Chp. 13: Courage, Mortimer J. Adler, Editor in Chief Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~C.S. Lewis, “The Screwtape Letters” As Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin annexes the Crimea in Ukraine and now plans troop movements to eastern Ukraine, not a shot has been fired. America and all of Europe stands mute or its petty bureaucrats like Secretary John Kerry pontificate empty … Continue reading

Education and economics

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*N.B.: This article is based on an excerpt from Great Books of the Western World, Vol. 1: The Great Conversation – The Substance of a Liberal Education by Robert M. Hutchins A man without the proper use of the intellectual faculties of a man, is, if possible, more contemptible than even a coward, and seems to be mutilated and deformed in a still more essential part of the character of human nature. ~Adam Smith Apart from John Dewey, the so-called father of the modern public school system and today’s Progressives, up to about 1900 it was self-evident that the majority … Continue reading

Hagel’s Military deconstruction

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We have departed from the maxim of “peace through strength” to a belief in “appeasement through weakness.” ~Col. Allen West Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to announce draconian military cuts that would reduce the U.S. Army from 490,000 troops to between 440,000 to 450,000, the elimination of the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack jets, enforce a one-year suspension on the salaries of general and flag officers; limit the rise of basic pay for military personnel to 1 percent, decrease the $1.4 billion direct subsidy which is given to military commissaries, and reduce the growth of tax-free housing … Continue reading

Alinsky 101: IRS picks the tea party target…

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Note: This Symposium is based in part on a pamphlet by David Horowitz, “Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model.” Dave Camp (R-MI), House Ways and Means Chairman, said on Tuesday that the IRS is still targeting tax-exempt conservative groups for audits. These revelations by Camp’s committee comes on top of last year’s findings that the IRS as early as 2010 had used “inappropriate criteria” to discriminate against applications from tea party, Jewish, Christian, and other conservative groups seeking to qualify as tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations known as 501(c)(4)s. While these new allegations may be shocking to many Americans … Continue reading

Symposium–The death of work

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Socrates (470-399 B.C.) was a famous Greek philosopher from Athens, who taught Plato, and Plato taught Aristotle, and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great. Socrates used a simple but ingeniously profound method of teaching by asking philosophical and revelatory questions. The Greeks called this form “dialectic” – starting from a thesis or question, then discussing ideas by moving back and forth between points of view to determine how well ideas stand up to critical review, with the ultimate principle of the dialogue being Veritas – Truth. Note: This Symposium is based in part on an article by Arnold Ahler, “ObamaCare: ‘Liberating’ … Continue reading