Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

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Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Mossling on February 20th, 2018, 8:35 am 

This thread has been started in reply to forum member Neri's reliance upon the following article: Sex between Men and Boys in Classical Greece: Was It Education for Citizenship or Child Abuse? (2001) by Enid Bloch of the Department of Comparative Literature, State University of New York at Buffalo, in order to argue that Socrates was a pederast - specifically with reference to the following quotes:
“In Plato's early dialogues, Socrates engages in almost light-hearted banter around the subject of pederasty. He is ready to advise young men on the way to win a beloved, and he speaks openly of his own erotic arousal.(56)”

“Through much of the dialogue, Socrates seems to favor the ‘non-lover,’ [the young boy] but the climax is reached when Socrates, in altogether driven language, suddenly pours forth in glorious depiction of erotic erousal. Eros is 'inspired madness,' it is 'the greatest of heaven's blessings,'(57) and the soul possessed of it flies heavenward like a wing of feathers.” [Numbers refer to citations of authority in the paper]


Interestingly, the above perspective clashes with that put forward in The Cambridge Companion to Socrates (2011), p61:
Socrates’ unusual self-control seems to have been especially remarkable with regard to erotic desire. He had trained himself so that he could have an erotic life that would have been foolishly risky for his companions. To them, because they were not “secure” in their desires, he recommended great caution. But he himself, says Xenophon, “was evidently so well prepared that he could as easily hold back from the
most beautiful and youthful erotic objects as others can from the ugliest and most over-the-hill” ( Mem . I.3.14). Unlike his companions, he could run the risk of beauty with impunity, and did not heed the cautionary advice he gave to others.


If you go to Plato's Phaedrus 241c - the first quote referenced 56 in Bloch's above paper, then there is no apparent example of where Socrates "speaks openly of his own erotic arousal" with respect to young boys, and in 245b - her second above quote, he merely talks of a positive side to erotic experience. To suggest that these quotes from Phaedrus somehow support pederasty is apparently quite a stretch. I am not sure if the Department of Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo is as well versed on the writings of Plato as the authors of The Cambridge Companion to Socrates, but I suspect not.

Socrates' Greek society, in being cognizant of sexual fluidity and not prohibiting pederasty, allowed for a range of sexual behaviour to take place that is outlawed today - just like using hemlock to execute people or preventing women from voting democratically is also outlawed. This does not automatically mean, however, that:

1) Socrates agreed with pederasty. He was a radical, after all, who was put to death for his radical wisdom.
2) Socrates engaged in pederasty.

He lived in a society where pederasty occurred and debated the dynamics which occur accordingly. That is clear, and the argument put across by the Cambridge publication above also seems clear enough to me. If he was powerless to stop such behaviour - as he was regarding many of the behaviours that he objected to in Athens, then it does not mean that he condoned it by engaging with the dynamics of its existence as a topic of discussion.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby BadgerJelly on February 20th, 2018, 8:47 am 

What is generally accepted is that slaves and pedophilia existed in ancient Greece openly.

Times have changed. Some people like to use these things in order to push current political agendas and belittle intellectualism. People used the words of ancient Greeks to condone slavery and conquest. The ancient Greeks also viewed those that didn't speak Greek as "barbarous" (inferior.)

What kind of take does Neri have on this then?
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Mossling on February 20th, 2018, 8:55 am 

Neri's stance:
Socrates engaged in homosexual intercourse with his underage students—a practice common in ancient Greece and carried over in modern times in the homosexual abuse of the Catholic clergy.

It was a statement in defense of President Trump's famous bus statement saying "I don't even wait [for consent]" before he starts kissing any beautiful women within his vicinity, and then his admittance of creeping through teen beauty pageant changing rooms, and his support of Roy Moore when accused of pursuing a relationship with a minor.

Neri wanted to assert that Socrates was at least just as bad or worse than these guys from a sexual predator angle.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 20th, 2018, 11:15 am 

Why would it matter? Is Socrates running in the next US election?
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby BadgerJelly on February 21st, 2018, 1:29 am 

Just reread. I can see where the confusion is, but Bloch seems to have miss the entire point ... he was teaching the virtue of restraint in order to feel "reverence and awe," to understand that the love felt from another is the love of oneself.

I find it comical that it could be interpreted any other way.

What Trump said was crass, but it is true. He didn't say it in public and he said it years ago. guys like looking at young women and women find powerful men attractive. It is nature.

I can imagine many feminists would cry and shout about this because they don't want to admit the truth - that is some women manipulate men sexually to get something they want. Some just like to be around powerful men and are willing to thrown themselves at them.

How about this for a change ... stop the character assassination, stop the musings about Russian conspiracy, and simply attack the policies being voiced; and when doing so assume what the intentions are IF they were not bad intentions.

I am still waiting for someone to post about actual policy without insinuating some flaw with the person rather than the policy (no rhetoric about them being inextractable from each other please!)

If the conservatives stay in power in the UK we're likely to see Boris in charge I expect! haha!! That would be "amusing."
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Mossling on February 21st, 2018, 3:04 am 

Serpent » February 21st, 2018, 12:15 am wrote:Why would it matter? Is Socrates running in the next US election?

It would matter when sources of moral posturing were being referenced. Previously in the thread I had posted this quote from Plato:

Image

Which pointed to there being an essential core of 'good people' (perhaps one could say warm or softer-hearted) that can be contrasted to those of harder or cold heart.

It was a riposte to Neri's statement:
It is the purpose of the law to control our sexual nature so that it conforms to social justice.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Mossling on February 21st, 2018, 3:11 am 

BadgerJelly » February 21st, 2018, 2:29 pm wrote:How about this for a change ... stop the character assassination, stop the musings about Russian conspiracy, and simply attack the policies being voiced; and when doing so assume what the intentions are IF they were not bad intentions.

The thread in question - Trump: An Emerging Dictatorship - is about whether Trump has the potential to become a dictator or not. It is not about politics really - it is about going beyond politics to an autocracy.

It makes sense that if someone has no check on their impulses to grab beautiful women and kiss them - without waiting for consent, then they have little regard for the laws mentioned by Neri, let alone the decency of teen beauty pageant contestants, or protecting the public from predators such as Roy Moore. Rob Porter resigned recently for much less than Trump's transgressions, for example, but Trump seems to be living in another world - were such matters are below him...

Anyway, you are all welcome to join us on that thread if you want to discuss those matters further :)
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 21st, 2018, 12:55 pm 

Mossling » February 21st, 2018, 2:04 am wrote:[Why would it matter?]
It would matter when sources of moral posturing were being referenced. Previously in the thread I had posted this quote from Plato:

That was about the law and citizenship. He was quite right in the statement, up to that point. Good people don't need the law to stop them acting badly. The purpose of the law is to curb the behaviour of bad people. In fact most bad people don't find a way around the law; they simply break it and hope not to get caught. The purpose of both moral strictures and laws is to maintain a balance between opposing forces of human desire; to delineate a space in society where interaction and transaction are carried out in relative harmony and reasonable confidence.
The bad people who find ways around the laws are generally on the upper fringe of that space: the privileged - prelates, aristocrats, tycoons, heroes, celebrities and political bosses. The bad people who fall prey to their own undisciplined drives (or misfortune, or degraded station) and then the law are on the lower fringe.

One little aphorism doesn't make Socrates the absolute and forever authority on anything -
certainly not a society of entirely different ethnic and cultural makeup, practicing a very different array of religions, having an entirely different world-view, two millennia in the future.

And even if he were such an authority, philosophizing isn't the same as governing.
The real challenge of governance is to encourage the most possible citizens to be "good"; the challenge of state philosophers is to establish an ethical system in which good laws are made.
The political leader is on public display and has to set an example his people can follow; the philosopher stays in the background... unless he becomes posthumously famous and people of foreign nations, foreign cultures, foreign ideals, foreign perspective start judging him according to foreign standards.
His sex-life is simply not relevant here. He didn't set up Trump's frame of ethical reference.*

It is the purpose of the law to control our sexual nature so that it conforms to social justice.

That is one of the purposes of law, but that law is far older than any Socrates knew: that is the law of all social animals, and the notion of social justice varies with the society, its moral precepts and its circumstances.

I don't see how you can apply either one to modern America, where hypocrisy has always been the rule. It's a nation founded on pious lies and blatant contradictions.

* Then again, you can make Socrates' sex-life relevant in one way: He didn't just do whatever he felt like, in disregard of the mores of his culture. He had a closely-examined, reasoned and explained philosophical stand on that, as well as every other issue.
The only excuse raised by Trump's supporter is: Deep down, we all envy his privilege.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Mossling on February 22nd, 2018, 1:04 am 

Serpent » February 22nd, 2018, 1:55 am wrote:And even if he were such an authority, philosophizing isn't the same as governing.

"If you live among human beings, suggests Socrates, you have only three choices: rule yourself, be ruled, or be willing to serve the rulers." - The Socratic Movement.

I would argue that a philosophically-driven life is precisely the same as governing. To know oneself is to know The Self - my self and your self, and thus be able to govern more wisely. And if I can rule myself in a good way, I can rule other selves in a good way also. This is also at the heart of Confucian and Daoist philosophy. And there is perhaps a connected reason why the Buddha taught the philosophy of the Four NOBLE Truths. In fact, Confucius' way was the 'Way of the First Kings' - his philosophy was all about ruling oneself as a king does over his sovereign territory.

And of course such rulership requires a management of sexual appetites. Thus, Socrates was potentially a philosopher king - a ruler of himself and thus potentially over others' selves, and that was most likely why he was put to death - because that very notion threatened Athenian democracy. No one could out-argue him and so all democratic opinion fizzled in his presence.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby BadgerJelly on February 22nd, 2018, 3:22 am 

Yeah!

"I will not be afflicted at men's not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men."

- Confucius, The Anelects (Book I, XVI)


A big problem is too many people get hung up over the attitudes and social position of women and slavery expressed by ancient texts. It is unrealistic and frivolous to berate them when in the same times if we lived there we'd likely be far more "radical" in our view toward women and slavery.

Even today I read Aristotle's take on slavery with this in mind and have found the Master and Slave dynamic very intriguing. The good slave and the good master; in today's world can be cast as the good employer and good employee.

I seem to remember asking this question before about the difference between having "A good Master and a bad Slave", and "A good Slave and a bad Master." The issue was people got caught up in the knee-jerk reaction of saying "slavery is bad" without really taking on board the context of Aristotle's world and the modern day comparison to "employer and employee."

It is unwise to adhere to moral absolutism when dealing with societies that existed over 2000 years ago. We need not apply our standards to their as if they knew and experienced what we've experienced and learnt due to our more "universal" perspective and understanding - and our helpless falling into our own "myopic" view brought about due to our self aggrandisation and physically far reaching comprehension of more "mundane" physical and material aspects of the human condition.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby wolfhnd on February 22nd, 2018, 3:37 am 

Law goes beyond right and wrong, ever game including the game of life requires rules that all the players must agree on. Those rules must be such that people want to play the game over and over. The idea of moral perfection can be thought not only as being someone who plays by the rules but the person that inspires everyone to play by the rules. Where the ideologically possessed go wrong is in believing that a perfect set of rules can exist and that rules can be imposed not negotiated. The rules are restrained by the laws of physics, the level of complexity the players can absorb, human nature, and the availability of the required material appurtenances.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 22nd, 2018, 5:48 pm 

Mossling » February 22nd, 2018, 12:04 am wrote:I would argue that a philosophically-driven life is precisely the same as governing.

Not in most respects. Self-discipline and philosophy are sufficient to a hermit or a monastic or an ivory-tower intellectual, or a goatherd or a slave. Govenrance is far more complex and requires wide and inclusive understanding of other people, collectives, their history and dynamics, as well as the external factors that will affect them. You need subtlety, diplomacy, resilience, creativity, cunning and maybe half a dozen other traits that a philosopher doesn't need.

To know oneself is to know The Self -

Is that like one of those perfect ideal triangle things that can't exist in the real world?

And if I can rule myself in a good way, I can rule other selves in a good way also.

Only if they're exactly like yourself. If everyone were like me, we'd never need any government at all, I'm so honest, competent and easy to get along with. It's you others that need managing.

This is also at the heart of Confucian and Daoist philosophy. And there is perhaps a connected reason why the Buddha taught the philosophy of the Four NOBLE Truths. In fact, Confucius' way was the 'Way of the First Kings' - his philosophy was all about ruling oneself as a king does over his sovereign territory.

Sounds nice. Name three examples in the real world.

Thus, Socrates was potentially a philosopher king - a ruler of himself and thus potentially over others' selves, and that was most likely why he was put to death - because that very notion threatened Athenian democracy. No one could out-argue him and so all democratic opinion fizzled in his presence.

I thought the charge corrupting the youth. In any case, whatever threatens the existing government is usually opposed- and if possible, neutralized - by the existing government - just as any other living thing will defend itself.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Lomax on February 22nd, 2018, 9:12 pm 

I read Phaedrus in order to follow Neri's trail. I will only say that the study which Neri cites - which in turn cites Phaedrus - words things in a slightly misleading manner. It is clear from the text that Socrates felt sexual attraction to males we would - in the US and UK, in 2018 - call underage, but it's not so clear whether he actually acted on this. He certainly doesn't in the text. My understanding is that Socrates was married, and also not altogether enthusiastic about sexual intercourse in general.

All this is making the ontological assumption that Socrates existed. Otherwise we might as well ask whether Homer Simpson really likes donuts.

I should add that we're in danger of conflating several different things here. Trump did not just say that women are attracted to power and status, but also that you can do whatever you want with them, which is a rather different matter. Legally and morally speaking you can't do whatever you want with a puppy, never mind a woman. Neri draws a continuity between Socrates's flirtation with a young - but consenting, and intellectually mature - man and the systematic cover-up of rape, both statutory and actual, of children by the Catholic church. He both euphemises and dysphemises it by calling it "homosexual abuse", as if it were no more than bullying, and as if the problem were the similarity of genitalia rather than the difference of age and power. It is not "homosexual abuse", it is "child rape". From a starting point of linguistic sloppiness we end up at a terminus of moral chaos, and vice versa.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Asparagus on February 22nd, 2018, 10:04 pm 

Greek men of Socrates' day didn't tend to feel erotic love for women. That was reserved for young men. Ideally, a close relationship with an older man provided education and social contacts. There probably were cases where it was degrading and unpleasant for the youth.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 22nd, 2018, 10:44 pm 

Asparagus » February 22nd, 2018, 9:04 pm wrote:Greek men of Socrates' day didn't tend to feel erotic love for women.

How do you know this?
If they anything, they were unreserved! Open to, and lyrical about every kind of love, both physical and emotional; romantic, erotic or platonic; youthful or mature; with the same or the opposite sex.
It's difficult, in puerile, Calvin-ridden America, to imagine people who were unabashedly sensual also being rigorously moral.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Asparagus on February 22nd, 2018, 10:51 pm 

Serpent » February 22nd, 2018, 10:44 pm wrote:
Asparagus » February 22nd, 2018, 9:04 pm wrote:Greek men of Socrates' day didn't tend to feel erotic love for women.

How do you know this?

I have a time machine. Plus I read a book about Socrates.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 22nd, 2018, 11:07 pm 

I've read a book, too. Wonder where Homer got the idea for The Iliad and the Oddysey?
You'd think Helen was so much chopped liver, no?
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Asparagus on February 22nd, 2018, 11:10 pm 

Serpent » February 22nd, 2018, 11:07 pm wrote:I've read a book, too. Wonder where Homer got the idea for The Iliad and the Oddysey?
You'd think Helen was so much chopped liver, no?

What?
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby wolfhnd on February 22nd, 2018, 11:10 pm 

When Trump said that you can do anything with woman because of social status the implication is that they would not object although they would if your social status was lower. He is not bragging about sexual exploits but social status. The idea that the women were not consenting destroys the very underpinnings of the brag.

Sometimes I feel as if these discussions are taking place between people who have no worldly experience.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Lomax on February 22nd, 2018, 11:35 pm 

They don't have worldly experience, or we don't? In full he said "I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything". I'm willing to bet there are girls out there who would rather, in spite of his power and status, he "waited". But maybe I'm making unworldly assumptions.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 22nd, 2018, 11:35 pm 

Asparagus » February 22nd, 2018, 10:10 pm wrote:
Serpent » February 22nd, 2018, 11:07 pm wrote:I've read a book, too. Wonder where Homer got the idea for The Iliad and the Oddysey?
You'd think Helen was so much chopped liver, no?

What?

I don't want to spoil it for you.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 22nd, 2018, 11:37 pm 

Lomax -- They don't have worldly experience, or we don't? In full he said "I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything". I'm willing to bet there are girls out there who would rather, in spite of his power and status, he "waited". But maybe I'm making unworldly assumptions.


Also, stardom is in the eye of the beholder - not unlike number of attendees at an inauguration.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Asparagus on February 22nd, 2018, 11:58 pm 

Serpent » February 22nd, 2018, 11:35 pm wrote:
Asparagus » February 22nd, 2018, 10:10 pm wrote:
Serpent » February 22nd, 2018, 11:07 pm wrote:I've read a book, too. Wonder where Homer got the idea for The Iliad and the Oddysey?
You'd think Helen was so much chopped liver, no?

What?

I don't want to spoil it for you.

I'm reading about the Bronze Age Collapse these days. It's the period when the Mycenaean stories Homer retold originated. Care to explain what that has to do with social norms in 5th Century BC Athens? :D
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby wolfhnd on February 23rd, 2018, 12:39 am 

Serpent » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:37 am wrote:
Lomax -- They don't have worldly experience, or we don't? In full he said "I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything". I'm willing to bet there are girls out there who would rather, in spite of his power and status, he "waited". But maybe I'm making unworldly assumptions.


Also, stardom is in the eye of the beholder - not unlike number of attendees at an inauguration.


It seems conformation bias is also in the eye of the beholder.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 23rd, 2018, 10:42 am 

wolfhnd » February 22nd, 2018, 11:39 pm wrote:[Also, stardom is in the eye of the beholder - not unlike number of attendees at an inauguration.]

It seems conformation bias is also in the eye of the beholder.

Pithy, but how relevant?
It was only, afaik, Trump who called Trump a star - unless a not-yet-fired toady echoed him - and arrogated to himself the presumed prerogatives of stardom. It was only Trump, afaik, who inflated the number of people who watched him sworn in, and even lied about the weather. He did these things openly, in public. It would take some severely blinkered bias to deny them.
To whose bias are you referring?
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Mossling on February 24th, 2018, 1:12 am 

Serpent » February 23rd, 2018, 6:48 am wrote:
To know oneself is to know The Self -

Is that like one of those perfect ideal triangle things that can't exist in the real world?

And if I can rule myself in a good way, I can rule other selves in a good way also.

Only if they're exactly like yourself. If everyone were like me, we'd never need any government at all, I'm so honest, competent and easy to get along with. It's you others that need managing.

There is your self, there is my self - now why do we use that same label - self - for both you as an agent, and me as an agent? What are the common traits that your self and my self hold? That, my friend, is at the heart of philosophical contemplation and exploration.

We are about to head off-topic with this, however - we can open up a new topic for 'Know Thyself', if you wish.

Image

This is also at the heart of Confucian and Daoist philosophy. And there is perhaps a connected reason why the Buddha taught the philosophy of the Four NOBLE Truths. In fact, Confucius' way was the 'Way of the First Kings' - his philosophy was all about ruling oneself as a king does over his sovereign territory.

Sounds nice. Name three examples in the real world.

1) The Golden Rule - treat others how you wish to be treated yourself.
2) The 'body politic' - 'arms' of government, and so forth (it's already in the language, you see.)
3) Autopoiesis - three tiers - cellular, metacellular, and society.
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby BadgerJelly on February 24th, 2018, 3:46 am 

Given what I am looking into of late I do find something to be said for "propaganda" and how "art" relates to all this. The contrast between Aristotle and Plato regarding "art" I imagine would be quite opposite to what most people expect. Plato, often being viewed with more ridicule than Aristotle when comes to being "science-minded" looks a lot better than Aristotle who is happy to play with "art" as "propaganda" where Plato has scorn for the Poets and only cares for logic.

I think both were right for different reasons. Plato looked on at this "art" as demeaning to humanity and corrupt, whilst Aristotle seems to be more pragmatic and accepts its existence as it is and looks to fashion it, understand it and perfect it regardless of the outcome. Funnily enough Aristotle "mirrors" Plato with the use of the term "imitation," yet does so only on the superficial level of "art" whilst Plato aimed at elucidating the real beyond the face of human emotion.

Funny eh? Today people seem to have the opposite view of these two, with Plato as the "mystic" and Aristotle as more "logical."

Anyway, I'll take this up more in next part of my look at Aristotle's Poetics and then look to compare to what Plato had to say on the matter. It is precisely this kind of emotional pandering that I have been voicing about regarding the whole Trump debacle. It seems more and more to me like people are swimming in an emotional quagmire rather than just addressing the underlying political movements - have we reduced "politics" into a mere "soap opera"?

Something Russell Brand said about Trump on TV in the US made me chuckle, to paraphrase "No parody of the truly despotic is possible." Which I took to mean that once we start to find any comical hyperbole of someone comparable to reality we need to start questioning the state of society in general - pretty sure it was on the Bill Maher show?

I think this says it all (not the clip I was thinking of, think he said that "despot" thing earlier in the show): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkFJvHepN2g
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 24th, 2018, 1:11 pm 

Mossling » February 24th, 2018, 12:12 am wrote:There is your self, there is my self - now why do we use that same label - self - for both you as an agent, and me as an agent? What are the common traits that your self and my self hold? That, my friend, is at the heart of philosophical contemplation and exploration.

While that may be a very interesting topic, what I said was that self-knowledge is far from sufficient qualification for running a government - not even one the size of Painesville OH, let alone USA.
Wisdom 101 is a good start,, a highly desirable characteristic, but not enough to rule with.

[Name three examples in the real world.]
1) The Golden Rule - treat others how you wish to be treated yourself.
2) The 'body politic' - 'arms' of government, and so forth (it's already in the language, you see.)
3) Autopoiesis - three tiers - cellular, metacellular, and society.

No, those are still just statements of ideals.
I meant the real world, where petty people live, with all their misjudgments and confusions and spite and self-importance and greed and paranoia and illusions and passions...

Philosophers make up principles, sometimes equations and diagrams, even, which sound fine, which we can all agree is worthy of implementing. And then all hell breaks loose as everybody has a different interpretation of the principle, espouse a different means of implementing; some try to subvert the ideal, some spin it to their advantage; some are pious, some are aggressive; some are deceptive,
That's when you need a statesman to organize things.
These are two very different aptitudes and skill-sets. Why do you think there are so few philosopher-kings?
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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Mossling on February 26th, 2018, 5:04 am 

Serpent » February 25th, 2018, 2:11 am wrote:I meant the real world, where petty people live, with all their misjudgments and confusions and spite and self-importance and greed and paranoia and illusions and passions...

Lol, well I'd say that that statement is an oxymoron.

Who cares if idiots are walking around thinking that the government is bunch of reptiles or that the best thing for a society is for everyone to watch out for their kin only and screw everyone else. That is up to them - but if they stop paying their taxes then that's when a true problem starts.

People create complex realities for themselves, but in fact, as Marx pointed out, the economic foundation of a society is pretty simple - just like weight loss is - calories in, calories out. Feed the people appropriately and the ruling class can continue ruling. It is not rocket science, no matter peoples' attempts to try to complicate it.

The issue comes when virtue is lost sight of. Thus, Socrates liked to ask what is virtue? What is good? He knew this was the heart of the matter - as it is today.

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Re: Socrates' Sexual Behaviour

Postby Serpent on February 26th, 2018, 2:37 pm 

[I meant the real world, where petty people live, with all their misjudgments and confusions and spite and self-importance and greed and paranoia and illusions and passions...]

Lol, well I'd say that that statement is an oxymoron.

I don't see the contradiction.

Who cares if idiots are walking around thinking that the government is bunch of reptiles or that the best thing for a society is for everyone to watch out for their kin only and screw everyone else. That is up to them - but if they stop paying their taxes then that's when a true problem starts.

You don't have to care. The administrator does have to deal with it - all of it, not just the bits he likes. Failing to pay tax is one way to start problems, but there are lots of others, an people try all of them.

The issue comes when virtue is lost sight of. Thus, Socrates liked to ask what is virtue? What is good? He knew this was the heart of the matter - as it is today.

Socrates didn't rule in any society - not even tiny, relatively sane 400BC Athens, while Ivan the Terrible, no more diplomatic in his speech, did rule a biggish, diverse Russian empire.
It's not a question of virtue. No matter how long you harp on it, virtue has never been a major criterion in governance - and still isn't today.
The private vices of leaders don't matter, so long as they remain private. That's why nobody cares what Kennedy got up to - except conservatives who use it as an excuse for their own leaders' excesses. The big difference is, when a high elected official acts like a pig in public, he's setting an example and issuing an invitations for his followers to do likewise. When that piggishness includes graft, misappropriation of public funds, influence peddling, nepotism, abuse of power and compromise of the national interest, and those vices are given free rein among the ruling class, that government will sink into the swamp.
In the meantime, it will neutralize all the Socrates-type critics (Chomsky springs to mind) it can catch.
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