Currently, I’ve hit the books again for a Philosophy course. You know the one about “what makes a table a table” and “what makes Larry, Larry” sort of thing. And so, I leave it to Plato to explain this “folie” through his prized prophet – Socrates. Plato’s works are based on discourse with Socrates and inspire a good deal of thought to aid in understanding human contemplation and intentions. I do recommend “Phaedo” for anybody that wants to tackle this approach to conceptualising situations, and who question how virtue plays into our everyday life; piety and impiety, notwithstanding. Which brings me to online book sellers who appear pious through their name….”Better World Books” but end up delivering something other than what they promised in the first place. But, this isn’t about shady Internet businesses or people. Hey, its the Internet, and, as I tell my son or anybody who cares to listen, “it” is 50% b.s. There are some great things happening on the web; how could I survive without on-line banking, email, Reuter’s or my Yahoo fantasy football team. Nope! Ain’t gonna happen. Originally, I had zero interest in the blogosphere, Twitter and Facebook. Then, I struck, what appeared to be “paydirt” with Amazon’s capacity to publish books for aspiring authors, like myself. Aha! Not so fast! Pious? Yes and no. It turns out that the other 50% of the Internet are idling by waiting for their pound of flesh er… PayPal payments. Needless to say, self-publishing has been a learning experience along the lines of Plato, and now, Aristotle, as provided by the University of Waterloo’s capable Philosophy department.
The vanguard of Philosophy, espoused by Sophists in Athens around the 5thc B.C., was a platform for individuals to better represent themselves in front of the Athenian courts or among the political leaders of the day. Of course, they had to learn how to walk the walk in order to survive and become relevant in the eyes of their peers. However, two things come to mind: 1) humanity hasn’t really come that far in a few thousand years (technology aside) and 2) those thinkers from this period set the bar incredibly high for their successors. Now, imagine Plato having to answer emails and defend himself on Facebook? And what of Socrates? Can you see him robed before an Athenian court, pounding away on his BlackBerry stating his innocence on prior BBM’s…”hey, everybody’s doing it” is what he might say, in a not so lascivious manner.
Today, we are inundated with news, much of which doesn’t evoke euphoria. But it is news, and better to know the “devil that we do know (or are aware of) than the one(s) we don’t.” So, while you are waffling through comments and checking to see if yours are “liked” or not, try not to take it personally as 999 Sophists push for relevance among the world court of popular opinion.