Weekly Journal Update 10/26
Thursday, October 19, 9:40am-11:00am. Today in class, we took the weekly quiz for module seven, discussed the dictionary and personal definitions of “cosmopolitan” and discussed Hierocles and his ideology of stoicism. I think I did well on the quiz for this week. I enjoyed this this module had more to do with words than some of the more recent ones. After taking the quiz, I realized that I did not discuss what we did in class last Tuesday for my “week of October 19th” journal update.
Our discussion about how we define cosmopolitan was interesting. The broken-down translation of cosmopolitan is “world citizen”. We went around the room and shared how we defined cosmopolitan. People’s interpretations of what makes a citizen ultimately influenced how their definitions. One person said they define “cosmopolitan” as someone who travels the world. So, anyone who has traveled to multiple countries in various continents is considered a cosmopolitan by this definition. Another person defined a cosmopolitan as someone who “puts the world first”. So, someone who takes care of the world’s people and serves as a guardian of the world’s citizens. I defined a cosmopolitan as someone who can reside safely in any country of the world. I believe that if you live in a country, but don’t feel safe, you aren’t a true citizen. An ideal leader of a country will make sure that his country’s citizens are safe. Therefore, if you don’t feel safe everywhere in the world, you can’t be a world citizen by my definition. Dr. Sandridge proposed a definition of cosmopolitan that was opposite to ours but was still operational. He defined a cosmopolitan as being someone who is unwanted with no home; always traveling. By this definition, anyone who practices a nomadic lifestyle and is never settled in one location for an extended period is a cosmopolitan. They are citizens of the world because they have no defined home, so the world is their home.
After discussing our definitions of “cosmopolitan,” we discussed Hierocles and how his ides of stoicism relate to the idea of a cosmopolitan. Hierocles was a second century CE philosopher who practiced stoicism. Stoicism is an ideology that emphasizes logical thinking and being open an accepting of the truth regardless of personal emotions. Dr. Sandridge gave an example of a stoic person being one who in a situation where a friend is dying of cancer, they would not be sympathetic to the person with the diagnosis. The stoic individual accepts that the nature of certain things is unavoidable and believes situations that cannot be avoided should not be grieved over.
This idea of stoicism can be related to a cosmopolitan because the cosmopolitan that is a true citizen of the world will make even the most distant member of humanity their friend. This practice often has to be practiced beginning with the cosmopolitan prioritizing themselves. Once this has been done, the cosmopolitan will place priority in direct family, then indirect family, then extended family, working gradually to various community, and ultimately the world. After discussing Hierocles and stoicism, Dr. Sandridge posed the question “Can the world practice stoicism?” I personally don’t believe that it’s realistic for the world to practice stoicism because that would require everyone in the world to put others before themselves. This is a great idea, but I don’t think it’s possible to get everyone in the world to practice the same ideology because humans love to find ways to divide themselves and be set apart.
Sunday, October 22, 8:00pm-10:00pm. Today, I worked on the beginning of the eighth module. The introduction of the module analyzes Trump’s congratulatory message to those who celebrate the Persian New Year. In his message, Trump claims to quote Cyrus the Great. The quote read, “freedom, dignity, and wealth together constitute the greatest happiness of humanity. If you bequeath all three to your people, their love for you will never die.” It turned out that this quote was from a Forbes article by Ryan Holiday. Holiday was quoting a book by Larry Heidrick that was a translation of Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus. Hendrick’s book was written as Cyrus viewing contemporary history finding it wanting and sending a text to fix society’s corrupt leadership practices. The quote that was previously mentioned above essentially states that acting as a liberator will create extraordinary loyalty among those who have been liberated. Cyrus granted the strongest of slaves’ freedom as long as they served the army. The liberation created hope, which then created loyalty among the freed slaves.
Certain differences can be assumed between Trump’s use of the quote and Cyrus’ use of it. In both instances, the quote identifies ways to gain loyalty that benefits the country. However, Trump’s use seems more individualistic. I get the impression that he is saying is people are given the opportunity to become wealthy with a strong sense of freedom and dignity, then people will work more for themselves. Cyrus on the other hand seemed to relay wisdom learned from experience. He described the result of liberating the slaves in exchange for national support and loyalty. In looking at these quotes, one must define freedom and dignity. In Xenophon’s use of the quote, he defines free as not being someone’s slave. He defines dignity as having different forms depending on social class as well as cultural beliefs and practices. Xenophon views freedom, wealth and dignity as aspects that can be considered important, but they are not always necessary for one to achieve happiness and can be potential burdens. One example of wealth being a burden on one’s dignity is receiving handouts. For many people, receiving finances from other people is a shot at their dignity.
The next section of the module discusses Cyrus and evangelical Christianity, then draws a mediation between Cyrus and Trump. To evangelicals, Cyrus represents one of God’s anointed pagan that was specifically chosen and set apart for a task. Comparisons have been made between Trump and Cyrus. Lance Wallnau developed a theory and van be quoted saying, “I believe he is the chaos candidate set apart to navigate us through the chaos that is coming to America.” Wallnau’s theory links Trump to Isaiah 45. This has given many Christians a way to reconcile with Trump’s leadership. Wallnau also writes about Trumps promise to build a wall around American boarders and how that ties to the bible. He notes that walls are symbolic I the bible and quotes Proverb 25:28 which says, “He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city without walls.” America has become a nation without walls that allows people in and out relatively easily. Cyrus the Great is one of the most critically acclaimed sumbols of a perfect leader who was loved and wanted by his subjects as a ruler. These connections between Cyrus and Trump from a religious standpoint are controversial and cause people to think deeply about Trump and his leadership.
Monday, October 23, 8:00pm-10:00pm + 11:00pm-11:30pm. Today I worked on part one of the module. Part one talks about leaders who come from the outside and establish leadership. The module states, “The leader who in not part of the corrupt system of government in free to transcend that system and destroy it.” Trump in an outsider in the sense that he is a businessman with little to no government experience, yet he has made his way to being president of the United States. He is not truly contained by a system as a businessman.
The ‘Cyrus Cylinder’ is very important in this module as it is seen as the first declaration of human rights. The cylinder is written in Babylonian text and tells of Cyrus as a liberator sent by Marduk, the Babylonian’s supreme God. In the text, Cyrus was meant to bring peace and true religion back to Babylon. Cyrus showed wisdom in the way he respected people in order to bring them together. Cyrus is often times referenced when speaking on respect for human rights and is linked to establishing world peace.
Tuesday, October 24, 9:40M-11:00AM. Today in class we discussed our mindset from here till the end of the semester, connections between divinity and leadership as well as the pros and cons of selectivity. Dr sandridge showed us a video of the winner of the Boston marathon in 2013. The runner gave all she had to bring herself to the finish line in first place. Dr. Sandridge used this analogy to say that we are approaching the end of our “marathon” and we need to buckle down and finish strong.
After watching the video, we discussed an instance where Trump blamed the rain for the lack of people at his inaugural address. He then stated that God stopped the rain for him to deliver his speech. This event can be viewed in two different ways. It could be viewed as “God has saved my speech,” or “God has allowed you a chance to be present at my speech.” This raises the question of how divinity and religion can legitimize leadership. I would say that divinity has a strong influence on leadership if the people being led practice the same religion as the leader.
After discussing this scenario and looking at divinity and leadership, we questioned how being selective can be beneficial or detrimental to the country. What if as Americans, we only let the “strongest” immigrants into the country? This would be beneficial in the sense that people who could benefit the country would be added to our society. However, when a group of people is excluded from anything, it gives rise to rebellion, protest, defiance, etc.
Wednesday, October 25, 8:00pm-10:30pm + 12:20pm-12:50pm. Today I typed up my journal for the week and continued further in the module.