Journal Update #7

Howard University, Douglass Hall; Thursday, February 25th, 2016; 11:00 am — 12:30 pm

During this class period we broke down the Apology of Socrates by one of his students, the philosopher Plato.

Class Notes

The geek word for nature is “Phusis”. Divinity: dimonion (demons).

Socrates says that he has this inner voice that is his guardian spirit. This spirit was sent from the gods to prevent him from doing things that he was not meant to do. This is his explanation for not going into the political life. Socrates is a leader in a sense that he attracts followers. He is a good, kind hearted person and he has a vast range of wisdom. However, I think that his leading may be very indirect. He seems to have a goal of only sharing the truth rather than his primary objective being the maturing or benefiting of others. The followers that he attracts are all of the youth. At the end of the day, the way you perceive the type of leader that Socrates is, is by breaking down the comparison of influence vs authority.You have to decide whether you believe Socrates had just an indirect influence on his followers or if he actually wanted to lead and used his authority to teach. Next thing that we did in this class session was go over the comparison of Alcibiades and Socrates. We know that Socrates was very close to Alcibiades and acted as a mentor to him. Now we are taking a deeper look at how much the teacher and student differ and what they have in common. Alcibiades was a very eloquent speaker who captured the hearts of his audience, Socrates was a much more simple speaker. Alcibiades was great at reading people, loved political life, he was a law breaker, concerned with status/honor, impious, profits from others, and is a pathological liar. Socrates on the other hand had no intention of manipulating others emotions, had no interest in political life, always obeyed the laws, did not seek titles but rather wisdom (philosophia), pious, lets others profit from him, and only tells the truth. These are just a few of the differences between the two. For the similarities, both have a sense they are special, this special kind of grandiosity. They are both brave in a sense that they are not ashamed to profess who they are. Both are anti democratic and they are also emotionally shallow.

Howard University, College Hall South, 4th Floor Study Lounge; Saturday, February 27th, 2016; 11:00 am — 2:00 pm

In this study session, I decided to spend the time reading Xenophon’s account of the Apology of Socrates. In this account Socrates is still on trial for the same three reasons, corrupting the youth, not believing in the gods of the state, and introducing new gods.

Where we start to see a major difference from Plato's version of the apology is the way that Socrates goes about the trial. The way that he acts is just completely different. We see a much more proud Socrates, and a bit boastful. I think that in Plato’s version Socrates was much more humble. He did not like to brag on his accomplishments. Actually he barely acknowledges that he knows anything in Plato’s account, but in Xenophon’s it is as if Socrates is this chosen man by the gods who has lived this perfect life thus far. In this account, Socrates talks about how he is somewhat close to a god (from the words of the gods) and that his life would be spent in misery if he lived on past this trial. This is why he claims to not fight back in the trial or to oppose their judgement. He believes that the gods did not want him to oppose death but that it was time for him to end his great life while it was still so amazing. However in Plato’s account we see him deny being guilty but also he request free meals as his punishment and a small fine to pay. Socrates sees his prosecutors as the people being jealous of him that he was chosen to be this wise teacher.

Howard University, College Hall South, 4th Floor Study Lounge; Sunday, February 28th, 2016; 3:00 pm — 5:00 pm

During this study session I continued my analysis of the Apology of Socrates by Xenophon and also the comparison between that account and with Plato’s account. Then I read over the notice for position of Cannon Minister to Historic Black Churches.

It seems that throughout this whole trial Socrates has this attitude of not fearing death at all and actually embarrassing death in a way. I feel as though he might have wanted to be sentenced to death so he could die as a man on top who was looked up to by so many followers. Another difference that I found in this account vs the account of Plato is when Socrates is talking about the oracle of Delphi and Apollo. Unlike in Plato’s account, Apollo says that there is no man more free, or prudent than Socrates is. In the other account it states that no man is more wiser. I think that Socrates was a definite intellectual leader. He differs from a political leader in his goals, being that he seeks knowledge for the common good. I think that political leaders do not worry so much about what the people know but what happens to them and their government as a whole. When a intellectual leader like Socrates is forced to be in a political environment I think it can be very unproductive. For example a military camp or just a rally to inspire the troops that would take someone more on a political leader side. When it comes to capturing the hearts of others and manipulating them, political leaders are far more good at that than an intellectual/spiritual leader.

In the notice for the position of Cannon Minister I just thought it pretty interesting some of the qualifications required to do this job. Also what stuck out to me the most is when you actually think about what this job is asking for. I’m not exactly sure if someone could do this job who was too kind hearted and passionate about churches and what they stand for.

Howard University, Douglass Hall; Tuesday, March 1st, 2016; 11:00–12:30 pm

In this class session we discussed the Apology of Socrates by Xenophon and we tried to point out any of the differences that we noticed between the accounts.

Class Notes

Xenophon was known as a philosopher. He was another follower of Socrates. He was actually absent during the trial of Socrates however, leading a Greek fleet of soldiers in battle.

Differences in Accounts

Xenophon’s Socrates welcomes death, does not want to die of old age and suffer during his last years. Megalegoria — speaking proudly/largely in a public way. This is what Socrates character was like in Xenophon’s account. He was proud of himself and thought to be very wise and awesome. He does not propose any penalty during the trial unlike in Plato’s account where he proposed to pay a small fine and also be treated to a free meal. When talking about the Oracle of Delphi, Apollo says that there is no man more free or prudent than Socrates is. In the other account Socrates’ wisdom is complemented instead.

Providentia- prudent. Socrates dimonion is a lot more positive in Xenophons account than in Plato’s. He is also much more grandiose. However they mention nothing about a gadfly in this account. Socrates shows exhibits philanthropia a love for seeking nothing but wisdom.

Howard University, College Hall South, 4th Floor Study Lounge; Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016; 6:00 pm — 8:00 pm

In my last study session, I read over our reading, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. While reading I tried to paraphrase each section in my own words.

It seems at first that Marcus Aurelius is naming people in his life that have made contributions or the people that he has learned something from by watching them. With each person he names there is some type of characteristic or lesson that he learned from them. I think that maybe all of these people that he is naming were figures in his life who either gave him criticism about doing the things he says he learned not to do in Meditations or that each person lived by good example and did or did not do the things he listed. It seems that Meditations is a sort of self reflecting purification for Marcus Aurelius and perhaps he is listing the areas where he knows he needs to improve or where he lacks in character or self restraint. I think that Meditations serves as a sort of journal that Marcus Aurelius wrote to himself. In book one as he is listing these names of influential people in his life that struck a change in his way of living, he is thanking each one of them and giving credit to each for making such a huge impact on his life. Marcus embraces the true nature of things in book 1. This writing by Marcus can be very inspiring to others who read and could lead as the perfect example and guide on how to live your life. I see many similarities of Socrates in Marcus by possibly leading others indirectly. It seems as though Marcus is simply thanking the people who influenced him and self reflecting on his life, but when others read it they are captured by the inspiring words he says and want to follow and live by those words, even though that may have not been his intentions at all.

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