Thursday, October 9, 2014

History essay week four

    What was the disagreement Socrates had with the Sophists?

    Socrates, who is famous for being one of the wisest men is his day, disagreed significantly with some of the other philosophers, namely the Sophists. They believed in 'relativism', which is the idea that there is no 'absolute truth', and everyone's own idea of truth is valid.
    Socrates dismissed this idea with the argument that if there was someone whose own personal truth was that relativism was not true, then who were the Sophists to tell him that relativism was true? If everyone's own view of reality is different and valid, then there could be someone who holds that not everyone's view on reality is valid, and the Sophists would not be able to argue, simply based on their own argument.

    What was Plato's point in his allegory of the cave?

    Plato postulated that everything here on earth, in the physical world, is a reflection of eternal forms that are outside of the physical and the mental. He sought to illustrate this with his allegory of the cave, which has a group of people living in a cave that has very little light shining into it. Outside the cave, there are objects and a great source of light that is shining upon the objects, casting their shadows into the cave. The people in the cave see these shadows and take them for reality, and that is their entire world.
    The philosopher, then, is the one who leaves the cave and sees that there is more to life than the pale shadows cast into the cave, and tries to convince the people of the cave of this.
    Plato's point is that what we have here on earth is all just shadows, pointing to real, eternal forms and that the true purpose of mankind is to find the forms.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

English Essay week 3

Historical Sanctions in the book of Psalms

    The largest book in the Bible, numbering one hundred fifty chapters, the book of Psalms is a very important resource in this day and age. Not only does it provide a wealth of spiritual texts for meditation, teaching, and also signing (the psalms have been translated into English rhymes for signing and chanting), but they provide a view into the mind of King David and other authors of the psalms.
    One topic that is repeated often in the psalms is God's use of sanctions, both positive and negative. He provides for His people, gives them mercy when they follow His commandments, and He strikes down His enemies and those who would do ill to His people.
    The psalms speak of these sanctions often, and we see them reenforced in the rest of the scriptures. God provides positive sanctions for His followers, and He gives negative sanctions to His enemies.

Monday, October 6, 2014

History Essay week three

Pre-Socratic Philosophy
    In the earlier days of Greece, due to the way their society was structured, certain people had time on their hands and could focus on more than just working to make a living. These men were early philosophers, called pre-Socratic philosophers because they cam before Socrates.
    While much of what they speculated was absurd, they asked some thought-provoking questions that would occupy the time of many philosophers to come. Some of them speculated that 'change' didn't actually exist, and if you percieved that it did, then your perceptions cannot be trusted. Another postulated that change was the only thing that was true, and nothing was consant.
    Very few of these philosophers agreed on anything, but thier speculations and postulations would later be adressed by philosophers such as Socrates and Plato, and as such the pre-Socratic philosophers were significant.

    The Cyclopes
    In Homer's book The Odessey, Odesseus encounters a race of creatures called Cyclopes. Did these Cyclopes have any kind of civiliation? In book 9 of The Odessey, it says: "Now the Cyclopes neither plant nor plough, but trust in providence, and live on such wheat, barley, and grapes as grow wild without any kind of tillage, and their wild grapes yield them wine as the sun and the rain may grow them. They have no laws nor assemblies of the people, but live in caves on the tops of high mountains; each is lord and master in his family, and they take no account of their neighbours."
    Is there any kind of civilization today, or in history, that does not work the ground to grow food? There is not. These Cyclopes simply live off the wild foods such as they found.
    It also says that they did not have any laws or stucture, beyond families. This does not bespeak a civilization of intelligent creatures. It is clear, then, that the Cyclopes had no civilization.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

History Essay week two

A brief history of Minoan Crete and key points of Mycenean Greece

    Minoan Crete began in 3000 BC and went until about 1400BC. It is divided into four periods, Prepalatian, Protopalatian, Neopalatian, and Postpalatian.
    In Prepalatial Crete, there were no palaces or any sort of centralized government. It was just several large towns where the inhabitants of Crete lived, traded and produced goods.
    There came kings and heirarchy to Crete in the Protopalatial period, and the first palaces were built. The people of Crete started expanding their trade networks into other lands, like Egypt. Here also is where thier writing system was found. Toward the end of the Protopalatial period, disaster struck Crete and destroyed their towns and palaces.
    The poeple began rebuilding their palaces andthus began the Neopalatian period. These new palaces were much bigger, grander, and more advanced than the old ones. The towns of Crete grew around these palaces and so did the trade networks. There is, however, no evidence of any military activity in Crete, although their influence spread quite far.
    After the golden age of Neopalatial Crete, there was a rapid downfall of Minoan Crete and after 1425 BC, Minoan Crete was no more.

    Mycenean Greece

    Mycenean Greece was a culture that arose around 1600 BC, under the influence of Minoan Crete, and later evolved into classical Greece. Mycenea advanced through the conquering of other lands,  including Minoan Crete and Troy, according to legend. Mycenea was ruled by a warrior class.
    Mycenean society was divided into two groups: the king's entourage, and the people. The people were bound to perform social duties as directed by the king's entourage.
    The people grew grapes, grain, and olives, and they made pottery and bronze tools and weapons. These they traded with neighboring nations, such as Sicily and Asia Minor.

LIterature Essay Week two

    In the popular Bible story of Noah and the Flood, the concepts of ethics and sanctions are important details.
    In terms of Ethics, we see that the reason God sends the flood to destroy the earth is that Mankind was terribly wicked, and God saw the only way to fix it was to destroy everything. But we then see that there is one man whom God favors, and so He instructs Noah to build an Ark so he lives through the flood.
    God then destroys the earth, with only Noah, his family, and some of every animal remaining. . This is an illustration of sanctions; mankind was wicked so its negative sanction was to be destroyed, but Noah was good so his sanction was to be saved from the flood.
    After the flood passed and the Ark landed upon dry ground, he built an altar to the Lord and the Lord made a covenant with him to never again destroy the earth. This is another instance of a positive sanction from God.