The Ship Of State

“Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering –every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling. Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?”

          from The Republic
Plato

Even in ancient times, it seems, the wise understood that the masses could not appreciate the value of Philosophy.  Yet in these times of Democracy as Manifest Destiny, is it not more important then ever that the Philosophical Voice be heard, heeded & understood?

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The Lost City Of Dwarka…

As a westener, I do not know much about Hindu mythology or the history of India.  It is a subject I have been curious about for some time.  Until recently, I have never taken any opportunities to research this ancient culture.  But that all changed when I heard about Dwarka. Continue reading

An Ancient Allegory About Enlightenment…

Over 2000 years ago, Plato described reality in terms of an Allegory.  He was keenly aware of how much of what we Believe is simply illusions we Choose to accept.  This wonderful animation perfectly presents his Allegory Of The Cave.

Are there any other Allegories or Parables that have helped you understand life?  If so, I want to hear about them.  Tell me what stories inspired you to look at the world differently.

The Top 5 Philosophy Books That Influenced Me

 

5. The Republic – Plato

As one of the Father’s of Western Philosophy, Plato has had a massive influence
on our civilization and the way people think. The Republic is probably his best
known work. In the dialectic style, Plato attempts to describe a perfect society
while addressing many of the issues any society would face. The sociology &
politics aside, the part that sticks out the most in my mind is The Allegory Of The
Cave
which begins on line 514a of the text. If you are able to see the material
world for what it truly is, it might bear a striking resemblance to Plato’s Cave.
What you can learn from this observation might shock & free you at the same
time.

 

4 Être Et Le Néant (Being & Nothingness) – Jean Paul Satre

Perhaps the greatest existential atheist to have ever lived, Jean Paul Satre was a
man who evoked strong reactions from his readers & from the world as a whole.
His ideas regarding the nature reality and the power of the Individual turned
philosophy on its head. For me, the most important thing I learnt from Satre is
that we are beings who are Free except that we are only constrained by Choice.
It is the understanding of the Power of Choice that will Truly set you Free.

 

3. Meditations – René Descartes

Whenever I think of Descartes, I can’t help but get Monty Python’s The
Philosopher’s Song
stuck in my head. You know the one: “René Descartes was a
drunken old fart//’I drink therefor I am’” But I digress… My own epistemology &
understanding of knowledge starts with Descartes. His famous Cogito (mocked
so well by Python & many others) is for me, the foundation of all Epistemology.
This a priori (or self-evident) Truth proves that at the very least, I exist. And from
there, anything is Truly possible

 

2. The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield

Though not a Philosophical work, strictly speaking, the life’s philosophy
contained in The Celestine Prophecy will put you on the path of connectedness &
help you reach your goals. The idea of the Celestine is that every day
synchronistic coincidences happen to Individuals. These coincidences are
messages from the universe that, if heeded, will help Individuals along their life’s
path. The trick is, staying connected & following these coincidences to their
ultimate end. This is an endeavour I am still struggling to master.

 

1 Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Friedrich Nietzsche

The great german Nihilist. The often misunderstood philosophical genius &
madman. Nietzsche’s masterpiece is superbly written & complex to its core. The
ideas it presents demand that the reader take up the hammer and strike down
everything – & then run through the forest dancing & singing, living life to its
fullest. It warns of the dangers of the Mob & forces the Individual to reach for
the higher goals in life. As Zarathustra himself says many times: “Man is but a
bridge to the overman.”

 

What are some of the books that have influenced you? Leave me a comment & let me
know. Maybe we can share our Knowledge & help each other cross Zarathustra’s
bridge faster.