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Has Science Discovered God?
Click to watch this FASCINATING, MIND-BLOGGING video with breathtaking images and you learn science in the process!
God in the Cosmos
Plato's The Republic
Plato on Women and Children
in the dialogue of Socrates
What is "Platonic" love?
Platonic describes a relationship that is purely spiritual and not physical. If a guy and a girl hang out all the time but aren't boyfriend and girlfriend, they'd describe their friendship as platonic.
This word platonic refers to the writings of Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher who wrote on the interesting subject of love. Platonic love and platonic friendships are marked by the absence of physical or sexual desire. Plato did acknowledge physical desire, but thought that if two people truly inspired each other, their spiritual or ideal love would bring them closer to God.
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Plato's most famous work and one of the most important books ever written on the subject of philosophy and political theory, "The Republic" is a fictional dialogue between Socrates and other various Athenians and foreigners which examines the meaning of justice.
Written in approximately 380 BC [+ 2015 = 2,395 years ago!], "The Republic" also discusses Plato's "Theory of Forms", the nature of the philosopher, the conflict between philosophy and poetry, and the immortality of the soul.
An essential read for any student of philosophy or political science, "The Republic" is a monumental work of antiquity, which forms the foundation for much of our modern policy.
Several reasons lead me now to share my thoughts on and recommendation for this classic The Republic by Plato.
First, at a recent regional conference, I met a very amiable high-ranking official who with contained enthusiasm showed me the stack of political science books in the English language he had purchased en route at the airport bookstore. "I always make a point of purchasing books related to politics whenever I travel." In his post, he travels often. [Read more...]
In The Republic, Plato, speaking through his teacher Socrates, sets out to answer two questions. What is justice? Why should we be just? Book I sets up these challenges. The interlocutors engage in a Socratic dialogue* similar to that found in Plato’s earlier works. While among a group of both friends and enemies, Socrates poses the question, “What is justice?” He proceeds to refute every suggestion offered, showing how each harbors hidden contradictions. Yet he offers no definition of his own, and the discussion ends in aporia—a deadlock, where no further progress is possible and the interlocutors feel less sure of their beliefs than they had at the start of the conversation. In Plato’s early dialogues, aporia usually spells the end. The Republic moves beyond this deadlock. Nine more books follow, and Socrates develops a rich and complex theory of justice.
The Socratic Method
If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another’s, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another’s faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice. Enough of this.
Now, if we are to form a real judgment of the life of the just and unjust, we must isolate them; there is no other way; and how is the isolation to be effected? I answer: Let the unjust man be entirely unjust, and the just man entirely just...
They will tell you that the just man who is thought unjust will be scourged, racked, bound–will have his eyes burnt out; and, at last, after suffering every kind of evil, he will be impaled.
[See C.S. Lewis's Second Meaning regarding this particular last paragraph in his Reflections on the Psalms.]
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The Cambodian Language in Crisis
This particular few paragraphs from The Atlantic article "The Decay of Twitter" resonated with me in light of my growing concern for the Khmer language. I find the distinctions between oral and literate societies helpful.
Cambodia continues to be largely a society of orality. How do we as a society transition from orality to literacy?
I believe passionately that the answer fundamentally, first and foremost, lies in punctuation and word spacing.
- Theary, 1 Dec. 2015
Discussions of Walter Ong always lead off with a litany of job titles. Ong was an English professor and a historian of religion at Saint Louis University. He served as president of the Modern Language Association for a year. He was Marshall McLuhan’s student. And from age 23 to his death in 2003 at 91, he was or was training to be a Jesuit priest.
Ong’s great scholarly focus was the transition of human society from orality to literacy: from sharing stories and ideas through spoken language alone, to sharing them through writing, text, and printed media. His work catalogued the many differences between these two cultures: that orality treats words as sound and action, only; that it emphasizes memory and redundancy; that it stays close to the “human lifeworld.” In literate cultures, on the other hand, words are something you look up; language can stray more abstractly from objects; and speech, freed from memorable epithets like “the wine-dark sea,” can become more analytic. (Am I painfully simplifying a great scholar’s work here? Of course.)
Ong advanced this analysis for modern times, as well. To describe oral communication that was filtered through high technologies like radio and TV—technologies that could not exist without literacy—he coined the term secondary orality. To Ong, secondary orality was one of the great media phenomena of the 20th century.
As the Internet took hold, secondary orality started to sound pretty inadequate. We don’t aurally orate to each other online, after all—we chat, we type, we text. One of the key attributes of orality is its instantaneousness: There’s no delay between utterances, as there would be in a conversation among letter writers or columnizing pundits. Yet online writing often assumes the same instantaneousness. As Ong put it in an interview late in life: Online, “textualized verbal exchange registers psychologically as having the temporal immediacy of oral exchange.” In other words, we process chatty words online (whether on Twitter or Slack or gchat) like we process someone saying them to us in front of us.
How do you describe this odd mix of registers: literate culture that has all the ephemerality of oral culture? During his life, Ong suggested a new term, secondary literacy. I’ve also seen it referred to as a hybrid literacy. Twitter is a archetypal example of this type. Though “conceived as a simulation of face-to-face communication,” writes one scholar, Twitter lets users read the same words at different times, which is a key aspect of literacy. Tweets are chatty, fusing word and action like orality; and also declarative, severable, preservable, and analyzable like literacy.
Punctuation is the KEY to development
Wall Street Journal | 15 October 2015
Picture the scene: An Anglo-Saxon monk is hunched over his desk, copying a manuscript character by painstaking character. It’s a tedious, unrelenting task to decipher the unspaced, uncapitalized, underpunctuated text, made worse by the fact that the Latin before him is little better than an archaic, half-remembered second language. He mumbles aloud to extract the syllables and words, as readers have done for the past thousand years...
This is where the first section of “Making a Point,” David Crystal’s engaging history of punctuation, picks up, sprinting from eighth-century Britain to the modern world in less than 100 pages. There is more to the birth of punctuation, certainly, than monks and manuscripts—the Greeks had first marked pauses with tiny, inky dots more than a thousand years earlier—but Mr. Crystal treats his chosen period with enthusiasm and insight.
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The Guardian | 17 September 2015
Making a Point is this prolific popular linguist’s entry into the same, or a similar, market. Truss’s book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, was energised by her furious certainties about the incorrect use of all these little marks. Crystal’s is a soberer and, actually, more useful affair: he puts Truss’s apostrophe-rage in its sociolinguistic context, considers the evolution of modern usages, and gently encourages the reader to think in a nuanced way about how marks work rather than imagining that some Platonic style guide, if only it could be accessed, would sort all punctuation decisions into boxes marked “literate” and “illiterate”. (Or literate and illiterate, if you prefer.)
As Crystal writes, scribes started to punctuate in order to make manuscripts easier to read aloud: they were signalling pauses and intonational effects. Grammarians and, later, printers adopted the marks, and tried to systematise them, as aids to semantic understanding on the page. The marks continue to serve both purposes.
Commentary by Ms. Theary C. Seng, The Phnom Penh Post, 16 Aug. 2011
Commentary by Ms. Theary C. Seng, The Phnom Penh Post, 17 Aug. 2012
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