Completion Date: Sept 20th 2011
Due Date: Sept 21st 2011
Is Living A Form of Art?
Considered one of the most influential men to have ever lived, Plato began his career studying from, arguably, perhaps the most influential man to have ever lived: Socrates. Born to a wealthy Athenian family in the 5th Century B.C.E., Plato was given almost every opportunity to become something great, and great he was. He is most notably recognized for his “Allegory of the Cave” which depicts humans as being imprisoned by their bodies and what they perceive using “trivial” senses such as sight instead of utilizing philosophical thought process which he concludes being much more beneficial to mankind.
Paralleling the allegory, Plato’s concept of existence describes living, at its most basic level, as a form of art. Take, for example, Plato’s interpretation of the soul; composed of both rational and irrational portions, it ascends high above its earthly body. Rationality causes the soul to sustain its flight above its respective body, thriving in a state of enlightenment; alternatively, the lesser counterpart, Irrationality, has a natural and unconscious attraction to deviate causing to the soul to fall, thus allowing it to descend into its meek, restrictive body. Here, Plato acknowledges a clear separation and association between the dissimilar aspects of the soul: rationality embodies the pursuit of knowledge and complex thought, whereas, irrationality is concerned with menial observations of “this world.” The philosopher described this as a duality between “becoming”, of this world; and “being”, beyond this world and into the realm of Intellect. Becoming is learning to achieve being. And being is realizing the efficiency and functionality of the soul. It is this assessment that the philosopher compared a good life to an efficient life: “A knife is good, hes said, when it cuts efficiently, that is when it fulfills its function…Musicians are...