Republic book 1

Much of book one deals with the (fairly pessimistic, in my opinion) debate of whether justice or injustice is more beneficial. According to Thrasymachus,  justice is simply the advantage which any given ruler has in that they can shape the official concept of it to meet their personal needs. Rather than seeing it as an ideal, or an embodiment of goodness, Thrasymachus, perhaps while representing the majority, seems to believe that it is relative to whatever ruler executes it. He also thinks that an unjust person can potentially become the happiest of people, that is, if they’re perceived as just (possibly like the aforementioned ruler). Socrates disagrees. First, in  Socrates’ opinion, true rulers, determine true justice, and are able to impose it onto citizens for the good of all. In Socrates’ view, injustice is caused by tension with different parts of the soul to the point where the soul’s possessor can’t get anything done. It is believable, at least, that unjust people by nature cannot at least do much for anyone but themselves. Considering all this, it’s safe to say and more or less proven later in the book that Socrates didn’t think the current rulers of cities were true leaders.

Another topic of book one I found relevant was that of aging and the loss of youthfulness. The traditional reputation of old age is noted as being accompanied by a decline in spirit and potential for physical pleasures. It is argued that while this may in part be true enough, it allows more space for other, possibly intellectual pleasures. For example, Socrates describes the loss of lust as something which is “escaped from, like a slave who has escaped from all such things”(4). I found the positive argument Socrates put on the issues of old age and injustice quite pleasing if nothing else. For me, it was as if he is encouraging readers to question certain issues or reputations, in hopes of finding their benefits and true forms.

The Odyssey blog post

Something about the Odyssey that immediately struck me was the diverse, sophisticated diction of the text. Despite being thousands of years old and having been translated multiple times, I found the Odyssey to be very understandable.The broad vocabulary Homer seems to use makes his story impressively precise and convincing.   The rhythm of its poetic form was also evident, as the text’s language flowed very nicely, never leaving me needing to reread any passages.   Now I’m sure those who did the actual translation of the poem from ancient Greek to English also deserve some credit.  For having learned just a few Greek terms in the lecture today it is clear that it is a fascinatingly different language from our own. Yet there is something very progressive about the language in the ambiguity of some of its words such as ‘xenos’. The term reflects a sense of equality (between classes, in this case) which is also conveyed in the influential presence of women in The Odyssey. For example, much of the story concerns the  likes of Athena, Penelope, and Helen nudging a comparably hopeless Odysseus towards taking certain actions. Perhaps this aspect, as well as the language of the text is what makes The Odyssey so easy for the modern mind to associate with. Going back to the translation of the poem, though,  I enjoyed reading in the introduction the brief history of how the modern printed version came to be. Knowing that the Odyssey has been printed since the renaissance period, I have to assume that, like the old testament, it has morphed over time into what it is now. The seemingly pristine quality of such an ancient text displays the sophistication of the Greek language, but also the malleability of the story Homer tells.

Hello world!

Hey everyone, I’m Koby and this is my blog.

To break the ice a bit more than through the release of my name and blog I can tell you that I was drawn to arts one by the amount of fiction in the reading list. I’ve always greatly enjoyed losing myself in books, and am looking forward to finding deeper meaning in pieces of fiction while also appreciating whatever escapist qualities they offer.

When I’m not reading,  I am doing improv with the Instant Theatre Company , watching mad men on netflix, or hard at work cashiering  at a dingy pet supply store in Southlands!