THE GREAT PHILOSOPHERS : PLATO & NIETZSCHE
* The first in a series of workshops that will explore 'The Great Philosophers'. Starting with Plato and Nietzsche. In this workshop we will discover the history of these great thinkers and discuss some of their biggest ideas.
When I first thought of writing a workshop about ‘The Great Philosophers’ my initial idea was to select 10 or 12 of the biggest names in philosophy, write a short history about each one, followed by a discussion of their biggest ideas. However, as soon as I started my research I quickly realised this was a near impossible task for a workshop that would only last one hour and a half. The result would have been very superficial and cliché. And nobody wants that. So my new plan was to write a series of workshops on this subject, with each workshop focusing on 3 or 4 of the great philosophers. As a result this workshop is now called ‘The Great Philosophers - Part 1’ and what actually happened was I managed to write about only two philosophers: Plato and Nietzsche. If you were expecting more, then I am sorry, you will have to be more patient. The ideas of these philosophers are simply too interesting and too numerous to ignore!
I would like to credit the teachings from ‘The School of Life’ for the content of this workshop.
Athens 2400 years ago was home to about a quarter of a million people and one of the first true and arguably greatest philosophers. Plato was born into a prominent and wealthy family in the city. He devoted his life to one goal; helping people reach a state of what he termed ‘Eudaimonia’ or fulfilment. Plato had four big ideas for making life more fulfilled.
FIRST BIG IDEA: THINK MORE!
We rarely give ourselves time to think carefully and logically about our lives and how to lead them. Sometimes we just go along with what the Greeks called ‘doxa’; ‘popular opinions’. In the 36 books Plato wrote he showed that ‘common sense’ was often riddled with errors, prejudice and superstition. “Fame is great”, “follow your heart”, “money is the key to a good life”. The problem is popular opinions edge us towards the wrong values, careers and relationships. Plato’s answer is “know yourself”. It means subjecting yourself to a special kind of therapy, ‘philosophy’.
Subject your ideas to examination rather than acting on impulse. If you strengthen your self-knowledge you don’t get so pulled around by feelings. Plato compared the role of our feelings as being dragged dangerously by a group of wild horses. This kind of examination is called a ‘Socratic discussion’ in honour of his mentor Socrates. You can have the discussion either with yourself or with another person who wants to help you clarify your own ideas.
SECOND BIG IDEA: LET YOUR LOVER CHANGE YOU
This sounds weird if you think that love means finding someone who wants you just the way you are. Plato says, “true love is admiration”. In other words the person you need to get together with should have very good qualities, which you yourself lack. Let’s say they should be really brave or organised, or warm and sincere. By getting close to this person you can become a little like they are. The right person for us helps us grow to our full potential. For Plato, in a good relationship, a couple shouldn’t love each other exactly as they are right now. They should be committed to educating each other and to enduring the stormy passages this inevitably involves. Each person should want to seduce the other into becoming a better version of themselves.
*** THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF 'THE GREAT PHILOSOPHERS : PLATO & NIETZSCHE' WORKSHOP! IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO EXPERIENCE THIS CONVERSATION WORKSHOP IN FULL, WITH A GLASS OF WINE AND A FRIENDLY GROUP OF PEOPLE, THEN PLEASE CONTACT US TO FIND OUT HOW TO PARTICIPATE.
The rest of this workshop will discuss...
- THIRD BIG IDEA: DECODE THE MESSAGE OF BEAUTY
- FINAL BIG IDEA: REFORM SOCIETY
- RECOMMENDATION 1: OWN UP TO ENVY
- RECOMMENDATION 2: DON’T BE A CHRISTIAN
- RECOMMENDATION 3: NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL
- RECOMMENDATION 4: GOD IS DEAD
What is one thing that you find beautiful and why? Please let us know by leaving a response in the comment section below.
- wealthy: (adjective) [Portuguese: rico] - having a great deal of money, resources, or assets; rich.
- to drag: (verb) [Portuguese: arrastar] - pull (someone or something) along forcefully, roughly, or with difficulty.
- brave: (adjective) [Portuguese: corajoso] - ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
- riddled: to be riddled with something. i.e. “to be riddled with errors” [Portuguese: cheio de erros] - to be full of or pervaded by something undesirable. E.g. The report was riddled with errors. The system is riddled with fraud and abuse.
- stormy passages: [Portuguese: passagens de tempestade] – a journey with bad stormy weather.
- gentleness: (noun) [Portuguese: suavidade / mansidão] – gentle (noun) - (of a person) mild in temperament or behaviour; kind or tender.
- outlook: (noun) [Portuguese: perspectiva] - a person's point of view or general attitude to life.
- glamour: (noun) [Portuguese: fascinação] – the attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing or special.
- flaw: (noun) [Portuguese: falha] - a fault, or other imperfection.
- mob rule: (noun) [Portuguese: regra de multidão] - control of a political situation by those outside the conventional or lawful realm, typically involving violence and intimidation.
- moustache: (noun) [Portuguese: bigode] - a strip of hair left to grow above the upper lip.
- fed up: (adjective) [Portuguese: chateado] - annoyed or upset at a situation or treatment.
- masterpiece: (noun) [Portuguese: obra-prima] - a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship.
- beaten: (adjective) [Portuguese: espancado] - having been defeated.
- ashamed: (adjective) [Portuguese: envergonhado] - embarrassed or guilty because of one's actions, characteristics, or associations.
- lingering: (adjective) [Portuguese: prolongado] - lasting for a long time or slow to end.
- tycoon: (noun) [Portuguese: magnata] - a wealthy, powerful person in business or industry.
- to face up to: (verb) [Portuguese: enfrentar] – to take responsibility and to deal with something difficult.
- to own up to (something): (verb) [Portuguese: admitir] – to admit responsibility for some action.
- solemn: (adjective) [Portuguese: solene] - formal and dignified.
- to resent: (verb) [Portuguese: ressentir] - feel bitterness or indignation at (a circumstance, action, or person).
- to mourn: (verb) [Portuguese: lamenter] – to feel deeply sad about something or someone.
- herd of sheep: [Portuguese: rebanho de ovelhas] – a group of sheep
- fulfilment: (noun) [Portuguese: cumprimento] - satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one's abilities or character.
- to praise: (verb) [Portuguese: louvor] - express warm approval or admiration of.
- clung: (verb – past tense of ‘to cling’) [Portuguese: agarrar] - (of a person or animal) hold on tightly to.
- forgiveness: (noun) [Portuguese: perdão] - the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.
- denial: (noun) [Portuguese: negação] - the action of declaring something to be untrue.
- to scorn: (verb) [Portuguese: desprezo] - feel or express contempt or derision for.
- numb: (adjective) [Portuguese: entorpecido] - deprived of the power of sensation.
- to sap: (verb) [Portuguese: enfraquecer] - gradually weaken or destroy (a person's strength or power).
- the will: [Portuguese: a vontade] – the desire or commitment to do something.
- to usher in: (verb) [Portuguese: inaugurar] – to introduce something.
- awkward truth: [Portuguese: verdade embaraçosa] – an inconvenient or difficult truth.
- assertion: (noun) [Portuguese: afirmação] - a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.
- scripture: (noun) [Portuguese: bíblia] - the sacred writings of Christianity contained in the Bible.
- catharsis: (noun) - the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
- reeling: (verb ‘to reel’) [Portuguese: cambalear] - lose one's balance and stagger or lurch violently.
- atheism: (noun) [Portuguese: ateísmo] - disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
- to unleash: (verb) [Portuguese: soltar] - release from a leash or restraint.
- endearing: (adjective) [Portuguese: cativante] - inspiring love or affection.
- The humanities: (noun) o humanidades - Can be described as the study of how people process and document the human experience. Since humans have been able, we have used philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language to understand and record our world. These modes of expression have become some of the subjects that traditionally fall under the humanities umbrella. Knowledge of these records of human experience gives us the opportunity to feel a sense of connection to those who have come before us, as well as to our contemporaries.
- mental breakdown: [Portuguese: surto mental] - (also known as a nervous breakdown) is an acute, time-limited mental disorder that manifests primarily as severe stress-induced depression, anxiety, or dissociation in a previously functional individual, to the extent that they are no longer able to function on a day-to-day basis until the disorder is resolved.
- Mount Vesuvius: is a somma-stratovolcano located on the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Italy. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD was one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in European history.
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