Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spartans and Titans on a Sunday Afternoon

(image taken from

While the Pinole Valley Spartans busily prepare for their "Freedom and Justice" course, the Hercules Titans were hard at work with their own "Hotel Management" course. It wasn't until this Sunday afternoon that I met our fellow three Cornellians for the first time.

Unfortunately, our time together was brief. We were running under limited time and had to be as productive as possible. So, as the Titans sat in their own room learning about Microsoft Excel, we Spartans sat in the room next door discussing what we've read from The Republic by Plato. Even from the chair where I sat, I could see through the transparent glass door that our fellow three peers meant business (no pun intended).

So, what did the Pinole Valley students do exactly while the Hercules students learned information from a projector screen? Well, our group consisted of us four students (Alex E., Andrew W., Andrew G., and I, Wing S.), Ms. Kaplan (our chaperone), Mrs. Elms (Alex’s mother), and for a brief moment, Terri Ishmael (Assistant Principal at Hercules High, a friend of Ms. Kaplan’s and a chaperone for Columbia). We directed our attention first, to Chapter 3, “Fundamentals of Inner Politics” in The Republic by Plato. Although our study group normally meets every Monday at lunch, we didn’t think it would hurt to get a bit ahead.

From what I’ve read, this section was quite interesting. On their way of understanding morality better, Socrates and Plato’s two brothers, Glaucon and Adeimantus, discuss the components of a community. A community is established when individuals must rely on others for their own needs, and this will always be so because each individual is born to be talented and skilled in one and only one profession, such as shoemaking or farming. The three men however, realized that as they developed their theoretical community, more people had to be added as various situations were brought up, such as the need for soldiers for protection.

Socrates and his men were long before our time and thus, had obviously left out the possibility of machine over man in a profession. But I had other questions. What of the people who do nothing in a community? What of the old people who retire? I think that being someone looking at this text from a modern point-of-view, Socrates's community was lacking too much and considered too little. It makes me very curious though that Socrates would stress each individual to focus on only one talent/profession. What if there was a shoemaker who could paint? Or a farmer who could sing? But I guess this just gives me a better picture of who Socrates was. He was a philosopher. Never once did he mention his own profession in his make-believe community. Perhaps philosophers, he thought, deserved a more “higher” status. This makes sense because both he and Plato believed a good ruler ought to also be a philosopher-king.


Once the Titans and Spartans were both done with their specified meetings, we all grouped back together in the Titan’s room and used the remainder of our time to discuss our current Cornell Blog. As you read these words, know that the layout in which they are written over, will probably be changed.

There are about 12 more weeks until we start packing bags. In other words, it’s time for us Cornellians to really get down to work. But before I sign off, I would like to thank Ms. Kronenberg, Mr. Ramsey, and Mr. Gosney for their attendance and help today. They've been behind us from the very beginning and continue to make sure we do our very best. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. What an outstanding post, Dyana. Thanks for your input.

    Your comments about Socrates and Plato bring up some good points. we look at these two as some of history's greatest philosophers but we often forget that the world they lived in was 2500 years ago and things change. We wouldn't try to run the world we live in today by the rules set up a hundred years ago so why would we try to pigeon hole ourselves into living by the same standards of a civilization that died out hundreds of years before Jesus walked the lands.

    I'd love to read his thoughts after living amongst us for a while.