Thursday, June 28, 2012

Plato's "Republic"

After 6 days of eating at Cornell and specifically at the buffet, my eating habits are changing. The unlimited food and drink is not as appealing and I am beginning to move towards the healthier options. This morning I had a bowl of cereal, water, and a generous portion of fruit salad. Luckily soda is beginning to lose it's appeal. Ice cream, on the other hand, is just as appealing as ever. I doubt that will ever change.

Last night our assigned reading was The Republic by Plato, and was the most pages which will be assigned in one night for the whole class. Luckily for us we had the reading assignments early, so I had a serious head start on the 110 pages. After reading The Republic it was interesting to learn that Plato's ideal government was not a republic and the title was instead derived from latin for public business, res publica. Professor Kramnick's lecture started with a background of Greece's history and political system, then moved on to Plato. He talked about Plato's ideas of morals and justice.

Our discussion session was a lot of fun. We delved further in to the intricacies of Plato's ideas and explored his concept of the ideal community. Everyone had good things to add to our discussion. I really like my discussion group. We walked to lunch with our TA and got a chance to talk with him in an out-of-class context.

After lunch our second guest speaker lectured us issues of freedom and justice in the Middle East. The speaker was a Cornell professor of Middle Eastern studies named Ross Brann. He discussed the general issues of externally determined borders, and more specific issues within Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia. I hear so much about these issues in the Middle East on the news, it was interesting and enlightening to hear a true expert talk about it. After the guest lecture we had our first chance to have a discussion with Professor. We spent most of the discussion talking about Kramnick's radical idea for a direct democracy in the U.S.

In the afternoon I watched the Italy vs. Germany Eurocup game. Then the Nadal vs. Rosol tennis game. I fell asleep during the Swimming Olympic Qualifiers and woke up just in time for dinner. After dinner (and of course ice cream) I spent the rest if the night watching sports, the new show featuring Charlie Sheen, Anger Management, socializing, and reading Plato. I am excited for tomorrow. We have a short day of classes, and Calvin and I are planning on checking out the gym.

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