School One’s Journal Of Ideas Volume 20, Issue 1 June 2021
Somewhat Remote But Hopefully Not Distant
Welcome to our twentieth issue of e une, School One’s Journal Of Ideas. This is an opportunity for our writing and reasoning intensive school to publish some of its students’ best work. The brave authors volunteered these pieces to enlighten you. The topics in this issue largely cover literature, science, history, social issues and research papers relating to religion, and we have our first ever submission of a senior essay. The works run in roughly chronological order by topic.
Find a comfortable chair, and open your mind. E une plurimus
Matthew A. Sanchez
Cover Art: Flora Ackley
How Socrates Would Assess School One
Isaac Callaghan, Abby Gilliatt, Juliette Sabater, Matthew Sanchez, Koen Schenck and Josh Silva gain access to Socrates’s psyche in order to provide his assessment of School One.
Matthew provides an overview of 5th Century B.C. Athenian literature and culture, and Isaac and Matthew address Platonic thoughts about laws, death and the soul.
History of Story
Katherine Cousineau uses research rather than a glass shoe to distinguish among Cinderellas.
American Historical and Political Issues
Carolyn Morey looks at religion and slavery, Katherine assesses the Cuban Missile Crisis and Grace Carey lays out the history of rights for people with disabilities, and addresses funding for childhood medical research and argues for rights for orangutans.
Whimsy and Literature
Carolyn and Jane Arnold provide us with a unique dictionary, and Natalia Zenit sends us off with a poem.
HOW SOCRATES WOULD ASSESS SCHOOL ONE
Students in the Greek Literature class were asked to channel Plato’s Socrates to provide his assessment of School One after reading his views about education in The Republic. Citations are to Plato’s Republic.
My Assessment of School One
I, Dr. Socrates, thoroughly enjoyed my time visiting School One. It was an obvious choice to consider my genius to find those flaws in your dear school’s education system. Over the course of my visit, I noticed and appreciated much of what you do very well. Though I do value the good in things, I found my particular passion is doing my(the) very best at finding the flaws in that which people state and express as fact. You did hire me during a year that we all understand has been quite unexpected in many ways, so do be patient with any assessments I may make that will combat what is seen over the course of a complete School One school year. It seems that my most obvious concerns are the absence of consistent exercise, the general teaching approach, and the fact that art is regarded so highly to your community. I would like to use this assessment to do the very best work I can provide and express my beliefs about what may give your students an even more rewarding experience when they come and grow through your program.
The first thing that I pondered during my visit was where any of the gym equipment was. As many of you may know, I find it entirely crucial to let the body experience the thrills of a rush kicking in after a good burst of fitness. As I can express from my past experiences in war and battle, I found it no less than necessary to get at least 30 minutes of actual exercise every day to maintain a healthy body and mind. Exercise not only makes your body physically beautiful, but it helps your mind become just as admirable. The schedule you have creates 1.5 hours of time one day per week for your students to do a gym credit. I was already disappointed enough, my friends, that doing an exercise gym class that block was not mandatory! You’re telling me that you are letting these kids spend a year at your school, and you don’t force them to get physical activity? Be it a game with your friend or a mandatory gymnastics class every morning before school, exercise should be mandatory as it always gets you looking forward to the day. “The fit are healthy and strong; and many, as a consequence, save themselves decorously on the battle-field and escape all the dangers of war; many help friends and do good to their country and for this cause earn gratitude; get great glory and gain very high honors, and for this cause live henceforth a pleasanter and better life, and leave to their children better means of winning a livelihood” (Plato 226). Physical activity is crucial for students if they’re to perform at their best.
The second major problem that I have with this school’s method is the sheer amount of time when your students are expressing their simple ideas artistically. As you know well, the Forms that I describe require students to try to understand what they observe rather than recreate it. The art I see here is often very abstract. This wastes their time and brain power. Why spend time creating something that already exists as opposed to trying to understand and come to terms with the worldly perfection that all around us. I always found art as unnecessary as knowledge and learning are the most crucial parts of life. Why recreate something that has already been described? “It is an imitation of an imitation. I’ve always had a low opinion of visual art as it took us away from the realm of the forms” (Plato 284). Why waste the metaphysical potential of these young students by letting them produce that which is already known? The brain power your students seem to control would be disappointingly ignored mashing colors together on a piece of paper.
I would like to spend the last body section of this assessment addressing the subtle ails I found in your education system. As I have been very well known to express, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel” (Plato 321). By this I mean I find it crucial that the material a student is taught on a daily basis be exactly what they need to grow. Kindling a fire (especially in its early stages) is a very delicate task, it is very important to give it the base it needs to begin its growth. This works the same for any subject matter taught in any school. A fire must be given what it needs to thrive. It must be fed with its individual needs that had been generally orchestrated around it as opposed to a general clump of information shoved into the vessel. I find this fact both crucial and obvious, making me hope you will as well. Most students have learned that a conversation or class orchestrated to their needs is much more beneficial for their understanding of the subject that was being taught. It is very clear that School One does this almost perfectly. Students are given as much time as they need to practice and understand the material, and classes will be bent to fit those students’ needs. I see this as only slightly over emphasized; the classes I sat in on seemed like the bottom of the class set the pace and those at the top were left underworked. I think it’s necessary to find time for those students whose fires catch easier to work together and ahead of the others in the classes.
Over the course of this assessment, I expressed the concerns that arose while I spent my time observing School One. It is entirely obvious how much these teachers care about their students: doing everything they can for them to help them succeed. Overall, your school is doing an excellent job, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent there. The topics of this assessment have been what I’ve concluded would be the best additions for your school. In my teachings I’ve found physical activity is as crucial for the mind as knowledge, because fitness translates directly to many children’s ability to focus. If they don’t have the energy to goof off in class, they will spend whatever remaining energy on those things that make them the greatest students they can be. I hope your progress for change comes soon and swiftly. I did my part: now you must do yours.
LACKING FUNDAMENTAL CLASSES
The purpose of this essay is to relay the opinion of Dr. Socrates about School One’s recent request for re-accreditation from the New England Association of Colleges. Dr. Socrates examined the school earlier this week and is finally ready to express his opinion about the subject. Dr. Socrates is an expert on the school system, and his opinions about the education system are very well documented in Plato’s The Republic. Unfortunately, Dr. Socrates is unable to write the report himself: he is just far too busy reviewing other schools. Instead, he is using his highly advanced mind to relay his thoughts and decisions directly to me. Dr. Socrates does believe that School One has some good things going for it, namely the staff, however due to the curriculum and graduation requirements, he cannot recommend School One be re-accredited.
The first opinion that Dr. Socrates expressed was a positive one. He thought that the overall makeup of School One’s staff was very good. Dr. Socrates has always been a proponent of more women being included in the teaching environment. “‘Practice and calling must be assigned to both sexes, the same for the same natures?’” (Republic Ⅴ 254). At the time of giving this quote, Dr. Socrates was discussing what women are qualified to do with a colleague. Dr. Socrates stuck up for the idea that with the right education and training women and men are equal in almost every way. “‘Then my friend, no practice or calling in life of the city belongs to woman as woman, or to man as man, but the various natures are dispersed among both sexes alike; by nature the woman has a share in all practices, and so has man…’” (Republic Ⅴ 253). Dr. Socrates thought that the number of women and men employed at School One was a great thing for the school and was a good thing when it comes to educating the students. Dr. Socrates also appreciated that School One would put a woman in a position of authority as Head of school, being a strong advocate that women can be leaders. “‘Then there may also be a woman fit to be a guardian, although another is not; for such was the nature we chose for our guardian men also?’” (Republic Ⅴ 253). Overall, Dr. Socrates was pleased with the makeup of the staff at School One.
The second opinion that Dr. Socrates expressed was much less positive. This opinion regarded the curriculum at School One. Dr. Socrates was not a fan of what was being taught at the school, especially what was required. While Dr. Socrates is a fan of education and discussion, he could not overlook the fact that many subjects he considers fundamental aren’t even offered, and if they are offered, they are not required. For instance, music and gymnastics are something Dr. Socrates considers essential for children to be educated in. “‘Then what is education? It seems really hard to find one better than our own, which long time has discovered. That is, in short, gymnastics for the body and music for the soul. (Republic Ⅱ 174). These are both not required subjects, and students need no education in them to graduate. Dr. Socrates thinks that School One definitely needs improvement when it comes to these two subjects. He believes that they are the basis for every child’s education. These are not the only problems he has with the curriculum: there is also the lack of astronomy and dialectic education. These are some of the studies that Dr. Socrates believes are required to escape worldly wisdom, which is what he believes the goal of education is. “‘Never let any of our pupils try to study anything not perfect, anything which does not always arrive at the end which all studies ought to reach, as we said just now about astronomy’” (Republic Ⅶ 330). These are very key studies, and Dr. Socrates was very disappointed to see them not included in the class list. One thing he did like about School One’s curriculum was the math classes. Dr. Socrates believes that math, specifically the study of numbers and geometry, is extremely important to reach the end goal of education. “‘Then my dear Glaucon, it is proper to lay down that study by law, and to persuade those who are to share in the highest things in the city to go for and tackle the art of calculation…’” (Republic Ⅶ 324). However, he was less than pleased with the lack of philosophical discussions of numbers and ideas in these classes. “‘… they must keep hold of it until they are led to contemplate the very nature of numbers by thought alone…’” (Republic Ⅶ 324). Overall, Dr. Socrates was displeased with the state of the curriculum at School One, as it lacks a lot of classes he considers fundamental.
The final thing that Dr. Socrates commented on was the graduation requirements. Dr. Socrates thought that these requirements were both too easy and focused on the wrong aspects of education. Dr. Socrates believes in picking the best of the best to graduate. Anything less than the top of the class doesn’t deserve to continue in education. “‘After this time, then,’ said I, ‘those who are judged best of the twenty-year-olds will receive greater honours than the rest…’” (Republic Ⅶ 337). School One allows almost all of its students to graduate every year. Dr. Socrates believes that they are obviously not selecting only the best of the best. He also feels that these graduation requirements are not focused on the idea of freeing one’s mind from the mortal world. This is what he believes education should be entirely focused on, with only the most dedicated students being allowed to participate. The graduation requirements at School One are too focused on setting up a successful future for its students and not on making sure they understand his recommended fields of study. Dr. Socrates believes that an understanding of these fields, specifically numbers, geometry, astronomy, and dialectic, is necessary for continuing in education. “‘… must gather together into one connected view all the studies which they followed without order in their education in childhood, to disclose the relationship of the studies to one another and to the nature of real being’” (Republic Ⅶ 337). The students he believes should be tested are not being tested on the things he feels they should be required to know. Overall, Dr. Socrates finds the graduation requirements lacking key elements and allowing for too many students to pass on to higher education.
Dr. Socrates found most of School One to be below par, and it did not meet the standards he feels an educational institution should meet. While there were some highlights, namely the staff, which he was pleased to find contained a number of women, overall the school needs to re-examine what education should be for. The curriculum was very disappointing and lacked many fields of study that Dr. Socrates considered very important in the education of children, especially music. The graduation requirements let far too many students graduate and looked at all the wrong skills. Recommendations Dr. Socrates made were to focus more heavily on his recommended fields of study and to overhaul the graduation process, making it more rigorous and testing the evaluating the right skills. Dr. Socrates cannot recommend that School One be re-accredited until his recommendations have been met.
PROVIDING OTHERS WITH THE TRUTH IS GOOD
School One is being examined by Dr. Socrates. He is known for his opinions in Plato’s Republic. These opinions include his views about justice, knowledge, virtue, and education. School One is an art based school that includes some of Socrates’s ideas. Some of the concepts that Socrates would have an opinion about would be School One’s curriculum, teaching approach, and the student body. Dr. Socrates would agree with some of School One’s concepts.
School One has a certain teaching approach. It focuses more on one-on-one teaching since the classes are smaller. The teachers ensure the students understand what they are learning. “Then that which provides their truth to the things known, and gives the power of knowing to the knower, you must say is the idea or principle of good, and you must conceive it as being the cause of understanding and of truth in so far as known” (Plato 308). Socrates highlights the importance of truth and knowledge by explaining how things are known. He explains how the principle of providing others with the truth is good. In the context of School One, the teachers provide the students with truth and knowledge, and they ensure a deeper understanding because of the small community. Socrates would agree with School One’s teaching approach.
School One has a diverse curriculum. It includes a variety of history, English, art, science, and math classes. Although art is one of the main highlights of the school, the other subjects are just as important. “Number, then, appears to lead to the truth…then, as it seems, this would be one of the studies we seek… Let us see secondly, if what comes next to this is proper for us… do you mean geometry?” (Plato 324-327). Socrates explains how calculations and geometry are the top two most important studies. The following studies he includes are depth and cubic increase and astronomy. Since School One has art ranked high, Socrates would most likely disagree with this aspect. He would agree with the mathematics of the school and would probably want to see more of that. He may disagree with the sciences. Socrates would suggest changes for School One regarding its curriculum.
School One has a diverse student body. Everyone is welcome and seen as equal regardless of sex, gender, and views. “You are right,” he said, “that one sex is much better than the other in almost everything. Many women, it is true, are better than many men in many things, but generally it is as you say.” “Then, my friend, no practice or calling in the life of the city belongs to woman as woman, or to man as man, but the various natures are dispersed among both sexes alike; by nature the woman has a share in all practices, and so has man, but in all, woman is rather weaker than man” (Plato 253). Socrates explains how he believes both genders are equal. He also explains how different natures are shared between both men and women alike. However, he explains how women are weaker than men. School One believes in full equality, whereas Socrates still believes women are weaker than men. For the most part, Socrates would agree with School One’s student body as he believes that men and women should be equal in most things.
School One would spark Socrates’s interest. Socrates would agree with School One’s teaching approach since he believes those who provide truth and knowledge to others are good. He would most likely disagree with some aspects of School One’s curriculum and suggest to make mathematics its overall priority. He would somewhat agree with School One’s student body since he believes in equality between men and women. When examining School One, Socrates would most likely accredit the school since it meets most of his main criteria.
We Must Teach Them To Be Great
Matthew A. Sanchez
In this essay I will be discussing the educational institute named School One in correlation to Plato’s Republic as if I were Socrates. Throughout The Republic, Socrates spoke about what he believed would be an ideal city. He believed the city would contain the following: ideal citizens, who would only learn specific things and would only do specific jobs; guardians, who were taught from a young age how to rule and how to think about their city as a whole; and laws that were meant to keep everyone equal at all times as to maintain the peace within the city. One of the most important things within the discussion of the city is the education of the guardians and the people. Socrates had specific ideas about education as he believed certain topics weren’t necessary for the improvement of a society, while other topics were of utmost importance as they provided the building blocks for a society to prosper. He believed that education was the key to great philosophers and civilians. According to Socrates, someone who was a prodigy would never go anywhere without some kind of education; they would simply be used by others until the person was no longer capable of producing money. Education was also the key to the world of becoming and the world of being. Education would introduce someone to arithmetic and would lead them towards the idea of concepts that had no physical representation. This would then move over to reasoning, where someone would be able to reason without the need of their senses. Without proper education, Socrates believed we would have all been lost as we’d be stuck in the world of becoming; people would have only been able to see what is in front of them, and they wouldn’t be able to reason if what they saw was the truth. For the rest of this essay, I will be speaking as if I was Socrates writing a report about School One. After a comprehensive examination of School One, I have chosen to write a report about School One’s graduation requirements, class materials, and curriculum in the core subjects. These three aspects from my analysis contain the most information about the lives of the students’ post-graduation and their readiness to contribute to society. School One has done a good job to ready its students for their futures, but I believe that this school is also lacking in certain departments. This school teaches certain topics that should not be given to our youth as it would lead to their corruption in the future. If we want our future leaders, warriors, and citizens to be great, we must teach them to be great.
This report will start off with graduation requirements, as I believe this is one of the best areas for this school. Among the various requirements present for graduation at this school, students are required to pass an exam in Mathematics and Humanities. I believe this exam is something great for these students as it is something that prepares them for their futures. While this school already requires students to take three years of Math and four years of English, this exam tests them to make sure they are able to understand what is required of them to survive in our world. While the Humanities isn’t as important as Mathematics, it still plays an important role in the development of the students here. However, I believe the math portion in this requirement is excellent as it is making sure that students are able to analyze things beyond what their senses can show them. Any person can look at a circle and see what is there, but a person who understands mathematics is able to understand that a circle is a lot more complex than it seems to be. A simple shape contains a lot more than it seems to contain, as it has complex ideas that don’t exist in simple terms. This requirement for mathematics is important as it is an important stepping stone towards the world of ideas: “for we can at the same time see the same thing both as one and as an infinite number. Then if that is true of one, said I, the same thing happens with all numbers. Undoubtedly. But the science of numbers and the art of calculation are wholly concerned with numbers. Undoubtedly. Number, then, appears to lead towards the truth. . .Then, as it seems, this would be one of the studies we seek” (Plato 324). Another great aspect of the graduation requirement is the need for community service. By doing this, a student is giving back to the community that has helped form them into who they are today. Community service is something important as it shows that a person is capable of doing things for the advantage of others. They had no need to do these just acts, but they do it out of kindness as they give back the good that they were given. This is important for their improvement as it teaches them selflessness and prepares them to become part of a society that acts together and feels the same about multiple topics. I believe the graduation requirements at this school are splendid as they lead to the spiritual improvement of a person. I will comment on other aspects of the graduation requirements later on in this report as they have to do with the curriculum. Aside from that, this school did very well in this aspect, and I commend it for teaching its students to think beyond what they can see and act selflessly.
Moving on to the curriculum, this school has its ups and downs. One point I can see that this school is lacking is athletics. For a person to have a balance within themselves, they need to have a balance of movement and stillness. If a person is to relax and not exercise, they will end up becoming slothful. From what I have seen at this school, many students don’t partake in gymnastics and would rather relax or meditate. The students at this school need more physical education so they can balance themselves mentally. If they continue not to take physical education classes, they may end up at a point where they will not want to do anything: “After music comes gymnastic in the education of the young. Naturally. Of course, in this also they must be properly trained from childhood and all through life. I believe this is how the matter stands. Please consider it yourself. I don’t think a sound body makes a soul good by its own virtue: on the contrary, I think a good soul by its own virtue provides a body in the best possible condition” (Plato 203). However, these students will need to balance the physical education they are given with some kind of relaxing activity, such as music or theatre, which are both present at this school. However, the ideal choice for students would be music, as it wouldn’t contain negative content. Theatre would only be a good outlet if students weren’t given texts that have negative messages. For example, a student should never act out The Trojan Women, as it contains messages that shouldn’t be known by people. Students have ample opportunity to take these relaxing classes, but many don’t balance it out with physical education. Therefore, School One should change the requirements for physical education and make it so students are required to exercise more within the required classes. On a good note, this school does offer classes that stimulate the minds of the students. A humanities class that would fit this would be a class named Greeks. It seems that this class has students analyze things in a philosophical way, which will prepare them to become young scholars in college. While I don’t agree with the majority of texts presented in this class, the teacher has students analyze these absurd topics and has them thinking. While he is not preparing them to become good philosophers, he is still giving them the idea of how a philosopher thinks. The students who come out of this class may end up corrupt and twisted by the texts they have read, but they might be able to straighten themselves out once they go to some kind of higher education: “but they say what they see in fact is that of those who apply themselves to philosophy and spend a long time in the study, not those who only touch is as part of their education and drop it while still young, most who are considered the finest are made useless to their cities by the very pursuit which you praise” (Plato 285). This class may not make the best people in the long run, but it gives the students the ability to think critically and may lead them to realize the wrongs they are being taught. Aside from the classes that choose to teach material that are blatantly unneeded, the curriculum is very well balanced, as it requires students to take humanities classes that stimulate the students. This is important to their growth as it moves them closer to leaving behind their senses. The students who are able to realize their teachers are giving them unnecessary materials and take their math courses, while balancing gym and music, are the students who will flourish once they graduate.
I believe one of the biggest issues present at School One is the materials it chooses to give to its students. This issue doesn’t seem to be present in the math classes as it is all arithmetic and beyond. Those classes have their students flourish with concepts that don’t apply to the real world. However, the issue with materials comes into play with the English and history classes, as they present stories and plays that will not better the minds of the students. Once again mentioning the Greeks class, this class had its students read The Iliad and The Odyssey, which both contain imagery that ruins the heroic aspect of ancient heroes. This is true for other classes too, as it seems a previous class named American Literature had its students read The Grapes of Wrath, which speaks negatively about The United States and its treatment of its people. This material is full of anti-American propaganda, and it will only lead to the students hating their own country and its leaders. The heroes and leaders of the past are important to our youth of today, and if they read texts that blatantly lie about them and bash them, they will end up hating them and will act viciously. The students will mimic what they read, and if they read about Achilles dragging Hector’s lifeless body around, they may come to believe the actions of their heroes were justified: “we must not believe these stories. And the dragging of Hector around the barrow of Patroclos, and the slaughtering of the captives over the pyre, all this we shall deny to be true; nor shall be allow our young people to believe Achilles-the son of a goddess and of Peleus, one famous for self-control…” (Plato 188). The students should not be presented blatant lies as they will come to hate those who have come to bring us together. Certain classes, like American Affairs, speak about the founder of this country, Christopher Colombus, and has students read about negative things he may have done. I believe this material is completely unneeded as the students only need to know that this man enabled a country to form eventually. The literature that should be given to the students would contain wars he had won and not accusations that he had committed genocide or enslaved people. These classes speak about heinous acts that this country had apparently done; this is not needed for the students as they will come to hate their past. If they hated the grounds on which their country was founded, they would also hate the country itself. The students need to be given texts that will boost their morale and make them love this country. This school needs to work on removing these unnecessary texts and needs to move towards literature that speaks about the good deeds about the country and its history. This would also apply to texts about other countries as this country has influences from various parts of the world. The only negative things this school should teach is about the enemies the country has. Aside from that, the students shouldn’t be given any critical works.
In conclusion, this school has done a good job so far. It has some aspects it should change, but I am looking forward to seeing these changes come to fruition. I can see that this school has a lot of enthusiasm for learning, which leads me to believe that once these changes are put into place, the students will flourish and come out as model students. School One should remove texts that are critical about American history and the history of countries that have influenced this country. For example, texts like The Iliad or A Tale of Two Cities should not be taught as they will give students bad examples that they may follow and try to recreate. Teachers like Cary and Pam both seem ready to push students deeper into critical thought, as they both seem to enjoy having students analyze things that aren’t visible by our senses. Pam has done a wonderful job with this as she has students doing math. Cary has been doing a similar job with his English classes, but he should get rid of the critical texts if he wants his students to become great people in society. This applies to every other English and history teacher as they all seem to enjoy assigning these unnecessary books to the students. Once they change these texts to more patriotic texts, they will be all set, as they all seem to have the motivation to teach. School One has done a great job teaching as all of the teachers seem very enthusiastic about their jobs and seem to like teaching material to the students. The students seem to be very responsive too as they understand the material that is given to them, and they seem to converse with the teachers about said topics as they seem to enjoy them. Once the changes are put into place, the students will flourish as their enthusiasm will only grow with material that tells them about proud American victories and great historical leaders. Aside from this, the only other aspect the school should change is the requirements for physical education, as they should be a bit more stern. The students need to balance themselves with exercise. School One has done a fine job, and I am excited to see them change for the better once they read this report.
A More Comfortable Approach To Education
In regards to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, School One provides an education system focused on self-mastery. It is an individualized system with the goal for the students’ education to be used in their careers and choices later in their life. The curriculum is merit-based, meaning that it is dependent on the student’s abilities, needs, and wants. Those who excel in the curriculum, including science, art, and music, can choose to improve the specificity of their learning because the students have the freedom to do so. The faculty of the school enforces a fluctuating standard of effort according to the difficulty of the class, however there is a basic expectation for assignment completion and effort. The teachers’ approach is lenient; it pressures the individual to explore and adopt a deeper understanding of the material taught. However, the teacher’s approach to education through open discussion can lead to harmful rhetoric. School One’s philosophy is a process-oriented school. The removal of grades, in the form of a GPA, shifts a focus toward the process. There is little mitigating that process of learning because those results are eliminated, resulting in a more comfortable approach to education.
School One’s curriculum is separated into education and athletics. There are three categories in the education curriculum: science, art, and humanities. These are foundational to the curriculum. There is room for personalization outside of the standard number of credits required for graduation. The emphasis on the fluidity of an individual’s curriculum is contrary to a life of truth and perfection. “Never to let any pupils study anything not perfect, anything which does not always arrive at that end which all studies ought to reach” (330). How can one arrive at a form of perfection? The child cannot be allowed to arrive at whatever he chooses: such uncensored influences cause a separation from the true knowledge of a subject and ignorance. These excess classes or exploration of variant classes is irrelevant because it deviates from the studies that promote the soul’s perfection and truth. The five studies that led to self-mastery are calculation, geometry, the study of stable objects, astronomy, and dialectic. The first study that is necessary for a student’s education is calculation. School One administers a number of math classes, such as Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus. The impetus on mathematics is to acquire knowledge and search for truth above the ‘realm of sight.’ This is the ultimate goal of mathematics, although many cannot comprehend it because they are drawn to emotion and opiniones.“It compels the soul to use pure reason in order to find out the truth” (325). It is important to note that School One does not make gymnastics compulsory. Gymnastics in this sense leads to physical fitness: the peak of an individual’s power and physical capabilities. This is a necessary stage for those who excel in their studies, but School One promotes little exercise in the form of ‘walking’ or ‘ping pong.’ While physical activity is a practical aspect of life, it is not a part of the process of understanding. “Gymnastic, I take it, is devoted to what becomes and perishes, for it presides over bodily growth and decay” (321). The overall curriculum is divided into education and athletics. School One has a rigorous educational system but not enough emphasis on athletics.
The philosophy of the School is as follows: to provide the utmost education with the utmost respect for the necessities of the student. It advocates for inclusivity. If something is to function, like a city, the collective and the individual need to have a spiritual connection to one another. However, this methodology is dangerous. Students must learn to desire the truth apart from their senses. School One emphasizes the importance and connection between intelligence and emotion, but this is far from a proper alignment toward knowledge. We can compare this process to the parable of the cave. Prisoners are fettered to the cave. They are unable to move, there is light from a fire behind them, and there is a pathway to the light outside. All they can see are shadows from statues placed behind them. Because these shadows are all they have seen, they believe it to be the real truth. However, this is the farthest from the purest Form; these shadows represent the human’s imagination or opinion. The prisoners are then dragged out of the cave and exposed to the light. They are blinded by it until their cloudiness is cleared and realization sets in. This is the stage of cognitive thought. School One’s philosophy in itself promotes imagination; this is the lowest thought process, but it is the start. It reflects images and shadows, and it is not concrete but subject to perception. The studies taught provide a guide toward the Form of good. This is the ability to reason. School One reflects this process; students often enter into their first year knowledgeable, but the philosophy implies that they will be pointed toward the right desires. To face the truth in itself, rather than be left to their own falsified beliefs of imagination.
School One’s teaching approach is predicated on democratic ideals. It promotes open conversation with students through forums and discussions regarding the general well-being of the school and its constituents. The goals of the teachers are to guide the student to knowledge. There is an expectation for the work in the classes, but the teachers approach the class with leniency, meaning that there is no physical compulsion. In the early stages of learning, non-compulsory education is crucial for the efficacy of the education. Children must be taught mathematics and philosophy through non-compulsory play. Then those who are apt for more rigorous applications of their knowledge can go on to the next stages of their life. In regards to open discussion, the ability to reason and think far exceeds the necessities of the senses. However, dialectic is a study in its own. This school provides young students with the ability to speak, reason, and interpret freely, but doesn’t teach what dialectic is. “For I am sure you have not failed to notice that as soon as youngsters get the first taste of words in their mouth, they treat them as a game, and misuse them, always words against words; they copy people who refute them, and themselves refute others in the same way” (339). The ability to exercise reason comes from understanding; this is impossible at the stage such students were at. It is necessary to acknowledge that not everyone will come to that level of understanding, or out of the cave, but School One intends to point their students toward the right desires. However, their methodology in open discussion is naturally going to lead to unlawfulness. For education, this meant that students would rely on and use their emotions rather than their reasoning. Dialectic builds on the progress of thought, meaning that it is central to how you perceive and act on certain beliefs. School One provides an outlet for dialogue, in the form of discussions, but this a step too far in the process of education. The student is ignorant while in his early stages, and it is the responsibility of the authority to “set up censorship to hear any change fables molded by chance persons, and to receive in their souls, opinions which are generally contrary to those which we believe they ought to have when they grow up?” (174). The approach to education at School One is predicated on dialogue, but it allows for students to reason before they understand the true forms of all things. Their studies are far from over and dialectic will only lead to unlawfulness and ignorance.
School One has good intentions. It has a rigorous curriculum, but it also values the student’s well-being and abilities. The classes in the curriculum are necessary for the development of the student. However, the teaching approach has a fallible aspect. Open discussion allows the student to explore their sense and emotion and interpret the studies without first understanding them. The ability to exercise reason is the last goal in the process, and it can be used improperly. School One does not provide any rigorous physical curriculum, which is crucial as its own education. The overarching goal of education is to guide the soul toward the right desires. The teachers teach because they believe in the student’s future. The shrewdness of a clever, wicked man can be the same as that of a philosopher. It is what he turns his mind toward that makes a difference. The teachers at School One are not teaching with malice, but they understand the student’s education and guide them to true beauty and knowledge.
Both Great and Horrendous
This is an analysis of the educational institution known as School One. I am Dr. Socrates, a representative of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. I will be examining how School One and its staff operate, whether they should make changes to their systems and policies, and whether they are suited for re-accreditation. From a philosophical standpoint, it will be easier to address certain things that teachers and other members of the staff do correctly and incorrectly. Some things about this school seem troubling, but there are things regarding its structure that I very much enjoy. The main things I will discuss are the school’s English curriculum, one of its art teacher’s approaches to education, and its establishing justice system.
School One’s, especially Cary Honig’s, English curriculum is both great and horrendous. I don’t mean to be so harsh, however when the majority of what you’re teaching is highly offensive, it is hard not to be. “Then we will once more entreat Homer and the other poets not to depict Achilles, who is the son of a goddess, first laying on his side, then on his back, and then on his face, then starting up and sailing in a frenzy along the shores of the barren seas; now taking the sooty ashes in both his hands and pouring them over his head, or weeping and wailing in the various modes which Homer has delineated” (Plato 241). Homer’s literature is filled with these offensive instances and events, and much of Cary’s curriculum includes Homer. He teaches his students about the death of Hector and how he was dragged to his demise, the death of Patroclus, and countless instances when the gods are portrayed as rabid creatures. That is the main thing that irks me: the gods cannot do wrong. They are the root of The Good for the people in the world. We are the ones who possess evil natures. The education that Cary’s students are receiving is causing them to believe that some gods are horrible beings, committing rapes and castrations, when we have absolutely no evidence or reason to believe these stories. However, even though there are many things I don’t like about Cary’s classes, especially his Greek Literature class, there are things I highly appreciate. Cary teaches his students proper grammar, literary analysis and discussion. I think these things are very important in our language and literature education. By giving his students these grammar sheets, sheets containing error-filled sentences that students must correct, he teaches them to write and speak accurately. It is important that your language is as accurate as possible so that your meaning is conveyed properly. The more skilled you are in this subject, the easier it will be to partake in the rest of Cary’s classes. After developing your grammar, you can develop your analytical skills. In his classes, you must write many essays that discuss accurate representations of the literature at hand and the students’ opinions regarding the subject. They must provide extensive reasons for their thesis statements with quotes from the text to back them up. Developing analytical skills allow for class discussion, where the students get to share their opinions and discuss them among themselves and Cary. All of the components that make up Cary’s teaching style are musts. It is very important to teach accuracy. If you are not accurate, you could make a fool of yourself, and you’d lose respect from many people. Overall, I dislike that material Cary teaches, but I love the way he teaches.
The practice of art at School One is something I love especially. Miles Cook, one of the art teachers, is one of the best additions to this school. His approach to his classes is spectacular. “If they should imitate at all, they should imitate from youth upward only those characters who are suitable to their profession” (Plato 250). Art is meant for imitation. Its purpose is for the education of the viewer as well as of the artist. It should imitate events pertaining to the past, present or future so everyone can gain from the piece of art. Miles teaches his students the foundations of art and how to use them to improve their work. This allows them to imitate real life items more easily. The assignments he gives them consist of movie posters, scientific illustrations, travel posters and more. All of them are rooted in the current culture, allowing students to express themselves artistically in ways that educate the viewer about the movie, the animal or the location they are illustrating. While I have a distaste for imitation, I have to look at the world of art in an objective manner. Imitation is a terrible way to express oneself, but art is pure imitation. However, if you are going to be an art teacher, you should take some advice from Miles because his way of teaching is optimal. Another art teacher, Kristen Jones, teaches the art of the past in her Fine Arts class. I love this approach as well because it teaches her students art history and gives them ideas of how to improve their work based on the work of people thousands of years ago. This is a valuable practice because it also preserves history. I very much love the approach of the art teachers at School One because it enhances students’ artistic expression so that the student artists can perfectly encapsulate their visions.
Outside of the education at School One, there is something else that is integral to its community. That is the justice system. At School One, there is a committee called the Discipline Committee. This acts as a pseudo-court, which allows the defending party to give a rebuttal to the charges against them. “They rule and provide for the interests of their subjects who are the weaker, not the stronger – to their good they attend and not to the good of the superior” (Plato 198). I really enjoy this system because the staff doesn’t punish the defending part without the chance to give a reason. They aren’t tyrannical in any sense. They give students a chance instead of punishing them for something they may be mistaken about or something about which they have been given false information. There aren’t necessarily any laws at School One as there would be in a state. The staff enforces what it believes to be correct, which is true justice. Justice is not always what a law enforces: justice is something that comes from within yourself. You decide what is right and what you think is just. That is something School One’s Discipline Committee abides by. This aspect of the school is excellent.
In conclusion, School One is an excellent school. Even though there are some things I heavily dislike about Cary’s curriculum, I still love the way he teaches. Teaching grammar, analysis, and discussion is the key to creating an amazing student. I would only change the material he teaches, as he can teach his students these skills while using inoffensive literature. The material he has put in place could cause the students to become corrupt because of the stances the literature takes about the gods and the heroes. Miles’s and Kristen’s approaches to art education are astounding. They teach their students to imitate current culture as well as to preserve the history of art. Again, while I despise imitation, Miles optimizes his education about imitation. The justice system at School One abides by true justice and doesn’t punish based on any laws set in stone. They evaluate the situation based on what’s relevant and what they believe to be the right thing to do. The system is simply amazing. Without a doubt, I believe School One is worth of re-accreditation.
The Gordian Knot
Matthew A. Sanchez
I will be discussing how the ideas of causation, mercy, and nationalism in poleis were interpreted in Athens and certain authors during this era. These ideas can be simply defined by these following statements: causation is simply what drives people to take certain actions, whether it be on their own accord or by another being; mercy can be defined as having compassion towards an adversary or country, and true mercy comes from having empathy; and nationalism in a poleis can defined as someone who will do anything for their country, even if it will cause damage in the long run. The authors who I will be talking about are Thucydides, Euripides, Sophocles, and Heraclitus. These authors have differing beliefs at times, but they seem to be moving towards a specific set of beliefs. However, due to the diversity of Greece, some of these authors may not be moving towards this set of beliefs. The authors seem to be moving towards the following ideas: empathy, free will, and humility. All of these authors seem to have their own beliefs as well. Thucydides is mainly focused on the actions of man and the pride that man has. Euripides, on the other hand, was more interested in emotion and the mistakes that people had made. These two authors had two different points of focus, yet together they show both sides of a coin. I think that Athenian society would be represented as this by the end of the 5th Century B.C. The Athenians are presented different values, and it’s up to them to decide what they want to follow. The Athenians are free to pick what they want as they are a democracy, but they may simply choose to follow the majority. I believe the Athenians are moving towards the ideas of empathy, free will, and humility as they are starting to think about who they are and what their actions do. However, they don’t all necessarily agree as they all have opinions that differ slightly.
Starting off with causation, Thucydides believed that people were in charge of everything that happened. Along with this idea, he would also believe that emotion would influence how certain things would end up. He would believe that people were in charge of how things were caused due to the portrayal of the debates. In said debates, he puts the outcome on the hands of the people alone. People would gather around and decide whether or not they would end up going to war: “This was the speech of Alcibiades. After listening to him, and to the Egestaeans and to some exiles from Leontini who came forward as suppliants, reminding them of their oaths and beginning for help, the Athenians became much more eager than before to make the expedition” (Thucydides 380). Thucydides, unlike some other Athenians, didn’t see the gods or fate of any kind influencing the actions that these men took. He simply believed that men would use reason to come to any kind of decision. Euripides would agree with Thucydides in this regard, as he blames everything on the hands of mankind. Euripides portrays this idea in The Trojan Women as he shows the reader how man can do so much damage on their own accord: “For my part I do not believe that Hera and virgin Pallas were ever so silly that the one was ready to barter away Argos to the barbarian, and the other to make her Athens the slave of Phrygia, and all for a childish whim that they took them to Ida to quarrel about their beauty. . .Don’t make the gods silly to cover up your own wickedness” (Euripides 196). Euripides is able to show to the reader how mankind alone is able to cause damage to others or themselves. Similarly to Thucydides, these actions are based on emotion. The men who attacked Troy did so out of anger and greed, and Euripides portrays this with the horror that these women had to go through it. Euripides also blatantly explained this position with Helen, who tried to blame the gods for her actions and failed. While most people would only hear the story of the victors, Euripides tried to show the reader how the losers had to suffer after the damage had been done. He tries to show the reader that this would have been done purely by man and no other influence. Heraclitus is similar to these other two authors as he believed that violence was the sole cause of everything: “His contempt for mankind leads him to think that only force will compel them to act for their own good. He says: Every beast is driven to the pasture with blows; and again: Asses would rather have straw than gold. As might be expected, Heraclitus believes in war. War, he says, is the father of all and the king of all and some he has made gods and some men, some bond and some free” (Russell 41). Heraclitus’s view is simpler as he believes that people will only act out of self-preservation. He believes that mankind will only act if it is forced to act. This is different to what the other two authors believe, but he still presents a similar idea as he believes mankind is the lone cause for everything that happens to humans. The outlier of this group would be Sophocles who believes that some kind of fate is the cause for everything that happens. Throughout the stories of Oedipus and Oedipus at Colonus the reader is presented with the idea that fate controls everything that happens. The reader is explicitly shown this at the end of Oedipus The King as Oedipus finds out that he did indeed kill his father and sleep with his mother. These ideas continue in Sophocles’ other works, which leads me to believe he thought fate is what causes things to happen. The beliefs of these four different authors are somewhat similar as three out of four of them essentially have the same views, which could lead one to assume that the majority in Athens agreed on this view. The first three authors believe that emotion is what influences man to act upon things or influences decisions that are made. Sophocles, on the other hand, believes that there is some force that influences men to do such things. The majority of Athenians at this point would believe in free will, while others would have started to move towards the idea of free will.
These four people have differing opinions when it comes to Mercy. They all believe in a kind of mercy, but only a few of them believe in true mercy. When it comes to Thucydides, he seems to believe in the idea of mercy but at a cost: “The Athenian generals, finding out the Melians would not submit, immediately commenced hostilities and build a wall completely round the city of Melos, dividing the work out among the various states. Later they left behind a garrison of some of their own and some allied troops to blockade the place by land and sea . . . The Melians surrendered unconditionally to the Athenians, who put to death all the men of military age whom they took, and sold the women and children as slaves” (Thucydides 366). Thucydides seems to push the idea that people will receive mercy when they pay their dues to those who deserve it. In this example, the Melians would only be given mercy if they were to submit their city to the Athenians and surrender everything they had. They rightly refused, but they were put to death due to their disobedience. Thucydides and those Athenians wouldn’t believe in giving mercy out for free, as they believed that a price would have been needed to be paid. While Euripides had agreed with Thucydides on the previous idea, he believes in the idea of true mercy, where people are spared out of kindness. He would represent this idea in The Trojan Women through the suffering of those who experienced the aftermath of the fall of Troy: “Ah me! What does this mean? The time has come, I supposed, when the ships will carry me away from my native land. I do not know, but I suspect the worst. Ho! Woeful women of Troy, come and hear your doom, out of the tents with you, the Argives are setting sail for home” (Euripides 179). The Trojans at this point were given a final blow by the Greeks and were doomed. The Greeks had started to steal their women at this point, and those who had not been captured were panicking. Euripides tries to show the reader how mercy would have been needed. The Greeks were cruel and showed no mercy whatsoever to the Trojans. He would have believed in the idea of letting someone go because of the suffering they would have gone through. Sophocles would have held somewhat of a similar view as Euripides as he portrayed a similar situation in Oedipus: “Whosoever of you knows by whom Laius son of Labdacus was slain, I bid him to declare all to me. And if he is afraid, I tell him to remove the danger of the charge by denouncing himself; he shall suffer nothing else unlovely but only leave the land, unhurt” (Sophocles 82). Sophocles presents his idea of mercy similarly to Euripides as he shows mercy through the character of Oedipus. He wants to show that violence isn’t always the answer and some people are meant to be forgiven. Even for such a serious crime, such as murder, mercy was given because it was the right thing to do. Sophocles essentially portrayed the idea of turning the other cheek. Heraclitus has a different view of mercy as he would most likely disregard the idea of mercy at once as he would believe in the idea of justice: “We must know that war is common to all and strife is justice and that all things come into being and pass away through strife” (Russell 42). Heraclitus would believe that everything was meant to be carried out in battle, as it would resolve itself by the end of said battle. He had contempt for mankind, therefore he wouldn’t have empathy towards those who were in need. Heraclitus would have had essentially no mercy whatsoever. The first three authors show that they have some idea of mercy and what they believe it is. Thucydides seems to be moving towards the idea of true mercy, where people are spared out of empathy. Euripides and Sophocles seem to have their ideas about sparing others out of respect and compassion. Heraclitus is the outlier of the four as he believes in pure violence as he has a disdain for humanity. The Athenians were moving towards the idea of mercy without any sort of recompense, which means they started to develop more ideas about empathy.
These people all seem to have similar beliefs towards the idea of nationalism within a polis. However, they all have different definitions of nationalism. Sophocles believed in the idea of a true patriot: someone who believed in the cause of their country and would try their best to better said country. His idea of nationalism was represented by Oedipus, who wanted the best for his kingdom no matter what. Oedipus had promised to exile the man who had killed Laius no matter who it was, and he did so, even when it turned out to be him: “Yes; and on you I lay this charge, to you I will make this entreaty: give to her who is within such burial as you would yourself give, for you will render the last rites to your own properly, but for me, never let this city of my sire be condemned to have me dwelling in it, so long as I live. No, suffer me to abide on the hills, yonder where Cithaeron lived set for my appointed tomb” (Sophocles 112). Oedipus represents the ideal patriot who gives everything up for his country, no matter the cost. Oedipus never showed off any kind of hubris while a patriot, which essentially made him someone who genuinely cared for the best for his kingdom. Thucydides would have also believed in nationalism, but his nationalism came with hubris alongside it. The stories he presents have Athenians who want to fight for their country, but it shows the arrogance that they had in their battles. This is portrayed very well during the debate about Sicily as it shows how the Athenians were arrogant and lusted at the idea of war: “In making this speech Nicias thought that either the Athenians would be put off by the scale of the armament required, or, if he was forced to make the expedition, he would in this way sail as safely as possible. The Athenians, however, far from losing their appetite for the voyage because of the difficulties in preparing for it, became more enthusiastic about it than ever” (Thucydides 382). The Athenians were simply in love with the idea of war and everything that came with it. They wanted the best for their polis, but they were clouded with this thought, and they didn’t think about the danger that came with said desires. Thucydides would have been for the ideas of nationalism, and his thoughts would have been a bit more extreme than Sophocles’s. Euripides would have been against the ideas of nationalism solely because of people like Thucydides who would let their nationalism grow a tad bit rampant. Nationalism would have led to the conquest of cities and towns, which would have led to their eventual destruction. Euripides may have liked the idea of Sophocles, who was someone who cared for their country with genuine concern. However, those ideas would have been clouded by the fear of those who have become extreme nationalists: “Hecuba, look. Here comes Andromache in an enemy wagon, bound for a foreign land. Clutched to her heaving breast is her darling Astyanax, Hector’s son. Hapless woman, where are they taking you on this wagon’s top, seated amid Hector’s bronze armor and the spoils of sacked Ilium, with which Achilles’ son will adorn the temples of Phthia, far, far from Troy” (Euripides 186). This is what Euripides hated about nationalism, as it tore apart families who were simply trying to survive. Those people would essentially become spoils of war as they were merely degraded into goods. Heraclitus would have been someone who Euripides would have disliked as he was an extreme nationalist. Heraclitus was completely pro-violence as he thought that violence was the solution to everything: “Concerning his fellow-citizens he says: ‘The Ephesians would do well to hang themselves, every grown man of them, and leave the city to beardless lads; for they have cast out Hermodorus, the best among them, saying: We will have none who is best among us; if there is such, let him be so elsewhere among others” (Russell 41). Continuing with his ideas of violence, Heraclitus was very extreme in his ideals and believed that death was the solution to those who went against his views. Heraclitus essentially showed off a hubristic type of nationalism as he believed he was in the right at all times. Nationalism seemed to be a strong idea among these four men, but they all seem to have a different belief about what kind of nationalism is best. Sophocles and Euripides would have shared a similar idea of a peaceful type of nationalism. On the other hand, Heraclitus and Thucydides had similar ideas of nationalism as they both took it to the extreme side.
In conclusion, causation seemed to be moving towards the idea of mankind being in charge. These authors, aside from Sophocles, presented the ideas that mankind was in charge of its actions through decision making and discussion. Some actions that man would take were charged with emotion, but they would be solely theirs and weren’t influenced by gods. Sophocles is the outlier here, but every movement has some outliers that will keep their ideals the same. The idea of mercy had common ground among three of these authors, with Heraclitus as the outlier. While Thucydides believed in mercy with a charge, he still believed in the idea of some kind of mercy. Sophocles and Euripides would believe in a similar kind of mercy, which would come at no cost and was given out of pure empathy and compassion. Heraclitus wouldn’t agree with these views as he hated humanity and believed everything would need to be sorted through violence. Sophocles and Euripides would believe in a kind of nationalism that benefited the polis without any kind of violence. They would have wanted the leader to take responsibility for everything that would be happening. Thucydides would believe in the idea of a more extreme nationalism, which would include not questioning war and its cause. Heraclitus would have been the extreme as he believed in the death of those who were opposing him. I believe that these viewpoints tell me that Athenians were moving towards the idea of peace or some kind of relaxed position of the war. I believe that they may have been losing their confidence in the war, which led them into thinking what would happen if they were conquered as a result of a loss. They would then start thinking about mercy and fortifying their polis before even thinking of attacking other cities or countries. Some would have opposed this, but I believe the majority of the Athenians would have started to think about the repercussions of the war.
Socrates in Crito and Phaedo
To start, it is important to remember that we do not have any direct account of Socrates’s life from Socrates himself. What we have is a collection of dialogues from his disciple, Plato. While there were other stories written about Socrates by some of peers(Xenophanes and Aristophanes), Plato’s Socrates was level-headed and was put on a very high pedestal. The final two accounts of Socrates by Plato are in his book Crito and Phaedo. These books share the last few moments of Socrates’s life: in jail after being put on trial for corrupting the Athenian youth with philosophy and other crimes against the state. He was found guilty by the court, arrested, and was sentenced to death. In Crito, Socrates’s friend Crito plans an escape for Socrates from prison. Much to Crito’s chagrin, however, when given the chance for freedom, Socrates declines and decides to stay captured. The Phaedo, on the other hand, recalls Socrates and a few friends awaiting his trial in his cell. It takes place on the day Socrates was put to death by the Athenian courts. Socrates’s charges against the state were political, moral and religious, but the lines drawn between those subjects were not nearly as clear as they are today. His charges were deeply rooted throughout all sects of Athenian society. Though only partially true, his accusations were too offensive and personal to the average citizen and the court, which gave him little chance to be found innocent. Socrates welcomed his inevitable death with open arms and saw it as an opportunity to find the true understanding he had been searching for during his entire life.
Socrates is surprisingly quick to accept his fate of being put to death by the courts. Throughout Crito, he argues with his friend in his Socratic style using Crito’s arguments to explain why he didn’t want to escape. Throughout the book, Crito tries his hardest to convince Socrates of what he felt was the better choice: to stay alive. Crito’s main argument throughout the story was the idea that Socrates was wronged by the courts, which meant Socrates could escape to rebalance the moral scale. Though the first part was certainly true, the way the men would go about making it right differed significantly. Crito’s logic would warrant wrongdoing in response to wrongdoing. His argument implies it would be the best political choice to even the scales as a response to the fact he was charged in direct correlation with the arguments from a comedy that was written about him a quarter of a century prior. Because Socrates was treated unfairly, it may seem like the fair choice to escape. However, Socrates responds in a way that looks a level above Crito’s initial argument. Even though the courts did him wrong, he was never done wrong by the law itself. He uses a metaphor where he describes the law as a parent: “Say whether you have any objection to urging3 those of us to regulate marriage? (…) Or against those of us who regulate the system of nurture and education of children in which you were trained? Were not the laws, who have the charge of this, right in commanding your father to train you in music and gymnastics?” (Crito 112). By describing the law as something that had been with him through his upbringing (and helped with it), he made it clear that, though he may have been wronged with the law, it was morally inconceivable for him to break it himself.
Plato’s Phaedo was a significantly more placid scene. Even though it took place on the last morning of his life, he seems unphased, or at least at terms with the death that awaited him. While most people would be terrified and living their last moments in fear, Socrates stays level headed throughout his conversation with a few friends waiting with him in his cell. Everyone but Socrates seems slightly unsettled by this fact and were given a very complete response when they asked the smartest man they knew why death did not scare him. Moreover, they wanted to know why he welcomed it like a guest coming into his home. To start, Socrates had already had a very complete life. He was 70 years old and spent more than 50 years of his life doing what he did best: arguing with people about the philosophical world we can’t fully understand. Another reason death was not frightening for him could be found in these rhetorical questions: “It is only those who practice philosophy in the right way, we say, who always most want to free the soul; and this release and separation of the soul from the body is the preoccupation of the philosophers? So it appears. Therefore, as I said at the beginning, it would be ridiculous for a man to train himself in life to live in a state as close to death as possible, and then to resent it when it comes? Ridiculous, of course” (Phaedo 128). Something almost all philosophers spend a lot of brain power thinking about is still unclear: the mystery of what comes after death. Socrates realized this as a central theme of philosophical thought, and in a way, he was given a direct path to the answer. He knew in his mind that the psyche and the body were separate entities, and death was the only known way to “free” the soul of its body and worldly desires. There was simply a difference between the way Socrates and the average person saw death. Because the average person is scared of the unknown, death is cool to hypothesize about but wouldn’t be something people would be interested in partaking in. Socrates fundamentally thinks differently about the unknown and is correct in his analysis that no philosopher should be frightened of the end of their life they have so desperately tried to understand.
Socrates’s outlook about his death and his arguments for why he did not fear the end of his life were both comforting and startling. In no way does the average person look at life the way Socrates did. Attempting to understand his arguments in the last moments in his life had to be done in a way unlike any other analysis of death most had ever heard. When you had a life like Socrates, and you believed the things he did, it was obvious to welcome death the way he did. He, after being killed, was finally free. He was no longer tied down to the desires that he had previously had as a human being and had the opportunity to experience life simply as a psyche floating through the cosmos, exactly as he always desired. I think it is reasonable to have this ideology. If you have spent so long trying to understand a subject and finally have the opportunity to fully understand it, I’m unsure why anyone would ever do differently. Though death contains nothing but unknowns, Socrates knew that he knew nothing, and he rightfully welcomed what he felt could lead to true understanding in a way no other person would see as desirable.
Matthew A. Sanchez
In this essay I will be discussing why Socrates chose to die instead of fighting for his freedom. Throughout The Apology, Socrates fought for his innocence as he said that the charges placed against him were fallacies. The Athenian people said that he was a man who enjoyed corrupting the youth and didn’t believe in the gods. Socrates tried to explain that all of the claims were false and he was a just and caring man, but the jury didn’t seem to believe his claims; he was found guilty on the charges by sixty-one votes. Socrates was sentenced to death for his crimes. However, he didn’t seem to be phased by this sentence and instead chose to mock the courtroom. Throughout Plato’s Phaedo and Crito, Socrates tried to justify his reasons for dying instead of escaping his death. Socrates gave lawful reasons for not escaping his death, such as it would be wrong to go against the laws that raised him. He also argued against his liberation in a philosophical manner as he believed that death was the best thing for a philosopher as it would release the soul from the body. I believe that Socrates could have easily escaped his death sentence if he wanted to, as Socrates was a person who knew how to get his way. Socrates had many chances to escape his death sentence, but he chose not to do so because he felt like he had to listen to the laws. I believe there are two possible reasons he chose to die instead of escaping his fate. Socrates had said that his mission from God was to cross-examine everyone and test everyone’s wisdom, which leads me to believe that escaping his death would essentially be breaking this mission from God. Socrates believed that his mission was to prove that he was the wisest; if Socrates were to simply run away from Athens and live a secluded life, he would have been going against his mission from God. This leads me to believe this might have been one of the reasons for accepting his own death. The second reason I believe he may have done this is because he wanted the Athenians to realize they killed an innocent man, which would have left them with a guilty conscience. However, he may have simply wanted to die because of his philosophical reasons, but I think he had another reason behind his statements. Socrates wasn’t a simple man, which leads me to believe his reasons for dying wouldn’t have been simple either.
Throughout The Crito, the reader is able to see Socrates’s political reasons for his death. Socrates argues that he should not escape from his death as it would be an unjust thing to do. Criton had offered him a means of escape and place to go after his escape, but Socrates chose to deny this freedom because it would have been something unjust. Socrates had argued that his execution would lead to the unjust death of a just man, but he seemed to accept the unjust actions against him. This leads me to believe that his reasoning for accepting this death would have come from his mission to be a philosopher. From what has been seen in other texts containing Socrates’s words, he seems to believe that a philosopher is able to stay away from unjust actions. This would mean that if he were to escape his death, he would essentially be breaking his training as a philosopher. By doing that, he would have done an unjust thing, which would have been something wrong for a philosopher. This idea seems to tie in with his “conversation” with the laws, as he showed that he had chosen to stay in Athens and that breaking the laws was an unjust thing to do: “And so you are breaking your bargains and agreements with us, which you made under no compulsion, and not deceived; you were not compelled to decide in a short time, but you had seventy years in which you could have gone away, if you did not like us, of if the agreements did not seem to you just” (Plato 457). This conversation with the laws seems to show us that Socrates had the opportunity to leave Athens throughout his whole life, but he chose not to do so. He could have left if he believed the laws present in Athens were wrong but he chose to stay. However, if he were to have left Athens, he would have broken his mission that God had given him. His conversation with the “Laws” essentially shows us that Socrates would have broken his mission as a philosopher by escaping. He would have disrespected the laws that had brought him to where he was then, and if he were to have escaped, he would have broken his mission. When speaking to Criton, he explained that his reasoning for not escaping was because it would have been an unjust thing to do, but he had many other reasons hidden behind his words. In reality, Socrates knew that if he were to have escaped, he would have been going against everything he had taught throughout his whole career. Throughout this conversation, Socrates seems to be trying to say that if he were to abandon his fate, he would also be abandoning his mission as a philosopher. If he were to have done this, he would have become a bad influence as he had taught his students that a teacher had to be perfect to teach philosophy, and this would have made him more imperfect. Socrates’s political reason for dying is his necessity to keep his mission and stay true to his teachings.
Socrates’s philosophical reasons for dying seem further to prove that the point of his death is furthering his philosophical ideals. In his political reasons, he seemed to say that he can’t abandon his sentence because he would also be abandoning his philosophy. In his philosophical reasoning, he reasoned that death would liberate his soul from his body, and in turn would release him from his bodily desires. This would essentially lead to him becoming the best version of himself as he would no longer have the senses and the limitations of the human body. Socrates then goes on to say that a philosopher has no reason to fear death, which leads me to believe he wants to die so he can become a better version of himself: “We must surely think, my comrade, that he will go rejoicing, if he is really a philosopher; he will surely believe that he will find wisdom in its purity there and there alone. If this is true, would it not be most unreasonable, as I said just now, if such a one feared death” (Plato 471). Socrates believed that death would lead to him attaining the purest form of wisdom. This idea would tie in with his mission as a philosopher as his mission was to prove that he was the wisest. If he were to have ran away from his death, he would have essentially been running away from the key to enlightenment. Socrates would have wanted to escape his body to become as enlightened as possible, and through dying he would be able to continue his mission of becoming the wisest person, as he would have been able to attain a purer form of wisdom. Socrates believed that his human body was holding him back, which would have made him want to invite death even more: “When soul and body are together, our nature assigns the body to be slave and to be ruled, and the soul to be ruler and master; now, then, further, which of the two seems to be like the divine, and which like the mortal? Don’t you think the divine is natural such as to rule and to guide, and the mortal such as to be ruled and to be a slave” (Plato 484). Socrates’s mortal body was merely a slave to his soul and wouldn’t be capable of handling the divine tasks he wanted to complete. His soul wanted more wisdom, but his body wouldn’t have been capable of letting him obtain a pure kind of wisdom. Socrates would have wanted to die so he could become the best version of himself in the world of being. Socrates’s goal was to become a great philosopher, and he would only be able to continue his self-improvement through his death. Socrates willingly accepted his death because he knew something greater was waiting for him in the world of being once he died. Socrates knew that by accepting his death he would continue his divine mission and would continue to be a philosopher. If he had instead ran away from his death, he would have been rejecting the key to enlightenment.
In conclusion, Socrates’s beliefs as a philosopher led to his acceptance of his own death. Socrates believed that death was the key to a purer kind of wisdom as it would free his soul from his body. Socrates believed in a world beyond the senses, which was the world of being; Socrates would have never been able to attain entry to this world in his mortal body as he would have his senses holding him back. Socrates would have never been perfect in his view of philosophy, and he would have only been able to get closer to this idea of perfection through death. I believe that his ideas of his body holding him back would have culminated in him accepting his execution at that point in his life. Socrates believed that his sole purpose was to prove that he was the wisest person, and he would try to prove this by cross-examining people who were believed to be smart. Throughout all of this, he would come to see that the majority of people weren’t as wise as he. However, Socrates still sought out more enlightenment even though he deemed himself the wisest; through his goal of seeking more enlightenment, he would have come to the realization that his mortal body was holding him back. His body was merely a slave to his soul, and his soul needed to be liberated through death. He couldn’t simply kill himself as he believed that suicide was wrong. Since he couldn’t purposefully kill himself, he would have to find death in another form, which would come through his execution. Through the system of law in Athens, he was found guilty and sentenced to execution. As a philosopher, he believed he had to obey the sentence he was given, as he would be disrespecting all of the laws by going against them. If he were to go against the laws, which in his point of view seemed to be some kind of divine being, he would also have had to break his mission with God. I believe he went through the death sentence because he wanted to reach enlightenment. He couldn’t simply kill himself as that would condemn because of his beliefs as a philosopher. This led to him coming up with reasons as to why he should go through with being executed. This would essentially turn his suicide into an execution as he argued that he had to go through with his sentence. He could have argued against his execution, but Socrates wanted to die so he could reach the purest form of wisdom he could achieve
THE HISTORY OF STORY
There are many versions of the story that currently go by the name Cinderella. Two of the most well-known versions of this story are credited to Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm respectively. These men had different views on folklore, and it shows in their work. Despite Cinderella having the main points of the story remain the same, the details and minor points show the difference between the authors. Perrault’s version of Cinderella laid the foundation of what is thought to be the classic story of Cinderella. The Grimm Brothers’ version of Cinderella shows the dark origin of many fairy tales.
The Brothers Grimm were German folklorists in the 1800s. They saw the stories of the past as the foundation of today, but did not desire to return to the past. “They investigated the distant past and saw in antiquity the foundation of all social institutions of their days. But their efforts to preserve these foundations did not mean that they wanted to return to the past” (Denecke 2). The Brothers Grimm believed that folk poetry was the only true type of poetry. The Grimms’ version of Cinderella is darker than Perrault’s version. The step-family’s cruelty is described in more detail. “Besides this, the sisters did her every imaginable injury – they mocked her and emptied her peas and lentils into the ashes, so that she was forced to sit and pick them out again. In the evening when she had worked till she was weary she had no bed to go to, but had to sleep by the hearth in the cinders” (Grimm 1). Cinderella receives the dress and slippers because she constantly prayed at her mother’s grave. The step-sisters cut off pieces of their feet to fit into the slipper. “The maiden cut the toe off, forced the foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the king’s son” (Grimm 5). The story then ends with the step-sisters getting their eyes pecked out by birds. This most likely reason this version is darker is because of the Brothers Grimm’s Realist views and desire to preserve the past without returning to it.
Charles Perrault was a French writer and poet from the 1600s. Perrault believed that time is progress and modern literature is better than ancient literature. “In 1671 he was elected to the Académie Française, which soon was sharply divided by the dispute between the Ancients and the Moderns. Perrault supported the Moderns, who believed that, as civilization progresses, literature evolves with it and that therefore ancient literature is inevitably more coarse and barbarous than modern literature” (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1). He later argued this by saying his stories taught morality better than any ancient fable. Perrault’s version of Cinderella is the version the most people are familiar with if one doesn’t count Disney’s version. It has all the elements we see as classics. It has the step-family making Cinderella their servant, the magic godmother, the pumpkin carriage, the glass slippers, and the midnight deadline. “Being thus decked out, she got up into her coach; but her godmother, above all things, commanded her not to stay past midnight, telling her, at the same time, that if she stayed one moment longer, the coach would be a pumpkin again, her horses mice, her coachman a rat, her footmen lizards, and that her clothes would become just as they were before” (Perrault 3). While some details have changed, this is the version of Cinderella that is told to children as a bedtime story.
Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm are different men separated by a national border and about 200 years. Perrault thought that modernity was inherently better than antiquity. The Brothers Grimm believed that folk poetry was the only true poetry. “To them, folk poetry was the only true poetry, expressing the eternal joys and sorrows, the hopes and fears of humankind” (Denecke 2). They shared the idea of not wanting to return to the past. Their main difference is how they wanted their stories to be told and remembered. Perrault was a storyteller who was telling his stories for his young children. “Left alone to care for four children (Perrault’s wife had died in 1678), he spent his days writing the Contes du temps passé to entertain and educate his youngest son, Pierre” (Richter 2). The Brothers Grimm were scholars. ”They were among the most important German scholars of their time” (Denecke 1). They wanted the stories they told to be preserved how they were. Perrault’s version of Cinderella is more child friendly than Grimm’s because his version was part of a book made for children. Grimm’s version is darker because they felt no need to sanitize it because it would be read mostly by adults.
Some differences between the two Cinderella stories can be attributed to the fact that they come from different countries at different time periods. However, many differences likely come from the views of the authors. Perrault’s version of Cinderella was intended for children. There is no way that this fact did not influence how he chose to present the story. The Brothers Grimms’ version of Cinderella was intended as a recording of the folktale for scholarly reasons. Scholars need all the details for their work; even if the details aren’t pretty.
HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHTS
Are Christianity and Slavery Compatible?
Have you ever wondered whether God wants slavery? I don’t believe He does. God loves all His children, and it is hard to imagine that He would want one of his children to be in such a dehumanizing and unloving situation. It is dehumanizing for both the slaves and the slave holders. Instead of taking steps toward Jesus’s example of kindness, slaveholders go in the opposite direction of cruelty and dictatorship. Frederick Douglass, a former slave, had one mistress who was “…a kind and tender-hearted woman…” and who had never owned slaves, but Douglass said, “Slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me,” and “…the tender heart became stone…” (Douglass 22). I believe God is sad for the way slaves are kept from learning about Him, are stuck in unloving conditions, and are forced to have a false king.
Slave holders argue that slaves are better off on the plantation, where they can learn about God. It is good to give people the opportunity to develop their faith, but plantation life makes it harder for slaves to study scripture. They are forbidden from reading the Bible or gathering to talk about God. In fact, Frederick Douglass’s sabbath school was disbanded by whites. Douglass says white class-leaders drove him and the other slaves at the school off and “…forbade us to meet again. Thus ended our little Sabbath school in the pious town of St. Michael’s.” (Douglass 33). The planters are not spreading the gospel; they are keeping people from it, which violates First Amendment rights. How could a good Christian deny someone the right to learn about God? Not that the overworked slaves have much time to spend worshiping anyway.
The Bible says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (The NIV Study Bible, 1 Peter 4:8). Love is one of the most important things God instructs us to do, and it is lacking in slavery. It may seem like a slave master could love a slave, but the level of cruelty needed to keep people in chains does not allow for that, unless a married slave master raping a black women counts as love. The whippings, beatings, manipulating, name calling, and starvings don’t show any love. The number of whippings on a plantation was studied and they found that on average “…once every four or five days, some slave was whipped” (Zinn 173). There is way more hate than love in the system of slavery.
The slaveholders have put themselves in the position where they are pretending to be a god. If there really is one true God, why must the slaves practically worship their masters? Slaves could be punished for saying their masters were unkind or cruel, therefore “…when inquired of as to their condition and the character of their masters, almost universally say they are contented, and that their masters are kind” (Douglass 11). Why is it the slave owners’ decision whether to punish a human being? God is supposed to be the judge, and He is supposed to decide on punishment. “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you-who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12). The slaves must obey every order their master gives them whether it is what God wants or not.
This system of slavery is in no way Christian. It goes against spreading the word, loving others, and worshiping God as your only master. A supporter of slavery has admitted the real reason of why there is slavery, saying, “Do you imagine you could prevail on us to give up a thousand millions of dollars in the value of our slaves, and a thousand millions of dollars more in the depreciation of our lands?” (Zinn 174). Slavery is inhumane and not right. Religious planters argue that the Bible says slavery is okay, because Jesus never spoke out against it. I believe the Bible is not perfect; it was written by humans, the books were selected by humans, and it was translated by humans. Even though Jesus never mentioned slavery by name, the teachings He gave us would point us away from slavery. The basic principles of Christianity oppose the reality of slavery. For these reasons, I call all my fellow Christians to join the cause of Abolition and set the slaves free.
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Dover Publications, 1845.
The NIV Study Bible, NIV. The Zondervan Corporation, 1985.
Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States. HarperCollins Publishers, 2003.
Cuban Missile Crisis
On October 20, 1962, President Kennedy of the United States of America decided to blockade the nation of Cuba. This was in response to Cuba building medium range ballistic missile bases. The United States was afraid that the bases would be used to send atomic annihilation to America on behalf of the Soviet Union, who was allied with Cuba. The blockade was put in place to prevent the missile bases from being completed without starting a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The President did this to stall for a diplomatic solution. The blockade was also a show of American power. It sent the message of we don’t want to go to war, but if you push us we can, and we will go to war.
I think President Kennedy was correct in working towards a diplomatic solution to the crisis. A military solution would certainly cause a world war fought with nuclear weapons. That would not be good for anyone. A proper diplomatic solution would set a precedent for future conflicts. A precedent could prevent future conflicts from becoming wars. Diplomacy is the greatest weapon of all. Diplomacy is what prevents the saying “all’s fair in love and war,” from applying to everything.
President Kennedy’s choice to blockade Cuba affected how the United States would resolve this issue with the Soviet Union. The blockade didn’t help or hinder a diplomatic solution, but it increased the pressure for a decision to be made. The choice to blockade Cuba put the United States and the Soviet Union into a Mexican standoff. A military solution, on the other hand, would have started a shoot-off. Due to the standoff a diplomatic solution was the only solution that wouldn’t result in a war. Neither side wanted a war. Kennedy made a risky move that worked.
The choices President Kennedy made during the Cuban Missile Crisis tell us how he might have handled the Vietnam crisis. From his actions we can infer that Kennedy would have worked for peace. He did everything he could to avoid war during the Cuban Missile Crisis without making the United States look weak. Why would he do something different for a different possible war? Why would he treat Vietnam differently from Cuba? He would have likely found a way to force the other side to the peace table. Anything is possible once both sides decide that they want to stop the war.
President Kennedy handled the Cuban Missile Crisis in a careful, thought out manner. He handled the problem diplomatically despite the warmongers that surrounded him. He did this to prevent the monstrosity that is nuclear warfare. His choice to blockade Cuba was extreme but forced a diplomatic solution. If the missile bases had been completed the United States and the Soviet Union would both have literal nuclear missiles pointed at their metaphorical heads. His choices show what could have happened in Vietnam had he not been assassinated. He handled it as well as a flawed being could have it handled.
History of Disability Rights
I have disabilities that challenge me. They are left over from my treatments for brain cancer. I deserve protection under the law just as much as everyone else. The history of disability rights in America is a long one, but it hasn’t always been fair or included everyone. As society begins to better understand the needs of people with disabilities, we learn how to make accommodations and laws that help us live better and safer lives. In the 1800s, if the family members of a person with disabilities did not know how to care for them, which was common, the disabled person would be sent to an insane asylum. With the legal advances made during the 20th century, people with disabilities are better protected than they were in the past.
In the 1840s, Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride noticed that people who had disabilities were being treated badly, and he started the Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital. Kirkbride’s hospital treated its patients like the humans that they were. The patients who lived there enjoyed the privacy of their own rooms, flowering gardens, and vast farmland. Doctors believed that city life and environments made conditions worse. This was all much different from being packed into a small prison-like asylum. Conditions in the asylum were not healthy or helpful for the people living there.
Things continued to change for the better in the 20th century. People began to take notice of this unjust treatment, and groups were formed to help fix the problem. Because of the crisis of the Great Depression in the 1930s, there were very few jobs available. People with disabilities had an even harder time. The League of the Physically Handicapped (LPH) formed to help these people find the jobs they needed. Additionally, the Telecommunications Act of 1934required that companies make equipment for people with disabilities and the equipment had to be checked for safety. In the 1940s, psychiatric patients formedWe Are Not Alone to assist patients in the transition from living in a hospital to living in a community, and President Truman started the National Institution of Mental Health in 1948. In the 1950s the National Association for Retarded Children was put together. It helped parents so their children could get a better education and better care.
The Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s brought about significant change for many groups of people, including those with disabilities. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. This decision stated that segregation in schools was unconstitutional. It also got people to recognize the rights of people with disabilities. From 1960 to 1963, President Kennedy made a big effort to help disabled people. He held many committee meetings that discussed and researched how to treat disabilities. The U.S. Congress passed and enforced laws that directly supported Disability Rights like the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. The Fair Housing Act prohibited housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin and was amended to include disability, familial status.
Two of the people who were important in creating change during this time period were Judith Heumann and Ed Roberts. They both had polio as children and knew firsthand what it meant to have disabilities. They both became advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. In 1970, Judith organized a group called Disabled in Action (DIA) that was involved in political protests to increase public attention to disability civil rights issues. In 1973, Judy moved to Berkeley, California, where she organized protests and sit-ins. There she met and worked with Ed Roberts. Ed had gone to the University of California in Berkeley and helped to make it accessible for people in wheelchairs. He and Judith helped to start the World Institute on Disability (WID). The WID studied issues of legal rights and the discrimination against people with disabilities.
The year 1990 continued to bring important legislative progress. The Education for all Handicapped Children Act was amended, some of the laws changed and it was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA focuses on children’s needs. IDEA requires all public schools to make free public education available to all eligible children who have disabilities. The school environment has to be appropriate for these students’ individual needs. IDEA requires that public schools give Individualized Education Programs, IEPs, to the students who attend the school. The IEPs are reflections of the student’s individual needs. The school is required to create them with a team of experts and update them annually so the students can learn in the best way they can. The child’s parents are part of the planning and have a say in changing the IEP if they do not like it. They can take it to the state educational agency and appeal to the state or federal courts if their child is not getting what they need.
On March 13, 1990, a large group of people with disabilities went to the Capitol in Washington D.C to protest unfair building codes. About sixty of them got rid of their wheelchairs and walking aids and crawled up the steps of the Capitol to show that stairs could not accommodate everybody. They were demanding Congress pass the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In July, the Act was passed (Little). The ADA has many different parts. It requires fair treatment of people with disabilities in many different environments. It prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. Employers, state and local governments, commercial facilities, transportation, telecommunications, and the United States Congress must treat people with disabilities equally and give them the same opportunity as everyone else. All of these people and places have to follow particular guidelines to make this happen. For example, all public buildings must be architecturally accessible and they must be equipped with the proper equipment for people who have hearing, visual, or speech disabilities. Privately operated entities are also required to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Privately operated entities include places that people visit regularly like restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, doctors’ offices, zoos, convention centers, sports stadiums, fitness clubs, and other places that are important to our community like transportation depots, funeral homes, daycare centers, private schools, and homeless shelters.
In September of 2007, I sat with my parents in a neuropsychologist’s office at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. The neuropsychologist knew that something was wrong, but they did not know exactly what so they sent us to the emergency room. I was five years old when this happened and it was a scary experience. I had an aggressive form of cancer and my parents were ready to do whatever it took to make me better. My family had choices to make because the treatments that the doctors recommended for me were fairly new and still experimental. Now I am a 13 year cancer survivor! The treatment, although successful in destroying the tumor, left me with lasting side effects. I now have hearing loss, balance challenges, and cognitive delays, in addition to other challenges. As a result, I have received special academic help, such as I often need more time to complete my homework and classwork assignments. I need people to repeat things because I don’t always hear them. At Paul Cuffee School, where I went to elementary school, I had an IEP to give me the supports I needed. I have learned strategies that help me to work around/and with the challenges that my disabilities cause.
The Wolf School is a special education school, so all of the things that they do are individualized for each student. At School One where I am now, I am able to take a resource class to help me finish my work, I am allowed extensions as I need them, and the classes are kept small so everyone can get the attention they need. If I choose the college path, I am hoping that the college I pick will have all the accommodations I need to do my best learning. I wouldn’t be able to have these accommodations if the people involved in the disabilities movement in the past hadn’t made them a possibility. I hope that the future will bring even more advancements in the way of disabilities rights.
“A Guide to Disability Rights Laws.” U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section. February 2020 [online] available at (https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm). AccessedMay 3, 2021
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“Judith Heumann.” Wikipedia. [online] available at (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Heumann). Accessed May 3, 2021.
Leon, Joan. “Ed Roberts”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 Mar. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ed-Roberts. Accessed 3 May 2021.
Little, Becky. “When the ‘Capitol Crawl’ Dramatized the Need for Americans with Disabilities Act.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 24 July 2020, www.history.com/news/americans-with-disabilities-act-1990-capitol-crawl#:~:text=The%20“Capitol%20Crawl%2C”%20as,law%20on%20July%2026%2C%201990.
Lupton, Dave., 2021. Danger Live Specimen. [image] Available at: <https://dacnw.org/newsletter/disability-awareness-cartoonist/>.
Road_Less_Traveled. Danville State Hospital. Date unknown. [image] Available at: <https://search.creativecommons.org/search?license=&license_type=&categories=&extension=&aspect_ratio=&size=&source=&q=%20%20Dr.%20Thomas%20Story%20Kirkbride&searchBy=&mature=>
Meldon, P., 2021. Disability History: Early and Shifting Attitudes of Treatment. [online] National Park Service. Available at: <https://www.nps.gov/articles/disabilityhistoryearlytreatment.htm#
Meldon, P., 2021. Disability History: The Disability Rights Movement. [online] National Park Service. Available at: <https://www.nps.gov/articles/disabilityhistoryrightsmovement.htm> .
Fund Childhood Research Before It’s Too Late
On Christmas Eve, nine-month-old Francesca “Beans” Kaczynski died of an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT). Meghana Keshavan, from STATNEWS, says that, “There are few effective treatment options” for the type of cancer that Beans had. More research is needed. Beans’s death and her family’s story have brought in more than $750,000 to fund research for childhood cancer in her honor. While the amount of money raised is remarkable, it’s not an unusual method. Donations often come in after tragic deaths or celebratory news of survival from cancer. People make donations during events—races or head shavings—held especially for the cause of curing childhood cancer. The problem is children with cancer should not have to rely on the advocacy of bereaved parents, the athleticism of bicyclists, or the bravery of head shavers to save their lives.
Fourteen years ago, I was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a tumor at the base of my brain. I was lucky because my cancer was caught before it metastasized. My treatment included surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. At the time, proton beam radiation treatment was relatively new and only available in a few locations. Proton beam treatment goes into the body, focuses on the spot where the bad cancer cells are, kills them, and bounces back out. Traditional radiation treatment goes all the way through the body and can damage other body parts. This better form of cancer treatment came about due to research and funds raised by people who care about this cause. Even with proton beam treatment, I have lasting side effects that include hearing loss, balance challenges, cataracts, and delayed cognitive function. More research is needed.
Because of research since the 1950s, improvements have been made in curing the most common types of pediatric cancer. But, as St. Baldrick’s, a foundation that raises millions for this cause, explains “… for some kids there is still little hope for a cure.” Bean’s parents, like many parents of stricken children, along with friends of bereaved families donate. Large numbers of sympathetic people go on long bike rides to raise funds. People like my mother shave their heads annually to support and honor children like me. Instead of these community efforts, research should be funded by our government. The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation says, “Only 4% of the billions of dollars that the government spends annually on cancer research is directed towards treating childhood cancer.”
We need to push for the government to spend more than 4% of cancer funding on childhood cancer. In the meantime, people should not wait for a tragic event for motivation to donate. With individual efforts combined with increased government funding, all pediatric cancers will be cured and leave no side effects.
Keshavan, Meghana. “What ‘Beans’ taught her parents about pediatric cancer, the need for research, and patient advocacy.” Statnews.com. (March 22, 2021): <https://www.statnews.com/2021/03/22/what-beans-taught-her-parents-about-pediatric-cancer-the-need-for-research-and-patient-advocacy/>
“‘A Deep and Hollowing Pain’: Parents Share Stories of Caring for a Sick Child.” nytimes.com. (December 28, 2017): <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/reader-center/parents-respond-childhood-illness.html>
St. Baldrick’s Foundation website: https://www.stbaldricks.org/about-childhood-cancer
National Pediatric Cancer Foundation website: https://nationalpcf.org/facts-about-childhood-cancer/#:~:text=Only%204%25%20of%20the%20billions,directed%20towards%20treating%20childhood%20cancer
Orangutans Need Our Help
Orangutans are endangered because humans are cutting down the durian trees orangutans need to surviveaccording to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF). The durian trees depend on the animals to survive also. In order to reproduce, the durian trees need the orangutans to eat their fruit and then poop out the seeds. If there are fewer trees, then there is less fruit for the orangutans to eat which means fewer seeds are spread with droppings and fewer trees grow. WWF gives the numbers of orangutans left in the world: One hundred years ago, it was estimated that there were 230,000 total orangutans in the world. Now, there are approximately 113,000. This is fewer than one half! Bornean orangutans are listed as endangered with 104,700 orangutans. The Sumatran orangutans are listed as critically endangered with 7,500 orangutans. The Tapanuli orangutan has only 800 orangutans left.
Slow reproduction rates contribute to endangerment as well. Orangutans give birth every three to five years to only one baby at a time. According to Orangutan.Com, they live for 35 to 40 in the wild. They can live 50 years in captivity. In the wild, puberty hits female orangutangs at age eight but she can not give birth until she is a teenager. Orangutans in captivity can give birth when they are six years old.
Andrea Stein, Manager of School Programs at the Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village, says, “Orangutans are endangered due to habitat loss and destruction and habitat fragmentation.” Roger Williams Park Zoo backs this up by saying that the orangutans’ fruit trees are being cut down to make planting space for palm oil plantations. According to Stein, a way we can help the orangutans to survive and thrive is by “… being an informed consumer when it comes to palm oil… looking for products that do not use palm oil or use sustainably sourced palm oil.” If we stop buying products with palm oil in them, then there will be less need for the palm oil plantations. Rainforest Action Network reveals that many commonly bought tines have Palm oil as an ingredient. Rainforest Action Network explains: “Palm Oil” or as a hidden ingredient, it’s in everything from snack foods like chips and ice cream to candy and instant noodles. It’s even found in household items like soaps and lotions, toothpaste, and shampoo. Palm oil has become the most widely used vegetable oil on Earth.
One product known for its palm oil use is Girl Scout Cookies. The Girl Scouts of America have been criticized for using bakers, ABC Smart Cookies and Little Brownie Bakers, who use not purely sustainable palm oil in the recipes for Girl Scout cookies. The Girl Scout organization admits to using palm oil, but they argue that they use sustainable farmed palmed oil, which is supposed to be less harmful to orangutan habitats. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, sustainable agriculture keeps the soil richer and reduces environmental endangerment by rotating the type of crop that is grown in one area. Sustainable agriculture does not use chemicals on the plants that they grow. According to experts in sustainable palm oil, The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has become the globally recognized standard for sustainable palm oil. Their stringent sustainability criteria relate to social, environmental and economic good practice. The Girl Scouts are trying to reach a goal of 100% sustainably farmed palm oil, but are not there yet, according to their own website. The local organization of Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England did not respond to inquiries on this topic despite my attempts at contact.
If you want to help save orangutans you can make a donation to an organization, such as The Orangutan Project. Who works hard and puts time and money into saving these amazing animals. You could also read the packs of the products you buy to see if they contain Palm oil. If they do, find a different product that has 100% sustainable Palm oil or none at all. Orangutans are endangered and they need us to do anything we can to save them. If we do not step up now the demise of this beautiful species will be all on us.
WHIMSY AND LITERATURE
Carolyn Morey and Jane Arnold
This is a dictionary Jane and I created while I was taking reading lessons. I learned a lot about word roots and meanings. The English language is very complicated! While I was learning I came up with these fun new words. They make me laugh so I thought it would be good to share them! I am sure looking forward to posthypermaskmost.
Carolyn and I worked together on increasing her reading fluency. I ask students to read nonsense words or syllables, to be sure they are reading what is there and not guessing. (Carolyn has an extensive vocabulary, so guessing was her first defense.) We made up silly words put together with the nonsense syllables and found definitions for them.
As Carolyn progressed, we began working on word roots, prefixes and suffixes as aids to reading fluency, comprehension, and spelling. Then we began taking the pieces and putting them together into words that ought to mean something based on the word parts. If you look, you can find some of these in our dictionary: amin is a Latin root meaning mind or spirit; -gamy is a suffix relating to marriage; and post-, of course, means after. Posthypermaskmost makes perfect sense, and I hope we arrive there soon.
|Words are in alphabetical order, separated by syllable. an ti dic to graph (noun). Against using a dictograph (presumably because it’s been replaced by a phone or computer).
|an noy a tion (noun). The noun form of “to annoy.”
|au to spire (verb). To breathe on one’s own. He came off the respirator because he could autospire.
|au to tempt (verb). To tempt oneself into doing something.
|bi bio (noun). Someone living a double life.
|bi mes ter (noun). A two-semester program (by analogy with trimester).
|bi´ pol y (noun). Supply of a commodity that is restricted to two entities (by analogy with monopoly).
|bi rath ly (adverb). The frequency with which someone has a meltdown (twice a year).
|bike si cal (noun). The reformed spelling of bicycle.
|by liss (noun). A happy eyelash. From bliss-eyelash.
|co aud i tion (verb). To audition together.
|co cap ism (noun). The practice of having a double leader. “Co-cap-ism! Co-cap-ism!” is a protest chant for a two-person presidency.
|con amin (noun). All of the same mind and spirit. Stronger than consensus.
|con by (noun). A stowaway who has been caught.
|coun ter vita (noun, adjective). An action that is inhuman (counter to live). Slavery is countervita.
|dis special (verb). To refuse to recognize the talent or special part of someone (by analogy with disrespect).
|dorn (verb). To put on jewelry.
|dring (noun). The sound of a bell hitting something so the bell can’t ring.
|en ter ants (noun). Ants coming into your house (not the same as entrance!).
|gal ump mome (verb). To run up a hill.
|gam y cide (verb). To kill a marriage.
|in ter spire (verb). To breathe deeply across someone. You must not interspire during a pandemic!
|in ter tore splane (noun). To be confused by subway routes.
|mal gam y (noun). 1) Hatred of marriage; 2) a really bad marriage.
|mal or´ a most (noun). 1) The worst speaking; 2) the actor who forgot the most lines; 3) the loser in a debate.
|meck (noun). An answer that’s a noise (for example, uh).
|mi cro cred ol ogy (noun). The study of whether details are credible.
|mon o am in (verb). Thinking or focusing solely on one thing.
|moy (noun). A protein drink.
|mul ti man u ol ogy (noun). The study of different forms of hands across species. How are human and chimp hands related? is an example of multimanuology.
|mul ti ped ol ogy (noun). The study of different forms of feet across species.
|munt (verb). To fail to mount a horse.
|oc to pose (noun). Eight people posing on a stage.
|pa tek (noun). A ceiling beam.
|pan or ol o gist (noun). One who studies panorology.
|pan or ol ogy (noun). The study of all the ways of speaking around the world.
|para psych (noun). Someone who works with a psychologist; analogy with paramedic.
|para psych o less (adjective). A psychologist who doesn’t have a parapsych.
|poly aud less (noun or adjective). One sound, rather than many.
|port ol ogy (noun). 1) study of carrying things; 2) study of port (the fortified wine).
|post hy per mask most (noun). The time after people stop being frantic about most people wearing masks.
|pre cred it ed (adjective). The time before someone receives credit.
|pre post speech (noun). This is from a secret language, so we don’t know what it means.
|pre vita (adjective). Legal term, meaning before life. In a criminal investigation, some could be innocent because the crime was previta–committed before she was born.
|pro vita ly (adverb). In a manner that advances life.
|quand (verb). 1) to barter in an unfair way; 2) to cheat at a bargain.
|semi cred ible (adjective). Halfway credible.
|spir i cide (verb). To kill the spirit.
|sub aud ible (adjective). Can’t be heard.
|sym ped a bil it y (noun). The well synchronized feet of a good dancer. British variation sympodability.
|tant (verb). To color with pastels.
|tele cred (noun, adjective). Believable on the phone, as in that person has a lot of telecred.
|temp i cal (noun, adjective). Changes temperature a lot.
|ten ants (noun). The ten ants that live in one’s house.
|tru betch (verb) Seeking a meaning.
|un u sal (verb). Didn’t use all the available information.
|vor tum tek (noun). The chief goblin.
“ESCAPE IS SO SIMPLE,” I heard Margo Timmins
From the 80s band Cowboy Junkies
Sing on the radio
I think about the sentence and what it means
So simple to think about the day I’ll be set free
The day I get to escape
So many things to escape from,
A single thread keeping me away from escape
About to break, a thread about to break.
Everyday another snap
Shiny, sharp metal comes close
Encouraging me to cut it,
The terrifying, horrifying tension
Of the thread pulling my ear
Turning my head,
Might be enough to open the gate,
And lift my foot off the ground