Killing of a King Essay

This essay has a total of 1343 words and 6 pages.

Killing of a King

In order to help us understand the meaning of Philosophy we must first understand the long
debates regarding what it means to be human, and how "being" differs from "to be". Does an
individual become human or is "that" individual only "that" individual? How does being
differ from to be? The fundamental capacity to understand the world outside the world of
the individual and his or her internal world includes the ability to interpret,
characterize, and associate what things seem to be singular, or at least, singular groups
of things. Understanding the process of being as compared to the process of becoming and
distinctly separate concepts for Plato, Pieper, and Thoreau are directly related to that
capacity of understanding.


For Plato, the physical things of the world must have bodily form. They must be both
visible and tangible, yet their state of being is not the same thing as their essence.
Plato, through his stories of Socrates and Socrates views, began the debate that has
served both as an intellectual argument and an effort to understand human existence for
millennia. In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote about his account of an extended stay in
the woods. Thoreau wrote that he wanted to follow nature's example, to "see if I could not
learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived"
(Walden 172). And, for Pieper, God's role in the life of every individual and the cardinal
virtues of prudence, justice, courage, temperance, and love are the ways by which human
beings understood truth. He believed the natural world would reveal its truth if and when
one had the proper attitude toward the divine. Clearly, from the most ancient of times to
only a century ago, humanity has sought to understand its place in the order of the cosmos
and has predicated deal of its philosophical wonderings on that search.


It is important to understand that Socrates' primary goal was to require people to think.
Certainly, his most famous statement ever was that the "unexamined life was not worth
living precisely because an examined life was essential to answering the question "how
should I live my life?" Apology 63). He also was determined that his words be conveyed on
a level by which people could better understand their own motives and thoughts and, thus,
allow them to be much more aware of why they made certain decisions or took specific
actions. The "doctrine" of Socrates was one that was expressed in terms of a symbolism of
love, truth, and humility, all of which were embodied in the personality of Socrates
himself.


The "apprehension and appreciation" of formal reality is what makes life worth living,
according to Socrates. Of equal importance is the fact that it also makes one moral.
Therefore, it seems clear that in order to fully cultivate the most meaningful life, one
must be willing to look inward toward the reality of one's own life and beliefs in order
to understand what it is to be fully alive. Without that willingness to "examine" one's
own life, a person is only partially alive. His final days, as documented in Plato's works
are the Apology, Euthyphro, Crito, and Phaedo. While each illustrates Socrates thinking
regarding his willingness to drink poison as ordered by the court, the Crito best
illustrates his philosophy regarding his view of life. When Crito brings word that
Socrates must die within a few days, he urges him to escape. But Socrates refuses saying
that he cannot go against the decisions of the law anytime such decision does not suit him
or else there would be an end to law. Justice is and must be first, says Socrates, then
considerations of family and friends (Crito 86-87). Socrates believes that the collective
group of people chosen to make decisions about governance and all aspects of daily life
are considered to be good people, and Crito agrees that the leaders of Athens are good
men, and then they must be followed even when they make a bad decision.


Henry David Thoreau had gone to Walden Pond, a small body of water outside Concord,
Massachusetts, in order to write a book dedicated to his dead brother. Instead, he wrote
about his solitary opportunity to observe nature directly. "We need," he wrote, "the tonic
of wildness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and
hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and
more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the
ground" (Walden 339).


It was in "Walden" that Thoreau launched his major criticism of American civilization; its
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