Friday, June 28, 2013

Before I know it

One week down, two to go! I can't even begin to explain how I'm feeling at the moment. Three weeks away from home may seem like forever, but it's actually only 14 days of class (since we have July 5 off)! And considering the fact that we've already finished 5 of those 14 days, I know this program will be finished before I know it. Therefore, whenever I feel homesick, I always try to keep myself occupied so I don't regret anything after I leave. Whether it's studying, sitting outside on the grass with friends, or explore the beautiful campus, I always manage to keep myself busy at all times. 

During today's lecture, Professor Kramnick used western philosophy (Plato's readings to be specific) to make a clear distinction between idealism and empiricism. While empiricism involved the application of observations and appearances, idealism was defined as something beyond that. In relation to Plato's view, the masses, or the common people were linked to empiricism since they believed in a sense of reality based purely on their senses. On the other hand, idealism was related to the guardians, or philosopher kings as they were the only ones who supposedly held the true knowledge of reality. This immediately sparked my curiosity for I began to form many questions in my mind: What examples can I apply this theory to today's world? Is this even a realistic train of thought/reasoning? 

Fortunately, during our discussion today, my questions were actually answered. We went on to analyze Plato's allegory of The Cave, in which this distinction could ultimately be applied. In this allegory, Plato paints a scene about men who are chained in a cave and cannot turn around to see the outside world. They are tricked by false shadows that are put on by people behind them to fool them that what they see is what reality is. These chained men are convinced because they are not aware of an entire world outside of the cave, therefore representing the belief of empiricism. One day, a man is unchained and forced to look out to the world beyond the cave. At first, the sun blinds him for he is not used to brightness. He does not find any type of pleasure from this new world beyond his "reality" but then is enlightened and finds his way back to the cave. He tries to convince the other chained men of what is actually out there, acting as the fit ruler who now has the true wisdom.

We have a paper on Plato this weekend, but luckily we got out of class at 11:45 AM today! I spent the rest of the day practicing piano (there's one on my floor!), going to College Town with a few friends, and then watching Monster's University with Mr. Chanlaw and my cohort. Today was wonderful and it was definitely good to have a small break after a week of studying.

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