The Corruption Of Andreia And Thumos In Charlottesville

The Corruption Of Andreia And Thumos In Charlottesville

"There is no place for this kind of violence in America." - President Donald J. Trump

On Saturday, August the 12th, a large group of individuals gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. The park, whose land was donated to the city by Paul Goodloe McIntire in 1917, was known as Lee Park until several months ago, when it was changed to "Emancipation Park." In February, the Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 in favor of moving the equestrian statue of Confederate General Lee and his horse Traveller, the focal point of the park, to a new location.

The decision to displace the statue has been met with controversy on several levels, some of them deeply-rooted in white supremacy. Others have voiced concerns which are, at the very least, less apparently racist. In an email to The Washington Post, Kathleen M. Galvin, an architect and member of the City Council who voted against moving the statue, wrote: "Removing the statues [of General Lee in Emancipation Park and General Jackson in Justice Park] erases and mitigates history; failing to alter the parks so as to tell a more complete story, however, obscures and biases history." Ms. Galvin, according to the Washington Post article linked above, "preferred placing a memorial to slaves near the Lee statue." At least one lawsuit has been filed against Charlottesville and its city council, stating in part: "The Lee statue and the Jackson statue are Confederate monuments and memorials of the War Between the States. Defendants are required by law to protect and to preserve the aforesaid historic monuments."

While the protest of August the 12th began in a legal fashion and was not in and of itself immoral, violence quickly broke out between protestors and counter-protestors, and any legitimacy the protest may have had, as a whole, cracked wide open. A blanket condemnation of every single member of the protesting group and a blanket endorsement of all members of the counter-protesting group would be invalid, but it is clear that many members of the protesting group engaged in activities which are flagrantly immoral as well as illegal. It is also true that anyone who remained in the protesting group who may have had reasons for attending that were untinged by hate left themselves in a position very lacking in recourse. The exact details of the violence and hatred which permeated through Charlottesville are not the express purpose of this article. Eye witness accounts and video evidence combine to create an image stark enough to prove the horror and disgrace of the day at the hands of the protestors. Even some of the counter-protestors appear to have, at the very least, returned fire of water bottles at the protesting group. The Greek ideas of andreia and thumos were corrupted in Emancipation Park on this Saturday in August. Please allow me to explain what I mean.

"Andreia" is the English transliteration of the Greek word "ανδρεια." It can be translated as "manliness," "courage," or "manly spirit," though it is not strictly attached to the male gender; that is, it can be used to describe any person, regardless of their gender or sex. Andreia was a cardinal virtue to the Ancient Greeks, and it was considered a mean between cowardliness and rashness. It is a courage to combat the foolishness and ignorance of the self, as well as a willingness to toil toward worthy ends. Valor was also an important aspect to "andreia," and to some philosophers, andreia could be exemplified as courage in battle in and of itself, regardless of whether such a warrior held other virtues such as wisdom, justice, and temperance. Contrary to this view, according to Brett and Kate McKay of the Art of Manliness blog, "many philosophers argued that courage was really a form of self-control and was just as essential for success in peacetime as it was in war. Aristotle for example broadly described courage as a man’s ability to 'hold fast to the orders of reason about what he ought or ought not to fear in spite of pleasure and pain.'" This is the enduring concept of the Greek "ανδρεια." With their helmets and riot shields, some or many in the protesting group at Charlottesville probably felt that they were displaying andreia in their defense of their ideals. Instead, they represented a corruption of andreia, a rashness which exemplified arrogance and lust for violence rather than self-denial of these same emotions. Throwing water bottles at fellow citizens across the protest aisle is not a showing of andreia, and running a car into a crowd is a perfect opposite to andreia, being both cowardly and rash, not even to mention its other roots in vice. Street brawling can exemplify andreia only when it is in defense of the greater good, as it exists outside of any concept of military duty. In this way, to be frank, anti-Nazis punching Nazis could conceivably involve andreia, whereas Nazis punching anti-Nazis would virtually never involve andreia, especially in the context from which I am drawing my commentary. This is not to put any sort of dichotomy on the Charlottesville crowd; while, for the greatest part, the protestors displayed a faulty notion of andreia and the counter-protestors sometimes displayed a proper notion of andreia, the designations of "Nazis" and "anti-Nazis" is a caricature of the actual nature of this horrid incident. Yet the truth, perhaps, may be even more troubling.

The Greek figure of Achilles, shown above in a black-figure pottery painting, had his spells with faulty andreia as well, though for the most part his issues fell to those of thumos. "Thumos" refers to the idea "spirit" or "spiritedness," according to Classical Wisdom Weekly, though the Greek term does not have any truly approximate translations in English. A writer for Classical Wisdom Weekly, using the pseudonym "Socrates," wrote: "Thumos is our will to fight, our need to rebel against that which is intolerable. It is what makes us stand up and declare ‘I will not be silenced!’. It is what makes us dive headlong against the devastation of this world; what compels us to courageously fight the good fight." Achilles certainly "dove headlong" when he looked for retribution with the Trojan army, killing hundreds of enemy soldiers before slaying Hector and dragging his corpse behind a chariot. The thumos of Achilles, that which resided within him to urge him toward displaying andreia through combat, grew to a fever pitch, and Achilles allowed it to consume him. In early Greek conceptions, thumos could bode positively or negatively, depending upon the conscious thoughts and actions of a person. It could be described, for instance, as the force behind anti-Semitism. The virtuous response then, that of andreia, would be to combat the thumos within one's self. In the case of Charlottesville, many allowed thumos to overcome them, a spiritedness toward racism and hollow aggression that was bestial, discompassionate, and lazy in nature.

The philosopher Plato, in his dialogue Phaedrus, compared the human soul to a chariot being pulled by two winged horses, one black and one white. The chariot represented reason, while the black horse represented the appetites of man and the white horse represented thumos. In this paradigm, thumos was, so wrote an individual going by Socrates, "tempered by a need for civility and order." In this way, thumos would be present among the protestors at Charlottesville only in conceptions of racial purity and rule of might. While the white horse of thumos can pull the human soul forward when kept in check, when it is left to run wild, countering the grain of the world as it is known and as it is meant to be, it can also drive the soul away. When the black horse of human appetites is left to its own devices as well, insolent and prideful, and reason is lost to emotion, the human soul is left in perfect disarray, and tragedies can strike.

In Charlottesville, Virginia, andreia and thumos were corrupted under the name of protest. Evil fell over the land. A few died and several were injured in the full course of events. In the counter-protesting group, individuals can be found who showed andreia and thumos in their proper hues and temperments. Yet the general public will likely never know of their deeds, and the whole business was so cloaked in shadow that all that could be seen was a violent twisting of courage and spirit. May the dead rest in peace. May the harmed find new vitality. May the flight of many souls be leveled off and their valor come from righteousness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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26 Extremely Obscure & Occasionally Horrifying Things That Keep Me Up At Night

Scary persistent thoughts can really wreck a nighttime routine.

We've all had those persistent thoughts that interrupt our nighttime routine of hopping into bed at a weird time, tossing around for a bit, then staring at the ceiling for fifteen minutes before we drift off into a nice deep sleep. But sometimes I can't get past the "staring at the ceiling" phase, and I start to have thoughts that make me question everything. Here's a look inside my mind at two in the morning:

1. What if our pets can really talk but speak at a higher frequency than we can understand?

So what if when our pets meet they talk behind our backs about our embarrassing moments that they've witnessed?

2. What if nothing is real and I'm just rolling around in the middle of a field somewhere imagining my entire life?

3. What if all of the "It's too good to be true" moments really weren't real but instead a simulation to compensate for the crappy day that I had a few days before?

4. Now that it's 3 in the morning, did I really turn in that assignment at 11:30 that was due at 11:59?

Or was it just a figment of my imagination? Or did the computer not submit my work for whatever reason?

5. Coffee is just really hot bean water.

6. There are people who believe in both creationism and evolution.

7. Things that my parents bought me that I never used and now I feel like a terribly wasteful human being.

8. What if all dolls are alive but they just pretend to be inactive to protect their status?

9. I only recently learned the rule of thumb for mirrors.

If your reflection's fingertip touches your finger, then it's a two-way mirror. Hence "no space, leave this place." Considering that this is newly acquired information, how many times have I used fake mirrors thinking that they were real ones?

10. Did that creaking noise come from my floorboards or is there a monster from my childhood coming to get me because I forgot about them long enough for them to plan a sneak attack?

11. What if flowers were alive and could speak? Would they scream when we cut them for bouquets?

12. What if when we walk into a room and we forget what we were doing we actually were being controlled by some other-worldly force and they just canceled the action?

13. When we're in a car we're just sitting but moving forward at 65 miles an hour.

14. I know that I've made a good pun when everyone around me looks annoyed.

15. Patrick was dumb because he literally lived under a rock.

16. When I'm in a room full of people I sometimes say something really crazy in the back of my mind to see if anyone looks disturbed because they can hear my thoughts, but what if this truly worked and they could hear my thoughts?

Or what if they heard me but they're just playing it cool because they don't want me to know that they have powers?

17. Our weight is really only dictated by gravity. So if I want to lose weight, I can just go to outer space.

18. If the earth spins at 1000 miles an hour, then I'm always moving at 1000+ miles an hour

19. Chilli is a spicy food that's pronounced "chilly."

20. I could think of any possible scenario of death and it's probably happened.

21. We reach our peak in our 20s and then from that point, we start dying.

22. We need food to live but if we eat too little then we will die but if we eat too much then we will die but we don't know that we've done either of those things until it's almost too late.

23. Every time you date someone you're either going to break up or get married.

24. I'm just a brain inside of bones piloting a piece of meat.

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Confessions of a Closet Catastrophe

Addressing the Flaws to Make Room for Growth and Favor

Growing up, my parents were very serious about keeping a clean room. I was a master at converting my room into something straight off of HGTV within an hour. My secret: I simply stuffed all my junk, unfinished projects, and loads of clothes into my closet. From the outside looking in, my room looked spotless. However, I knew that my closet was a complete and utter mess. Just the slightest opening of that closet door would cause an avalanche comprising of years of stuffing.

Can’t Keep the Door Closed Forever

It's a complete disaster when we have to take every single piece out and go through it. Yes, we will find wonderful things we forgot we had, outfits that bring back memories, and even money but be prepared. We will also rummage through worn items that no longer fit us, countless pieces of trash, and things that make us subconsciously ask “what was I thinking and why did I keep this for so long?”

We then make piles of items to keep, clean, or get rid of. By doing this we make room for more things that we want, have the opportunity to pass on items that we can no longer use, and wash clean the items we want to keep. We don't want it to ever get that disorderly again. Our lives, minds, and spirits are just like that. When we decide to sort through the feelings, situations, and downfalls in our life, it puts everything back in our hands.

Accept the Mess to Manage It

Sometimes we experience things that strip us of our comfort and picturesque views of ourselves and the world around us. We analyze and beat ourselves up trying to rationalize our actions, reactions, and reasonings. It makes us not only step back and wonder how we got there, but also search deep within ourselves to understand the connections to our catalyst.

Though I can say I’ve accomplished many goals, always reached for happiness, tried to exude positivity, and strived to always do my best and be the best I have also fallen short. At times in my life I’ve been a doubter, hypocrite, fool, liar, loser, backstabber, runner, miser, glutton, gossip, and coward. I’ve acted out of fear, impulse, and frustration and have done irrational, irresponsible, ignorant things. I’ve judged without understanding and failed to practice what I preached. I have regrets of things I have and have not done. I've hurt people and I've hurt myself.

Truth is, discovering and presenting the good is easy but acknowledging and accepting the bad is a difficult and humbling action. I can't fix my flaws until I face them. I’m not some perfect person who's only capable of excellence and has never fallen on her face. I’m a flawed human like everyone else that is just trying to get her life, soul, and mind together.

Out of Sight Doesn’t Mean Out of Mind

For a long time, I threw anything not conducive to my ideal, positive lifestyle to the back of my proverbial closet. I compartmentalized and stacked away many painful events, traumatic experiences, and insecurities and thought I threw away the key. Not because I didn’t care, but because I cared too much. I got to a point where I didn’t want to feel pain, acknowledge, or accept it.

I subconsciously started to shut things out because I didn’t want to see or feel anything negative. I avoided people, places, and events because the discomfort seemed unbearable. I would bite my tongue in every situation because I didn’t want to make things worse, further confirm that people didn’t understand me, or have people upset with me. Avoidance not only made me ignorant and naive of the real world, but also made me suppress a variety of emotions that I didn’t allow myself to express properly.

Nothing Can Come Out of You That Isn’t Within You

Fear, anger, frustration, confusion, weakness, sadness, vulnerability, and resentment are much like outfits and shoes in a closet. They didn’t just pop up in our closet one day. We set them there with the intention to (or not to) come back for them.

Fun Fact: Burying and not addressing our flaws, emotions, insecurities, and issues does not get rid of them. It just gives them a place to grow and fester more. Those pent up emotions aren't only a danger to us, but also to all around us. Therefore, if I want to seek peace, exude joy, and experience happiness, I have to address and release the baggage in my heart and mind.

Release is Required to Make Room for Growth

It takes time, counseling, and praying without ceasing. It takes screaming, crying, and releasing my ideal self so I can grab hold of and work on my authentic self. It took me hitting the bottom to see and realize that “Cloud 9” is only a figment of my ego, worldly desires, and others' approval. For now on, success will be measured in happiness and not accolades. My peace will come from living out my purpose, not appearing to be perfect.

My closet has skeletons that came from tough lessons, messes that have given me messages, and a testimony for every test. No matter how messy or old the closet may be, it's never too late to clean it up.

Cover Image Credit: Morgan Richard Olivier

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