Plato's Apology: A Reflection

Plato's Apology: A Reflection

An opinionated response to a classic.
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Plato’s Apology is a rather fascinating piece that beautifully highlights his mastery of rhetoric, and which portrays Socrates as a rather sarcastic orator. The piece focuses on Socrates’ defense after he had been brought before the people of Athens under accusations of impiety and alleged corruption of the youth. In order to escape punishment, Socrates needed to persuade the juries that the accusations presented by his adversaries were untruthful. It’s rather humorous to see that Socrates adopted a rather sarcastic tone, seasoned with subtle irony to address his opponents. Perhaps the most interesting aspect about the way he handled the situation was that he was able to lead his adversaries to realize that their arguments were rather flawed.

As previously mentioned, the two main accusations presented against him were that he was an atheist and that he corrupted the youth by teaching them wrong values. He contested these accusations by presenting a series of thought experiments to his accusers and by utilizing the ethos, pathos and logos aspect of persuasion. By appealing to ethos, he established that he was an honorable man who had been highly respected by those who had known him. He also mentioned that he was seventy-years old, an age that not many reached. This sort of appeal would then serve to convince the juries that he was an aged, wise man of good character. Such an individual would certainly not be interested in corrupting the youth. By mentioning his old age he was also able to appeal to the element of pathos as it would certainly make the juries feel guilty about punishing an elder. His use of logos was presented when he questioned his opponents and attempted to rationally lead them to the conclusion that they were wrong.

This piece also does an extraordinary job of highlighting Socrates’ skeptic beliefs and his philosophical standpoint. Throughout the text he repeats that he is not certainly not the wisest man because all he knows is that he knows nothing. As a supporter of universal skepticism, it is not surprising that he would say such a thing about his knowledge. It is unfortunate that the juries eventually agreed that his punishment would be the death sentence. Personally, I was rather surprised at how he responded to this punishment. He willingly agreed to the juries’ decision and did not attempt to contest it, although he did add some sarcastic comments about him not fearing death because one cannot be sure if death is indeed a bad thing. His respect for the social contract between the individual and his society led him to believe that he had to agree with whatever judgment the people of Athens had decided to push forth.

In general, I found this piece to be rather amusing, although, the topic was not particularly comic. It was Socrates’ sarcastic tone that transformed the piece into something that was comical and entertaining. I do not know if this was the exact manner in which Socrates actually responded, but, I do know that if an individual were to speak this way in a contemporary court that they would be in big trouble.

Cover Image Credit: quickmeme

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Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.
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Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

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Analyzing The Situation In South Africa

South Africa is in a tenuous position after President Jacob Zuma resigns from office.
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Countries across the world were surprised this Valentine’s Day by sudden news out of South Africa. President Jacob Zuma, also head of his own party, the African National Congress, resigned after being mired in a corruption scandal for weeks.

As a politician, Zuma has been no stranger to controversy, having earned for himself the nickname, “The Teflon President,” due to his ability to dodge backlash from multiple scandals throughout his presidency. Why then, did he feel the need to resign?

Zuma faced pressure from the members of the ANC, calling for him to step down after numerous scandals continued to destroy the credibility of the party and undermine support. Some of the scandals include Zuma’s refusal to repay millions in public funds that were spent on refurbishing his lavish homestead. He has also faced criticism and scrutiny in the decades since a controversial arms deal back in the 1990s.

Opposition party leader and longtime critic of Zuma, Mmusi Maimane, stated his relief at the President’s resignation, saying that Zuma has long been, “…a one-man wrecking ball to our economy, our country.”

Maimane also stated his party’s intent to put forward a candidate shortly to oppose acting president Cyril Ramaphosa, who Maimane’s Democratic Alliance views as an unworthy and incorrect choice to lead South Africa.

South Africa’s future is altogether uncertain and the situation has likely confused many countries around the world, leaving them unsure as to what the outcome will be. Only time will tell and the country is sure to struggle with its leadership in the coming weeks.

It will be up to the citizens of South Africa to remain calm, focused, and secure in their beliefs during the current situation.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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