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Week of the 23rd

This week has been one of the most interesting and fruitful so far. The work with Ralph this week took off and we finally got a full week in to discuss and meditate over my reading in The Promise of Politics. Part of our discussion this week circled around Religion, Fate Vs. Destiny, and the idea of freewill. These concepts stuck with and challenged me to see my life and my learning in a new perspective. Challenging the idea of Fate Vs. Destiny, it was very hard for me to see how fate and freewill could both exist in the same world. Here are some questions prompted by the reading I did in Arendt (2005) this week:

 

  • Aren’t fate and freewill polar opposites?
  • How can one decide what comes next if their future is already set in stone and determined by the ideals of fate?
  • This concept challenges every man to think about his choices and the actions he makes, and to question wether or not his actions are truly his own. This concept can hold a deep fundamental root in government and politics. How can humans truly ‘rule’ over others if the path they follow is not their own?
  • Who is doing the ruling?

 

Discussion With Ralph:

 

The following passage challenged me to probe probe Arendt’s thesis about the evolution of political systems. According to Arendt, “It was never even considered by our tradition of political thought, which began after the ideal of the hero, the ‘doer of good deed and speaker of great words,’ had given way to that of the statesman as lawgiver, whose function was not to act but to impose permanent rules on the changing circumstances and unstable affairs of acting men.” (47) What does this passage represent when considering fate and freewill? After unpacking it we could see a very strong correlation with the development of government. The morphing and evolution into a society which no longer valued or looked up the hero and warrior, but rather followed the emperor, the imposer of rule and law. Why did this fundamental shift happen? Along with development comes a need to expand, a need to grow, and a need for leadership as well as politics. There comes a time when the strongest man is no longer the wisest.

These concepts swirled around in my head over daily interludes and conversations of religion. Who is God and what does he stand for? I relayed to Ralph my common conception of what God is: the being and the explanation for all that human minds can not comprehend. God stands for the third dimension of our mind, the z-axis, the part that can’t quite make sense of space…or even death. Cornel West touches on these ideas on a section of ‘The Examined Life’ entitled Truth. West touches on many of these important issues such as our finite existence and how it is vital for us to search within ourselves and find who we are. West talks about truth and its importance for living a pure life. This is an amazing video that touches on many aspects of what I have been grappling with this week.

Overall this was a fantastic week that challenged me to look further and deeper into my reading and myself. I came up with new opinions, interpreted my reading in different ways, and sifted through my conversations with Ralph to find what was most meaningful to me and what resonated the most. I questioned the readings, but most of all I was able to understand the message that Arendt (2005) was trying to convey in my latest readings. I cannot wait to begin next week and work on getting better and making my voice even stronger.

 

 

The future:

I also had a wonderful talk with Ralph this week about the second half of my semester and potential projects. I am looking forward to crafting a meaningful project to exemplify my learning. I want to take everything I will learn in the first half of this semester and apply it in the second. I want to use my knowledge of philosophy and the fundamentals of statehood and philosophy to unpack and analyze current affairs and issues going on in this world.

This was by all standards a fruitful and amazing week. I cannot wait to see what next week and the uncovering of Aristotle holds. I am also interesting in beginning to develop my reading responses. How might I start responding and summarizing only my reading during the week? My goal is to have a video blog up by Wednesday. I have also begun to reach out to other young bloggers and examine my place in the online community. How can I fit in and tie my work together with others?

Thank you so much for reading and please comment below! Next week, my reading moves onto Arendt’s last essay in the book “Introduction Into Politics” Please check back next week for more insights, comments, and questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

 

-Arendt, H., & Kohn, J. (2005). The promise of politics. New York: Schocken Books

-West, Cornell; (2011). EXAMINED LIFE: Cornel West on TRUTH

 

3 Comments

  • Shoshana 18 months ago

    Hey Jake,

    There are so many interesting points raised by your blog post. Arendt illuminates the journey from Hero to Law, from Tribe to Civilization. Law becomes the basis for life as we know it…hence the uniqueness and majesty of the Torah, the U.S. Constitution, and so on.

    Grappling with fate and free will…are they opposites? What is free will? What are its parameters? Its limits? How do we reconcile the reality of free will with the knowledge that so much is beyond our control? How do you? Is there an existential space in which free will is undeniable? Now I think of free will as the way we choose to respond in situations, even when we have little say in the shape of those situations. So maybe free will and fate are not opposites, but complimentary. The existentialists said that free will can exist even in a prison cell. What do you think?

    I wondered too about your reading of Cornell West. Does he believe that the God concept is the z-axis as you suggest? Or does he think about God differently? I haven’t watched the video yet, but I shall.

    I can’t wait to see how your reading develops as well as your thoughts about a project that will integrate your learning and move it forward.

    Keep up these compelling thoughts! Looking forward to more–

  • Thomas 18 months ago

    Jake,

    Your post inspires and complicates the Arendt reading. I enjoyed our discussion of this post and look forward to the next on “Introduction Into Politics”….

    Shoshana brings up many points to think about. You may want to review existentialism as you craft a response. Her points on West are also thought provoking. I look forward to reading if your choose to respond….

  • Jake 18 months ago

    I have a lot to contemplate with what she puts forth. A response at this moment will not do her comments true justice.

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