Here is a Summary of the discussion. This is honestly just a dump of the notes I took during the discussion. I will not edit it for flow any time soon. The discussion was obviously better in person, but we have to have a digital archive right?
We discussed the Socratic method and if it is effective in discovering the truth, or if in the Apology, it was used to convince rather than to discover.
We all decided that it is much better to ask open-ended questions in the quest for discovery instead of “leading” yes or no questions.
Also discussed was the fact that language is very powerful and we can convince people to do things based on how effective our communication is. We also posited the question “Is there a better way of persuasion”. I believe this was in regard to the way Socrates was trying to convince Crito that it was better for him to die than to escape prison.
We moved on to Crito and discussed the laws and the way in which citizens should go about obeying the law.
We also asked how to change the laws as citizens if they are unjust or wrong. We felt that Plato (through Socrates) didn’t offer much in the way of changing the law.
This was a heated discussion and many points were made that I can’t begin to type up. We understood Socrates’s point in obeying the law and dying to become a martyr, questioned if it was effective, and then decided that is was effective since we are talking about him today.
Sidetrack in the discussion: We googled how big Athens in ancient Greece.
We asked if it was selfish to die when you had the chance to live.
The topic of ignorance was covered and we pondered if ignorance was a better state than examining your life.
Peter said being ignorant wasn’t ideal because a lot of frustration arises out of not knowing why you don’t know something. However, the argument was made that if you never know that you don’t know you can live at ease in your own ignorance.
We all decided that once you step out of ignorance and examine your life there is no going back “into the cave”.
We asked is a good life ethical and just?
We struggled with the definition of ethical as we examined what was ethical in the past is horrible today. I think we all came to the conclusion that we cannot decide to extinguish a life without the consent of the person whose life we are taking away. This conclusion was brought about by meandering down a looooooong rabbit hole.
Is self-defense wrong?
This was in response to Socrates mentioning that we cannot combat evil with evil. This came with many perspectives and we touched on American law and Canadian law but also Tahera and Ryan’s experience in (Thailand?) and the Buddhist story that goes something like this:
500 people were in a boat and 1 person said they would kill the other 499. A Buddhist said they would murder the 1 in order to save the 499.
But is this ever right to combat evil with evil since you are still committing an evil act?
I believe that this question was left unanswered by the group; however, we all said we would probably harm people in order to save ourselves. We also discussed the line between self-defense and vengeance.
RABBIT HOLE: Talking about democracy and how we could upload votes via BMI (Shantel brought up this technology) and have an AI sort through our intentions in order to get a true sense of what we really want to see in policy.
We got here because we were wondering out loud how the ancient Greeks would have been in awe of how connected we are now. You know how these rabbit holes go.
BIG QUESTION OF THE CRITO:
Do we owe our existence to the state?
How much do we owe society?
Do we agree to be governed and WHEN do we agree to be governed?
- When we are born?
- When we turn 18?
- When we pay taxes?
Shantel brought up a really going point about how we have to make sure not to make the government seem as “other” when the government is really us (society) and a manifestation of our desires and social norms.
We had some deep discussion on this ranging from big topics like health care and if we should allow useless people to continue to exist in this society to insignificant topics like expecting people to show up to your birthday party when you showed up to theirs.
SCI-FI MOVIE IDEA: A telepathic measurement of our contribution to society. Black mirror type stuff, but you can’t cheat the system since you ARE the system.
We had to clarify what Demi-Gods were and how we (humanity) invented the idea of gods. We thought it might have been to explain the things we could not explain.
Ex. Q: Why does the rain fall? A: There is a god of rain.
Perhaps we only cling to a Judeo Christian god because we don’t really understand what happens after death?
Circling back to Plato and Socrates, we talked about why he was condemned and if he (or Plato through Socrates) was just trying to make a point in the court (when he was defending himself).
Was he contradictory? I mean how do we reconcile what was said in the Crito about not breaking the law with him flat out telling the court in the Apology that if they asked him to stop engaging with (read: harassing) citizens in the street he wouldn’t obey.
We decided that this really speaks to the “free speech” that is the basis of Western Society. Other topics like Gods and the ultimate search for the truth being more important were discussed, but I didn’t write down everything about what was said.
Next, we asked ourselves if we can truly experience empathy.
We circled around no because you can’t truly feel and experience a person’s pain or the exact way they perceive an experience without actually having their brain and neural pathways and basically BEING them.
However, we circled around yes because sometimes we can experience similar situations and draw on that to empathize with another human. But I think we decided in the PUREST form we cannot 100% empathize with someone. Perhaps 99%.
We also asked ourselves does a thought have a physical form, and if so, does it exit the body?
All right other topics covered:
True selflessness/altruism. Does it exist?
That is the “gist” is this can be called a gist of the conversation. Please say anything you want to say in the comments!