Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blog #10 - Questions of Socrates

Due Monday, December 8 - 200 words

We discussed four of Socrates' big questions about life Thursday and Friday:
- What is virtue? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtue
- What is courage? http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_courage.html
- What is beauty? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty
- What is justice? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice

What I would like for you to do is to pick one of these big questions and take a moment to consider where you see it lacking in American society.

If you choose virtue, where in American society is there a huge need for virtue? What about beauty? What part of American society could become more beautiful? In what sense? Who in American life could use a little (or a lot more justice)? Which Americans need to show more courage in our tough economic times? Why? (these are sample questions to get some ideas flowing - I figure that you can come up with something yourself).

Editor's Note - I don't want to influence this too much, so I'll refrain from including pictures or quotes or anything else. I've included links to Wikipedia or quotes on courage in case you're stuck on a topic. You DON'T have to pick the same topic that you personally discussed in class, but if you want to, that's fine.

42 comments:

  1. My group discussed what courage is today in class. We liked the idea that courage is facing your fears. I decided to check out the link just out of curiosity and I came upon this quote: “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new” (Alan Cohen). I like this idea of breaking the norm and embracing the new and unknown. Our discussion focused a lot around whether self sacrifice is stupid or noble and courageous-- which I don’t really want to address in this. I suppose that in a way going against the grain of society could be seen as facing fears. However, I wanted to point out that courage is not just facing personal fears, it can be, like the quote states, taking on something new.

    I don’t believe what motivates someone is important in deciding if they were courageous or not. Courage is not based on intentions. Intentions are not a make it or break it “prerequisite.”

    The idea and definition of courage seems to be accepted universally. Meaning the basic definition of courage is generally the same for all. However, acts of courage itself are not all the same and all seen the same. This goes back to if it is courageous or stupid…. So I guess I am addressing this after all. If the definition is universally accepted, then what is considered courageous should be the same for all. From my perspective, it’s because the judgment is not objective and is not founded in respect. If everyone’s actions were looked at in an unbiased manner, then it would be easier to universally accept courageous acts. I also say that they need to be judged with respect and awe because, well it’s hard to explain… if everyone left out their personal feelings and convictions and opinions, and looked at someone’s actions with respect for their accomplishments, no matter if they are good or bad, acts of courage would be universal. For example, if I think a work of art is ugly, I can still have respect for the artist and what they have done and therefore enjoy the work of art… this is how I feel about courage. It is based on objectivity and respect.

    Megan
    3rd Hour

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  2. Courage. There is a fine line drawn between courage and goodness. Not all courageous acts are considered universally good. That said, the general idea of courage is facing fear through self sacrifice.

    One can argue that the suicide bombers were not courageous since those acts were extremely destructive and cruel. Though that is true, the act itself WAS courageous-minus the positive connotation. A member of Al Queda may argue that the terrorists were justified in sacrificing themselves for the greater good. Whether or not the act was good, it did require self sacrifice and facing one's personal fears.

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  3. Quote #10. Virtue- Ben Despard

    The virtue of a judge is to justly convict criminals; the virtue of an excellent judge is to specialize in justly convicting criminals. This same principal, of doing your job and doing it well, can be applied to all areas. This goes unsaid especially for people like politicians, who’s job it is to think on behalf of the people, who where elected by the people, to represent them. These days, there is a great sense of lost virtue, amongst the ranks of government and political figures. Perhaps always, and especially in recent years, those people in the senate, house of representatives, etc, have been more concerned with their salaries, and their own ambitions and political loyalties, then to the welfare of the people who elected them. A virtues politician to me, is one that will look after the interests of the people they represent first, regardless of the party they are in. A Republican shouldn’t NOT vote on proposal that will be beneficial for their state/etc simply because it was a Democrats idea! President elect, Barack Obama, is trying to bring back the virtue in American politics, demolish the party lines and have the people represent us do it with the best intentions, for the whole of society.

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  4. I think that American society is lacking in all four categories, but virtue in particular. I feel that today, more than ever, people are making selfish, inconsiderate, and immoral decisions. Everyday watching the news I get a sense that the “American Dream” has transformed into having your face plastered in the news whether it is for a good or bad thing. With the economic crisis in our country, families are forced to make tough decisions every single day. Unfortunately, due to the disparity and lack of virtue, many of these people turn to breaking the law to make ends meet. If there is no money in the bank account and no food in the cupboard, is it then, and only then, ok to steal to help feed your family? I do believe that this end of the situation could be cured if more virtue were present in higher parts of society. Like the presidents of companies just laying off workers, not thinking about the repercussions that person will experience. People have become more attentive to their own needs and survival and thrown the good morals and desire to do the right thing, more than out the window. Similar to the trickle down theory of economics, which I realize has been a little less than successful, if the executives and people in power would exercise some moral decisions and just try to be a little virtuous, more opportunities down the line would be created. If your boss considers how much damage it would do to your family if he fired you, but realized that he could afford your salary if you switched phone companies, you would still have a job. Along with keeping your job you would not be forced into a situation where your values may be compromised to support your family and you could continue to be virtuous and follow all of your morals. I think this is a huge problem in our society today. People ignore their morals and take the easy way out of tough situations, making it much more of an apparent problem than if they would have dealt with the situation correctly in the first place.

    Jordan H
    4th Hour

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  5. Beauty

    Many Americans are not seeing the beauty that this universe has to offer everyday through simple things. I think that the people that live in our great country of America need to see the true beauty in our lives. Many people that live in this great country don’t see the beauty in life everyday. The little things that are beautiful in life are not being recognized. An example of these beautiful things that aren’t being recognized is the first snowfall of the year. It really is a beautiful thing and not many realize that. I think that if people realized beautiful things in life then they would appreciate them then they would enjoy life more. If depressed and upset people could only see the beautiful things offered by this world then it would help them come back to a happy stage. I believe that it is possible that depressed and sad people are the way that they are because they can’t see the beautiful things in life. There really is so much out on this world that everyday people don’t see and that is a problem. Beauty was created so that everyone could enjoy it, not just a select group of people. It is time for the beautiful things in life to be recognized and enjoyed by everyone.
    Jake B
    4th hour

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  6. By definition, Virtue means moral excellence, which is something very few people currently have.
    I feel that virtue is something that many Americans are lacking compared to the past of America, and compared to other countries. I think that Americans know the right thing to do, but are often too lazy to do the virtuous thing because it takes a little more effort. The sad thing about Americans not doing what they know is right (not being virtuous) is that there is no way to live a happy life knowing your doing the wrong thing, and since most Americans know whats right from wrong, not doing it will naturally be easier, but make them feel poorly later on.

    Virtue is strongly needed in America right now from citizens, who are freaking out about their financial status's and doing bad things. Virtue is needed for all the careless greedy Americans, such as the ones who trampled over a worker at wall-mart just to get in first, and mostly by the new president and people taking office, because at this time our country will sink without some virtuous people who can step into office and do what they know is right, and will go the extra mile to do the right thing.


    Katie R.
    3rd hr

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  7. Kate Goforth

    There is one thing greatly missing in today’s American society, beauty. When I say beauty, however, I am in no way referring to a beautiful outward appearance. That is in no way lacking with all of our beauty products and plastic surgeries. The beauty that is missing is inner beauty. Many but not all people have been concerned only with their own well being, and not concerning themselves with that of any other person. They have been selfish especially those in power over others’ lives, like big corporate heads. America needs much more inner beauty and fast. With the times that we currently face, Each person needs to find within themselves the ability to see beyond their own issues and problems, and help those who face so many more problems.

    Another beauty which is not only lacking but rapidly disappearing is America’s natural beauty. Along with the economic crisis, we face and environmental crisis. In class we talked about why so recently nature has become so beautiful, and the reason is because there is so little of truly untouched wilderness. Since there is so little it becomes precious. Similar to our standards of physical beauty, we find the exception the most beautiful. The least common is the sought after. Now that we have dwindled our natural world, what is left is the uncommon.

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  8. What is beauty?
    Beauty is so many things in life. Everyone has a different idea of what beautiful is therefore beauty is whatever you want it is. I do agree however with Kristin when she says that LOVE is the only universal beauty. Love is the one thing that can be found all over the world and is always seen as a good thing. After saying this you asked what kind of LOVE? My answer (and the rest of my groups) is every kind of LOVE. Family LOVE, LOVE for your spouse, LOVE for your friends, LOVE for music ex…. What is LOVE? LOVE is caring for someone unconditionally. To me a beautiful person is simply someone with good intentions who looks to better themselves. They feel bad when they mess up and all they have to do is mean well. I believe that everybody has the opportunity to be a beautiful person given certain circumstances and that it is a choice. Sometimes it takes a specific experience or experiences to make a bad person a beautiful person. There are people in this world but in my opinion that does not make them a beautiful person. Being a beautiful person has nothing to do with your looks. TAYLOR SWIFT IS BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT AND I LOVE HER.

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  9. I believe courage is the willingness to take a chance and reach for what you wish to achieve even when you know there will be bumps in the road along the way. I really like Dorothy Thompson’s quote “Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” People in America are always so afraid of what could happen in the future that they don’t even bother trying to fix what is wrong. I believe that the President needs to gain more courage because of our tough economic times. He needs to stand up for the people and make a change to get America back where it needs to be. Maybe he should pull troops from Iraq to save money because we are so far in debt with war yet we keep sending money over to another country when we are the ones who really need to money. Another one of Dorothy Thompson’s quotes states “Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.” America needs to have the courage to change what is wrong because even though there is a lot of “sorrow” right now, a little bit of change and taking a chance can bring a whole lot of good back to our country.

    Anna Beaufore
    3rd hour

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  10. I believe that where American society is lacking is in beauty. Most people don’t try to see the beauty in all things; they just want beauty to be handed to them on a silver plate. For example, we want to just flip through a magazine and turn on the television and see an advertisement and have the image convince us that it is beautiful. I believe that beauty is all around us; we just haven’t taken the time to enjoy it. Beauty is in the voice of the opera singer and the church choir members. It is in the art of famous persons and in the finger paintings of small children. Beauty is shown in romantic comedy movies when the two lovers realize that they were made for one another, and also when family and friends gather for a couple’s 50th anniversary in real life. The media constantly depicts beauty as a thin, long legged, blond, full lipped model, or a muscular, clean-shaven underwear model. However, people forget that every one of us in beautiful in our own way. It is hard to get Americans to see beauty all around because we are always rushing through life. So I believe that all parts of American society are already beautiful, but it can become more beautiful for everyone if we all just stop and find it for ourselves.

    Loren B. 4th hour

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  11. I feel that virtue is need in the youth of American society. Much of the youth of America today act as if they have never heard the word virtue let alone know what it means. Benjamin Franklin explains virtue well in his thirteen classifications of “moral perfection”. His first is temperance which he means that people should learn basically to control one’s self and not over indulges in drinking or eating, society today has a huge problem with this. We have a huge amount of overweight people in this country alone with people with many substance abuse issues. His second virtue is silence; he believed that people should speak for a reason not just to let words fall out of their mouths with no purpose. I feel that today people just let words come out and don’t really think about what they are saying. Another one that he talks about that is lacking is justice. Franklin thought that you should never wrong someone, and that you should treat other the way you would like to be treated. Also he believed in chastity. Today I feel there is a large movement toward moving away from this. Youth today believe that there is no problem with having many partners and meaningless ones. I feel that this is not okay and that should not be promoted. His last one was humanity. He wanted everyone to be like Jesus and Socrates, meaning that people should be humble about their knowledge and that there is always something to learn. They also promoted what they believed in, and stood up for it no matter what happened.
    Erin B.

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  12. Americans' in general lack virtue, which I think leads into courage. My group had a really good discussion on courage. We beileve it is overcoming one's boudaries and limits. We said that it should not be done for selfish reasons, but rather to help better oneself or someone else. For example, suicide would not be an example of courage because although it is self-sacrafice, it is a cowardly and selfish way of facing your fears. Just think, if someone takes their own life, they are taking away a child to someone, a neice to someone else, and a friend to many other people. Self-sacrafice for a greater cause may be the most couragous thing a person can do. Fire fighters, and soldiers are very courageous because they are risking their lives every day for a greater cause. We also discussed that courage exsits everywhere, but the definition of courage is in fact not univeral. For example, the suicide bombers were viewed as courageous in their country while we viewed them as heartless and ignorant.

    Ashley Connelly 4th hr

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  13. From the lowest socio-economic groups to corporate executives and politicians, and even in high school, virtue is lacking in today’s society. People just do not feel inclined to do what is morally right. They would much rather do what makes them happy. For example, a jobless or homeless person might start stealing money because they need it, even though they know it’s not right, as I mentioned in class. On a higher level, in business, somebody might steal an idea in order to make millions, rather than giving credit to the person that came up with it.
    There are a number of politicians that also lack virtue. Sadly, this has become a large part of politics. For instance, the members of Congress criticized the auto executives asking for loans have themselves given money to other car companies in the past. The Congressman from Alabama has grated foreign auto companies numerous grants in his state, but criticizes the domestic car companies for asking for loans from the U.S. government. There is a definite lack of virtue in that position.
    One of the main areas in where virtue is lacking, which affects us directly, is in high school. People may cheat just to get a good grade, even though they know it is wrong. In the long run, these students will get nowhere because they won’t actually obtain any knowledge. Others in high school lack virtue because of the many cliques and groups, which encourage people to follow others that they think are “cool”. The truth of the matter is that those people aren’t going to be there for the future, so it is better to do what you feel is correct.
    Virtue is one of the most important aspects of society today, and there needs to be more around the world. With more virtue, comes more happiness.

    Carter Freeman
    4th Hour

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  14. Sean Turner - 4th hour

    The American Government is lacking in virtues, mainly ethics. Technology has made it possible to listen to all ongoing phone calls, or examine all text messages, faxes, emails, broadcasts ect, listening for key words which raise a red flag when vocalized; mass global surveillance. In the U. S., this is known as ECHELON, or more recently a more localized Echelon, the Patriot’s Act.
    Echelon was initially an intelligence pact between Britain and the U. S. in 1947. The pact evolved into Echelon in 1971, where it focused mainly on phone communications or radio transmissions. Today, it’s estimated that Echelon intercepts at least three-billion communications a day.
    In current society, a handful of people are all it takes to disrupt order, the twelve terrorists from Mumbai, India are an illustration of this. I believe that Government Agencies such as Echelon should operate, however it’s very scary thinking about their capabilities; they probably aren’t only concerned about fighting terrorism.
    Echelon in a way violates everyone’s fourth amendment rights, protection from unreasonable search and seizures, by monitoring everyone’s phone calls without their knowledge, searching for red flags. They don’t listen to your conversations per se, they simply sift through it with a bank of words.
    The Patriot’s Act is the real problem, the FBI or CIA can obtain not just a phone tap, but now they can obtain a person tap, tapping any phones a person obtains, including brand new phones.
    While I will undoubtedly never be subjected to phone taps, I still find these methods of rooting out terrorism and protection national security un-ethical, especially when these powers, these technologies can be so easily abused. The worst part is that most of the public doesn’t know of Echelon or even the Patriot’s Act. There are probably even bigger agencies than Echelon that lay in secret, who have even more powers. I’m not paranoid or anything, but I’m surprised that this goes on, and feel like Echelon has too much power and the Patriot’s Act gives too much power.

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  15. The concept my group discussed was justice and I could definitely see cases where it is lacking in American society. One way it is lacking is that all people aren’t given the same exact treatment in the court system. Time and time again celebrities are given different treatment than the average citizen, whether it be good or bad. One case supporting this statement would be Paris Hilton and her sentence to jail time because of an expired license. If the same case was brought up in court for an average citizen, they would probably get off with community service or probation. However, since the case was brought in to the public eye, the judge decided to make more of a point. Also in that same case, Paris Hilton was taken out of jail a couple of days after her sentence and put in to house arrest. An average citizen would definitely not have been given that same opportunity.
    Another way justice is lacking in American Society is that we stereotype certain looks and link them as more susceptible to various crimes. For example, if I’m walking through the airport and going through security I probably won’t get checked twice and no one would be suspicious of me. But, if a person of Middle Eastern decent went through that same situation, I guarantee you they would either be checked or the people around them would give them suspicious looks. Other examples include men being much more likely to be charged with child abuse, rape, robbery, and many other crimes.
    Now I’m not just bashing our court system because I do think America has one of the better justice systems in the world. I’m just showing how there are flaws that exist in our society when it comes to justice. Everyday there are people who are sentenced for crimes they didn’t commit and some walking free for crimes they did commit. I know it is unreasonable to expect that our court system is 100% error free, but I think that a lot of the problems which I mentioned are fixable. There are always going to be areas where justice is lacking in our society. All we can do is try to make those areas smaller and smaller.

    Samantha Paul
    4th hour

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  16. An example of where justice is lacking in American society today is with the whole Kwame Kilpatrick situation. He clearly violated many rules and didn’t maintain many responsibilities that he knew he had as they mayor of Detroit. Because of the whole scandal, innocent people lost their jobs. Their lives have dramatically changed and all he has to do is serve 120 days in jail. Not only did Kwame’s actions affect these individuals, but they have also affected everyone who lives in Detroit or even the Detroit area. Tons of money has been spent trying to fix this scandal. Money that wasn’t even there in the first place is now gone. All the homeless and poor people in Detroit are still homeless and poor. Money that could have been spent to better the city has been wasted. I don’t know what the perfect sentence should have been for Kilpatrick to make it seem just, but I do know that he got off easy. Going to jail for 120 days does not even come close to making up for all of the trouble he has caused. I can’t even imagine what the residents of Detroit have been thinking throughout this whole time or how upset they are about his unfair sentence.

    Elizabeth O'Donnell- 4th

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  17. I think curage is the ability to stand up and say no or yes no matter what other people say it should not matter what other people think and we should all do what we want or what we enjoy not listen to others. but that is exactly where i think the problem lies in our youth no only do we have the problem that everyone wants to be like everyone else because it makes them "cool" but we have all the people that try to pressure all there peers into doing something that they do not want to or just shouldn't do. we need more courage in the youth of America. Chris 3rd

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  18. What is beauty?
    Beauty is the qualities of a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or to the mind. I think that beauty is the physical or emotional traits that are attractive to someone else. I think that there is no set of qualification that determines what is consider beauty. I think that all people see beauty very differently. Beauty in my eyes is determined by the person who is doing the judging. I also believe that people in this world don’t see the beauty in their everyday life. I think people get too caught up in judging other people on about their outside and not their inside like saying “that ladies hair is pretty” or “her eyes are pretty”. People forget about emotional beauty which I think is the most important because it really tells you about the type of person they are. If someone is very beautiful on the outside that doesn’t mean that they are beautiful on the inside and vise versa. I also think that people forget about the beauty that is all around us that God has given us. People should recognize them being able to walk and them being able to see as beautiful. I see things such as gifts as being beautiful such as my wonderful family and my wonderful friends.

    Tyler Howe
    2nd hour

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  19. Justice is the value America seems to be lacking most. Corporate executives and politicians seem to be untouchable in today’s legal system. A recent example of this was the vacation taken by AIG executives after the federal government saved their company. The tax payers prevented them from going under then they turned around and spent what they had been given on unneeded items. Those people are criminals. They stole money from the people by spending it on an unnecessary vacation. But there is no penalty for this crime and no reason why there shouldn’t be. Those people took my money, but there is nowhere to file a police report for this theft. Some privileged elites such as politicians can find a way out of even the direst situations. Kwame Kilpatrick’s laughable trial is an example of this. He received four months in a luxury jail cell for perjury, assault, and his biggest crime (which was not part of the trail, but should have been), helping to drive an already failing city into the ground. It seems ridiculous that after his four months are done he will be able to easily find another high paying job. Any normal person’s life would’ve been ruined by these events, but not this politician.

    Stefan Rush
    4th Hour

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  20. Blog #10
    What is Beauty?
    Wikipedia defines beauty as a characteristic of a person, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology, and culture. As a cultural creation, beauty has been extremely commercialized. An "ideal beauty" is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture. To me beauty is that which inspires awe. And as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder so there is not something that is beautiful to everyone. An important thing to recognize is that beauty is also what is rare, For example the rarer nature becomes the more captivating we find it. In ancient times the Greeks considered those that were overweight and pale to be beautiful because that meant that you had money and could eat and did not have to work in the fields, whereas today being tan and thin is beautiful because everyone is pale and overweight. I think that we are lacking beauty in our inner cities. Where everything is run down and dark and damp I see no beauty, however someone who lives there or has lived there may see beauty where I see none, to them this desolate landscape may seem a home or cause them to recall fond memories

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  21. Wikipedia defines beauty as a characteristic of a person, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction. Another definition of beauty is the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. If I had to choose something that American society is seriously lacking, it would be our perception of what is beautiful. When I say this, I mean who we think is beautiful or what lifestyles we think are beautiful. As a society, we tend to focus too much on things that mean so little. If we see two people standing next to each other, some of us will go on and judge them based on outside appearances alone. If you are considered to be what society classifies as beautiful, then you are automatically held up on a pedestal without them even knowing what kind of person you are on the inside. Also, we see rich and famous music and movie stars and automatically envy their lifestyles. We learn everything about them and see them as beautiful examples of what life should be like not looking past the smiles to see that they are just people like you and me going through their share of life’s difficulties. I think that we should look for beauty in what kind of people we are and the daily things that make our lives so special so that beauty is not just a word.

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  22. Materialism promoted in American society perpetuates a preoccupation with designer purses, fancy cars, and high fashion clothes. As a result, citizens forget the value of education, family, love, and morale. The virtues of important, intangible aspects of life such as academia, kindness, thought and reasoning are lost in the minds of most American citizens. Virtue itself, or abiding by the moral standard of righteousness, does not exist in these Americans who are solely preoccupied with earning the most money and purchasing the most desirable objects. The concept of a virtuous life differs depending on religious and moral views, but no one would argue that kindness toward others, self-respect, tolerance, and insight are key components in a virtuous life. Americans too often forget or ignore the importance of chivalry and charity, and we are too wrapped up in internal selfish desires that we neglect tolerance of others and their views. We forget the virtue of reason and scholarship when our American heroes are high school dropouts who read scripts and portray amusing characters on TV. Virtue is needed in every child and adult that admires movie starts or celebs because of looks or financial success; in every citizen that has cheated on a test or compromised their integrity to achieve academic success; in every citizen that intentionally or unintentionally insults or hurts their peer. Americans do not live morally and ethically virtuous lives because of prominent jealousy, self doubt or deprecation, or narcissism and ignorance of other’s viewpoints because we believe our individual ideas are superior. However, Americans also do not live virtuous lives because we overlook the individual components of virtue and the specific virtues of a well-rounded life, like the virtue of patience, leadership, motivation, scholarship, and so on.

    Laura Dietrich, 4th hour

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  23. Beauty is something that is very personal. I believe that it depends on how you were raised and what your culture is. I may look at a piece of art and say that it is beautiful and someone else may look at it and not see any beauty in the painting. Beauty is physical and emotional traits that a person carries. But someones inner beauty can make or break the person. A sense of humor can certinly make someone beautiful and can attract you to that person. I think that nature is something that is very beautiful because it will always be there. Places that are untouched by man are the most fasinating because us humans have not done anything to them to change how they are.
    Beauty is what makes you happy and what satisfies your soul.
    Nicole S.
    3rd hour

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  24. In American society, we are lacking virtue in our sincerity of providing equality in education to everyone. People like to think that everyone has a fair chance at education. We like to think that everyone is born with the same opportunities as us so that when we see someone who doesn’t have a home, we think, “Oh, they should have taken school more seriously,” or even looking at the finical crisis, “They should have known they wouldn’t have been able to afford those houses!” It’s easy for us to put such blame on others when we see it as their fault, but in actuality, it too is ours. We like to think that the world is virtuous and that it is fair, but the truth is that if we don’t help make it a virtuous place, it’s not going to become one. WE need to take the initiative and help our common man to stop the ignorance that goes on around us and help to provide a better world where we breed intelligence and understanding by helping to setup better schools in the slums of cities. By providing a safe environment for students to study and make learning enjoyable we can learn from the past and look toward a brighter future. If people had paid a little more attention in history class, they would have known that loaning people a ton of $500,000 when they really didn’t have the means to pay it back was a bad idea! The perfect historical example would be just before the Great Depression, in which, bad loans and stocks sails weren’t the only things that affected the market, but were a major part of it.

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  25. The recent episodes regarding Congress’ possible bridge loan to the automakers have shown that certain elected officials, and those who support them, have a distorted view of honor and justice. Various members of the Senate banking committee took both of the Big Three’s trips to Washington as an opportunity to berate and humiliate the businessmen, their workers, and the companies as a whole. Even if they were correct in refusing the requests for loans, questions about the transportation they used to arrive at the hearings would still be disrespectful not only to the respondents, but to the institution of the Senate as a whole. Such a hearing is not a place for browbeating and calling for resignations; it is supposed to be used to gather information before considering legislation. Now is not the time for political posturing and personal scolding. Furthermore, the behavior towards the auto industry is in direct contradiction to the way that insurance and banking companies were treated. A sense of fairness and justice is not present anywhere in these hearings. By trying to turn these critical weeks into their own chance for justice, the offending Senators have shown they have no true conception of the real nature of the quality.

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  26. From the four possible topics, I see justice lacking in America today. Not exactly in the court system, but in everyday life. People are unjust to one another on a daily basis. In political terms, I feel like when rich get fewer taxes and the impoverished people’s taxes are raised, it is horrible. Justice is not just in a courtroom setting, and to see in just things happening all over is sad to see. There are many ways that these four topics can relate to each other. In the past, it was more generally accepted to be just to one another; however, today with the competitive life we live, people do more and more things to benefit for them, or for personal gain. So, in the current, modern society, it is very courageous to be just, without having anything to do with personal gain. When one shows justice, or fairness towards another, this is a great virtue for one to have. I personally see all things lacking in the current society, beauty, .justice, virtue, and courage. However, I think that the close relation has a lot to do with it. If you were to fix just one of these four problems, then the others would be able to be fixed, or stop lacking. To see at least one of these four topics make a significant change would be beautiful. This is a great example for something that is beautiful.

    Ryan Day
    4th Hour

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  27. My group talked about beauty in class. I believe it is very personal and can be taken many different ways. One of the facts we pointed out was that beauty is not what is on the outside for most people, but is what is on the inside. It can be someone's personality, kindness, or different likeable qualities someone has. I think society is really lacking beauty right now. Everyone is being so selfish and only wanting what others have or what they feel is something they absolutely must have. I think we are just all too caught up in everything and all the problems that surrounds and faces us right now and has been for the past months, we are really losing our true inner beauty. We all need to let go of our wants and needs and really focus on ourselves and others around us. The world would be a lot better place if we did this. I think this is something that would help us out a lot especially in the future. Beauty is what you love and whatever makes you happy and comfortable. We all need to focus on that with our inner beauty and not outside goods.

    Nicole M
    3rd Hour

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  28. Rocky Shattuck
    3rd hour


    The virtue of beauty is not something that has one definition. I believe every culture and everyone has their own definition of what beauty is. I think today's society manipulates the idea of beauty and defines a person on how they look. People believe they can get what they want by how they look. I think in today's society we are too focused on how people look and ignore their true qualities. You see all these reality shows today where people try to use their looks in order to get what they want. This sets a poor example to our younger generation and instead of enhancing their inner qualities they begin to focus more on their exterior and what people think. The true beauties of life are also misinterpreted by today's generation. We are more focused on material things instead of being grateful for the true blessings we have in life. Beauty can be found within family, accomplishments, and our environmental settings. Our generation needs to come to an appreciation of everyone and everything around us and not only take in the exterior of everything but to understand the interior as well. Beauty is a virtue we are lucky to have, and the endless ideas of what it is creates a unique setting of the world today.

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  29. The definition of beauty is the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound.) I think that there is a lot of society that could become more beautiful. Take Detroit for instance when I go there for things I don’t think of it as very beautiful down there. It’s not just cities that could be helped to make look better or be better it can also be looked at as are economy right now. When I think about that I don’t think it is very beautiful. There are so many things that could be done better in this world to make everything look and feel beautiful. Even people’s attitudes in the definition it says a quality that gives instant pleasure so if someone came up to you and said something bad about your image that wouldn’t make you feel very good or beautiful. I think that people should be nicer to each other as a start to everything. If people are nice then it will lead to everything else like helping fix up places that don’t look very good and it will just keep getting better from there on out.

    Josh Williams

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  30. Beauty. Beauty to me is the difference that I see in people on a daily basis. Every one is so different no matter how much they try to look the same; every one just has different features to them. I feel like every body is beautiful in some way, with there external features. Why would every one want to wear the same clothes as the people around them, or wear the same make up? I feel like the clothing someone’s wears is the way someone expresses them self’s and it says a lot about whom you are. But what I consider beautiful most of all is someone’s personality. Know matter how beautiful someone may look on the out side says nothing if they have an ugly personality. Your outer appearance can always be changed but your inner beauty is something that I feel will always be the same. Your personality is what people like to be around so if that isn’t any good, than I feel that people will judge your beauty in a negative way.

    Erin 3rd

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  31. What is Courage?
    “Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit”- Baltasar Gracian. This, I find one of the most important aspects of courage. An example of this quote is how Socrates was very wise, but if he did not have the courage to express his ideas through his conversing in the town square of Athens then no one including Plato would have understood his ideas of philosophy. The world as we know it would not be the same. In another sense, courage is the idea of standing up to fear. In other senses, it is public speaking and in even more, it is going to bed without a night light. In the US, we lack courage everywhere. Not only in the economy, but also in the business world, where the companies’ employees need to stand up for what is right instead of letting corruption take over. The US citizen needs to have courage that we will survive this recession.
    Another place we need courage in society is the American youth. People need to have courage and be able to stand up for what they believe in. When a person is pressured into something that they do not want to do, they need enough courage to stand up to the pressure of their peers.
    Michael Blake
    3rd hour

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  32. I WAS ABSENT! SORRY!December 9, 2008 at 10:13 PM

    Out of all the four definitions that Socrates wondered about, the one the America is currently missing the most, in my opinion, is virtue. Virtue is Latin for “moral excellence,” and I believe America lacks moral excellence both socially and politically. Socially, the youth of our nation has lower morals than ever before. Statistically, kids are making worse decisions earlier in life, smoking and drinking, among other things. I know it’s not the best example, and one could argue that these things aren’t necessarily immoral, but they are illegal, and breaking the rules is.
    Additionally, we see everyday on the news coverage of murders, rapes, suicides, what have you. This lack of not knowing how to deal with a problem and simply taking matters into someone’s own irrational hands is another prime example of how we Americans simply lack virtue.
    We also lack virtue politically and economically. The current system in America is great for some things, but much of the time it simply doesn’t work. There are thousands of needy families who look health care for their sick children, and are turned away because of costs or preexisting conditions, and it’s simply not right.
    Finally, a lack of moral excellence or virtue would eventually lead to a lack of inner beauty, courage and justice.

    Jackie, 4th Hour

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  33. Courage to me is a test of a person, it’s not doing what is best for yourself but what’s best for the group what’s best for another what’s best for others. It is being bigger than ones self, simply its not listening to the little voice in you head telling you to preserve yourself, your honor or what you have built. It’s about utterly ignoring that voice a diving straight into the face of what’s dangerous but needs to be done. It’s dangerous and many courageous people have died in the pursuit. Courage is stepping up to a task you know needs to be done even if you are not ready to do it, its just that simple and just that complex.

    Many good men go there whole lives with the ability to change the world and never get up to do it or put themselves into a situation where they could really be used for the greater good. I hate to make a person sound like a tool but they kind of are not in the connotative sense but the denotative sense they are being used to turn the world even the slightest bit. Saving lives, helping those who have been down trodden, and standing up for others in their time of need. We all I believe have the ability to be courageous on some level. The only difference between those who we remember and those who pass through history unnoticed, is the ones we remember stood up when faced with that choice and the others didn’t.

    Nick E.

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  34. Beauty is greatly lacking in American society. The place that I see it lacking most is in the plastic surgery industry. I find it said that people feel the need to reach what they see as perfection by undergoing radical surgery. American society could become more beautiful if we put less pressure on becoming “perfect.” Being a size zero, having and perfect tan and white teeth have nothing to do with your self worth. We was a society need to overcome this and be more accepting and value people for what they contribute to society instead of what they look like. Instead of people spending so much money on looking perfect they could put some of that towards making the world a better place. A lot of these stereotypes of perfection come from shows like “NipTuck” that normalize having your nose broken to “fix it”. Hollywood associates glamour and fame with the cookie cutter definition of perfect. Plato may have thought that there is a world of ideas but humans aren’t the mold. American society should stop devoting so much energy trying to be the mold and start being better people.

    Leah Firestone
    4th Hour
    (absent)

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  35. Courage, what is courage? It is the thing that helps us though the tough times and keeps us going even in the face of fear. Aristotle defined courage as “We become brave by doing brave acts”. This for one I truly believe in due to the fact that it is common sense. However courage can be many different things and as the thought of courage existing is universal the exact definition varies country to country state to state person to person. I personally believe that courage.
    Now to the matter of the American economy. Starting from when we elected former senator Barak Obama we have put out faith and courage into him in hopes that he will put all of his courage into tackling the economy crisis. Now I could go on and on about where America needs more courage (fighting crime, helping teachers with contracts, unemployment, ect…) however I am tired and I don’t like homework.

    Josh T.

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  36. Courage, the ability to do what you perceive to be right when it is most important. Throughout history we have seen countless examples of actions which are perceived as being courageous. There are many different actions which can be seen as filled with courage. From the hyperbolized saving a cat from a tree, to rescuing someone whose life is in peril, a plethora of distinctly diverse choices can be declared courageous.
    As a converse, to be courageous one may have to take actions which are unpopular at the time. Martin Luther King Jr. was widely hated and despised throughout the south, and ultimately paid the price in blood. Eventually he was exonerated by history and became a champion of civil rights who is one of the few men whose birthday became a federal holiday.
    But courage is not always honored, or even welcomed. A whistleblower of corruption can take down a popular politician or boss and be for ever resented by coworkers or voters. Did they act with courage? Yes, probably. They brought down something they saw was wrong, incorrect and illegal. Does that mean they will ever receive a thank you note? Probably not. They acted with the highest form of personal courage, actually. They did what they knew to be right with no hope of gaining from it, and with distinct risk of loosing everything. And yet they still decided to follow their moral compass. That is courage.

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  37. Lou DiVizio
    In today’s American society, the lack of virtue is fairly obvious. This is not to say that there are very few virtuous people, but that those that are virtuous are too easily sucked in to the ideas of people lacking virtue. Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” exemplifies the solution to today’s society’s lack of virtue, “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” I truly would make big difference if more people did what they believed, instead of what others believed. People may even initiate something they do not believe in and know is wrong, yet they do thinking others will be more inclined to accept them, when in fact the other person disagrees. This then causes that person to agree with that act trying not to “rock the boat.” There need to be more people willing to speak their mind without being afraid of what others think of them. This is not meant to be a politically bias statement, but if the John McCain is considered a maverick then our society’s problems are many.

    ReplyDelete
  38. The virtue American society today is (most) lacking would be courage, though its debatably a close four way tie, but if we all could muster up a dollop more courage all of the other big questions and values in life would follow. My definition of courage is doing what you think is right or good whether or not its not accepted, unheard of, not easy or even if you’re the first one to do it. If people were more courageous, they would put others before they put themselves, they would find the courage to be vitreous in a time when it’s so easy to cheat and lie and scheme your way through life. If America had more courage, we would be able to appreciate beautiful things, the courage in this age of black berries and I pods to read a book with their children, or talk a walk through the woods even try a new art form, like painting or pottery. If people had more courage they would have the courage to show off their beauty, the beauty of doing the right thing and being a good person, not a size zero with a perfectly symmetrical nose. If courage were constant justice would be second nature, of course you do what is fair, and fight for what is right because you have the courage to stand up. Courage is and always has been the common denominator in all great things accomplished, to end slavery and segregation it took a few strong courageous people to do what was different, which was also what was right. To be a fireman or policewoman to be a scientist working on a new theory or an artist on a new design or a baby on their first steps, all of these things thrive off of courage and it is these things the big things like putting others over ourselves by joining the peace core and moving to Zimbabwe or the little things like asking the new girl to sit with you at lunch when no one else will, courage is the answer to most of society’s problems because if you have courage no problem is a problem.

    Kristin T
    4th hour

    ReplyDelete
  39. Plato’s ideal society has many flaws the largest being his set up for relationships and his absence of the emphasis on love, those who have cannot rule and those who rule cannot have. Even if by some miracle everyone else in America was ok with this setup his society would fail, because I do not agree with it. I want to do something intellectually stimulating with my life, possibly a leadership position with power, something that is giving to the greater good, and something that I love that requires more than just a trait or a skill. In order to enjoy this success I want to have a husband I’m in love with to share it with and I am most certainly not leaving this earth before I am a mother, preferably to many. In Plato’s society there would be no place for me, so undoubtedly I hate it. I would not like being ruled utterly and completely by someone else and I wouldn’t like a job that I am at and would not want to stay there for my whole like, especially because I might want to be a teacher, which the philosophers would be so I would have to not be married or have children then I could not love and there would be no point in living but if I had kids and wasn’t doing what I loved there would be no purpose in working. This society is not ideal if I am about to cause an uprising just thinking about living in it.

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  40. In American society I think we are lacking real beauty. I think the term beauty has been misconstrued in American society for a while. When most Americans think of beauty they picture physical beauty. This usually comes in the form of a toothpick sized model. This is a huge problem in our society because we are forgetting what real beauty is. To me, real beauty is inside of a person. If someone is kind, intelligent, understanding, etc. then they have real beauty inside of themselves. I think that we need to stop focusing on the way people look and start focusing on the way people act. Young girls are being brainwashed into feeling not pretty enough or too fat or too skinny. This is causing low self esteem which leads to depression, eating disorders, and self mutilation. To me it is very sad to see young girls wearing tons of make up or not eating because it shows how far our society has gone to show an image of beauty that is very generic. I think that we need to focus on inner beauty and simple beauty.

    Hilary B. 3rd hr.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Kristin T
    4th hour
    again i don't know why blogs hate me but i'm not homegirl

    The virtue American society today is (most) lacking would be courage, though its debatably a close four way tie, but if we all could muster up a dollop more courage all of the other big questions and values in life would follow. My definition of courage is doing what you think is right or good whether or not its not accepted, unheard of, not easy or even if you’re the first one to do it. If people were more courageous, they would put others before they put themselves, they would find the courage to be vitreous in a time when it’s so easy to cheat and lie and scheme your way through life. If America had more courage, we would be able to appreciate beautiful things, the courage in this age of black berries and I pods to read a book with their children, or talk a walk through the woods even try a new art form, like painting or pottery. If people had more courage they would have the courage to show off their beauty, the beauty of doing the right thing and being a good person, not a size zero with a perfectly symmetrical nose. If courage were constant justice would be second nature, of course you do what is fair, and fight for what is right because you have the courage to stand up. Courage is and always has been the common denominator in all great things accomplished, to end slavery and segregation it took a few strong courageous people to do what was different, which was also what was right. To be a fireman or policewoman to be a scientist working on a new theory or an artist on a new design or a baby on their first steps, all of these things thrive off of courage and it is these things the big things like putting others over ourselves by joining the peace core and moving to Zimbabwe or the little things like asking the new girl to sit with you at lunch when no one else will, courage is the answer to most of society’s problems because if you have courage no problem is a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Kristin T
    4th hour
    again i don't know why blogs hate me but i'm not homegirl

    The virtue American society today is (most) lacking would be courage, though its debatably a close four way tie, but if we all could muster up a dollop more courage all of the other big questions and values in life would follow. My definition of courage is doing what you think is right or good whether or not its not accepted, unheard of, not easy or even if you’re the first one to do it. If people were more courageous, they would put others before they put themselves, they would find the courage to be vitreous in a time when it’s so easy to cheat and lie and scheme your way through life. If America had more courage, we would be able to appreciate beautiful things, the courage in this age of black berries and I pods to read a book with their children, or talk a walk through the woods even try a new art form, like painting or pottery. If people had more courage they would have the courage to show off their beauty, the beauty of doing the right thing and being a good person, not a size zero with a perfectly symmetrical nose. If courage were constant justice would be second nature, of course you do what is fair, and fight for what is right because you have the courage to stand up. Courage is and always has been the common denominator in all great things accomplished, to end slavery and segregation it took a few strong courageous people to do what was different, which was also what was right. To be a fireman or policewoman to be a scientist working on a new theory or an artist on a new design or a baby on their first steps, all of these things thrive off of courage and it is these things the big things like putting others over ourselves by joining the peace core and moving to Zimbabwe or the little things like asking the new girl to sit with you at lunch when no one else will, courage is the answer to most of society’s problems because if you have courage no problem is a problem.

    ReplyDelete

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