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ADVERSITY AS YOUR COMPASS

 

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” –Helen Keller

Sometimes, if we pay close attention, we will see that adversity can come into our life to guide us to our true destiny. It certainly did for Helen Keller.

Helen Keller fell ill, lost her sight, her hearing and fell mute while she was a child. Today, her name is known around the world as a symbol of courage, strength and determination in the face of overwhelming odds. Through the tutelage of her teacher Ms. Annie Sullivan and other great supporters, she used her adversity to find her vision, her voice, and a calling for herself that led to great benefits to others. She wrote:

For, after all, every one who wishes to gain true knowledge must climb the Hill of Difficulty alone, and since there is no royal road to the summit, I must zigzag it in my own way. I slip back many times, I fall, I stand still, I run against the edge of hidden obstacles, I lose my temper and find it again and keep it better, I trudge on, I gain a little, I feel encouraged, I get more eager and climb higher and begin to see the widening horizon. Every struggle is a victory. One more effort and I reach the luminous cloud, the blue depths of the sky, the uplands of my desire.”

  

 

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Massive Attack

It’s unfortunate that when we feel a storm
We can roll ourselves over ’cause we’re uncomfortable
Oh well, the devil makes us sin
But we like it when we’re spinning in his grip

Love is like a sin, my love,
For the ones that feel it the most
Look at her with her eyes like a flame
She will love you like a fly will never love you again

It’s unfortunate that when we feel a storm
We can roll ourselves over when we’re uncomfortable
Oh well, the devil makes us sin
But we like it when we’re spinning in his grip

Love is like a sin, my love,
For the one that feels it the most
Look at her with a smile like a flame
She will love you like a fly will never love you again


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PLATO’S UTOPIANISM: THE LAWS

If you control the way children play, and the same children always play the same games under the same rules and in the same conditions, and get pleasure from the same toys, you’ll find that the conventions of adult life too are left in peace without alteration… Change, we shall find, except in something evil, is extremely dangerous.

                                                                                                                                ~PLATO, Laws, 797

In a higher world it is otherwise; but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often,

~JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Chapter 1, Section 1

UTOPIANISM

The Laws describes, in rich and fascinating detail, a Utopia to be founded in Crete in the middle of the fourth century B.C. It is to be a small agricultural state, governed by a virtually unalterable code of laws and insulated from almost all day-to-day contact with the rest of the world. The fundamental conviction which inspires the whole project is that, given care and effort, it is possible to achieve a society that is at once excellent and unchanging. At popular level, this optimistic belief has never lost its influence: it is still the unformulated assumption behind political programmes of widely varying complexions. The procedure sounds straightforward enough: simply decide on your model, your perfect society; then mould your existing society to it, and behold! The millennium has arrived. But the millennium seems constantly to elude us; and our fellow men often display an unaccountable reluctance to be moulded. Should we then force them to conform? After all, it will surely be for their own good. Now at this point the utopian risks dangerous conflict with society, and for these and other reasons both philosophers and laymen in recent years have waxed hot against utopianism, particularly Plato’s, so that today it may fairly be said to be discredited. It is generally held that ‘piecemeal’ reform is as much as we should ever attempt; constant change in the structure of society, and versatility and adaptability in its members, are looked on with approval. Newman’s aphorism has become the conventional wisdom.

But does this mean that the Laws, as a utopian work, deserves the full measure of our censure? A brief review of Plato’s life and though will help us to understand the origins and nature of his book.