Week Eight: Perception of Liberty

Assignment Sixteen: What is the difference between the liberty of the ancients and the liberty of the moderns? What would moderns find lacking in ancient liberty?

(Western Civilization)

In the modern world, liberty and freedom are considered essential to most parts of the world. The ancient Greeks were very passionate about their freedom as well, only their view of freedom was vastly different than what we perceive as liberty. So what makes the two so different? What separates their perception of liberty and ours is the concept of liberty. What does liberty mean to us? What did liberty mean to them?

The ancient Greek were very passionate about their liberty. They wanted the freedom to be involved in their city states’ government. They wanted the freedom to collectively pass judgement on criminals in their city, freedom to have a free-speaking council, and the freedom to collectively make laws for their city states. They reserved the right to travel without permission, and to express their opinions in the for of free speech. They also reserved the right to use their property as they saw fit without the influence of the government and to associate with others. Their perception of liberty included the right to discuss and make decisions about war and peace, form foreign alliances, vote over new laws, examine the records of the magistrates, call the magistrates to appear before their assembly, and to accuse and render judgements if necessary on the magistrates. In short, their perception of liberty primarily revolved around collective rights.

I’m not very well-versed in international politics, nor have I ever been outside America before, so I will be comparing the ancient Greek’s perception of liberty to modern day America’s perception of liberty. Our view of freedom is so vastly different than that of the Greeks on so many levels! Modern day America is huge on the concept of freedom. What is America’s concept of freedom? We believe in the right to express our opinions, to dress the way we want to dress, and to practice religion without the government’s influence. America’s perception of liberty also includes things like equality, women’s rights, and the right to bear arms. These are things a large percentage of the population accepts and demands as their liberty.

We can see many differences right off the bat, but what is the main difference between ancient Greek’s perception of freedom and modern day America’s perception of freedom? The answer is concept. To ancient Greece, the concept of liberty was freedom as a collective whereas to modern day America, the concept of liberty revolves around the individual. What is right to me? What is my opinion? What does my religion or morals say about this? Those are questions that we don’t even think about but are running through our heads. In fact, as you read the paragraph above this one, I bet you were thinking about what you thought about each of the controversial subjects, or what you’d been taught about it. It’s become second nature to us to think that way. There are many things ancient Greece and modern-day America would disagree on. What do you think about it?

What would modern day America find missing from the concept of liberty in ancient Greece? I believe it would be individual freedom, and all that that encompasses. Whether it be the right to practice any religion you choose, or to dress a certain way, or woman’s right to vote, it all falls under individual freedom. That’s something we would find supremely lacking in ancient Greek politics.

 

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Week Four: A Conclusion of Psalms

Assignment Twelve: Discuss some of the reasons offered in the Psalms for long-term optimism.

(English)

We are finally at the end of our study on Psalms, and it’s time to wrap it up by discussing some key topics, and what their effect is on the world, and what it means to me, the reader.

Point number one: God is sovereign. To be sovereign, you have to have supreme power, meaning that God has power over everything. He has supreme power. That effects the world in a multitude of ways! God is in control of everything because he is all powerful. His sovereignty effects everything from the environment to what our futures are.

Point number two: He rules over men, and men rules over nature. We are stewards of his planet, just like he is our father. It is our responsibility to work the earth and harvest it’s produce, God takes care of us.

Point number three: He rules in terms of law. This means that God has a certain number of rules he rules us by. Though he is all powerful, he doesn’t change his mind about something suddenly, or compromise the rules and promises he gave us. We follow his laws, and he rules over us, similar to how a government works. They have rules, and we follow them or suffer the consequences.

Point number four: He grants inheritance to law-keepers. If we follow his word, and love him, then we will be granted an inheritance after he returns to restore the earth.

 

Week Four: Socrates and the Sophists

Assignment Eleven: What was the disagreement Socrates had with the Sophists?

(Western Civilization)

Who were the Sophists? The Sophists were teachers who frequented Athens and Greece, offering rich young men educations. This not only added to their wealth as individuals, but also gave them a great deal of pull as far as politics went. They taught the influential young men about politics and philosophy according to their beliefs. This meant that there were students carrying on their beliefs into the world.

Who was Socrates? Socrates was a philosopher who believed that there had to be a guide to man’s actions. It could not be a matter of personal taste. He believed there was a morale code humans had to possess in order to live their lives righteously. He went around asking questions, trying to understand what those morales were. He asked judges was justice was. He asked priests what pity was. They couldn’t give him a definition of what they were, just examples of what their essence was. He was considered to be the wisest man, but he didn’t think he was wise at all. But he came to the realization that he was the wisest man because he was the only one who realized the scope of his own ignorance.

Why did their views clash so supremely? Well, Socrates and the Sophists believe the exact opposite of each other! Sophists believed that somethings were right for one person, while wrong for another. Socrates believed that if something was right for one person, it also had to be right for another. The Sophists ultimately executed Socrates for his contrasting beliefs on morals. But when you think about it, the Sophists had no right to look down on Socrates for his differing beliefs. Maybe, his beliefs were right for him.