Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Plato's Republic

"You don't, I imagine, call the art of earning a living 'medicine', just because someone becomes healthy while earning a living?"

-"Certainly Not."

"Nor do you call medicine the art of earning a living, do you, if someone earns a living practicing medicine?"

I wish I could have sat by and watched Socrates and Thrasymachus debate over justice. Or rather, watch Socrates dismantle any claim at what justice might be. This snippet from the conversation comes as the two are discussing the precise form of the arts or "skills". They discuss that medicine does not function to improve medicine (as a skill or art), but it functions to improve the body. In the same sense, the art or skill of medicine cannot and does not function to earn on money, but RATHER the art or skill of "making a living" functions simultaneously to put money in one's pocket. Thus, The true form of medicine is to improve the body--and not to make a living.

Now, that point wasn't even a part of the discussion. They were not debating motives. But I like that. Anything we do has a 'true form'. If we study--studying has a true form. A function that does not have applications outside of studying. If we study justly, or purely, we study to the improvement of our souls. If we talk--talking has a true form; probably for no other purpose than communicating purely the thoughts within us. If we do anything, if we study anything, it should be because we wish to do it purely. Study medicine unto the improving of the body, talking unto perfectly communicating, philosophy unto perfectly...thinking?

Which brings me back to the question of what I would like to do with my life. Do you ever ask yourself what kind of brain you have? And when considering a profession, do you choose based upon what kind of brain you have, or what kind of brain you would like to have? What is the most important consideration when deciding what to study? Is it to enjoy it? Is it what comes easy to you? (These two can and often do differ). Should I study what will make me most useful to society, to my family, to my God, or to myself?

If your reasoning convinces me, I will likely change my mode of considering to this, and hopefully be able to blame you for any unhappiness which follows.

P.S. Don't you just love autumn?


  1. Personally, I think it is a combination of you doing the research and coming to a/some conclusion(s) on that which you'd like to do/be. The ultimate deciding factor though, is what you feel Heavenly Father wants you to do. We are on this earth to learn and do a million other things, but what is the ultimate purpose? To build His Kingdom on the earth. Sure, we can't all have jobs that will allow us to travel around building temples and church buildings, but I don't think He minds all that much what we do, as long as we are glorifying Him through the process. Can we use our business talents to bless His Kingdom? Can we use our graphic design skills to bless His Kingdom? Can we use our CPA skills to bless His Kingdom? Sure we can! But, there is a very large gap between "can" and "do." I say, do what you enjoy and what you're good at. If those are two separate things, combine them. Then use them to bless others. Love your blog.

  2. I think God designed us with passions and interests in very different things. I think you should do something you love, that gives you energy while doing it because I think that in itself is a testament of the way God designed you & God is big enough to take care of you, your future, & even your family's future. So do what you love and love Him for putting it on your heart. :)

  3. You know, I think it's probably best to strike some sort of balance between all those factors. Because if you bank your decision on just one, then you're screwed when that facet of your life gets turned upside down. Or when you start to understand it differently than you did before.

    For example, if you do what you think will make you most useful to God, what happens when, years later, your understanding of God evolves? Or when your conceptualization of society changes? Or when you start realizing you're a different person than you've ever been before? Or, more fundamentally, when your beliefs about what's important in life are radically rearranged?

    So, unless you're sure you'll believe the same as you do now forevermore, I'd say go for the most balanced choice. The choice that doesn't seem to scream too strongly from one way or the other. (If such a thing exists, that is.)