Friday, May 16, 2008

Aristotle for Smart Divas

Don't let your eyes glaze over. I promise Aristotle has something for you. As you probably are aware, Aristotle was the star student of Plato, way back a couple and a half of millennia ago. We will not hold it against Aristotle the fact that he did not allow female students into his school like his master, Plato, did. Everyone makes mistakes.

Aristotle made enormous contributions to Greek thought, much of which still affects us today. Part of his contribution was to write out 4 ideals that all human persons strive for: Beauty, Goodness, Justice, and Truth.

Beauty: We all want to look good, and live and work in pleasant surroundings. It's not a mere superficial longing; beauty inspires us. While our Puritan ancestors did not see this, we all need and crave beauty. That's why decorating your cubicle is a great thing.

Goodness: We could call this "love", but today Mixonian does not wish to get into a discussion to define love. Simply put, doing good for others, we do good unto ourselves. Doing something good, and expecting a certain level of appreciation and gratitude is not helpful. Do the right thing because you want to. Ultimately it benefits you more than anyone else.

Justice: This is why otherwise inarticulate two year olds insist "it's not fair". This is why I fail students who plagiarize. It's no skin off my back if they cheat themselves, and certainly it's a lot of trouble to follow through on cheating. However, the compensation system of grading breaks down if students are equally rewarded for doing their own work, or presenting the work of others as their own.

Truth: This is why we want to know if a beauty cream really works or not, if a belief is really "true" or not. The entire truth is far too big for us to really get a good grasp of it, but we all want to know the truth of our own lives.

So, go and impress someone. Mention how Aristotle really talks to you. Have a great Friday!