In my studies, I sometimes return to the Greek philosophers. They are interesting in that they represent the first rational thought and have a developing range of views, plus Hellenistic thought and language were prevalent when the New Testament was born. You know that I am very interested in the 1st century CE and what really happened. It seems to me that context is essential in understanding the goings on of humans, for in many ways we are products of our times. It may not be possible for us in the 21st century to totally take off our 21st century glasses in order to view any past time the way the people of the time viewed their world, but we can take steps in that direction.
Today I want to consider Plato in our times to bring his thinking here to bear upon our lives and predicaments.
One of the things he said was basically this: No real reform of the fundamentals of political thought could take place without a corresponding reform of man's ideas about the whole nature of reality.
We see a bit of chaos here and a large dose of it there. We see breakdowns of how it was and see morphing into something else. From black masked hooligans destroying and terrorizing to crazed dictators to unreliable media and politicians and leaders of all stripes, it is a different world than the one into which I was born. There has been strife afoot in all times. This seems more intensified maybe because of the instant access to information and disinformation.
From all that and more, I conclude that we also need some reform of fundamentals of political thoughts, and if Plato is correct, we need to look more deeply into the nature of reality.
We have the advantage of scientific research to tell us some of the fundamentals of physical reality, which were totally unknown by any human until very recently.
But the philosophic quest into the nature of reality and Reality is fractured, it seems to me. Christianity is in decline. Its premises along with the Judaic premises have been the root of our own national take on reality/Reality. There are overt attacks on that version of reality. Plus, as Christianity declines, religious fervor turns elsewhere - think climate change, sports teams, celebrity, etc.
Plato and Socrates thought if you didn't know the nature of a thing, the person for whom it is made and the purpose for which it is made, you didn't know it. Take a shoemaker. To make shoes he/she has to know these things.
Consider these things in relation to our religion and our nation and our world. Let us think on these things and with sincerity, courage and curiosity apply the best of our thinking skills to the nature of reality in its various forms. What is the purpose of a nation? What is the purpose of a religion?