Superficiality (The Photo With The Résumé)

I remember a passage in Plato’s Symposium, which I don’t have with me and which I don’t really have the patience to find, and it was a typically Platonic, gnostic sort of passage regarding levels of intelligence and wisdom: the lover of souls and minds is superior to the lover of bodies, probably because the soul is immortal, godlike, and perfect, while the body is made of temporary stuff, a Protean Ship of Theseus, constantly changing, impossible to define, and soon reduced to dirt “stopping up a bunghole.” One of my more sensuous friends complained about Plato’s disdain of the physical world and his seemingly Buddha-like adoration of the mystical and the unseen, but at least in the case of Socrates we can tell rather easily why it’s important to focus more on the mind than the body:

Salad Bar Confucianism

When a lot of foreigners first step off the boat here in Korea, they probably think two things—

1) What’s that smell?, and
2) What’s up with these people? They’re so nice / strange / rude / different!

Many will stay for a few days, a few months, possibly even a year, and may never get around to answering either of these questions. The answer to the first probably has to do with an overloaded sewage system trying and failing to deal with fifty million people eating fifty million pounds of fermented cabbage and soybeans every day; the answer to the second (relating to the reason why so many people eat so much fermented food) is still too elusive for me, and I’ve lived here for three years.

Korean Restaurants And The Analects Versus Plato’s Republic

When I first arrived in the Daehan Mingook I didn’t know what to eat here because Koreans rarely do anything alone—and how could you, even if you wanted to? This country is the same size of Ohio, except with roughly five times as many people as Ohio, a capital that contains about twenty million of those people, and nine other cities with at least a million inhabitants each, and usually more. Population density is ten times the global average at 487 people per square kilometer, which means that it is almost impossible to be alone if you leave your bathroom.

Plato the Subversive

It’s an interesting theory – and one worthy of such a supposedly “scientific” philosopher.

Kennedy says the hidden codes show that Plato anticipated the Scientific Revolution 2,000 years before Isaac Newton, discovering its most important concept – that nature is written in the language of mathematics. Kennedy further says the decoded messages open up a surprising way to unite science and religion because the awe and beauty we feel in nature, Plato says, shows that it is divine and discovering the scientific order of nature is getting closer to God.

Whew. Good thing that whole culture war between science and religion can end now.

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