Saturday, December 27, 2014

Reflections on Year Three

For the readings of year one, I thought that the theme was 'challenge', as in the writers of the Great Books constantly challenged the way things were done.  Year two didn't have as clean a theme, I guess, though maybe it had a series of themes.  Year three?  It had quite a bit to do with power.  How power is granted, how it is seized and what the proper forms of government are.
  • Prometheus is about a god that gave power from the 'gods' and gave it to people.
  • Herodotus wrote about the Persians attempt to seize Greece.
  • Thucydides wrote about the problems of balance of power and subsequent war in Greece.
  • Plato wrote about legitimate forms of government.
  • So did Aristotle.
  • Tacitus wrote about the power struggles of 1st century Rome.  And it wasn't pretty.
  • Aquinas wrote about the law and whether it is good or not.
  • Shakespeare's Macbeth is a story about maniacal will to power.
  • Milton's Paradise Lost is, in part, a story of how Satan refused to be ruled.
  • Mill argued that representative government is the best form of all.
This is one of the themes of western thought, that through thought we can find a better way to organize and rule ourselves. 

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