Greek philosophers are immortalized by their teachings and academic works. Their discussions and analysis on the individuals, the state, the importance of virtue and justice to name a few have been the foundation of one’s political knowledge. Their thinking is definitely ahead of its time and even after more than a millennium the impact of their ideas provides significant lessons and knowledge to everyone in the academic field. This paper aims to present what concepts and ideas of the Greek philosophers were able to remain relevant and stand the test of time and prove it by discussing its utility and relevance in today’s society. This paper will be focusing on Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle’s concepts and discussions regarding the court process, education system, revolutions, the governing process, and family roles.
In today’s society the concept that is most used by all states can be found In the book eight of Aristotle’s Politics where he presented the importance of public education and how it should be a right that everyone should have. Plato discussed how important education is to be able to have a good and better government because if it is neglected it can injure the constitution, also he emphasized on the importance of education being “public” for the reason that all social classes should have an equal chance on acquiring knowledge. Education is definitely of a global level importance, Lawrence Summers discussed how countries that have developed their education into an experience that catered and supplemented the interest of its students tend to be more successful than those who did not. Education gave way towards the development of most countries, in Summers’ example U.S. universities has been part of the top ranking institutions in the educational field and it is a known fact that the United States of America is a country with robust economy and is a major player of successful industries, all this has been more likely possible due to their immense effort to make their educational system the best. As for education being a public right, under the 1987 Philippine constitution public education is still being maintained it was specified on the constitution that there is free education up to highschool and as for higher education the government support it through state universities.
In contrast to Aristotle’s view on public education, Plato and Socrates also believes on the importance of education and they have also discussed how it should be accessible to both men and women however in terms of social class it is a different story but in terms of the holisticity of the subject matter of education the ideas of Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates definitely intersect. In Politics and the Republic both of its authors believe that education should cultivate both the mind and the body which includes literacy, mathematics, dialectics, arts, and physical ability. This concept is still relevant today because in today’s complex world where modernity and technology has taken over the society, being holistically knowledgeable gives an individual an edge in the profession or activity that they want to pursue, learning is now a continuing and cumulative process, the more you know the better, the more you become an expert in your field. Most people pursue supplementary education or enroll and attend graduate school to gain more knowledge and update the existing information that one has learned. However in the context of primary or elementary education holistic learning equips them basic knowledge on all the subject in the academic curriculum, so upon maturity and once the awareness of what interest he or she wishes to pursue is gained at least within the developing years the individual was able to learn and understand the foundations of each of the subject he or she learned. Within the Philippine constitution a whole article of legislation specifically ART XIV is dedicated on the rights and holistic education of the Philippine community, it aims to strengthen the virtues, morality, and discipline of the people and the scope of education involves the development of the populations critical thinking, scientific and technological ability and vocational efficiency.
In terms of the state’s conception Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle agree that it is upon the realization of man that he is not self sufficient alone so he needs to create a group wherein there are similarities with him and the others in terms of concern, interest, or problems that binds them to be associated so that as group they can resolve it and become self sufficient as a collective while occupying a certain area, and within the group there will be respective functions for each of the individual which binds their interdependence and to attain the sufficiency that the whole group needs. This concept is still being used and remains to be important today because as what De Leon (2014) have discussed a state is composed of the individual, occupying a territory, having a government, and having sovereignty or control and jurisdiction on national level and also in a global level in terms of the states involvement and interaction in the international scene. This concept of the state is what binds people to join together and take part in the social contract, this perspective is the foundation and basis of a legal conception of a state that is why it is important because up until today it is still the concept that is used and maintained.
Aristotle’s concept of the familial community is also a widely used concept adopted by all countries, as we all know family is the most basic unit in a society and Aristotle emphasized on this in the book two of Politics through his criticism of Socrates’ just city with the community of wife and children. For Aristotle having a community of wife and children will not fully flourish the young generation’s friendship and love capability because this can only be fully developed under a proper parental care and with those children being raised together as if like a human livestock it will not develop a sense of familial tie which for Aristotle has an advantage of relationship which will teach the child the importance of peace and friendship that can only be achieved if prospered and reared under a real home and a parental care. In today’s society the family is the first social interaction that a child encounters, and within this family, minds are molded into different perspectives, in the most basic sense a family is a major influence in it, but eventually upon maturity the individual develops his own stand, but you can never take away from him the environment he once grew up in. Being part of a family is the first hand experience that a person has when it comes to relationships, communication, problems, misunderstanding, fights, and compromise, with the given situation one learns how to handle and resolve conflicts so that in the future if ever one encounter a situation of the same level, there can be an idea on how to respond to it. On K.Lerner’s (2006) discussion regarding a painting by Mary Cassatt titled Mother, Sara, and the Baby he discussed the importance of one’s family in the perspective of a child of what a relationship is, On Lerner’s discussion he mentioned that the relationship with the sibling is the training ground of the relationship development for this where the idea of “peers” are first experience and introduced and on upon research the more family are prone to fight the more stress it gives to the siblings and can be factor on a strained relationship but with a family with a more peaceful environment the siblings relationship tend to be more bonded and close, the level of affection within the family has a significant impact on his future interactions because what the child was able to experience within his familial group especially with his first peer relationship with his siblings is what influences his ability in his interactions with others may it be with peers or in a level of intimacy with a lover. The role of the family is so crucial on a child’s developmental years and the amount of priority being given to it such as maternity leave with benefits to establish the idea that the relationship within the family is an important relationship with the state, under the Philippine constitution Article XV is dedicated towards protecting the rights and enriching and flourishing the relationship of family for the reason that the state believes that it is a nation’s foundation and it is in total support of it and values it existence.
Aristotle’s concept of democracy is the prototype model of the democratic government being observed by democratic countries. Under Aristotle’s discussion the key words that often distinguish a democracy are all are equal under the law, liberalization, and the “freemen” or the masses are the sovereigns of the state, comparing it with today’s definition democracy as a form of government according to De Leon (2014) is a type of government where the political power is being exercised by the majority of the people, under its definition on Merriam Webster Dictionary the key word is once again “the masses” or ” the people”, to synthesize the main points of each, people or the masses is the head of the state but since in this type of government where it is ruled by the many, everyone in the state trying to voice out and accomplish their concerns will be very chaotic and complex which is why the concept of government is formed to organize the situation, this body will not stand as the leader in terms of an autocratic kind of way but rather a leader bringing together and finding a way to work out everyone’s concern, an Indirect or a representative kind of democracy according to De Leon through this even upon the limitation of the quantity of the masses, the concerns will all be given attention to collectively.
In Plato’s Crito the concept of social contract is established under Socrates’ reason as to why he did not want to agree and join Crito’s plan of helping him escape his imprisonment and death sentence in Athens. His reason was his decision to reside in Athens binds him under its laws, after all before the hardships that he was facing now he was able to enjoy the advantages of being its citizen, having a family, being born under the shelter of its sovereignty, and being educated. This is still relevant today because this is the main basis of the government, the agreement of being ruled and ruling the people. Under this concept the government is able to perform its function of governing the people, securing their rights, punishing offences and regulating laws and the public on the other hand as participation in the agreement must be subjected and abide to the laws of the governing body while also maintaining the checks and balances with how they govern as to ensure that the government is still within its limitation and is doing its job properly. .
In Plato’s book The Apology, the history behind Socrates’ trial was revealed through Socrates’ narration and argumentation while defending himself in the court, As the story goes Socrates was recognized by the oracle of Delphi as the wisest man and Socrates with his curious nature did not easily accept this claim and wanted to test its validity by searching for other potentially wiser person that can invalidate the claim, and this quest of his to search for wiser men earned him many enemies, especially with the method of questioning that he used. Being around men of Athens who are either established politicians, poets, and artisans who are popularly known and self proclaimed wise people, after being questioned and proved wrong by Socrates ofcourse it had wounded their ego especially with the fact that they were proved wrong by someone who is in a lower position than them, it felt as if their authority is being challenged, so as a form of revenge they used the situation that Socrates was in and older charges of being atheistic and corrupting the minds of the youth to put Socrates into trial and push for him to be proven guilty and receive punishment mainly death sentence which unfortunately what Socrates did receive. With the trial of Socrates one of the main concept that was presented by Plato was the court system of Athens during that time, originally it was seemingly problematic based on the level of accusations against Socrates and with the punishment he received, as the story unfolds it was also revealed that there can be motivations of self interest behind the accusers part especially with the legitimacy of their accusations but upon the verdict although seemingly Socrates’ arguments make more sense, he was still voted guilty punishable by death which on his part he already expected to happen and has accepted the situation as it was all done under the rule and the process of Athenian courts. This concept shows the importance of the ruling process or the law and how it should be respected by everyone. It is still relevant today because this is what is to be aimed for under the constitution the reason as to why the government is divided into three bodies which are the executive, legislative and judiciary is for the reason that under the law all are equal and the powers are limited and governed through checks and balances and this is why it is a relevant concept in today’s society to show that no one is greater than the law and whoever disturb this will be punishable by law.
The concept regarding revolution which was presented by Aristotle in his book Politics discussed what causes revolts and uprisings to happen and the main reasons behind it are desire for equality, people missing a convergence in terms of their interest and concerns, and lastly is when the ruling body activates on its extremes. Under the Philippine setting uprisings and revolutions is part of its history starting from the occupation of the Spanish regime in the country, upon the abuses and maltreatment of the Spanish authorities mainly the friars up to the dictatorial regime experienced under Marcos administration. Amoroso and Abinales has discussed this reoccurring theme of uprisings in their historical narrative of political dynamism in the country from the first revolt and violent uprisings against the Spanish regime to the American regime, the short period of the Japanese occupation and eventually the peaceful People Power in EDSA to dethrone the Marcos dictatorship in all this call for equality, independence and liberalization are the screams of the people and with history telling the story of the mistakes and abuses of the past it serves as a guide and a comparative analysis tool that the individuals inside the state can use to be aware and analyze the current situation and either help prevent it or be ready for it.
In connection to revolutions, Aristotle also discussed how to prevent it from happening or how to preserve the constitution. to summarize his main points under any form of government it is important to give all levels of classes equal spotlight in the sense of treating them fairly, valuing their opinions, concerns, interest, and also giving them consideration and a voice in the government. On the technical side for security reasons the government has emergency powers that can be declared in cases of state of emergencies to prevent people from revolting and acting chaotically. This concept remains to be of good use today especially in an era of diplomacy where barbaric or violent means are the last possible option so as much as possible the problem being faced must be resolved in the most civilized way, with organizations like the United nation which promotes and peace in a local and global level. As example under the Philippine Setting the Marcos regime, he declared martial law due to the increase in number of uprisings in the state, however he used this power to safeguard his position as a leader and the rest is the bloody martial law history. Due to the outcome of the previous generation, under the new administration of Cory Aquino the constitution was reformed and as a result safeguards such as equality in the power of the three branches of the government and to maintain a strong sense of checks and balances in the government are amended to avoid or prevent as much as possible the problems of the past.
In conclusion the relevance of the concepts discussed above remain to be important and applicable in today’s state and government for the main reason that it centers or it still involves and deals with the individual. On the Greek concept of education its relevance is solely due to the edge and improvement that it can provide to the individuals and the promising benefits such as development that it can give to the country. Holistic education on the other hand supplements the prior right for public education, to make it more legitimate and educate an individual with all the basic knowledge one needs for the foundations of future studies. The concept of states in connection to the concept of family ties and social contract is relevant due to the fact that self sufficiency can be attained through interdependence, in terms of having a family love, friendship and peaceful means are developed and encouraged by the family, as for social contract the need for security and an organized process of specialization, function and interaction binds the people together. For the democratic government concept of Aristotle its main relevance is its idea of equality, liberation and mass sovereignty which is what today’s society continue to identify it with, its relevance is that it supplied the public’s knowledge of what it is and what is followed and what democratic countries are pursuing to become. The concept of justice system or the value and magnitude of the law presented in The Apology and Crito by Plato remains to be relevant as it is a comparative model of what the court trial system and the constitution in today’s society should be in terms of the power of the law. Concepts regarding the causes of revolution and how to prevent it from happening are also relevant because it serves as a tool for historical examination of what went wrong, what could have been done in that situation. But the main point is that they serve as warning signs as to why it is not to happen again this why law safeguards are created to avoid making mistakes of the past.
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