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Paula717
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Who would you be?

If you had a chance to go back in time and be someone from history, just for a day or two, who would it be?

 

I think I'd pick Eleanor of Aquitaine. She seems to have led an amazing life, Queen of England, wife of two kings, mother of two kings (one being Richard the Lionheart), heiress of an empire and much, much more. Plus the always present royal scandals & intrigue would make it all a little more interesting. :smileyhappy:

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. - Edmund Burke
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Timbuktu2
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Re: Who would you be?

I never want to go back in history. Novocaine!  What if  you get a toothache?  Antibiotics?  Vaccines!  
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Who would you be?

[ Edited ]
Right off the bat I would have to say Golda Meir or Eleanor Roosevelt. I would love to be able to do great things for my country. They were both strong and brave with the courage of their convictions.
twj
Message Edited by thewanderingjew on 01-11-2009 12:24 AM
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Everyman
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Re: Who would you be?

[ Edited ]

Probably John Milton.  To live for a day in the mind that knew all that he knew.that had read every book published that was worth reading, and that could imagine and write what he imagined and wrote would be an extraordinary experience. 

 

My second choice would be Plato.  To experience that amount of wisdom and that depth of thought ... incredible. 

Message Edited by Everyman on 01-11-2009 01:05 PM
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L_Monty
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Re: Who would you be?

These are all interesting choices, but I think the questions they raise might make the choices more interesting.

 

For instance, E-man would like to be Plato, but it doesn't seem as if he'd do anything as Plato. Just sort of sit there and stew in all that wisdom. Which is fine, of course. But it raises the question: do you want to be this former historical giant to edify you or to benefit something else?

thewanderingjew, meanwhile, would like to be Golda Meir or Eleanor Roosevelt, because of their ability to effect change. This raises another question: would you want to be these people to do what they did, or to do things they neglected to do?

Another question that seems interesting to explore: would you rather be someone who had tremendous intangible impact, perhaps not even in his or her lifetime? Or would you want to wield and effect measurable change in real-time? Would you want to minimize villainy or increase someone's heroism?

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Timbuktu2
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Re: Who would you be?

I don't believe there could have been a Golda or an Eleanor if there had not been a Plato.
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L_Monty
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Re: Who would you be?


Timbuktu2 wrote:
I don't believe there could have been a Golda or an Eleanor if there had not been a Plato.

What makes you say that? While Plato didn't expressly forbid that women could have a leadership role in the ideal society, it's basically assumed that the leadership role would be filled by men and that women would be less competent than men in executing them anyway. Plato's pretty patriarchal.
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Timbuktu2
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Re: Who would you be?

The fact that they happened to be women had nothing to do with it. 

 

I believe what Andrew North Whitehead said, that all of Western Civilization is a footnote to Plato.  It's too big a subject to cover in a post.  Perhaps Everyman could do it but I'm not that articulate.  Basically, the values we share and the way they have been derived, through reason, have been brought down through the ages.  What we stand for as a society, the importance of truth and justice, right over might, questioning authority, are our inheritiance.

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Timbuktu2
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Re: Who would you be?

Also, if you believe what he wrote in the Republic, Plato did believe in complete equality and could be called a radical feminist.  But that wasn't what I was referring to.
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Everyman
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Re: Who would you be?

Monty wrote:  While Plato didn't expressly forbid that women could have a leadership role in the ideal society, it's basically assumed that the leadership role would be filled by men and that women would be less competent than men in executing them anyway. Plato's pretty patriarchal.

 

Can you tell me what you're basing that on?  If the Symposium, while that has been read as very patriarchal, I don't think it reflects accurately his view of any role of women in the political sphere (which is where Golda and Eleanor were).  

 

Plato did recognize (as anybody with eyes would) that women had a different role than men in procreation.  But Plato was far more advanced than his society in including women in the highest ranks of leadership in the Republic.   It wasn't until the Quakers came along, nearly 2,000 year later, as far as I'm aware, that any significant religious or political body actually offered total equality in leadership positions to men and women.  (Yes,  England had Queen Elizabeth, and there were other Queens in Europe, but they were surrounded and, some would argue, managed by men, who carried out the actual functions of government.  I doubt that anybody would seriously argue that men and women were political equals in Elizabeth's day.)  

 

Plato does, in the Timaeus, suggest an origin for women very similar to that of Genesis: that women were created out of men.  I don't know in what other cultures this concept was also a core element of the creation story, but that's not an element of their political capabilites.

 

Virtually every society on earth, including our own today, is to some degree patriarchal, which is the predominant biological relationship for the large majority of mammalian species.  To the extent that Plato is a man, as are you and I, it's not unfair to lump him in with us as patriarchal along with every other male on the planet.  But if you meant someting different by that, I'm curious what and why, particularly in view of the extraordinarily advanced (as liberals view it today) views he held of women's rights and roles in leadership positions in the Republic. 


L_Monty wrote:

Timbuktu2 wrote:
I don't believe there could have been a Golda or an Eleanor if there had not been a Plato.

What makes you say that? While Plato didn't expressly forbid that women could have a leadership role in the ideal society, it's basically assumed that the leadership role would be filled by men and that women would be less competent than men in executing them anyway. Plato's pretty patriarchal.

 

 

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Timbuktu2
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Re: Who would you be?

But to me, as a woman and as a human being, it is the quality of the idea that counts, not the source.  Eleanor and Golda were extraordinary not because they were women, they were just extraordinary.  Justice is supposed to be blind, what difference does it make who fights for and achieves it?  That's Plato. 
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L_Monty
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Re: Who would you be?


Everyman wrote:Can you tell me what you're basing that on?  If the Symposium, while that has been read as very patriarchal, I don't think it reflects accurately his view of any role of women in the political sphere (which is where Golda and Eleanor were).

You know, I wish I could. But after about three passes through the house's bookshelves last night, I actually got out the flashlight and turned off the overhead lamps to look at the spines and labels CSI style to hopefully make my copy of Plato jump out, but I guess it's not there and some swine has it. It's been about 15 years since I last read it. I know I thought I had good reason to put that forth, but maybe I was mistaken, and anyway, I can't verify it. I tried to see what google turned up, but the only things that seem to echo what I was thinking also seem to be written at about the fourth grade level by Promise Keepers, so I severely question the source.
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Everyman
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Re: Who would you be?

I don't know whether I'm more shocked by the fact that you haven't read Plato for 15years, or that you can't even find your copy when needed.  Egad!  :smileyhappy:

 

(P.S.  I have two copies of the Complete Dialogues that I can look at from where I sit right now, one on the shelves I'm facing (my philosophy and religion section) and one about 90 degrees to my right (in the Great Books series), and a third upstairs where I keep my extra copies of books that don't fit on the library shelves.  Plus I have a complete Dialogues on my Kindle, plus I have two more modern translations of the Republic (Bloom and Sachs), plus I have several other volumes with selected dialogues.  One can never have too much Shakespeare or too much Plato.  I try to read through the entire corpus of Plato's work on a roughly five year cycle, but I sometimes leave out the Laws.)

 


L_Monty wrote:

Everyman wrote:Can you tell me what you're basing that on?  If the Symposium, while that has been read as very patriarchal, I don't think it reflects accurately his view of any role of women in the political sphere (which is where Golda and Eleanor were).

You know, I wish I could. But after about three passes through the house's bookshelves last night, I actually got out the flashlight and turned off the overhead lamps to look at the spines and labels CSI style to hopefully make my copy of Plato jump out, but I guess it's not there and some swine has it. It's been about 15 years since I last read it. I know I thought I had good reason to put that forth, but maybe I was mistaken, and anyway, I can't verify it. I tried to see what google turned up, but the only things that seem to echo what I was thinking also seem to be written at about the fourth grade level by Promise Keepers, so I severely question the source.

 

 

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GaryJ
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Re: Who would you be?

I think I would like to be a visitor at the library at Alexandria.  I've always wondered about the knowledge that was lost when the library was destroyed.  And if possible bring back as much as I could with me.

 

Gary

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Paula717
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Re: Who would you be?

Good one! :smileyhappy:
To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. - Edmund Burke
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Everyman
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Re: Who would you be?

I thought of you, twj, when I read in this week's Newsweek a squib on Cherry Jones playing a female President in the TV show 24.

 

I've never seen 24 (watch virtually no TV except some news, a bit of football, and sometimes Masterpiece Theater), but I gather it has the President as a character.

 

Anyhow, Cherry Jones says that she is modeling her character as an aggregatge of Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, and John Wayne.  You got two out of three!

 


thewanderingjew wrote:
Right off the bat I would have to say Golda Meir or Eleanor Roosevelt. I would love to be able to do great things for my country. They were both strong and brave with the courage of their convictions.
twj
Message Edited by thewanderingjew on 01-11-2009 12:24 AM

 

 

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dulcinea3
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Re: Who would you be?

[ Edited ]

Everyman wrote:

Plato did recognize (as anybody with eyes would) that women had a different role than men in procreation.  But Plato was far more advanced than his society in including women in the highest ranks of leadership in the Republic.   It wasn't until the Quakers came along, nearly 2,000 year later, as far as I'm aware, that any significant religious or political body actually offered total equality in leadership positions to men and women.  (Yes,  England had Queen Elizabeth, and there were other Queens in Europe, but they were surrounded and, some would argue, managed by men, who carried out the actual functions of government.  I doubt that anybody would seriously argue that men and women were political equals in Elizabeth's day.)  


Hmmm, interesting that you should say that.  I had been thinking that my pick would probably be Isabel de Castilla.  Two generations ahead of Elizabeth (one of her daughters was Catherine of Aragon), although admittedly generations tended to be much shorter back then.  In Isabel's case, I would certainly argue that she was the political equal of her husband Fernando de Aragon.  One of their mottos was "Tanto monta, monta tanto, Isabel como Fernando" ("They amount to the same" ), and they ruled both their kingdoms as partners.  She was not managed by men, although in her piety, she made some bad decisions on the advice of her religious advisers, one of which resulted in the Spanish Inquisition.  Isabel was out on the battlefield, inspiring her troops, much earlier than Elizabeth gave her impressive pep talk on the occasion of engaging the Spanish Armada.

 

 

(BTW, Cherry Jones is an excellent additon to 24!  I only wish she weren't so prepared to get the U.S. involved in another war...)

Message Edited by dulcinea3 on 01-21-2009 01:01 PM
Message Edited by dulcinea3 on 01-21-2009 01:02 PM
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Who would you be?

twj wrote:
I am one of those people who would do whatever is necessary to accomplish a goal,... past, present or future, if I could step into their shoes. So I suppose I would want to continue their good works. (I think they can keep ownership of any mistakes they made.)
I never do anything for my own personal glory so as long as I could accomplish something good, the timing and/or intangibility of the impact, within reason, is not important. What I mean by within reason is that if it took too long, and the accomplishment became meaningless the effort would be useless. If the timing was moot, and the accomplishment would be beneficial no matter when it occurred, then it would be perfectly fine with  me if it took longer than expected. It would be the end result, the positive effects that would be achieved, that would be my overriding goal. Also, I would both minimize villainy and also aim to see more people willing to commit heroic acts of self sacrifice. I do not see them as mutually exclusive.

L_Monty wrote: edited by twj:
thewanderingjew, meanwhile, would like to be Golda Meir or Eleanor Roosevelt, because of their ability to effect change. This raises another question: would you want to be these people to do what they did, or to do things they neglected to do?
Another question that seems interesting to explore: would you rather be someone who had tremendous intangible impact, perhaps not even in his or her lifetime? Or would you want to wield and effect measurable change in real-time? Would you want to minimize villainy or increase someone's heroism?

twj wrote:

Eman, Sorry my response is so late; I have been otherwise preoccupied. Thanks for your comment. Finally, something I wrote is approved by someone out there in cyberspace!
I am not sure why John Wayne (Marion Robert Morrison) rounds out the triumverate, unless she is thinking of his real life accomplishments not his starring roles. From this link: The post-war American public embraced the man and would not let go of him – even when he did things that stars weren’t supposed to do, such as speak his mind on all manner of political and social issues.

John Wayne was an informed citizen, eager to share his opinions with the public at large. Being politically conservative, these opinions proved upsetting to many, especially during the turbulent 1960s and ’70s. But even those who disagreed with the man generally respected him because it was obvious that he cared passionately about his country and its people. Also, like so many of the characters he played, he was clearly an individualist without slavish attachment to any political ideology. When, for example, he supported President Carter’s decision to turn over sovereignty of the Panama Canal to the Republic of Panama, many of his right-wing brethren were shocked. Some claimed he must have fallen off his horse too many times. But he didn’t care whom he offended. The Democratic president’s decision made sense according to Wayne’s own personal code of beliefs, and he spoke up to defend it.

When Wayne was gravely ill, Maureen O’Hara and a number of other celebrities petitioned Congress to award him the Congressional Gold Medal. O’Hara suggested that the award should simply read, “John Wayne, American.” For once Congress did the sensible thing and followed her instructions.

twj

Everyman wrote:

I thought of you, twj, when I read in this week's Newsweek a squib on Cherry Jones playing a female President in the TV show 24.

edited by twj....
Anyhow, Cherry Jones says that she is modeling her character as an aggregatge of Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, and John Wayne.  You got two out of three!

twj wrote:
Right off the bat I would have to say Golda Meir or Eleanor Roosevelt. I would love to be able to do great things for my country. They were both strong and brave with the courage of their convictions.
twj


 
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Conrad_Jalowski
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Re: Who would you be?

I would like to be Napoleon I Bonaparte. A single individual who rose from minor nobility to impose his will upon the world. As Chateaubriand put it, "Alive he lost the world, dead he owns it.". Napoleon I Bonaparte commands an empire of imagination like no other; one who closed the wide gulf between the realm of impossibilities and the realm of possibilities. Even his ignominious end cannot sow the abjuration of his impact and legacy-triumphant hubris that with mere whim caused invidious and wrathful men to tremble in pusillanimity at his glorious name and renown. Alive, Napoleon I Bonaparte was victorious at such battles as Montenotte, Millesimo, Saint Michele, Ceva, Lodi, Bassano, Rovento, Mondavi, Arcole, Rivoli, Mantua, etc during the Italian Campaigns from 1796-1797 CE, through the Continental battles of Marengo, Ulm, Austerlitz, Jena, Auerstadt, Friedland, Wagram, etc, however he did lose at Leipzig, Waterloo, Asspern-Essling, and the 675,000 force of 121,000 Italian recruits, 110,000 German soldiers,  89,000 soldiers from the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, etc resulted in over-extension of manpower, military expenditure and resultant economic exhaustion that caused the keystone of the Napoleonic edifice to collapse sending the Grand Empire into its nadir and then defragmentation and overall collapse. Through his contumelious disposition Europe bled, however even the chaos and carnage unleashed cannot extinguish his glory; no one can extort from him his unconquerable will and incorrigible spirit-hubris that can never be subjugated!

 

The Romantics such as Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Blake, Lord Byron, Southey, Goethe portrayed Napoleon I Bonaparte as a Miltonic Satan who is hubristic yet instilled with tragic grandeur, a modern Prometheus from Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Prometheus Unbound", an Aristotelian tragic figure, a blasphemous figure who lacked the Aristotelian "megalopsychia" (between the passions of hubris and pusillanimity that constitutes "sophrosyne" or moderation=virtue) in which licentious passions tore asunder his framework of existence that eventually consumed him, or a Byronic figure. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel portrayed Napoleon I Bonaparte as a World-Historical Individual that would usher in the ultimate "synthesis" of humanity. 

"A World-Historical individual is devoted to the One Aim, regardless of all else. It is even possible that such men may treat other great, even sacred interests inconsiderately; conduct which is indeed obnoxious to moral reprehension. But so mighty a form must trample down many an innocent flower or crush to pieces many an object in its path."

From G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of History in Jacob Loewenberg (ed.), Hegel: Selections (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1929), pp. 376-80.
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Mighty_Pen001
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Re: Who would you be?

Funny someone brought up going back as Napolean. As I was reading through this, I was wondering, if you could go back and be anyone in history, well...can you bring the knowledge of today? For example, If you go back to be Napolean, can you use what we know of the mistakes he may have made and thus then as Napolean reverse them, subsequently changing history as we know it? Or, do you simply have to live the life they lived without changing it?

 

-Ernie