Thursday, January 1, 2015

Strauss

FLG enjoyed this review of Leo Strauss: Man of Peace because it reminded him of many of the things he so enjoys about the study of political philosophy.

It also reminded FLG of the part of Phaedrus where writing itself is called into question.  This most often used as the jumping off point for the concept of esoteric philosophical writing.  For FLG it is that, but also a warning about the limits and consequences of technology.  Every once and a while, it's healthy to step back and consider the effects of technology, not just computers, Internet, and smart phones, but to think about one of the most fundamental -- the written word.

I cannot help feeling, Phaedrus, that writing is unfortunately like painting; for the creations of the painter have the attitude of life, and yet if you ask them a question they preserve a solemn silence. And the same may be said of speeches. You would imagine that they had intelligence, but if you want to know anything and put a question to one of them, the speaker always gives one unvarying answer. And when they have been once written down they are tumbled about anywhere among those who may or may not understand them, and know not to whom they should reply, to whom not: and, if they are maltreated or abused, they have no parent to protect them; and they cannot protect or defend themselves. 

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