Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Socrates-like Thinking? For an Eval?

Every year, you have to write an eval for yourself as a contractor. The boss usually reads it….changes a couple of words, and then it’s signed and finalized.

My company is not one that I’d brag about…nor shall I name.

I decided to test the waters in this eval and write an eval with Socrates in mind. So I wrote up this grand eval…..and in the midst of it.....tossed in ”Uses Socrates-like thinking in analyzing operations…..Pursues the role of letting those who would move the world…..first move themselves”.

If you read it….it’s a fairly cynical slam. I had a bet going with Ms NO (New Orleans)….I was doing Socrates and she was doing Shakespeare. The thing is….she left three weeks ago….right before eval’s were going to be finalized. So we shall never know if Ms NO’s Shakespeare quotes made it through the system. In this case, I won….although she might argue (as sarcastically as possible).

So the question is….what do I do for the next quote? Plato? I’m pondering this. Maybe I’ll do Andy Griffith.


There is this mist in the you sit on a lake and wait for things to become clear and focused within your vision. Mist is mist, and you really don't have anything to quicken the pace of things at your least you think that way.

For a kid from Bama, I missed out on an enormous part of life. Never once in the whole twelve-year school period....did we really sit down and discuss Rome, the Greeks, Plato, Socrates or Aristotle. In the six year period that I attended Louisiana Tech, University of Maryland, and three odd community colleges.....there was not a single class that I had….that covered this period of history or philosophy. I was perhaps 35 before I picked up a book on Roman history. I was forty before I read Plato and Socrates.

So this is this huge pit of knowledge and philosophy that I’ve missed. It is a strange thing....that when I finally came to get into Socrates and the masters of thinking, logic and stoic values.....I came to realize that I had probably bypassed a great introduction and then walked in that direction of life anyway.

Letters of Seneca is a mountain of personal philosophy that probably every single kid of sixteen ought to read and be forced to analyze. I picked it up a year or two ago and found so much wisdom....that I wondered how I came to miss the book. But there are dozens of Greek philosophy books like that.

I’ve often wondered how so many Greek men of wisdom came to be. It’s a period of human history that overflows. Here are these Greeks who have finally mastered the art of agriculture and gardening. They have easily figured out how to grow more than enough to feed themselves and you can see this community which wrapped up all the essentials of farming...and got time on their hands to think.

So these guys are sitting around....blacksmiths, farmers, carpenters, wine-makers, etc....and they were comparing notes. Socrates was famous for quizzing folks on procedures and processes...then asking them why they had to do it that particular way. Folks got smart, and they did it by thinking and pondering.

After reading through the fundamentals of this period....I kinda wonder what would have happened to me if I had read up on Socrates and Letters of Seneca back when I was 16 years old. If my history teacher had wasted an entire semester discussing this....rather than the continual saga of American history, which got repeated four times over six years....I might have gone a different direction in life.

A Trend With Implications

Over the past six north Alabama, there have been two mass family killings. The first occurred with a high school associate of mine...with her son, her sister-in-law, and her niece being killed by her brother. This episode of the past week....was over near Huntsville. Same kinda deal....wife and near-by family killed by a husband. Not a lot of details. Local folks are a bit spooked by this because it wasn’t the typical “just-shoot-the-wife-only” scenario that they are used to.

A society change perhaps?

I’m going to suggest two things that are underway and likely going to create a new dynamic in every local town. First, folks are reacting to stress in a totally different fashion than they did thirty years ago. Between relationship disturbances, spiraling economics, head-to-head encounters with families, and legal fights that go into five different directions....folks have finally peaked out on multi-tasking living.

Second, while the cops don’t want to get into this detail....the meth and drug connection. These guys are doping up and getting a one-mistake mindset. You walk into a grocery...say the wrong thing to “Snuffy” over in aisle six near the muffins, and then he just looks at you. You leave the store and get half-way home....then “Snuffy” pulls up even with you and fires a shot your way. The cops never want to do a drug test on these guys....because it’d just confuse the jury later.

I’ll go and forecast that we start seeing one of these episodes in the state every single month. We’ll eventually have to carrying pistols with us when we go to Piggly Wiggly or just to the gas station. Got bad relations going on with in-law who might be a meth-head? Best to have a gun around. Going to the CO-OP to get some paint? Carry a gun. Your sister-in-law acting nutty and violent? Carry a gun.

Something ain’t right about this situation.