This essay will discuss how can we apply metaphysics to our daily life as students, including activities and philosophical situations that take place through the week. The writing will have a special focus on metaphysics, on how it highly impacts and relates to a high school student’s daily life, by using tools regarding this topic by Alain Badiou, Van Inwagen, Plato, Aristotle and The Matrix.
Philosophy is the invention of new problems, however not all situations can be philosophically analyzed. That is why a current philosopher from metaphysics explains in his text “The Event” how are these situations identified, because currently a very crucial and polemique problem is that most of people think that philosophical situations are constantly affecting us in every single thing we do, which leads most people to mistaken normal standpoints as philosophical situations. Due to that, the author of “Thinking the Event ” has made this writing to help people to stop using the term philosophy wrong. The three aspects that differ a normal standpoint with a philosophical situation are choice, distance and break. The first aspect means either picking to think or not thinking, when a complex and not regular situation takes place, which means choosing to research and get to know well the problem, or leave it how it is and walk away; the second requisite for a philosophical situation is the distance, which is the comparison of the actual situation which is commonly detected as the truth and its farness from the power, which in regular situation there is no real distance or disagreement; the last condition is the break, which basically is to realize and accept how different is the event from reality as we know it.
Cyber bullying and bullying are new problems that have grown exponentially in the twenty first century, because of the constant invention of technology and social networks. The stage of high school is a highly concentrated area of both types of bullying and other forms of molesting, however all of these according to the program of Bullying Stops With Me, one out of four students is bullied, from which eighty percent of the times ends in physical aggression. To identify if this is a philosophical situation, the three requirements need to be present. The first one is the choice to think or not to, of why the bully is attacking the bullied; the second one is to find the distance between power and truth, in this case the power represented by the bully who is doing this because of any type of problems he has internally, that he projects towards the bullied, who represents the truth that has no reason to deserve the treatment of this teenager; the third is the break, which is being able to differ how bullying by this boy is so far from the ideal situation where he has no real problems with the bullied, who has to deal with the aggressive discharges from the damaged kid. The three conditions for a philosophical situation to be detected have been successfully proven, in a given event in a high school student’s life.
This has been an example of a daily problem that many students experience in their studies at school, which after analysis it has been able to be categorized as a philosophical situation. After knowing how to differentiate regular problems from philosophical situations, it is easier to go deeper into philosophy and learn from one of its branches, which is metaphysics. Van Inwagen defines metaphysics as the study of ultimate reality, which shows a brief explanation of the topic, but still it contains a deep meaning in each word that conforms this definition given by the author. One great mind of this branch of philosophy is Plato, student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, who has deeply influenced many authors and philosophy as we know it today. Many high school students go through a very rough stage in their lives where the image of each person is always compared with the ideal one.
These images are created or known through the ones that photoshop editors pick as perfect. They have a huge impact on the lives of high school students, which have created a substantial amount of problems to junior high students such as anorexia and bulimia among other problems because of the authors and editors and the figures that they have created to be the perfect ones and the ones that everybody should aspire to be. Plato discusses the ideal form or intelligible world and its influence on matter. This point taken by the greek philosopher relates to the perfect picture earlier discussed, of how the ideal image of a woman or man should be, which in consequence affects the matter or the scholars on their body, because they want to resemble to those icons that the editors have created. This point is also taken by the movie of The Matrix when Neo is in the white room, seen as the residual image (perfect form of himself) which can be related to the ideal model that the world has created of the human body, compared to the natural apppearence when he is in the real world, where he appears bold and his body is different.
The relation of the photoshop form, the residual and the figure on the Matrix from the intelligible (Plato) world are things that highly influence a student’s life, which show how we are strange prisoners from these images, because these pupils are not common prisoners with shackles and in a prison as Plato mentions on his text The Allegory Of The Cave. Plato mentions the phrase “We are strange prisoners” because of the uncommon slavery that the world has made us be. This philosopher who lived thousands of years ago saw this polemique, that back then was present and after centuries it still is present in a high school student’s life and in a movie such as The Matrix. The film shows everyone as a prisoner from the program (the matrix), that was made by the machines to have all humans controlled so that they could take their energy. Taking into account this motion picture earlier mentioned, there is a relation between the real lives of each person in the matrix with the prisoners of The Allegory of the Cave.
This text is about slaves shackled without any movement, who have been like that all of their lives, inside a cave where they see these shadows and a stories about them on a wall before them, with a fire behind to illuminate these shapes. One day the master decides to free one of the slaves who is taken outside the cave by force. Once the prisoner is out it narrates how difficult it is for him to get used to the light of the sun and the unusual world before him. For him to be able to adjust to these changes he starts by just seeing shadows, from that the moon and at the end the Sun. After his experience he gets back to the cave and he tells the other slaves what he lived and experienced, who later mocked him. At the end he gets to the conclusion that he rather be a poor servant with that knowledge than back in the shadows with ignorance. The Allegory of the Cave has six important symbolisms that relate to the lives of many high school students. The first one is the cave, which is the society, the knowledge and costumes that most of the people consider as the absolute truth; the second is the fire, representing the knowledge that society gives to each person, which shape many lives of scholars through their acceptance of these; the third one is the prisoners that symbolizes the students; the fourth is the shadows, that are the things that learners think they know, which are perceived through their senses; the fifth is the shackles, representing the comfort zone where undergraduates stay due to the fear of being judged; the final is the light, where they can actually find the real knowledge.
These symbolisms represent to be part of many of the lives that high school students have through their three years of study, because a great amount of these undergraduates constantly accept rules or truths that others implement on them. These situations reveal one very important problem that they experience when they try to belong to a group. They take the information that group gives them (fire symbolism) and that’s what they use as reference point to other activities they face through their day. As consequence they become strange prisoners from that information that is given to them, not allowing them to come out to the light (real knowledge) and experience the real world, which is way to different and more filled up with information about the world. In some cases there are students that notice that they are slaves of information that the groups give them and they decide to leave all that information behind and experience the real world, however for many it is very hard to get accustomed to the real world and its information due to the dramatic change, which in consequence leads them back to the world of shadows. Another greek philosopher named Aristotle, who made a huge impact on western philosophy discusses on his studies the four causes that lead a person to be virtuous.
These causes are the material (material of what and object is composed of), the formal (the potentiality of what it can become or work for), the efficient (tools that shape the object) and the final (its purpose). These four causes are the ones that through reason lead people to accomplish their total actuality (ultimate purpose). The four causes are deeply related to a scholar’s life, as does any other human being, which can lead them to be virtuous people through the completion of the stages, however when teenagers try to fit in a club the causes seem to be farther away because of the shape that their lives take once they commit to belong to a group. High school is about fitting in and belonging to a society, where he or she relates to the people within, nonetheless these people usually try to belong to the high and social groups, which dictate a set of norms in order to be part of it. These rules are usually doing drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and relationships with the opposite gender. They usually lead the subject to an acceptable place within the group, yet these requisites lead the person to move further apart from their causes and to a virtuous life. Peer pressure assumes an important role in this case, principally because the teenager desires so bad to belong, that he or she will do anything to accomplish their goal.
This situation has created polemique, because once you enter high school no person wishes to be at the bottom, without being recognized socially, which builds another wall between the subject and the final cause depending on the type of group that a person wants to belong to and how far are the ideologies of the group from the ones of the person. Van Inwagen, a metaphysician debate on how appearances tend to be deceptive and that reality stands behind all these appearances. These, disguise the reality and they do this type of “scheme” through the misleading of what people sense. Many social groups and images that photoshop has ideally formed have highly disguised the truth of perfect and ideal body. In the case of groups they show how not having parents is better (appearance), yet these people suffer of psychological problems and loneliness (reality) which they tend to hide with the amazingness of not having elderly people caring for you, leading scholars to have problems with their parents because of the attention and concern that they have for them that it is bad seen in the teen society.
Another case that can relate to the point of Van inwagen of appearances being deceptive is drinking and smoking, which is seen in social high school groups to be fine and without consequences (appearances), however drinking and drugs are another way to balance their lack of attention in parenthood (reality). For photoshop they disguise these models with perfect body, teeth, hair, skin among other things when the reality is that these models just stand there and let the photographers take pictures of them, which later are incredibly edited and placed on magazines and big announcements that serve the purpose of projecting an ideal form to sell advertisements among other things. Another important situation of an undergraduate is the effort and results they tend to have at school. Many students consider high school as a social network that leads them to a happy stage of their lives by partying and skipping classes, nonetheless they forget the importance of their education when they fail classes, which can be occasionally improved, however the way that students deal with failure is why they cannot succeed.
Plato teacher of Aristotle debates that an unexamined life is not worth living because even though people experience some discomfort or pain this is only temporary and it is worth it due to what comes next. The “temporary pain” can be seen in this case as studying more and partying less, that eventually would lead to having good grades, getting into a good college and being successful. Yet if they remain in an unexamined life of ignorance they will live a different type of pain, which will remain there for all of their lives. This last phrase of different type of pain is related to a scholar’s life when he fails classes and eventually school, leaving him without his or her studies, leading to a bad employment and misery. That is why in the Allegory of the Cave, Plato in his conversation with Glaucon mentions how the slave that was set free and comes back to the cave says that he would rather live being a poor servant of a poor master with all the knowledge that back in the shadows.
This shows in the student’s life that if he went out to the real world and saw what he could become and the truth about it, he would not rather be an ignorant teen that only parties who remains in the shadows because he can not see what can happen if he remains the same. To conclude this essay, it has been seen the different aspects that a teenager boy or girl on high school can have and how are they related to the different authors and movie of metaphysics. These authors have one thing in common which is seeking the truth, however their methods to guide them to the goal differ. The two main authors are of greek background, Aristotle and Plato.
Aristotle focuses his methods and theory on the sensible realm and later on the intelligible realm, unlike Plato who uses these concepts the other way around focusing on the world of forms or ideal world and its influence on the natural realm. It is for each person to decide the view on which they stand, which could be philosophy being a set of footnotes of Plato; Aristotle being superior than Plato, because he took Plato’s ideas and improved them; or Plato focuses on abstract ideas and Aristotle is concentrated on concrete objects and its development, changes and purposes. This views are for each person to the decide focusing mainly on undergraduates and their philosophical situations and how they wish to deal with them by either choosing one of the views or remaining in the shadows.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Cohen, Marc. The Allegory of the Cave. 11 July 2013. 12 September 2014 <https://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/cave.htm>. Cohen, S. Marc. Aristotle’s Metaphysics. 11 June 2012. 12 September 2014 <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-metaphysics/>. Paul, John. 2 July 2013. 11 September 2014 <http://2011bullyingprogram.weebly.com/bullying-statistics.html >. Stanford Universuty. Metaphysics. 10 September 2007. 11 September 2014 <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/>. Thesaurus.com. Synonims. <http://www.thesaurus.com/browse>. Unknown. Notes on Alain Badiou’s Thinking the Event. 22 June 2012. 12 September 2014 <http://de-bel-aizin.tumblr.com/post/25651855872>.