In my Intellectual Devotional last week, I read that Plato was a student of Socrates. I knew this in the back of my mind somewhere, but it was that sort of information that I had, but didn't know I had it. You know what I mean.
Anyway, under Socrates' influence, Plato divided the soul into three forms that were eventually mirrored by Freud: The appetitive, the spirited, and the rational.
Plato believed that the rational, which seeks to understand the other forms, should dominate. He clearly put a great deal of value in knowledge and understanding (I'm no scholar, but I imagine that sitting through the trial and execution of Socrates played a significant part in that) and he passed that on to one of his well-known students, Aristotle.
Aristotle in turn taught Alexander the Great, who was the subject of yesterday's entry in The Intellectual Devotional. The entry described his military conquests, and the empire he built. It also mentioned something I didn't know: Unlike most conquerors, Alexander the Great did not destroy the existing cultures he conquered. Instead, he assimilated them into his empire, spread his own Greek culture, and created this thing called Hellenism. He clearly put a great value in understanding and knowledge, and after he founded the city of Alexandria in Egypt, the Greeks created the great Library of Alexandria to preserve it.
Okay, so now that the history lesson is done, something to think about: Socrates inspired a respect for knowledge and understanding in his student Plato, who passed that along to his student Aristotle, who clearly instilled those values into his student, Alexander the Great.
Imagine what the ancient world would have been like, and as a result what our world would be like today, if Alexander the Great, one of the most powerful and successful military conquerors in history, had been taught by someone else.
Everything we do matters. Everything we do ripples.