Saturday, May 08, 2010

Some thoughts here and there

I finally get to blog! I have been meaning to write this whole week, but every single day something keeps coming up. I had three birthdays this week, and there's always something to do around the house. Plus this week I've been getting up early to go to work early, and I am really tired by the time the kids go to bed, which is when I usually have some spare time to do these things. But I've had these thoughts about these things I want to share here and so here it goes.

Philosophy is for everyone

So last week I finished reading Plato's Republic. Now, that sounds so...intellectual or something, right? well no, it is not, I found Plato deeply approachable. The book is not only about Government, is much more than that.

I can't read a book more than once, but I think I am going to make an exception for the Republic. I have the Spanish edition that belonged to my father and a new copy I just bought when I was at Chicago. Anyway, I would read a chapter in English and then I'd do the same in the Spanish version and I would always find something in the second reading that I somehow missed the first time I read it. I know I probably didn't do a good job of "getting" everything about the book, since the book itself is so rich, and I was reading a few pages right before falling sleep. However, there are a few things that stuck with me.


I remember hearing about this when I took an undergraduate course in philosophy, but when the teacher mentioned the word "justice" I thought about the Judicial system, meaning justice as punishment. But Plato is not about that, it is a dialogue where they discuss what does it mean to be just.

One of the things that I keep thinking about, is the question: is it better to be perceived as just but in actuality not be just? or is it better to actually be just, but perceived as unjust? The issue being, should we be just just for its rewards or is there something good about being just in itself?

In politics and business perception is reality, but we see how CEOs politicians and the like don't always do what they preach, which tells me that they would rather be unjust but be perceived as just, which explains why so many people distrust politicians.

Another thing that caught my attention was how Plato classified people, he divided people by those who love wisdom, those who love money and those who love honor (soldiers).

I see that we all have a little of each, I would say that there are those who seek pleasure, those who seek money, power, fame, and wisdom.

I see the utility and the necessity to have money, and I don't think there is anything wrong in being industrious and seeking to create and accumulate wealth. But the love of money changes people. I turns people into conniving, lying, calculating creatures that lack compassion, I think that greed can be a very bad thing, a person who only loves money and pleasures will never be satisfied.

Same kind of goes for people who seek fame, power, honor, just for their own sake. Those things by themselves do not bring fulfillment. The thing that Plato said that I will carry with me forever, is that the love of wisdom is the best thing we can aim for. It's a simple yet powerful concept.

Another thing that I really liked, and there's a lot gems like these in the book, is the part where it explains that true freedom comes from being able to control the passions of the soul. It seems paradox, but, self-control actually gives us more freedom. When we lack self-discipline we become slaves to our vices and appetites.

Anyway, I highly recommend it to everyone, books like these are classic for a reason, they have survived the test of time. Generations and generations of thinkers have written their ideas but all most of them are either a response to or an echo of what Plato wrote. That's awesome.

Founders at Work

Reading a great book about how some great companies got started. Eye opener. I know that I will never be a businessman, but I will not be ignorant about the subject. I am going to get more knowledge in economics, finance and accounting. I want to know how to read contracts and how to run a business, it will come in handy someday. However, I want to be an engineer all the way, I enjoy making things, but the temptation to start a company has been there, maybe someday...

COP 5555

This week I start the famous compiler class in UF, is my second Computer Science course in Grad school and I can't wait, I actually want to start reading the book now. It can wait though.

Ok everyone, that's all I have. Be good.


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