Western Civilization 1, Week 4 Writing Assignment.

1. What was the disagreement Socrates had with the Sophists?  The Sophists were a group of Greek teachers who believed there was no absolute truth.  They believed that truth is relative.  They mainly taught rhetoric, however, while the Sophists taught people to be persuasive through use of rhetoric, they did not place significance in the idea they were trying to persuade.  The famous philosopher, Socrates disagreed with what the Sophists were doing.  They believed that there was no absolute good, and no absolute bad, that each individual must determine good or bad for him or her self.  Socrates was in search of the absolute truth; e.g. what is justice? They did not look for the truth, because they had no absolute truth, Socrates disagreed with this.

2. What was Plato’s point in his allegory of the cave?  Plato wrote his philosophy in the form of dialogues, almost like plays.  One of the most famous of these, was his allegory of the cave.  He paints a mental image of men who are blind to reality, who only see the lower materialistic world.

Plato believed there was a higher world and a lower world.  The lower world is that of objects; the world we live in and perceive.  The higher world is that of the forms that are the models and guidelines of the material objects we see.  The forms are not something we can perceive.  For instance, there are many different kinds of cups, but they are all based on one idea we have of what a cup should be.  In his allegory of the cave, he demonstrates that men are ignorant to the higher world of the forms, and that they are satisfied with the past present and future of the material world.  He believed that the highest form of contemplation was to contemplate the unchanging.  The group of men in the cave that he created a mental image of, refused to challenge this thought, and let themselves settle with what changed.

Reasons Offered in the Psalms for Long-term Optimism.

The book of Psalms is the longest book in the bible, and perhaps one of the most influential on modern society.  This collection of literary praises, demonstrates faithful men who remained faithful in both good times, and times of deep despair.  It is clear through this text that these faithful people looked to the future, and had reasons for long-term optimism.

It is indicated that God is sovereign, and this is consistent throughout the Psalms.  To start, it is important to understand the meaning of sovereignty: “Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies.”  With that in mind, the Psalms convey that God is the ultimate, there is nothing higher than God.  God is therefore the ultimate good.  Personally, I believe that God created man, and gave man a sense of morality.  In making decisions, man knows what is right and what is wrong.  However, he also gave man free will.  Thus man has the ability to make his own choices.  While the ideal would be to obey God, this is a choice for the individual to make.  What is it that inspires the individual to choose obedience towards God; good over evil?  What were the reasons for the long-term optimism of the faithful?

There is a connection between the law of God and the sanctions of God.  It is a simple idea, obedience towards God, will result in positive sanctions from God.  If God is the sovereign being, then these positive sanctions from God are the ultimate reward that man can attain.  This hope that faith and obedience of man towards God, is a significant reason for long-term optimism.  If you obey God, He will deliver you.

This long-term optimism was only rejoiced in by the individuals who remained faithful and obedient to God.  In the Psalms, there is military language that implies the faithful were delivered by God from the evildoers who refused to dwell in the house of the Lord.  Not all men possessed this long term optimism, there were those who disobeyed the laws of God.  These evildoers did not receive the historical deliverance that the faithful received.  Those who refuse to bow before God, who rebel against His name, were inflicted by God with negative sanctions.

Regarding sanctions, there is sufficient motivation for man to look to God in times of despair and remain faithful and pure in the eyes of God.  Every man has an idea of morals; what they believe is good and what they believe is not moral.  This may or may not coordinate with the law of God, because man has free will, however, if man’s morals do not coordinate with the laws of God, he will be inflicted with negative sanctions.  God intervenes, if man cannot be stronger than the temptations of evil, God will intervene.

The idea of faith and obedience towards God, and in return eternal reward, is, in my opinion, the fundamental reason offered in the book of Psalms for long-term optimism.

My favorite product-based company.

There are countless different types companies that provide a large array of products and services to individuals around the world.  All of these businesses can be categorized in one or both of two categories: product, or service.

A service-based company, such as Uber, a lawyer, or a plumber, offer a professional service.  Select services could be done without these companies but a majority of the population would rather hire the work to someone else.

A product-based company, such as Amazon, Walmart, or Barnes and noble, provide products.  Some select product-based companies, manufacture and distribute their products, while others have suppliers from which they get their products and then they distribute to buyers.

Determining my favorite product-based company is a hard decision, however, it would have to be Amazon.com.  It is really handy to have a reliable online platform that carries nearly every imaginable item sold on amazon.  Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, did a remarkable job in creating and developing an effective online shopping platform.  Amazon offers opportunity for other smaller businesses to distribute their products, and it also offers opportunity for individuals, such as bloggers, to earn money by promoting their products.

Amazon manufactures some of their products, but a majority of products are sold by businesses and individuals, through the Amazon platform.  Amazon is like an online mall, only, way bigger than any physical mall.  Amazon was an innovative idea, that has created a unique online community that has been a huge convenience to many people (including me) throughout their daily lives.

The growth of an organism explained on a cellular level.

“You are probably taller now than you were 4 years ago. What, specifically, caused you to become taller? Explain what happened on a cellular level.”

The cell is the basic unit of life.  Anything smaller than a cell; unable to perform the jobs of the cell, is not a form of life.  Cells are what larger organisms are made of.  Having the ability to understand life on a cellular level allows us to understand the larger organisms.

In terms of human growth, what happens on a cellular level?  Over a time period of, in this case, 4 years, what happens inside a child’s body that causes them to grow taller?  Cells themselves do not grow beyond a certain point, as they would get so large that the systems inside the cell would no longer function properly.  Think of an infant, if they had the same cells from infancy to adulthood, and the cells just grew, the cells would be incredibly large and unable to function properly.  What happens?  The cells actually duplicate.  The cells split, through a process called mitosis, which creates a genetically identical cell.

There are two different phases of the cell cycle, the mitotic phase which is where mitosis occurs, and the inter-phase, during the times when the cell is just carrying out the job it is designed to do.  The cells know what phase to be in because they receive messages from other cells.  The outer membrane of the cell is covered with receptors, that receive messages that “tell” the receiving cell about other cell activity, and this tells the cell what phase it should be in.  The cells in an organism work together systematically to carry out growth, healing, and many other purposes of the organism.

Harry Browne’s 5 point sales process.

Harry Browne, in his book The Secret of Selling Anything, Browne presents a 5-step formula that has given the advertising industry a new perspective.  Browne has created a method of selling as a service.  Find out what the customer wants, and help him get it.

  1. Discover the prospect’s motivation.  Ask questions.  Make time and effort to listen to the problems and demands of the prospect.  It is important to identify, or help him to identify, his motivation, this will lead to the next step of the process.
  2. Summarize the motivation. Repeat the motivation of the buyer back to him, and agree with it.  Define it to him or her and give them an opportunity to agree.  This builds a unique trust, the buyer now feels significant because the salesperson took the time to listen to and make an effort to understand his motivation.
  3. Present your product (or service) based on his wants.  At this point, the buyer wants to know if the product will fulfill their needs.  They do not care about ALL the revolutionary features this product or service includes.  Present the relevant benefits that will motivate the buyer first.  The salesperson needs to focus on the buyer’s motivation, and present it based on what the buyer needs to achieve.
  4. Answer his questions.  Most buyers will have objections and doubts, it is the job of the salesperson to help the buyer understand the offer.  Do not ever twist the truth, give them real facts.  It is crucial that the salesperson knows the product or service, and is willing to go out of the way to answer the prospect’s questions.
  5. Close the sale.  End the process with a call to action, and continue to answer any questions that might arise.  If the product or service fulfills the prospect’s needs, this final step should be easy.

This basic process has been proven to attain loyal customers.  The focus of the sale should be on the benefit that satisfies the needs of the buyer.

The Significance of Ancient Greece and the Pre-Socratic’s in Western Civilization.

What is the significance of ancient Greece in Western civilization?  Often, we look at ancient Greece and see a culture far different than anything we see in any form of modern civilization.  However, ancient Greece had a lot of significance in building the  modern world we live in.  This was the first culture to really pursue human reason.   human reason is the one feature that sets humans apart from all of the other creatures. This development of human reason, and the first individuals to apply this human reason, shaped western civilization. There are few brief accounts that modern day scholars have been able to decipher, and from that, we can see that these were real people with real values.

Why is pre-Socratic philosophy significant?  The pre-Socratic philosophers lived in the 6th century B.C., and they were the first recorded philosophers to use their human reason ask questions about life’s existence.  Many of their philosophies are far-fetched, and hard to process.  Their “wacky” answers were not what made them significant, it is the fact that they asked the questions in the first place that is significant.  They were the first group of people to challenge the process and existence of life.  Each one of these individuals had their own theory.  It is really impressive, these people had nothing to base their reason on, and they used human reason to dig deeper and try to learn more.  While they were mostly incorrect in their philosophy, they devoted their lives to finding out what really happened, and without any confirmed facts, that is remarkable.

How important is the concept of historical sanctions in the Psalms?

The book of Psalms is the longest book in the bible.  This collection of praises, is an important account that has established foundations in modern day Christian beliefs.  The concept of historical sanctions is a re-occurring theme throughout the Psalms.

When reading the text, there is a noticeable poetic aspect.  It is easy to think of this as a book of poetic praises, and not challenge the thought of the meaning and representation of these Psalms. However, this book delivers an important literary concept between God and man.

An obvious theme, is that God is above history, and those that obey the law of God are protected and delivered in history.  The righteous found favor in God’s judgment, while the acts of the wicked were despised by God.  God inflicted historical sanctions based on the obedience of man towards God.

As for the righteous, their faith in God was their shield in times of despair.  The righteous received protection and deliverance, while the wicked, received negative reward from the hand of God.  With the idea of God as the ultimate being, sovereign over all things, this is a very logical concept, basic to most ideas of religeon.

From simply reading the Psalms, it is not obvious what historical events are taking place, it was not really intended to be a historical account.  The historical importance taken from the book of Psalms, is the foundational relationship between God and man; how men were delivered in history because of their faith.  A portion of these Psalms were written by David, who was a significant historical figure.  His accounts were in relation to his faith and praises in God, and how God supported him in times of despair, and how God rewarded the obedience of David.

The theme of God being ultimate justice, was basic to this collection of writings.  The God of Israel is all merciful, but He is also all just.  The righteous who obey the law of God, will desire his judgement, as they are inflicted positive sanctions.  The wicked, who see themselves as beyond the requirement to obey God’s laws, will be inflicted with negative sanctions.   God is predictable and reliable in history if man will turn to him and pray to him and humble themselves before him.

The interpretation of this form of biblical language can be dangerous, as several different meanings could be derived from it.  The author could mean something, completely different from what scholars, or any individual who later reads it, interprets from the text.  In the Psalms, there is a lot of imagery used, and it is often odd to modern language.  In this scenario, it is easy to derive a meaning, and take it to heart, but it is important to be cautious in doing this, that we do not interpret a different meaning.

In conclusion, historical sanctions were majorly significant in the Psalms.  The concept of God’s judgement is based on sanctions.  Men with bad ethics, received negative sanctions, and were deprived from protection and deliverance in history.

Western Civilization, lesson 10 essay.

1. Minoan Crete. The history of the Minoan Crete is vague due to lack of archeological evidence.  But it has been proven that this civilization existed and archeologists have found evidence that leads to insights into their civilization.  The Minoan civilization developed and ruled the island of Crete from approximately 3600 to 1400 B.C..  The civilization was lost for a period of time, until the late 19th century, when it was “re-discovered” by British archeologist, Sir Arthur Evans.

This civilization is named after a figure from Greek legend “King Minos of Crete,”  Sir Evans gave them the name “Minoan Crete” because there is no documentation on what they called themselves.  Scholars are unsure of many aspects of this civilization because of lack of literature that present day scholars are able to decipher.

We know little about their religion, but from the art and drawings of the civilization, it is obvious that bulls were of significance.  It is believed that the Minoans were a peaceful civilization, there is no archeological or liturgical evidence that the civilization engaged in wars.  However, evidence was found that leads us to believe that the Minoans offered human sacrifices.  Human sacrifice was not peaceful, but it was found in almost all ancient civilizations.

2. Mycenaean Greece.
Mycenaean Greece represents the first advanced civilization in mainland Greece.  Mycenaean civilization originated and evolved from the society and culture influenced by the Minoan Crete.  Like the Minoans, there is still a lot that remains mysterious about this civilization that scholars just don’t know.  Mycenaean Greece refers to the entire civilization of Greece at that time period from 1600-1100 B.C. which was very much different from the civilization Greece would later become.  The name Mycenaean comes from the name of the city Mycenae in the north eastern section of the Pelopenniasianns.

It was believed that Greek history began in 800 B.C., scholars did not believe there was anything historically recorded prior to that.  In the 19th century, a German archeologist, Heinrich Schliemann was unsatisfied and was determined to find proof of Greek history prior to 800 B.C..  First, he successfully discovers the city of Troy, and later discovers the Mycenaean civilization, in an attempt to find proof of a Greek civilization earlier than 800 B.C..

Mycenaean Greece appears to have been divided into independent cities, each city ruled by a king.  Evidence suggests that these were very war-like civilizations unlike the Minoans.  It is proven that the civilization traveled and traded widely, this can be found through the discoveries of their art in different civilizations throughout the world.  And finally, sometime around 1100 B.C., the civilization collapsed, there are competing theories as to why, but it still remains mystery.

Ethics and Sanctions regarding Noah and the Flood.

The story of Noah and the flood was an issue of ethics and sanctions. Man lost good ethics and God imposed sanctions according to the infractions of men.

God was angered by the attachment of man to sin.  God is all good, and sin, being an act of evil, drives man away from God.  As a christian, I believe that God is the Creator and is sovereign over all things.

It is fairly simple in context, men had bad ethics, and therefore were inflicted with appropriate sanctions.  Men have free will, and at the time of Noah, man chose to stray away from what is purely good (disobedience towards God).  They received sanctions according to their ethical decisions.  The negative sanction was a flood that would demolish man and beast from the earth.

Noah, however, found favor with God, therefore God chose not to inflict these negative sanctions on Noah.  The favor God found with Noah, extended to Noah’s family.  This gives an example of the foundational culture of a household.  Noah’s obedience to God was possibly shared by Noah’s wife and sons, however, there is no account on this.  It is possible that because God found favor in Noah’s obedience, that the descendants of Noah, would also be pure, and would re-populate the earth.  It is also possible that if Noah was a good man, that God chose to not take Noah’s family.  There is not direct account on this, and interpretation is not accurate when the proper details are not included in the original account.

God gave grace to Noah, and instructed him to build an ark.  He also instructed Noah in bringing animals onto the ark.  When the time for the event of the flood had come, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, and the flood swept man and beast from the face of the earth leaving alive only the menn and beasts that dwelt in the ark.

God signaled to Noah through a dove that the waters had withdrawn from the land, and again, God told man to be fruitful and multiply.

After the flood, God made a covenant with man.  A covenant is an agreement that brings about a relationship between God and his people.  In this covenant, God promised that never again would he repeat the event of the flood.  It is the common belief, that God symbolized this covenant with the rainbow.  Men continued to sin, but this would be settled in a different kind of judgment.  There are different beliefs of the judgment between God and man, but God made a covenant with man that this judgment would never again be the destruction of all mankind.

There were many covenants to follow this one, but this one is considered foundational.  Even among atheists who do not believe in the sovereign God behind this series of events, most of them are familiar with the idea of this covenant.  The story of Noah and the flood, and the covenant is basic to western literature.

 

 

Franchise vs. Independent

Starting a business, though it involves risk, can be a very profitable venture.  There are two different ways for an individual to obtain a business.  There are franchise opportunities, and there is potential opportunity as an independent, both can be very profitable.

With a franchise, the aspiring business owner virtually buys a piece of operation from a bigger cooperate business and operates it in a location.  The cooperate business provides them with inventory plans and provide a detailed blue print.

The cooperate business wants the business to succeed, they suppy the businessman with everything they need and set them up for success.  Depending on the franchise, it can involve a major investment, but there is a high probability of success.  If one wants to avoid the risk of going out on their own, and use an already proven idea, a franchise is a great opportunity.

Independent, or “doing your own thing,” is substantially different.  The aspiring businessman must do everything on their own.  If no one has done it before, it is nearly impossible to know whether the business will survive or not.  While there is more risk, there is also a lot more potential reward for an independent business.  All proceeds go to the business owner.  As an independent, the owner gets to make major business decisions, where as with a franchise, the major decisions are made exclusively by the major brand cooperation.  For the innovative business mind, starting as an independent is the superior option.

Aspiring businessmen should look into both options, and invest time in establishing which kind of business they should start.