Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/plato-at-the-googleplex-summary/
Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away
Plato’s name is still relevant in the modern world. How can an ancient philosopher’s ideas still be applied to everyday life?
Who Should Read “Plato at the Googleplex” and Why?“Plato at the Googleplex” is a book about contemporary issues that we encounter in our everyday lives, perceived through the prism of Plato’s questioning.
It explains his thoughts on ethics, love, and education, and shows the readers why his reasoning remains relevant even in a world where everything seems to be changing overnight.
We recommend it to all philosophy buffs as well as to those that want to find out the right questions that will lead them to the knowledge that Google cannot answer.
About Rebecca Newberger GoldsteinRebecca Newberger Goldstein is an award-winning and bestselling author. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
She writes both fiction and non-fiction.
"Plato at the Googleplex Summary"If you had ever taken a philosophy class in your life, you might have wondered why you are studying about the thoughts of people that do not belong in this time, and whose ideas are inapplicable in today’s world.
But is it so?
Indeed, some parts of the ideas of many philosophers are not suited and are hardly understood living in today’s democracy, but there are those parts that touch and explain perennial topics that will always be of importance.
Take for example, Plato.
His stand about the position of slaves and open sexism do seem barbaric from the modern day “democratic” perspective; we will not argue about that.
However, he has written several works in which he tackles the question of how we should live and how do we find out who we are.
Plato does not give many answers in his writings – instead he poses many relevant questions that people can use to question themselves and find the answers within.
Take for example The Republic. It is a text that wonders what kind of political organization of the society is the best. Of course, Plato did not know this for sure – we still struggle to find the answer after so much time tried and failed political systems.
Then, there is the Symposium which tries to reveal the meaning of love and all the responsibilities love brings.
Now, why would we need advice from someone who lived so long before our time, when we have the knowledge of science which presents proven facts about this world?
Well, not all things in this world can be resolved by science.
Plato’s thoughts help people question themselves and the world and arrive at conclusions and answers on their own. This is also known as the Socratic method, which consists of posing questions to a partner to make him or her think and come to specific answers.
Did you know that this kind of teaching is still used in law schools when examining cases?
But Plato did not utilize questions just to make his subjects come to new knowledge – he also wanted to challenge their reasoning.
He believed that their knowledge is only useful if they can explain it, and if they fail at it, they are nothing more than ignorant.
Of course, Plato was affected by the time he was living in and the cultural norms during that time – that is why sometimes we do not entirely understand his thoughts.
However, whenever he did not agree with something he was not afraid to challenge and transform it.
So, in his dialogues, he problematized the values that were ruling society during ancient times, and that he found problematic.
One example is the way he decided to redefine extraordinariness, which was a goal for many people during his time.
People thought that strength and emulation of gods are extraordinary. However, he did not agree – he believed that exceptional experience could be achieved only by continually improving ourselves, the responses to our environment and our reasoning.
He also did not base his belief in the strength of gods – instead he based it on reason and continuous questioning.
Another thing that is interesting about Plato is that he made a difference between mass information and deep knowledge.
Just think about it, googling something may give you information, but it will not make you an expert in a field.
Also, what such mass knowledge will not teach people is what is actually the right way or the best way to live life.
Why is that?
Because t=such mass knowledge is rated not by its value but by the number of references on the web that it has.
Key Lessons from “Plato at the Googleplex”1. You Can Google Information, But Not Deep Knowledge 2. Education Should Be a Basis for Further Adaptation 3. Love, According to Plato is the Foundation of All Human Relationships
You Can Google Information, But Not Deep KnowledgeWhen you google things, you reach mass information, which is not the same as gaining real in-depth knowledge. Also, the results that appear in your search will not be the “best” but the one that had the most impressions. That is why the answers to the perennial questions lie somewhere else.
Education Should Be a Basis for Further AdaptationWe need to learn things, but we should not stick blindly to them. Instead, we need to develop a skill of critical thinking and thus adapt the knowledge we gained to our individual character.
Love, according to Plato is the Foundation of All Human RelationshipsPlato believed that love is the basis for all human relationships. He did not think about romantic love only, but to love towards everything and everyone, with varying levels of intimacy.
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"Plato at the Googleplex Quotes"[bctt tweet="If we don't understand our tools, then there is a danger we will become the tool of our tools. We think of ourselves as Google's customers, but really we're its products." username="get12min"]
[bctt tweet=“Children, who have so much to learn in so short a time, had involved the tendency to trust adults to instruct them in the collective knowledge of our species, and this trust confers survival value.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet="As Plato: We become more worthy the more we bend our minds to the impersonal. We become better as we take in the universe, thinking more about the largeness that it is and laugh about the smallness that is us. " username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Everybody makes excuses for themselves they wouldn’t be prepared to make for other people.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“How can those who possess all knowledge, which must include knowledge of life that is worth living, be interested in using knowledge only for the insignificant aim of making money?” username=“get12min”]
Our Critical ReviewPhilosophy is not dead.
All readers of this book will agree. Once you read what Plato did, you will understand why he is important so long after his death.