19.322 contemplation and computing

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2005 07:52:54 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 322.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: "Donald Weinshank" <weinshan_at_cse.msu.edu> (56)
         Subject: RE: 19.321 contemplation and computing

   [2] From: Stan Ruecker <sruecker_at_UALBERTA.CA> (5)
         Subject: Re: 19.321 contemplation and computing

         Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 07:46:38 +0100
         From: "Donald Weinshank" <weinshan_at_cse.msu.edu>
         Subject: RE: 19.321 contemplation and computing

Willard wrote:

Let us suppose, as so many of our predecessors (including Plato) have
similarly concluded, that Today's Youth is going to hell in a
handbasket while talking on its mobile phone. Is not our job as
teachers to reach this youth where it lives and open up the
possibilities for a better life by addressing its way of being?

One of my memorable moments in academe was going as a faculty representative
to an MSU Commencement at which Father Hesburgh of Notre Dame spoke. He
began, "The youth are rioting in the street. They show no respect for their
elders." For those of us not as adept with primary sources as Willard,
Bartleby dot Com attributes it to Plato who attributes it to Socrates.


QUOTATION: The children now love luxury; they have bad manners,
contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in
place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their
households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict
their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table,
cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.\

ATTRIBUTION: Attributed to SOCRATES by Plato, according to William L. Patty
and Louise S. Johnson, Personality and Adjustment, p. 277 (1953).

This passage was very popular in the 1960s and its essence was used by the
Mayor of Amsterdam, Gijsbert van Hall, following a street demonstration in
1966, as reported by The New York Times, April 3, 1966, p. 16.

This use prompted Malcolm S. Forbes to write an editorial on youth.-Forbes,
April 15, 1966, p. 11. In that same issue, under the heading "Side Lines,"
pp. 5-6, is a summary of the efforts of researchers and scholars to confirm
the wording of Socrates, or Plato, but without success. Evidently, the
quotation is spurious.

GOOGLE search says


The quote is commonly attributed to Socrates, but apparently there is
no conclusive evidence that he actually said it. The Library of
Congress notes that this quote is "attributed to Socrates by Plato"...

The quote may have come from Plato's Republic Book 4, where Socrates
is quoted saying the following regarding things that he thinks have
been neglected: "I mean such things as these: - when the young are to
be silent before their elders; how they are to show respect to them by
standing and making them sit; what honour is due to parents; what
garments or shoes are to be worn; the mode of dressing the hair;
deportment and manners in general. You would agree with me? - Yes."


Here's another one:

"I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond
words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and
respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise
[disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

=> I have been sustained in the Academy over the years by the (evidently
false) belief that these quotes are correct. I feel like my intellectual
teddy bear has just been snatched away.

Dr. Don Weinshank Professor Emeritus Comp. Sci. & Eng.
1520 Sherwood Ave., East Lansing MI 48823-1885
Ph. 517.337.1545 FAX 517.337.1665

         Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 07:47:26 +0100
         From: Stan Ruecker <sruecker_at_UALBERTA.CA>
         Subject: Re: 19.321 contemplation and computing

In this connection I often think of a story that if memory serves
(alas, what odds) Kurt Vonnegut tells, about a royal astronomer. He
runs to the king to explain that the universe is ending, because the
stars are going out. It is, however, only his eyes that are failing.
So Vonnegut proposes the term "royal astronomy" for this tendency.

- Stan
Received on Fri Oct 07 2005 - 03:23:31 EDT

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