“He’ll work at physical exercises in order to arouse the spirited part of his nature, rather than to acquire the physical strength for which other athletes diet and labor.
It looks as though they [the wise] established both [higher studies, and physical training] for the sake of the soul.”
For Plato ‘education’ is whole-person formation. It should have a laser-like focus on the profound reality of a well turned-out human being. And it is life long.
Physical training, in some form, is an essential element for all of us. Things of the body have their importance from their relation to things of the soul. Always. So bodily training takes its primary measure from how it serves the highest aspects of the human vocation.
Physical exercise strengthens not only the body but also a part of us Plato calls the ‘spirited part.’ Properly formed this part is to be a key helper to our rational part in the project of life.
We might call it an interior toughness—a toughness that can be used for good or for ill. It is not an end in itself, but it can and should be cultivated in any holistic approach to personal formation.
Some form of this training is within reach of all of us–whether a more complete exercise program or just daily walking, or cold showers.
And by a deep magic those things that are good for our bodily health are also good for our ‘spirit’ in more than one way. Especially when pursued for the best reasons.
~ ~ ~
Plato (427-347 B.C.), a student of Socrates, and teacher of Aristotle, is considered one of the greatest philosophers of all time. The Republic is one of the most widely read and influential of all books.
Join the Community.
Become a LifeCraft Member and gain access to our online courses and exclusive content. It's FREE of charge. Period.
If you join as a contributing member, you will help make this content available to an increasing audience and enable me to spend more time in this work. I thank you in advance.
Join the LifeCraft community today and get access to:
- Man of the Household (Course)
- Woman of the Household (Course)
- Concepts Made Clear (Mini-course)
- Dinner at Home (Mini-course)
Friendship and the Conversations that Really Matter
“One must always tell what one sees.” Charles Peguy So many great conversations never happen. There is nothing like sharing insights with a friend into things that matter, and even things that don’t matter so much. But why is it so difficult? One of the great...
What Makes Home a Home
The words ‘home at last’ are uniquely powerful. The desire to be at home is so deeply rooted in us that we don’t question it. If we see these words on a tombstone we scarcely notice; or we smile and think, of course. In the end where else would one want to be? It is...
Hospitality: Finding Our Way Home
It is perhaps a sign of our times that we speak of a hospitality ‘industry.’ Rooms-for-the-night and meals away from home can certainly be bought and sold. But hospitality is something no exchange of money will ever effect. Hospitality is intimately tied with being...
Husband, father, and professor of Philosophy. LifeCraft springs from one conviction: there is an ancient wisdom about how to live the good life in our homes, with our families; and it is worth our time to hearken to it. Let’s rediscover it together. Learn more.
That seems to me to hit the nail on the head. Any of the three forms of physical exertion mentioned above always awaken a certain liveliness required for the full flourishing of virtuous activity within the soul. It aligns the emotions with a newly acquired keenness and sharpness of the mind and breaks the dull circular pattern of the sleepiness and sluggishness caused by spiritual sloth.
Thanks very much Tommy.