Monday, March 7, 2011

Reflection 3: Greed Good, Morally Challenged Bad

Reflection 3
Today we had a guest speaker named Professor O’Neil. He is a very interesting personality, and he is a great example in himself with the subject matter for which he pertains. He spoke to us about the Greeks, and their pursuit of perfect persuasion. He told us that most Athenians could read and write and this helped to enhance their power of speech in the public arena. He told us that the Acropolis broke the bank in this land that was 95% agriculture. This was a polis or “city state” and they lived in an urban environment surrounded by farmland. The Greeks were very competitive and they thought very highly of themselves. They prided themselves and judged people by their physical and mental capabilities.
The professor then talked about rhetoric and to be good rhetoric it had to be memorable and appealing. To better themselves they would hire a sophist to teach them the art of rhetoric and speech. He said that there are basically two types of argument. These are the epagoge and dialectic arguments.
Epagoge (induction)
Example: If every time a student drank an energy drink they fall over. Then they should not drink it!
Dialectic (syllogism) Declarative sentence, subject predicate, true or false
Example: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal.
After the lecture we reassembled at the classroom. Professor Wexler showed us a clip from the movie “Wallstreet” and Michael Douglas’ character explains how greed is good. The class was asked to try to create a dialectic argument to prove that greed is good. I thought about this for some time that night. I thought about it on the long drive home. I came up with the following:
The characteristic of greed has been demonized by many as a shameful way to behave in society. They have no gratitude for the advancements it has helped to achieve and they blame it for all that have fallen in the race. All creatures possess the greed gene for without it they would fall. If a lion ignores its inner greed the lion is last to the kill and therefore receives only scraps. The scraps may sustain the lion but it will grow weaker as others grow stronger. The stronger lions have cubs that utilize their greed to get as much of the kill as possible and the lion that ignores his greed gets even less scraps then before. Soon there are no scraps left for the lion that has ignored his greed. The lion has failed to support his existence and starves.
Every advancement in human society has greed to thank for it.
Greed is just another word for motivation.
Society cannot advance without motivation.
Advancements in society are good, therefore greed is good.
When greed is utilized by those with no moral compass many blame greed for the outcome. Perhaps greed should not take the blame but instead the blame should be focused on those that lack a moral compass.

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