Based on Aristotle’s character descriptions, I would most likely fit the role of the virtuous character. While working as a licensed practical nurse, providing acts of service is continuous, whether it be advocating for patients or providing direct care. When assessing the role in which I compare myself to most, all three elements and functions of character seem to fit like a puzzle. Being a practical nurse incorporates many characteristics such as being a caregiver, patient advocate, and a compassionate truth worthy soul. While some may think that we have many purposes or functions, I believe that we only have one and that is to help people when they cannot help themselves. Although practical nurses do not always cross the finish line of “virtue”, I most certainly strive for excellence most days but not every day is the same. I find that certain instances may cause a conflict between the telos and virtue such as sudden death or exacerbating illness, making it more difficult or almost unachievable to complete the virtue.
My experience a practical nurse has both enhanced and hindered my happiness. The gratitude in helping people when they’re most vulnerable is extremely rewarding mentally and spiritually. There are days when I feel as though I’ve accomplished Eudaimonia in my profession, while other days may consist of overwhelming situations hindering my feelings of fulfilling Eudemonia completely. When Aristotle states “for one swallow does not make a summer. Neither does one day or a short time to make someone blessed and happy”, he’s acknowledging the fact that Eudemonia does not happen overnight. I would imagine that by Aristotle saying this, he’s conveying that Eudemonia is a journey, paved with stepping stones and not achievable overnight.
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave depicts the very beginning of life in a sense that wherever we begin as humans, we rely on our environment and our experiences in such a way, that if we don’t experience something for ourselves, we have a difficult time believing or understanding that specific thing. The prisoners virtuous characteristic is most evident once he is freed from the cave and leaves to explore the outside world, only to come back to share his ultimate findings with the other prisoners back inside the cave. When doing so, this represents a good deed in his own character; willing to share and help with those who are “less fortunate” than himself in that moment. The very moment that the prisoner steps foot into the outside world most likely represents the continent characteristic. After years of being chained up inside of a dark cave, the prisoner does not run for hills in excitement leaving his fellow “cave mates” behind in a desire to understand the outside world completely. Instead of being consumed by his craving for a more solid and real understanding, he exhibits a sense of self-control, and in doing so, finds himself returning to the cave to share his discoveries.
The interpretation of passing shadows accompanied by endless human voices represents the vicious characteristic. Since the prisoners truly believe that these voices are produced by the shadows due to their altered reasoning and lack of knowledge, when the freed prisoner is told that the shadows were an illusion, it’s conveyed that he should have known better than to believe this altered perception. This could then lead to him lacking knowledge once living upon the outside world, unable to decipher the good from the bad or the true from untrue. The characteristic of brutish is seen while he is chained up inside of the cave but not necessarily fulfilling the violent or barbaric traits. Due to the limitations that he had endured his whole life, he was never able to experience his own self, thus never being able to identify as a character. The prisoner lacked basic characteristics, functioning and both ethical and intellectual virtue due to his lifelong seclusion. He does not have the mental capacity to fully understand the outside world.
Lastly, when the prisoner returns to the cave unable to see in the dark, his fellow prisoners laugh at him while making him question whether or not he should have gone outside into the light. He may feel as though he shouldn’t have gone due to the laughing prisoners and may feel a sense of weakness because he was naïve and anxious to view whatever was beyond the darkness of the cave. At this moment, he may be feeling a sense of defeat even though he had the opportunity to experience the outside world. It’s not appreciated by the other prisoners and in turn makes him feel as though he gave in to the opportunity too easily. The passage “And if there is anyone who find nothing pleasant and is indifferent about everything, he must be far from human” ties into the “inhumane” prisoners who were unable to see the outside world and unable to find any real pleasure from sitting in a dark cave for years, characterizing them as being far away from true human beings as possible.
The aim of philosophy refers to the minds maximum capacity to think abstractly about life; real or unrealistic situations or objects, by using our five senses. It questions what cannot be answered in simple terms and explores the possibilities of “what if”. The difference between a true philosopher and false philosopher is just that, the true and the false. True philosophers are made up of the “proven” while false philosophers question the “proven”. In order to be a true philosopher, there must be proof to support your belief. If you do not have actual proof to support your belief, then this is considered to be false philosophy.
A vocation is the existence of a skill within one’s self that may be deemed as a career or something that humans can provide to the outside world. For instance, my vocation would be nursing. It provides the outside world with additional hands and helping heart to provide care to others in a time of need. This vocation of sorts has drawn me in like a strong current since I was young. Many people have asked me if I chose this vocation for a better income, and with confidence I reply “no” every time. It’s almost as if I can’t prove why I want to do this or why I feel so right for “the part” of nursing. It’s almost as if I’m a false philosopher who cannot support my statement with any truth because I’m not at my journeys maximum capacity. When relating death to my vocation of nursing, I wouldn’t say the philosophy is a preparation for death, but more so a preparation to avoid death in most circumstances.
While caring for others, it’s quite difficult to separate boundaries in terms of “caring too much” or viewing patients as loved ones of our own.” The passage “we only mix as much as we believe will suffice” plays true in the importance of being able to balance emotions to prevent becoming emotionally attached to these patients. My vocation is somewhat a battle between human nature while trying to remain true and good. How do you care for someone while maintaining an emotional distance? Through proven experience that will in turn, create a true philosopher in all of us; proving that as human beings, we must be able to separate our emotional souls from our vocations in order to protect ourselves and maintain sanity while keeping our work and personal lives separate. “My whole concern is not to do anything unjust or impious”, but to be able to provide the best possible care as a nurse.
Socrates provides two alternatives for death, the fear of death and the advantage of death. During the beginning of the Apology, Socrates is faced defending himself as to why he should not be put to death. The passage “No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest evils”, sheds a light on Socrates through the process of convincing himself not to fear death while still being aware that there’s an actual “unknown” that should possibly be feared. Ultimately Socrates states “ I shall never fear or avoid things of which I do not know” proves that he does not fear the unknown and feels a comfortable acceptance to whatever the jury may decide on his behalf.
Although this helps convince the jury that Socrates is willing to die for his own knowledge, it’s not until passage where he tries to inflate himself by comparing himself to “god’s gift” and that even though he will be sentenced to death, society will not be able to replace such wisdom. Although that may be true of Socrates, that very same statement could also mean that Socrates is fearful of death and tries to comfort himself by listening to himself speak of being “irreplaceable”. As the reading proceeds, the passage “there is good hope that death is a blessing, for it is one of two things; either the death are nothing and have no perception of anything, or it is, as we are told, a change and a relocating for the soul from here to another place”, reflects Socrates own knowledge of the positive and negative aspects of death and clarifies whether it’s something that should be truly feared.
I understand both side of Socrates perspectives in terms of accepting and fearing the unknown. It’s somewhat comforting reading the passage where he refers to death as “relocation for the soul” (Apology [41-d]). Fear of the unknown is very true and real but when it comes to incorporating the soul, it’s almost sounds invigorating and making it a little easier to digest. Whether it’s our words that make us sound courageous towards death, I believe all of us individually fear the potential of death. The fear of passing on is more than just one fear; it becomes many. In order to alleviate my fear completely, I’d have to know exactly what death entails and where I will be going. I have certain beliefs that help me live peacefully knowing that there’s something more for me. Fear of being awake but only seeing darkness, painful torture or having a voice never to be heard again, are only a few of the many reasons why the complexing thought of death will never truly be palatable for the living until experienced on its own.