– Ask your dad.’
‘Where do answers come from ?
– Ask Socrates.’
The Symposium by Plato is a philosophical text about soul and love.
The action takes place at a dinner party where all the finest Greek thinkers are gathered around.
Each one of them is exposing their own eulogy of Eros, the god of sexual love.
Socrates is the last one to do his speech, in which he introduces his fellow companions about the concept of maieutics.
According to him, a soul that needs to express feelings, ideas or opinions is a pregnant soul that requires the help of a midwife to deliver. The philosopher plays the part of the midwife, by helping the soul to give birth to her ideas through a constructive serie of dialogues. His role is to ask rethorical questions to the soul in order for it to express itself through self-reflection.
It is a pedagological method that allows people to find the answers to their questions by themselves, rather than exposing them with an unquestionable solution. A reasonning done this way will be more likely to be remembered as it first went trough a deep thinking process before reaching its final conclusion.
To some extent, we could see blogging as one application of the maieutic concepts. By encouraging PR students to reflect on their course through blogging, I believe that tutors aims at making us find the answers to our very own questions through self-reflection.
To sum it up, blogging would be our modern version of the labour of the soul.
On another note, let’s recall that philosophy in antic Greece was not seen as a working profession, which would be synonymous with pain and sacrifices, but was considered as a highly noble hobby in the greek society, which could only be legitimatly practiced by the social elite.
The XXth century German philosopher Hannah Arendlt considered that hobbies had become in our society a way to escape from reflection. ‘Entertainment’ in Latin is said to‘divertere’ which literally means ‘to look away’.
Are hobbies like music, cinema or dance moving us away from ourselves?
Are hobbies like TV reality shows, phone texting, online games allowing us to reflect on ourselves?
My question is: through the practice of these diverse activities, am I getting into labour and delivering my baby ideas, or at the contrary shutting them down and carrying an abortion on my soul?