Thumos! The Spirit as the Source of All Value

My paper on Thumos (Spirit) and how it can serve as the basis for human value, as opposed to Plato's theory of the Good as he presents it in the Symposium


Symposium is perhaps Plato's best work, at least I found it so. It is Plato's attempt to describe Love, and through this to explain the Good. He first sets the scene of a group of 7 or so men meeting at one of their houses, when one of them comes up with a theme for the night's drinking - each of them taking turns praising the god of love, Eros. There are seven speeches made that night, one of them by Socrates (though in his he only relates what he has learned from the priestess Diotima, for he claims to be ignorant himself).


My paper only deals with 4 of the seven speeches, though I highly recommend reading the whole book for all 7. And, since this is an atheist website, I will point out for the real sticklers that one can (and really should) read "spirit" just to mean "motivation". Hope to hear some good comments on my paper, I am quite proud of it (one should get the joke if one has read the paper)!



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Comment by Jedi Wanderer on March 22, 2012 at 4:17pm

Oh so awesome, Steph is gonna read another one of my papers! I'll be very happy to hear your response. I'm much more proud of this paper than the other one, btw. And so awesome of you to offer Potter wands TWW! I've already sent you an email! :-) I think my day is made!

Comment by thewoodenwand on March 22, 2012 at 12:12pm

Anyone wanting a wand (hand made by me) not one of the factory ones let me know type of wood and wand core, email me, free wand and core, extra cores will cost ya. And yes holly, hornbeam, oak, maple, birch, rosewood, vinewood and willow are available. Cores include, Phoenix feather, dragons teeth, fairy dust, dragon heart strings, unicorn tail and veela hair. 

Comment by Jedi Wanderer on March 21, 2012 at 3:22pm

Yeah philosophy is fun regardless of your expertise level. And congrats on your success, it's understandable. I want one! Phoenix-feather core please.

Comment by thewoodenwand on March 21, 2012 at 2:37pm

Thanks I appreciate the input I have no know nothing of philosophy and it was fun to think about,

And my "handle" is from the HP movies and books, I have a small wood shop and have made toys for twenty years, as of ten year ago my "thewoodenwand" website allowed me to retire at fifty and the wands are now made in a factory in Maine. I do have other have other handles and names to use but I use thewoodenwand as a handle at sites that use my company's e-mail address.

Comment by Jedi Wanderer on March 20, 2012 at 8:11am

I'm glad you went straight to the questions regarding love, because it gives me the opportunity to discuss it a little more in-depth than I did in the paper. I don't think I mentioned this in the paper, but in any case, I hold that there is such a thing which I call "organismic love". This is the vast middle ground between narcissistic, purely selfish love and the other extreme which is purely altruistic, or "other" love. What most people fail to realize when they lambast one extreme or the other is that neither pure form ever really exists (except perhaps in the psychologically abnormal). Organismic love means loving the greater whole which is formed of the lover and the beloved, and so to extend one's sense of self to include others. Only in this sense is love "selfish", but in the healthy, adaptive sense, not in the self-centered and narrow understanding of the egoists.


Your specific point about a sort of "childish" love like the sort one engages in when one taps into one's creativity is a good one. My own take is that this sort of love just is the organismic kind of love in its fullest sense, where one serves as a vessel for channeling a love of all that is beautiful and good (what I call "organismically motivating"). This stands in opposition to an egoistic fascination with what is beautiful about oneself, and it is the organismic kind of love which Jung would say taps into the collective unconscious.


Excellent point, and btw, cool handle too. Any specific brand of fantasy which inspired it? "Expecto patronum!" (Which is also an expression of organismic love imnsho.)

Comment by thewoodenwand on March 20, 2012 at 1:09am

Is love selfish or more importantly must one be selfish before one can truely love. Good questions.

Certainly one must enjoy something in order to enjoy anything and if in enjoying something on is selfish I guess the premise is true. 

But imagination does not require selfish desires, you can dream and invent without wanting something for ones self. Lust, fame, desire and many emotional releases require tremendous selfish love. But to create like Picaso or free-form artist has the opportunity to just release silliness and fun, this type of love is childish not selfish.

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