My name is Logan Sorrow, and I am a fourth-year student studying political science with a certificate in Applied Politics. I have had extensive exposure to the political world throughout my lifetime. I have interned in DC three times and traveled to communities across the State of Georgia, learning the ins and outs of how policy affects people’s lives. Through my political experiences, I have noticed among people a devotion to only practical skills and lessons that sometimes borders on fanatical. I am not arguing against the essential nature of practical knowledge but instead to underline that aspect of human nature that directs and gives purpose to such skills. This nature is that of philosophy. A uniquely human capability that allows us to direct ourselves to a purpose beyond our own lives and grasp the consistencies that define the human experience.
In the modern sense, philosophers are often considered academics in a tweed jacket who spend more time in theory than in applying that theory. However, true philosophers are those who not only think but also act. This is perhaps not more evident than in the life of Marcus Aurelius, who held the most powerful and influential position in the ancient world, that of the Roman Emperor. Despite the immense stress and responsibility he would have felt, we see from his journal that survives today (called the Meditations) that nothing concerned Marcus more than
his philosophical duty. The exercise of power, authority, and empire meant nothing to him if it was not undertaken in a manner that ‘befits a good man.’ But what is a good man? Marcus had his own idea, and it was in service to this idea that he directed his every thought and action. Towards this idea, he made use of the immense resources that lay at his disposal -resources that have a nature that leans neither good nor bad but are made to be used by those with such a distinction.
Philosophy is the only area that concerns itself with not only ideas of how one should act but also why. Human beings are intimately related to each other, and this relation is not governed by the superficial and pliable laws of man but also, most consequently, by the laws of our very nature. There is the conventional sense of justice, and then there is justice as a natural requirement. One inevitably supersedes the other as it exists as the law by which people act at their most fundamental level. The specific direction in which this nature leans has been one of the most debated topics in human history. Is human nature fundamentally good or bad? Thucydides wrote in his account of the Peloponnesian War, “In peace and prosperous times both states and individuals observe a higher morality when there is no forced descent into hardship; but war, which removes the comforts of daily life, runs a violent school, and in most men brings out passions that reflect their condition.” We must consider such ideas ourselves and treat these considerations with the utmost sincerity, for this topic touches every human regardless of race, background, and occupation. From the halls of Congress to the deserts of Africa, humans are governed by the same fundamental laws. And so, no matter what path we pursue in life, we must esteem and consider these laws as their dictations define us.