“He’ll work at physical exercises in order to arouse the spirited part of his nature, rather than to acquire the physical strength for which other athletes diet and labor.

It looks as though they [the wise] established both [higher studies, and physical training] for the sake of the soul.”
Plato, Republic

For Plato ‘education’ is whole-person formation. It should have a laser-like focus on the profound reality of a well turned-out human being. And it is life long.

Physical training, in some form, is an essential element for all of us. Things of the body have their importance from their relation to things of the soul. Always. So bodily training takes its primary measure from how it serves the highest aspects of the human vocation.

Physical exercise strengthens not only the body but also a part of us Plato calls the ‘spirited part.’ Properly formed this part is to be a key helper to our rational part in the project of life.

We might call it an interior toughness—a toughness that can be used for good or for ill. It is not an end in itself, but it can and should be cultivated in any holistic approach to personal formation.

Some form of this training is within reach of all of us–whether a more complete exercise program or just daily walking, or cold showers.

And by a deep magic those things that are good for our bodily health are also good for our ‘spirit’ in more than one way. Especially when pursued for the best reasons.

~ ~ ~

Plato (427-347 B.C.), a student of Socrates, and teacher of Aristotle, is considered one of the greatest philosophers of all time. The Republic is one of the most widely read and influential of all books.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Appreciating Onions

“And I especially commend you for eating onions; they contain all health; they induce sleep; they may be called the apples of content, or again, the companion fruits of mankind.” Hilaire Belloc, “The Onion Eater” in The Hills and the Sea Eating is often an occasion...

read more

In a Hurry without Good Reason

Further, a slow step is thought proper to the magnanimous man… for the man who takes few things seriously is not likely to be hurried… Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics As is often the case, these words of Aristotle must be carefully considered. “The man who takes few...

read more

On Retreat, with Gratitude

I am finishing a retreat, for which I am very grateful. With apologies, no Wednesday Quote this week. May we all find the silence our inner selves crave. Both in special times set apart; and in our every day. With best wishes, until next week.

read more

Pin It on Pinterest