Descartes Concepts

Q.1 Descartes set forth what we refer today as the scientific method. Explain Descartes method
Descartes, a free thinking rebel and progenitor of modern philosophy, laid down the foundations of scientific method along with Bacon and the Greek contributions. The scientific methods proposed by him served as a guide for the modern science to extract the clear, distinct from the obscure. He laid down four rules to reach the genuine truth, in the pursuit of knowledge. Doubting everything around, fragmentation, ascending from the simpler to the complex and finally a thorough review, not to omit anything were the foundations of his scientific method. Through these in his Discourse, he revolutionalized the scientific method.

Q. 2 Explain Descartes method of doubt
Descartes presented his Method of Doubt in his Meditations a work undertaken by him to explore the epistemological progress of an individual in a passage to attain true knowledge. The method aims at doubting everything, thus to reach that infallible, genuine truth which will appear un-altered from the crucible of doubt. Perceptual knowledge, material world and a Lord, all are doubted by him to find the ultimate truth free of doubt. He wished to defeat skepticism through this method of doubt.

Q. 3 What is Descartes Cogito And how does he come to this conclusion
Cogito is the Latin translation of his existences certainty he finds out in his Meditations work. Descartes structured his Meditations, in a way to be benefit from philosophy. He employed first person narrative and started his discourse with doubting everything. This doubt leads him to discovery of Cogito, eugosum. Implying I Think, therefore I am. He discovers cogito and gets his very existence certified through his method of doubt.

Q. 4 Explain Descartes Dualism of mind and body
Descartes 6th meditation aims to find out relation between mind and body. He supports his dualism with two arguments. Firstly, both are distinct, separate entities and secondly possess incompatible characteristics which defy their merging together. According to him, mind is existent and extended whereas body is non existent and non-extended. He left on more work on the future comers to explore the relation further between volition and sensation. His dualism did benefit regarding the certification of souls immortality and paving the way for scientists to carry on machinations with the separate physical world.

Assistive Technology and Cerebral Palsy

Assistive technology has continued to have positive impacts on individuals with cerebral palsy and other impairments. This paper examines the major impact of this kind of technology on cerebral palsy patients. The purpose of this paper is to highlight these positive impacts while describing how different assistive technology methods work. One of the assistive technology methods that are discussed in this paper is augmentative communication devices. In addition to giving a brief description of various augmentative communication devices, the paper analyzes the impact of these devices on students in the school setting.

Advances in gait restoration and rehabilitation technology are also discussed in this paper. As compared to previous years, the paper show how advances in gait restoration produces improved results for people with mobility impairments. Moreover, the paper also shows some of the proven examples of rehabilitation technology for people with cognitive disabilities.

Cerebral Palsy can be defined as the lack of control of the muscles or joints because of an injury that occurs during brain development. This injury usually results in disrupted coordinated movement and frequently affects young children. On the other hand, cerebral palsy can also be described as a group of disorders that usually affects motor function and varying in severity. This type of disease normally displays itself in various forms depending with the area in which it has affected and the extent it has covered. Moreover, cerebral palsy has adverse effects that may lead to mental disabilities, seizures, communication problems, auditory problems, visual problems as well as other possible impairments.
While debilitating a child from infancy, cerebral palsy can sometimes be gentle depending on the location and level of the damage. Children who suffer from this disease sometimes need support in order to eat, talk or walk properly. On the other hand, some of the people suffering from this kind of disease may have slight or nearly invisible impairments while other patients have difficulty performing even the most common tasks.

Assistive technology devices are equipments, paraphernalia or services that not only improve the function of mental or physical ability but are also designed for people with various impairments. Due to the fact that these devices improve the function of some mental or physical ability, they are used by both children and adults who may be suffering from diverse range of disabilities.

Impact of Assistive Technology on Cerebral Palsy Patients
The major impact that assistive technology devices have on individuals with cerebral palsy is that it gives them more independence, range of movement as well as employment opportunities. In fact, different forms of assistive technology help in situations such as speech loss, balance and lack of motor function among others. Not only do assistive technology devices help cerebral palsy patients with these problems, but they also enable the patients to live to their fullest potentials. The major aim for the use of assistive technology devices in patients with cerebral palsy is to compensate for mental or physical impairments.

Assistive technology devices can also permit increased mobility, communication and the integration of electronic equipments such as computers into daily life. While electronic wheelchairs are used to increase mobility, keypads and computers are used for communication purposes. Most importantly, there are various ways through which computers and the Internet can be accessed with assistive technology. This includes the use of complicated scanning equipments, voice detection software, on-screen keyboards and head controlled pointing devices. Nonetheless, these various ways allow a patient with cerebral palsy to use the technology accordingly (Assistive Technology n.d.).

For patients with language or speech problems, portable or computer related machines that can speak for them may be utilized. There are other assistive technology devices that help in the day to day requirements like in using televisions, radios, showers and toilets among others. Given the fact that cerebral palsy patients do not frequently experience impaired mental ability, assistive technologies are therefore extremely important for them. In fact, through these assistive technologies, cerebral palsy patients can interact with the society, go to school or even get a career. Unfortunately, many cerebral palsy patients do not obtain these assistive technologies because of prohibitive costs.

One of the key examples of the impact of assistive technology on individuals with cerebral palsy is in the school setting. Through assistive technology, students with walking and speech problems have their electronic wheelchairs fixed or attached with computer boards. In addition to enabling these students to engage in meaningful words and speech practices, the electronic wheelchairs allow them to move around freely. Therefore, assistive technology enables students with cerebral palsy to access quality education.

Augmentative Communication Devices
Augmentative communication devices are methods which are designed to help patients with speech problems to communicate more easily and effectively. These communication devices include a board with pictures that represents a students day to day life as well as electronic speech synthesizers. In addition to helping impaired children to engage in normal activities with other children, augmentative communication devices not only help them feel a sense of self-governing but also enables them to realize their dreams in life. However, poor families cannot afford augmentative communication devices because this kind of technology may be expensive for them. There are various augmentative communication devices such as

Manual Communication Boards
These are inexpensive and practical mode through which an individual or student with cerebral palsy can communicate easily and efficiently. Manual communication boards are systems with no mechanical parts and are personalized to reflect a childs daily routine. The boards contain information which represents the users message. In most cases, a board maker is used in creating a communication board (Kahn n.d.).

Dynavox is another form of device that has been specifically designed to assist the user in relaying output communication. In creating information the user is supposed to select a menu with a definite category by touching the screen of a computer. The categories then display folders that are similar to computer folders. The selected category gives the user a subcategory of information from which they use the needed information. For example, in a school setting, information relating to the number of subjects, school routine, or even the total number of students in at school is displayed. Dynavox communication device has helped children to modify categories that corresponded to their information.
Dynavox has also made it possible for young children with cerebral palsy to access information that is appropriate to their learning. Children who cant use their hands properly because of the damage of cerebral palsy are provided with a switch that is attached to the machine. This switch enables them to communicate easily through pushing it with their chin, legs or even their feet. For patients with visual disabilities, a switch is provided with which they activate the device when the appropriate words or phrases are heard. However, dyvanox is machine that is hard to be understood by slow learners and may be relatively expensive to some people.

This is a lightweight and easily portable augmentative device that enables messages or a series of messages to be pre-recorded. When a child touches the BIGmack, the pre-recorded message is played back and the child can participate in classroom activities if the pre-recorded information relates to these activities. This device is effective in a unique way considering that most of the children with cerebral palsy may from time to time suffer from memory loss.

Delta Talker
This is an augmentative communication device that resembles a computer keyboard and can be used by both initial and more advanced communicators. However, delta talker differs from the normal computer keyboard because various pictures and words are combined to make a sentence instead of the writing of words and sentences. Notably, delta talker can produce more than four thousand words, phrases and sounds because it comprises of pictures and word keys as well as letters of the alphabet.

Impact of Augmentative Communication Devices
As computer technology continues to advance allowing for more powerful and easy to use designs, augmentative communication devices are making huge strides. The impact of augmentative communication devices on students in the school setting is that it enables students with cerebral palsy to access quality education regardless of their disabilities. These devices enable these students to receive quality education just like other students. Various augmentative devices provide effective methods of communication between the students with their teachers. For example, dyvanox has improved the way in which information is conveyed particularly to those that are adversely affected with cerebral palsy.

On the other hand, board makers have so far been identified as one of the most efficient and cheap method of relaying information. Board makers allow students with cerebral palsy to easily understand information as well as being affordable to those who are not in a position of accessing expensive augmentative communication tools. Augmentative communication devices also enable students in the school setting to access quality education because some of these tools allow children to modify information into categories that are relevant to them. For instance, a dyvanox for a ten year old may contain information concerning home, school or sports.

Gait Restoration
The recent advances in gait restoration have produced improved outcomes for people with mobility impairments. In fact, these recent advances in the science field have also helped research toward the re-establishment of biped gait in paraplegic patients. This increased mobility for paraplegic patients has been accomplished by the means of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) which re-strengthens the muscles of the patients. In order to attain improved mobility for the patients, functional electrical stimulation incorporates preserved reflex mechanisms of the transected spinal cord (Kralj A. et al n.d.).
According to recent research, paraplegic patients can perform functions such as standing or rising from a sitting position through the use of functional electrical stimulation. Muscles that are re-strengthened by the use of functional electrical stimulation can later be used to perform tasks that need high muscle forces. The execution of these functions is dependant on the development and establishment of the functional electrical stimulation cycles which in turn results in necessary movements. However, gait restoration may lead to hazardous situation if improper FES sequences are used. This is due to the fact that these improper functional electrical stimulation cycles provoke movements that digress from the intended function.

Even though the use of FES in gait restoration has disadvantages like difficulties with electrode placement, the need for expensive technology, insufficient selectivity as well as scarce knowledge of neurology and neuroanatomy, this method of gait restoration has increased patients mobility. On the other hand, FES as a means of gait restoration has produced improved outcomes for people with mobility impairments because of its numerous advantages. These advantages include the use of preserved reflexes, normal bone support of body weights and joints, lack of external braces and lack of force transfers with levers.

These recent advances in gait restoration also increases mobility because external control for locomotion is no longer used as was the case in previous gait restoration methods such as exoskeleton. The current methods of gait restoration not only use electrical stimulation for triggering purposes but also provide a self-regenerating energy supply. Moreover, gait restoration increases mobility because patient suitability, testing of muscle suitability, muscle re-strengthening program and simple gait training are conducted.

Rehabilitation Technology and Cognitive Disabilities
Cognitive disabilities can be defined as substantial limitation of a persons capacity to think, remember, interpret and understand number and symbols. People with cognitive disabilities have difficulties in planning, conceptualizing and organizing thoughts and actions. These cognitive disabilities can originate from brain injury and lead to intellectual disabilities, severe and chronic mental illnesses as well as stroke. Fortunately, most of the patients with cognitive disabilities use assistive technologies to improve functioning in their daily activities.

These assistive and rehabilitative technologies also increase a patients positioning, hearing, vision, mobility, learning and communication functions. However, the rehabilitative and assistive technologies range from low-tech devices to high-tech devices. Some of the proven examples of rehabilitation technology for people with cognitive disabilities include

Virtual Environment
The use of virtual technology tends to create an experience which arouses an actual experience. Virtual technology enables persons with cognitive disabilities to engage in educational and community activities. One of the most widely used virtual technology intervention tool in rehabilitation is virtual reality. Virtual reality incorporates the use advanced technologies such as computers and different multimedia peripherals in producing simulated or virtual environment. These virtual environments are perceived by users as similar to real world objects and events. In the virtual environments, people with cognitive disabilities not only interact with display images but they also move and control virtual objects. As they perform these and other actions, these patients stimulate a feeling of actual presence and submerge their senses in the virtual environment.

Virtual reality tools provide these patients with audio, visual, and hap tic (the sense of touch) response of their performance. As a rehabilitation technology tool, virtual reality has unique characteristics that are different from other engaging experiences like reading books, and watching television. Virtual reality is also different from playing traditional computer simulation games. When used as a novel modality, virtual reality is essential in rehabilitation assessment and intervention because of its unique attributes (Weiss  Jessel n.d.).

Cognitive and Motor Rehabilitation
This is the other example of rehabilitation technology on patients with cognitive disabilities and incorporates the use of Gesture Xtreme virtual reality system to achieve different levels of immersion. This technology helps the users to stand or sit in an isolated area while viewing a large monitor or projected image. The large monitor exhibits different series of simulated functional tasks like catching virtual balls.The Gesture Xtreme VR system helps in cognitive and motor rehabilitation through a process known as video gesture.

This is an example of proven rehabilitation technology as digital video cameras translate video signals of the patients movements for processing by exceptional software. The patients image is therefore processed like the processing of screen animation, text, sound and graphics. Notably, the reaction of screen animation, text, sound and graphics processing is largely dependent on the patients movement. The commencement of changes in a virtual reality environment through video contact is a process known as video gesture. This rehabilitation technology helps people with cognitive disabilities as their on-screen video image reacts when they move. The process not only gives a deeper degree of realism to the virtual reality experience but also results in the patients complete engagement in the replicated task.

In conclusion, assistive technology has a major impact on individuals with cerebral palsy. The necessity and impact of assistive technology on these patients cannot be overemphasized. According to recent research, this technology enables patients to carry out tasks that could be otherwise impossible regardless of the persons disabilities. Given the ongoing technological advancements, assistive technology will continue to develop and counter various disabilities that many people face.

Moral Consequentialism

The paper discusses moral consequentialism and evaluates its criticisms. Critics of consequentialism argue that the latter doctrine requires us, under certain conditions, to do what seems intuitively to be the morally wrong act. The nature of this criticism originates from the widely accepted vision of consequentialism as too permissive and too demanding. The detailed analysis of the philosophic and moral assumptions renders a conclusion that both the permissiveness and demandingness of moral consequentialism are easy to argue and even deny. Whether moral consequentialism requires individuals to do what seems to be the morally wrong act depends on how they interpret these acts and in what conditions these acts are to take place. Briefly, this paper turns moral consequentialism into a conjunction of highly relative and subjective norms standards which change their meaning and leave no room for objective judgments.

Keywords moral consequentialism, permissiveness, demandingness, moral, philosophy.

Throughout its history, philosophy was always centered on the two major sides of the moral argument deontological and utilitarian. Most of the time, philosophers found themselves torn between the need to follow the basic rules of the moral conduct and the need to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Today, deontology and utilitarianism consequentialism represent the two distinct lines of philosophic thinking and create a vision of continuous philosophic disintegration. Moral consequentialism is, probably, the major topic of the philosophic discussion and the principal object of philosophic criticism. Critics of consequentialism argue that the latter doctrine requires us, under certain conditions, to do what seems intuitively to be the morally wrong act. This criticism grows from the two most important philosophic assumptions about the permissiveness and excessive (almost extremist) demandingness of moral consequentialism. However, the detailed analysis of these arguments renders a conclusion that both assumptions are easy to deny as a result, whether moral consequentialism requires individuals to perform acts that are intuitively wrong depends on how they themselves judge their actions and conditions in which these actions take place.

Moral Consequentialism A Flawed Theory of the Greatest Good
Moral consequentialism argues that the need to promote the greatest good for the greatest number of people is the only moral factor that counts in the decisions, which individuals will take for or against particular acts (Kagan, 1998). The consequences of each particular action serve the basic criterion for judging its moral appropriateness. Contrary to deontology, which promotes and emphasizes the importance of rules and norms standards an individual is to follow, consequentialism seems to disregard these rules and sacrifices them for the sake of consequences. For this reason, moral consequentialism often becomes the primary object of philosophic criticism.

Despite the relevance and importance of moral consequentialism in philosophy, its principles and assumptions are not without their flaws. More often than not, moral consequentialism is being criticized for the lack of adequate moral reasoning and the growing relativity of moral norms and standards, which individuals use to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. McLean and Ellrod (1992) argue that consequentialism is hardly a workable form of practical reasoning and calls into question the moral significance of its results (p. 171). The problem with consequentialism is in that the need to promote the greatest good for the greatest number of people by all possible means fails to do full justice to the personal character of the moral duty (McLean  Ellrod, 1992). Consequentialism often makes no difference who is to produce the maximum good and who is to become its beneficiary, while this difference is increasingly important and must count in any kind of moral judgments (McLean  Ellrod, 1992). In this sense, consequentialism seems to operate in the atmosphere of the misplaced emphases and distorted views regarding morality, because morality is inherently personal and must focus on ones moral identity. Consequentialism, however, denies the relevance of personal morality against the importance of the public good.

The second problem with consequentialism is its functionality and its ability to lead individuals to the best moral conclusions. That consequentialism makes it difficult to arrive to objectively practical judgments is often considered as one of its major flaws (McLean  Ellrod, 1992). Here, the two basic problems become obvious. First, the growing relativity of the moral norms and standards deny us an opportunity to judge what the maximum good for the greatest majority is and how we are to achieve it. Second, this very relativity of norms creates a number of conflicts in the process of choosing between several permissible alternatives whether individuals are to choose the greatest good or the least evil is another point of philosophic argument (McLead  Ellrod, 1992). However, even if these flaws are important and deserve attention, they only shape the basis for the profound philosophic analysis of consequentialism and its philosophic criticisms.

Critics of consequentialism argue that the latter doctrine requires us, under certain conditions, to do what seems intuitively to be the morally wrong act. In this sense, two essential elements of moral consequentialism require attention its overall permissiveness and moral demandingness. Critics of moral consequentialism claim the latter doctrine to be too permissive with regard to the acts and judgments individuals can make to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Others are confident that moral consequentialism imposes extreme (and even extremist) moral requirements on people, and they have but to comply with these requirements to maximize good for the greatest number of people. Moral consequentialism implies that individuals will have to overstep their moral convictions and perform acts that are intuitively wrong. The following sections analyze these two assumptions in more detail.

Moral Consequentialism Permissiveness and the Subjectivity of Judgments
Critics of moral consequentialism claim that the latter doctrine may require individuals to do what seems the intuitively immoral act. In other words, moral consequentialism provides individuals with the absolute freedom to choose between acts which, although morally inacceptable, still lead them to achieve or to maximize the public good. Because moral consequentialism accepts an inappropriately short list of normative factors, it permits acts that are not in fact morally permissible.  In short, consequentialism permits too much (Kagan, 1984). For example, individuals may choose between killing a person and letting a person die simply because a murder or a death will save the lives of ten other people. Always immoral and intuitively wrong, the act of murder here is an excellent example of the permissiveness which moral consequentialism promotes and defends. To make the case more comprehensible, it is interesting to refer to the case of Chuck which Kagan (1998) describes in his book Normative Ethics.

Kagan (1998) describes the case of the five patients, each of whom faces equal chances to die unless he can timely obtain an organ transplant. According to Kagan (1998), one patient needs a heart, two other patients need kidneys, one patient needs new lungs, and the fifth patient is in need for a new liver. Because of medical problems and because their tissues are incompatible, these five patients can hardly become donors for each other (Kagan, 1998). Yet, there is Chuck, a young man who comes to the hospital for a regular medical observation and has all organs necessary for the five patients to survive (Kagan, 1998). A surgeon thus faces a dilemma to kill Chuck and to use his organs or to leave Chuck alive and to let the five patients die. This is the case which emphasizes the inherent permissiveness of moral consequentialism. Moral consequentialism justifies the decision to kill Chuck for the sake of saving the lives of the five patients.

In case of killing Chuck, the surgeon will, most likely, achieve the maximum good for the greatest number of people one does not need sophisticated knowledge of mathematics to understand that five lives are more than one. Regardless of the immoral character of murder, the holy goal of saving five lives will overweigh the terrible act of murdering one single person. This is where consequentialism justifies an act which seems to be intuitively wrong but which, nevertheless, helps individuals to achieve the maximum benefit for the greatest number of people. The question is, however, in whether moral consequentialism is always permissible and morally blind and whether the assumption about the moral permissiveness of consequentialism is always objective and justified.

It appears that whenever individuals engage in activities that seem intuitively wrong but help them to achieve the maximum good for the greatest number of people, all they need is to reconsider and reframe the conditions in which these actions take place, to make them meet the basic requirements of morality. For example, the surgeon may find out that all Chucks organs are perfectly healthy and fit all five patients  in this way, he will meet the maximum benefit requirement (Kagan, 1998). The surgeon may kill Chuck secretly, to make his death look like the result of medical complications  in this way, he will avoid difficulties associated with the fact of murder (Kagan, 1998). Finally, the surgeon may pretend that the results of Chucks routine medical examination require immediate surgical intervention and that the life of Chuck is under threat  Chucks murder will thus look like a moral obligation the surgeon had to fulfill to save Chuck from physical suffering. If that is the case, the surgeons decision to kill Chuck will no longer seem intuitively wrong, and moral consequentialism will no longer look too permissive. The question is in whether it is worth killing one healthy person to save the lives of the five patients who, due to their health condition, will still die very soon. What are the chances that the value of their five lives will overweigh the value of Chucks life These are the questions which one can answer only in particular circumstances and conditions. As a result, whether moral consequentialism requires that individuals perform acts that seem to be morally wrong depends on how they themselves judge their actions and in what particular conditions these actions take place.

Moral Consequentialism, Demandingness, and the Value of Denial
Critics argue that in particular conditions, moral consequentialism requires that individuals perform acts which seem to be morally wrong. This criticism originates from the assumption that moral consequentialism is inherently demanding and imposes too many moral obligations on individuals, even if the former go against the basic moral principles and individual convictions. Actually, moral demandingness of consequentialism is the notorious topic of discussion. Critics of consequentialism assume that moral consequentialism obligates people to make sacrifices that go beyond the limits of commonsense morality (Baier, 1958). For example, societies tend to believe that rich and better off society members are morally obliged to give up a share of their wealth to support those in need. Others are confident that, under the influence of consequentialism, individuals must make the largest possible contribution to the overall good regardless of the sacrifice such a contribution may incur (Kagan, 1984). Kagan (1984) even claims that there is no limit to the sacrifices that morality can require and agents are never permitted to favor their own interests at the expense of the greater good (p. 239). Mulgan (2001) calls these claims as extremist and admits that at times the overall demandingness of moral consequentialism will make individuals perform acts that seem morally wrong.

In his book The Demands of Consequentialism, Tim Mulgan (2001) provides a short tale Clare, Amy, and Bob are sitting in the living room when a space alien enters their apartment in the striving to devour Clare (p. 154). The only way the company can save Clare from the tragedy is to cut away Amys arm and to throw it into the alien (Mulgan, 2001). The act will distract the alien and will give Clare more time to escape meanwhile, Bob will find his weapons and will vaporize the newcomer (Mulgan, 2001). For Amy, who is to sacrifice her arm to save the lives of her friends, the decision will, naturally, seem inacceptable and intuitively wrong. However, because this is the only way for her to save the life of Clare and to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people, Amy will be pressured by the moral requirement to sacrifice her arm.

The moral unacceptability of the decision to chop off Amys arm will become even more obvious in case Bob is the one to make it for her. If Amy is not obliged to sacrifice her arm but is only permitted to do so, Bob can readily become the one responsible for the mission of cutting off Amys arm and saving his company from the alien. Mulgan (2001) recognizes that in this case, Bob is allowed to chop Amys arm, to save his own and the life of Clare, even if this act seems morally wrong to him. In this case, the demandingness of moral consequentialism will reach the point, where individuals have the right to force other individuals to make sacrifices if they decide to refrain from such actions (Mulgan, 2001). Here, moral consequentialism becomes both permissive and demanding, and makes individuals engage in actions which seem to be intuitively wrong.

Again, the extent to which this sacrifice is suboptimal is difficult to define. Whether the decision to chop off Amys arm is intuitively wrong will depend on a number of circumstances. It will depend on how the person himself judges his own actions and decisions. For example, there is always a distinction between subjective expectations and objective probabilities that particular actions will lead to specific consequences (Mulgan, 2001). Bob may believe that his decision to chop off Amys arm will cause her unbearable pain and will thus refrain from cutting off her arm. In reality, however, Amy may accept the need to get rid of her arm for the sake of saving the lives of her friends. In a similar vein, Bob may choose to interpret the decision to chop off Amys arm as the action with the lowest probability to cause harm to Clare and which also causes the least evil compared with other alternatives. Based on whether Bob views his decisions as the greatest good or the least evil, moral consequentialism will look more or less demanding. As a result, whether moral consequentialism requires that individuals engage in actions that are intuitively wrong depends on how they themselves judge their actions and in what conditions these actions are to take place.

In broad terms, moral consequentialism claims that the need to promote the greatest good for the greatest number of people is the only moral factor that counts in judging the righteousness and moral acceptability of each particular action. Critics often argue that moral consequentialism requires that individuals engage in actions which are morally wrong. The nature of this criticism originates from the assumptions about the excessive permissiveness and demandingness of moral consequentialism. However, the current analysis confirms that whether moral consequentialism pushes individuals to perform actions that are intuitively wrong depends on how they themselves judge their actions and in what conditions these actions are to take place. Despite relative demandingness and permissiveness, moral consequentialism always leaves much room for subjectivity and provides individuals with an opportunity to change their opinions and the opinions of others about the moral character of their actions and decisions.

Observation and Genocide Rethinking Rwanda

The Rwandan genocide, in addition to being one of the most horrific acts of the twentieth century, remains outside the periphery of human understanding.  Its causethe assassination of Juvenal Habyarimanais certain, though the agents behind that action remain unknown.  Perhaps this is the most stinging aspect for those attempting to ponder a horror of such magnitude in the absence of specific individuals at whose feet the blame can be laid, observers are left trying to put together concrete impressions from the broken shards of abstraction.  Three individuals have offered thoughts on how violence in the world can be understood, and help to shape the view of the Rwandan genocide.  These individuals are Jiddu Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, and Lierre Keith.  Each one offers a very unique perspective for Krishnamurti, attempts to understand violence on the part of observers is an inherently political act, wherein the observer attempts to absolve themselves of the cycle of violence while effectively propagating itsomething that can be seen in the differences between the Rwandan Patriotic Front and the Hutu regime.  For Edward Tolle, the key to a successful life is to seek non-identity, becoming someone able to interact with the world without seeking to imprint their identity on it.  This concept was clearly abandoned in the political and physical struggles of Rwanda which, as with all national conflicts, was a struggle between ideologies to determine what the identity of the nation would truly be.  Finally, Keith complicates the issue by positing that revolution is a necessary component to resisting corrupt systems and authorities.  However, the line is all too thin between revolting against corruption and fueling the fires of anarchy that destroy human liveswhich no amount of ideological re-conceptualization can make right.  While each perspective offers a kind of fragmented view of the brutal truths of Rwanda, it is ultimately Krishnamurti that provides the best lens with which to examine the genocide.

Edward Tolles personal philosophy is a prime example of something that works well on the micro level, but is of little use in attempting to apply it to the macro level of a nation.  Tolle believes that instruction in how life should be lived can only come out of a place of personal stillness as Tolle himself says,
I feel now that I need to return to the pure stillness periodically. And then, when the teaching happens, just allow it to arise out of the stillness. So the teaching and stillness are very closely connected. The teaching arises out of the stillness. But when Im alone, theres only the stillness, and that is my favorite place.

Tolles beliefs are close companions to traditional transcendent thoughtThoreau, for instance, sought his own personal stillness in the woods, and through Walden, sought to impart his personal lessons to future students.  However, in contemplating something as horrific as the Rwandan genocide, traditional precepts of transcendent thought are of little use.  The foundation of Tolles principles (and transcendent thought in general) is the achievement of personal stillness, which leads to personal transcendence.  For all intents and purposes, this is the polar opposite of political action and political rebellion those actions and their agents are not seeking to impart a transcendent stillness into individuals, but to demonstrate that stillness often leads to complacency with regimes that are corrupt and inept.  Instead of encouraging individuals to seek out their own personal identity, political rebellions urge individuals to subsume their personal identity into a national identityto become the avenging limbs of the body of state, striking at those who they perceive to have poisoned the body.

So it was with the Rwandan Patriotic Front.  Tolle preaches an existence that is not spent helping ones self.  As he says,

Transcendence of the world is to act and to interact without any self-seeking. In other words, it means to act without seeking to enhance ones sense of self through ones actions or ones interactions with people. Ultimately, it means not needing the future anymore for ones fulfillment or for ones sense of self or being.

However, a kind of national identity for the refugees that would come to comprise the Rwandan Patriotic Front prevented such an action.  After all, one individual abandoning a need for the future was equivalent to abandoning the needs of other refugees facing torment in Uganda.  There was a kind of perversion of Tolles philosophy buried in the edicts of the RPF soldiers they did not necessarily seek self-enhancement in the sense of self-aggrandizement.  Instead, as with utilitarianism, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few soldiers sought to further their cause rather than themselves, which was perceived as the best way to help out other refugees.  The very alignment with such a cause prevented them from actualizing on Tolles terms he claims that when that seeking isnt there anymore, then you can be in the world but not be of the world. You are no longer seeking for anything to identify with out there.  Again, the RPF soldiers represented a twisted version of this particular wisdom the soldiers were no longer seeking anything to identify with, because their identity is fully subsumed in the nationalist cause of the rebellion.  The first principle of such a view is the elevation of principles and ideologies over individuals if soldiers are willing to put their cause above their own lives (which, theoretically, they value more than anyone elses), then individuals who stand in their way effectively stop being human beings.  They are, instead, impediments to a brutal ideology that must be removed, no matter the cost.  In Tolles view, anyone in the area of a warzone (or potential warzone) is effectively denied the stillness that he thinks is necessary to transcendence.  It is not surprising, then, that in the absence of the transcendence afforded by personal stillness, individuals latch onto political movements that claim they will affect positive change in the region.  Simply put the individuals are hoping to accomplish in the larger group something they are unable to accomplish on their ownbut accomplishment is conflated with change, to the effect that any shift in an existing regime is viewed as a positive change.

Lierre Keith has an altogether different view of rebellion and its necessity to social change.  According to her, revolution is a positive thing that allows individuals to oppose corrupt institutions and agents of authoritythe only obstacles to such positive change being personal cowardice, the intellectual pitfalls of liberalism, the tremendous seductions of conformity and privilege, psychological identification with the powerful and their values, and a very real fear of retaliation, to name just a few.  She identifies many political problems as being propagated by a large number of individuals with power, and accordingly, resistance to these problems must e equally large in number the problem with politics is, its a group project.   Keiths views do offer a tantalizing way of viewing distinctions between the conflict in Rwanda and the conflict in other parts of the world, such as America.  She draws a distinction between liberalism and radicalism by noting that with liberalism, the crucible of social reality is placed in the realm of ideas, in concepts, language, attitudes. And liberalism is individualist. The basic social unit is the individual.  As for radicals, they see society as composed of actual institutions--economic, political, cultural--which wield power, including the power to use violence.  In contrast with liberalism, one of the cornerstone concepts of radicalism is that the basic social unit is a class or group, whether thats racial class, sex caste, economic class, or other grouping. Radicalism understands oppression as group-based harm.  This is one of the key reasons it is difficult for, say, Americans to understand the Rwandan genocide.  In America, conflicts are often relegated to the courtroom, in which abstract ideas of justice and morality are debated and defined.  For those in Rwanda, the banding together into groups was a necessary aspect of defending themselves from institutionalized violence and discrimination (as with that faced by refugees in Uganda).  As elaborated upon above, this prevents individuals from actualizing independence from the stillness of private reflection and from the sanctuary of an intellectual forum.  Rather, material violence and material discrimination is seen to necessitate material responses.  Keither herself buys into the necessity of subsuming personal identity into group or national identity in order to affect change when she points out the relative uselessness of trying to reform individuals corrupted by institutions of racism and feminism rather than attempting to dismantle those institutions altogether my point is that however important personal accountability is, its not political action. In fact, Keiths militant feminism actually provides a necessary springboard for understanding the actions of the RPF before and during the Rwandan genocide.

Keith points out that culturally-condoned power relationships do not change unless they are made to change

What you find is a whole web of institutions and cultural practices that support male violence religion, laws, the police, the mass media and pornography, heterosexuality, the very definition of masculinity. He didnt put that fist in your face because of who you are as an individual. He did because he belongs to a class of people called men, and you belong to a class of people called women, and that describes a set of power relations.

Because of this, Keith thinks that men, as a gender, are basically beyond reform or reducation I dont want to educate men, I want to stop them.  Her very vivid example provides a tentative context for RPF forces, who believed that they were striking back at the corrupt institutions which had oppressed refugees in Uganda for decades.  Refugees saw themselves as perpetual victims, and due to harsh hereditary crime laws (the children of refugees continued to pay for the so-called sins of their fathers), it is not inaccurate to say that they were constantly being struck by the collective fist of Uganda.  Their response was in perfect accord with the victimvictimizer binary proposed by Keith sick of being hit by the fist, they decided to become the fist themselves.  Keith is a large proponent of the idea that even nonviolent protest is inherently political I think this is so important because the main divide isnt between violence and nonviolence. Its between action and inaction.  She believes that nonviolent protests still have an intended action, pointing out that the Montgomery bus boycotts were not an attempt to educate racist whites, but to bring economic pressure to bear on an issue that would not have otherwise changed.  She contrasts this with pacifism, which is effectively a non-statementit does not have a public impact on the evils of war the same way that a large protest in the street does.  This illustrates the problems that precipitated the Rwandan genocide due to the way that the refugees were treated by Uganda, the effectively had no non-violent ways to exercise force on an unjust government.  Economic pressure could not really be applied to Ugandan companies because many of them were continuously applying economic pressure to refugees through workplace discrimination practices.  Public protests were effectively quelled by ghettoizing the refugees into specific refugee sectors.  The only form of non-violent protest left to the refugees was something that, by its very nature, demanded an almost immediate use of violence the abandonment of posts in the Ugandan military.  While it certainly does not render their actions (and the resulting genocide) as morally defensible or ethically correct, Keiths views illustrate that the area forced the RPF to be radicals rather than liberals, and that they exercised the only form of political pressure that was available to them.  However, this does not make up for the lives lost.  When it comes to attempting to understand the magnitude of human loss, Krishnamurti provides the most comprehensive philosophical tools.

Tolle and Keith essentially occupy different polar ends of the political spectrumhe embodies the traditional liberal methods of individual education through passive thought and meditation, and she represents the militant actualization of oppressed groups against the institutions that oppress them.  Krishnamurti provides the necessary middle ground between these diametrically opposed forces by cutting to the heart of the matter there is the realization that the mind is the past, the mind is this conditioned response.  In terms of the Rwandan genocide, it is important to note that the horrible events were an aggregate of decades of conditioned responses that the perpetuators of violence saw as ingrained in their minds through hereditary conditioning.  It is important to note that both sides of the conflict were attempting to escape what they saw as a kind of perpetual social injustice.  When asked if the mind can ever be free of the past, Krishnamurti noted that it is necessary to know who is posing the question, because if it is the observer who is putting the question, then he is trying to escape from the fact of himself, because, he says, I have lived so long in pain, in trouble, in sorrow, I should like to go beyond this constant struggle.  In a way, this echoes some of Keithers larger points, as the philosophical implications of horrors such as the Rwandan genocide are often pondered by liberal philosophers who, by the very nature of their questioning, are trying to remove themselves from the equationtrying to believe that, half a world away, America somehow has no effect on the economy or quality of life of those in Rwanda, and therefore bears no responsibility for attempting not only to rebuild after the fact, but to prevent the outbreak of future atrocities.

Unlike Keith, Krishnamurti does not feel that the correct response to such perceived injustices is radical pressure against corrupt institutions.  This is because he realizes that the philosophy he advocates is a spectrum, and not merely a single abstract point while observers can contribute to philosophical problems via their perceived non-engagement with the subject, many atrocities (such as the Rwandan genocide) would actually be much worse without any observers for a simple reason if there is no observer, then there is silence, a complete negation of the whole past (The Urgency of Change).

Observers are simultaneously responsible for chronicling history, but also acknowledging their role in creating and shaping that history.  In this sense, the passivity and non-being of Tolle is not an adequate response for all intents and purposes it simply builds the pressure of cultural oppression into a pent-up valve that eventually explodes.  By way of example, he points to India, claiming that here also they talk endlessly about peace, in all the churches, of love, goodness, loving your neighbor - yet you have had the most terrible wars, fifteen thousand of them, within the last five thousand years.  The provocative reason he provides for this is quite simple violence and pleasure are intimately related (Talks In Europe 1967).  In this sense, the agents of Rwandan genocide, denied many other, simpler pleasures, actually pursued a deep biological need for release that effectively overrode abstract concepts of ethics and morality.  In short between the urges of the body and the urges of the mind, the urges of the body win out every single time.

The mindbody divide is represented by Krishnamurti as a religionreality divide as well.  He points out that the tenets of many religions (such as Christianity) are fundamentally at odds with the tenets of reality concepts such as love your neighbor compete with business truisms such as do whatever it takes to succeed.  Given a choice between what provides for the spirit and what provides for the belly, individuals favor survival.  This trickles down even worse in societies with a strict military hierarchy such as Uganda The whole structure of the army, any structure based on the hierarchic principle, on authority, is again domination and pleasure, which is again part of violence, basic violence.

Krishnamurti elaborates further on the cyclical nature of violence, observation, and the propagation of violence
So when the observer says, I must change, I see the necessity of change, he the observer, the experiencer, the thinker, does project a pattern, an idea of what should be, and trying to become that, creates the conflict, the contradiction, because he has separated himself from the thing to be observed.

Krishnamurti identifies the problem as it permeates both liberal and radical paradigms of social change the imprinting of a new ideology over an old ideology cannot be accomplished without conflict.  Krishnamurti differs from Keith in that he does not seem to think of this conflict as a necessarily morally righteousto abstain from observation is to be complicit in a problem by negating it in the eyes of the public, silencing an issue that affects many individuals.  However, shifting from observation into a call for action is an act that irrevocably revokes the status of an observer.  For better or for worse, they are now part of the ideology in which they are trying to enact, and must bear the responsibility of that.  What does this mean for the Rwandan genocide  That the conflict was created and perpetuated by individuals that thought they existed outside of itthought that they were somehow above the pettiness and strife that is the root of all violence.  Still thinking of themselves as merely observers, individuals on both sides of the conflict were unable to reach any kind of non-violent accord, because to do so would mean admitting (consciously or unconsciously) that they are part of the conflict, rather than hovering peacefully above it.  The ideal solution would have been a series of serious protest aimed at attracting internationalmilitary strikes instead of military desertion, extra pressure placed upon the United Nations, and so forth.  The reasoning is simple The Rwandan genocide is a horrible (yet borderline archetypal) example of how when clashes between ideologies turn to violence, there will always be innocents who are caught in the middle.  The true measure of an ideologys strength is how much weight is places upon human life.  Any ideology or ideological follower that is unwilling to sacrifice their own lives for a cause yet wishes to sacrifice others is guilty those aware of such injustice that do not perform any part, great or small, in rectifying the issue, are also guilty.  Though it is tied into the institution of liberalism that Keith so despises, it is important that collective guilt becomes its own institution.  Only then can collective healing be performed for scarred areas of the world such as Rwanda.

Though Krishnamurti had the clearest philosophical perspective of the three for analyzing the Rwandan genocide, it is important to note that he did not have a truly definitive answer for philosophical conundrums such as the exact role of the observer, and the ability to free ones mind from cultural prejudices that are essentially hereditary.  The optimum solution likely involves a synthesis of these three disparate authors one needs the self-reflection of Tolle without the mental and emotional isolationism.  One needs the passion and willingness to act of Keith without the blind dismissal of all forms of education and rehabilitation over immediate, pressure-pinching action.  And one needs Krishnamurtis ability to ask the hard philosophical questions with the Zen-like patience of understanding that finding the answers to these conundrums is a matter for a lifetime, and not simply for a few introspective moments.  At its most abstract, that is what the Rwandan genocide represents a horrific puzzle for which we must eventually realize that there is no singular answerrather, the answer lies in pondering the puzzle, and never letting the images of human cruelty and ideological warfare fade away.  Rwanda itself represents but a single piece of the larger puzzle of human misery, and to allow ourselves to forget it in the face of future horror is to stand idly by and allow history to repeat itself.  Whether observer, victim, or perpetrator, there is no escaping the all-encompassing guilt of complicity...nor should there be.

Plato s Physical and Ideal Aspects of Beauty

Aesthetics is a philosophical inquiry into art and beauty. Plato has no definite theory in regards to aesthetics. For Plato art is an evil thing presented by poetry while beauty is the greatest good that is related to the God. What is really beautiful for Plato and what is not
Plato pertains to the divinity of the soul and its relation to the Gods as to what depicts the real beauty of a thing. And more than any other property for which a soul exists, beauty engages the soul and draws it toward philosophical explanation, toward thoughts of absolute beauty and even toward thoughts of other concepts. He regarded that beauty can only be defined by ideal knowledge and this knowledge can only be found in the soul. Ideal beauty is not usually seen by the naked eye. Therefore anything generated by the brain   impulses, desires, inspiration, etc. are mere imitations of these world. The real world, described by Plato as almost utopia is the place where beauty is not really hard to define. This world might also refer to as the spirit world afterlife. This is where, everything goes when the body withers. In this place, real definition of beauty is obtained - perceived by the heart, captured by eyes and analysed by the mind.

Plato claimed the accidental union of body and soul. The body for him is mere illusion and depicts imperfectness. The soul, however, he considers as perfect. He formulated a Fovtrine of Participation where he said that the body shares a part of its perfection from the soul. And by this soul, man can access the Gods. In his work, Phaedrus, he compared the soul to a chariot and divided it into three parts   two horses and a charioteer (Hofstadter and Kuhns 65). The two horses possess completely  opposite characteristics.  Theres a good horse and a bad horse. However, theres the charioteer who happened to be the guide of the horse in reaching their destination. The charioteer is holy and almost godlike. This idea is also related to his theory of Forms, where he defined Forms as non-material abstract forms, and not the material world of sensation, possess the highest kind of reality. HYPERLINK httpen.wikipedia.orgwikiTheory_of_Forms l cite_note-3 Plato conveys that these Forms are the only true objects of study that can provide us with genuine knowledge. In extension, if anything has Form, beauty is there also.

Plato formulated his theory of Forms to solve and give stable meanings for disputed terms regarding universals and particulars. Plato believed that theres a sharp distinction between the world of perceivable objects and the world of universals or Forms. One can only have opinions about the former, but one can have knowledge about the latter. For Plato it was impossible to have knowledge of anything that was particular, since knowledge had to be forever liable and comprehensive by all. Because of this, he was able to conclude that the world of Forms is the real world. This Platonic realism, however, gives people the methodic doubt, same as denying full reality to the material world.

Supporting details in his works will give us a better esplanation about his philosophy on the material world. In Phaedrus, he also mentioned that the sight is the most incisive of all bodily senses (Hofstadter and Kuhns, 1976, p. 61). He emphasized that using vision in defining beauty is dangerous to believe since imitations can fool us. Something that is perceived by sight can be a mere imitation and might give an individual a wrong definition of beauty. The imitation keeps the soul from perceiving other things and makes it focus on the appearance only. It takes more than the vision to tell the reality of a thing, Its the same as saying that the mere sight of beauty does not depict beauty. Anything sensation gave us are pure desire. And desire, like Eros love, is something that is compare to infatuation or madness. Infatuations are mere matters of desires dominating the person (Hofstadter and Kuhns, 1976, p. 62). Judgment based on perception through the vision should be doubted.

Platonic Love A Discussion on Platos Ideal of Love and its Relation to his Ideal of Personal Development

Love, an ambiguous and seemingly limitless ideal, has always been a typical subject matter in literature as well as in arts and in the modern mass media. Over the years of being used to materials that express about love, this concept has been able to acquire countless names, definitions, manifestations and translations. In this light, the meaning of love became one of the most ambiguous and universal ideal in the world. A lot of great minds like philosophers and master artists have already conveyed their perception of love in different ways. Over the years, the discussion and discourse on love did not cease. And a lot of thinkers have also been known for their notable views on this ideal. One of these great minds that has been perceived to disclose one of the most interesting interpretations on the ideal of love is none other than, Plato. Plato is one of the worlds greatest thinkers who has pioneered some of the most significant discoveries in philosophy, politics, religion and psychology (Kreis). Apart from this, one of his notable remarks was on the universal ideal of love. Due to the perceived significance of Platos philosophies to the academe, his thoughts on concepts like this of love has also been treasured. In this light, this discussion shall delve on the explication of Platos views on love. Furthermore, this discussion shall also relate the philosophers view of love to his notion of personal development, where in he personally sees desire as the catalyst for mans achievement of his true goal.

Plato on Love
Love as one of the most universal ideals in the world has been thoroughly studied and explicated by philosophers like Plato over the years. It has been given different labels, explanations and definitions that come from various fields that all aimed to explicate and simply it.

In Platos Symposium, he cites two different categories of love t he common love and the heavenly love. Commonly love, as Plato defines it, is a kind of love which has a more physical root and leaning (Plato xxii). In explicating this ideal is a more contemporary perspective, this may be translated as the typical form of attraction and infatuation men and women feel toward each other. Plato also mentioned something about physicality. This may also imply that common love relates to the kind of attraction or relationship which has a more physical manifestation, such as physical or sexual attraction. On the other hand, Plato also mentions something about the Heavenly kind of love. This kind of love was related to a higher kind of love where people develops a more rational and virtue-directed kind of affection towards another. Evidently, Plato differentiates the two categories based on the seriousness and rationality of the lover. More apparently, Plato makes use of gender and people from different age levels as examples of how these two types of love manifest. Plato notes,

Common Love is directed equally at women (taken to be non-rational) or boys, whereas Heavenly Love is directed only at males who have reached the age (adolescence) at which they become capable of developing rationality and virtue.

Based from this categorization, it can be observed that Plato fails to mention anything about Heavenly Love or a more rational kind of love that relates to women. Considering this definition above, it is evident that Plato only relates Heavenly Love to males of a particular age level. This may apparently post an issue on gender discrimination as this categorization may imply that women, as compared to men, are not capable of practicing Heavenly Love. However, considering this definition alone may be insufficient as Plato still has numerous of explanations as to what Love really is for him.

Apart from this categorization, Platos notion of love also appears to have neither a good or a bad nature. He also suggests that love is neither beautiful nor ugly, as opposed to Diotomas claim that love is only  ugly and bad  (Plato xxix). Plato suggests that love falls in between. Love cannot be considered good nor bad as it has to maintain a particular neutrality which makes it non-destructible to both forces. Plato notes,
 Love falls into a category that us intermediate between such opposites. On the same basis, Love is neither a god (assumed to be beautiful and good) nor a mortal but an intermediate or intermediary between these two, a spirit (daimon).

In this light, Platos perspective of Loves neutrality makes it an ideal which is neither destructive nor passive of peoples interests and emotions. Contrary to how the contemporary generation looks at Love, Platos view of it was more on the safe and non-dominating kind. People nowadays would easily look at love as something which can allow a person to destroy him or herself, as Love can be considered as one of the greatest sources of mans misery. Because of this, the contemporary generations notion of love as portrayed in arts, music and literature has become more negative as compared to how Plato saw it during his time. However, what appears similar between Plato and the contemporary generations view of love is the notion of sacrifice in relation to what we now call an unconditional love.
In Platos Symposium, another observable feature is his leaning on Greek mythology and the seemingly undying stories of Greek gods and heroes. In this work, the notion of unconditional or sacrificial love has been related to these stories. Sacrifice in the form of giving up someones own life in place of the anothers has been the most typical form of a deep loves manifestation. Plato, together with all the followers of Greek values and ideologies saw this a manifestation of a higher kind of love, that which is ready to sacrifice its own self without the expectation of any form reciprocity from the other end. Plato notes,
Besides, its only lovers who are willing to die for someone else and this is true of women as well as men   The gods, as well as human beings, saw this as a very fine act   This shows how much even gods value the commitment and courage that come from love.

In this passage, it is apparent how sacrifice, as a manifestation of unconditional love, has been very typical during Platos time. However, it can be observed that this may not hold true for the present generation anymore.

Having gone through all these explications, it can be noted that Platos view of love is quite more simplistic than what can be expected from a philosopher who has explicated lots of more technical and equally ambiguous ideals. But apart from this, in going back to the main objective of this discussion, it can also be noted that this notion of love also holds some relation to Platos notion of personal development. This relationship shall be explained in the succeeding part of this discussion.

The Platonic notion of Love in Relation to Platos Ideal of Self-development
 Contrary to Platos ideal of love, which appears to root from a more sentimental, emotional and even spiritual leaning, his notion of personal development appears to focus on the significance of education and personal integrity. Plato considered a society with sufficient education as a society which is ready for progress (Kemerling). He considers human knowledge as one of the most powerful prime movers of success and personal development. In Kemerlings interpretation of Platos perspective of human knowledge, he notes,
 he (Plato) believed that those with the greatest ability   that is, people with a natural disposition for for philosophical study   must receive the best education engaging in a regimen of mental discipline that grows more strict with every passing year of their lives  (Kemerling).

Considering this, it may appear that Platos interpretation of love and self-development may have varying roots as well as varying nature. When he talked about love, Platos arguments  appeared like they were coming from a sentimental and emotional perspective. In contrary, when Plato was discussing about personal development, it was evident that what he was pointing out is that only human intellect can offer this kind of achievement and nothing else. Hence, it can also be noted that Platos notion of success has a more academic leaning. A person may not be considered successful if he or she does not have a good educational foundation. Considering this, it can also be noted that as for Plato, love may not have any relation to a persons seek for success. Furthermore, this may even hinder him as this would oftentimes require a particular level of sacrifice   as what has been discussed in Platos notion of unconditional love. Thus, it can be said that Platos perspective of love and personal development may not have anything to do with each other so to speak. Each ideal has individual roots, functions, causes and implications that also appear to be non-related to the others aspects.

Socrates and His Philosophy

It must have been weird living in Ancient Athens and encountering Socrates on the way. It would be especially weird if for instance the person caught Socratess attention and Socrates began quizzing him of all sorts of questions about the truth. Anyone who does not know Socrates will think the guy is demented at best, at worst, should the person happen to have a sword with him and got annoyed with Socratess inquiry, Socrates could have easily suffered a much gruesome death.

The quest for knowledge is admirable indeed. Socrates arguably died a martyrs death for it. According to him, an unexamined life is not worth living (Palmer 2005). This statement is his own it was the epitome of his beliefs and he managed to impart it to billions of world population dating back to his time. The author of this paper agree with his statement, however, with qualifications.

Man is naturally curious. That is why he has learned to cope with his environment, learning to carve useful tools out of stones in order to survive the base and harsh nature of his surroundings. His curiosity has led him to a more civilized form of living finding ways to domesticate animals and to grow crops that he could eat. It is mans very curiosity that led him to seek education, to listen to Socrates and to answer his inquiries. In Platos Apology, Socrates professed that he was oracled to be the wisest of all (Siegel 2005). Hence, he sought out those with reputation for greatness(politicians, poets, craftsmen) if they could be wiser than Socrates and upon interviewing them (in his infamous Socratic approach), he reached one conclusion they know no wisdom because they claim to know something when they really do not and Socrates is indeed the wisest. Man are and they have weaknesses. Those people whom Socrates interviewed, such famed figures of Athens at the time, whom Socrates sought wisdom from proved to be arrogant because they professed to be the wisest but it turns out their knowledge is limited. Socrates, for his part is as plagued with arrogance as the men he has interviewed. The simple fact of testing the oracle for truth is testament of arrogance. His methodologies leave a lot of room to be desired. Taking off on a quest to determine whether someone out there is smarter than you is downright offensive for the other men. It is even more offensive to entertain someone and be professed by that someone as knowing of nothing. Who is Socrates to conclude that he is wisest because he professes to know nothing and who is he to determine what is actually something

The infamous Socratic approach is Socratess gift. He is a master orator, imparting logic is something he is good at, just like poets are good at writing odes to nature and to beauty, just like politicians have given us the gift of democracy, just like craftsmen have given us architecture to utilize.

Though the author of this paper agrees with Socrates that truth is something to be sought, nobody knows what the truth is. Is it something that is definite Does it change in time How does one know when it achieved Would there be physical signs The quest for truth may just be a choice, not something that one has a natural inclination to. It will come down to priorities and option. Is the quest for truth better than what is here and now Is the quest for truth more important than surviving the current demands of culture and society Is the quest for truth the demands of culture and society itself Again, man is a curious human being, he will examine life for the heck of it. Socrates did so, in his own way that eventually led to his own peril. In Platos Apology, Socrates claimed that no man wishes the detriment of other men one does not wish harm to others (Spiegel 2005). Perhaps, it would have better served Socrates had he exercised respect together with his beliefs. He did not seem to respect the others with genius that is not logic and as such, they all turned against him leading to his death.

Philosopher Aristotle

Aristotle is widely recognized as one of the most influential philosophers in history. He made numerous contributions in almost all areas of knowledge. According to claims from many philosophers, Aristotle is to be praised for classifying human knowledge into distinct disciplines such as ethics, logic, metaphysics, and mathematics among many others (Ackrill, 1981). He was the first to give a logical description of the four basic human virtues Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Unity (Ackrill, 1981). Aristotle was a student of Plato from whose philosophical views he based most of his initial ideologies. However, it is commonly appreciated that most of Aristotle philosophies contradicted those of Plato. This essay is a discussion of Aristotles life and his contributions to the modern philosophical and theological thinking.

Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Stageira, Chalcidice. He was the son of Nicomachus, a personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. According to available information, Aristotle trained as a member of the aristocracy during his early age before joining Platos academy in Athens at the age of eighteen (Ackrill, 1981). He stayed in the academy for twenty years until after the death of Plato in 347 BC. Aristotle started his philosophical adventure during 347 BC when, together with Theophrastus, they conducted a research on the botany and zoology of the island of Lesbos, Asia. In 343 BC, Aristotle became the personal tutor of Alexander the Great and the head of the royal academy of Macedon.
It is claimed that Aristotles teachings were a major influence not only to the leadership of Alexander the great, but also to King Ptolemy and Cassander. According to his political teachings, Aristotle believed that the virtue of the king and his family should be greater than those of his citizens to justify a monarchy form of government (Kraut, 2002). Available historical information indicates that Aristotle returned to Athens in 335 BC were he established the Lyceum academy. It is during this time until 323 BC when Aristotle is believed to have written most of his philosophical works. Just to be appreciated, Aristotle was married to Pythias, with whom they had a daughter. He later befriended Herpyllis of Stageira and had one son, Nicomachus (Ackrill, 1981).

Aristotle is claimed to had written numerous dialogues, most of which are not existing. The most commonly available works of Aristotle are the treatise. Such include Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, and Poetics (Hines, 1999). However, most of this works are not widely published due to the conviction that they were only meant to give lecture guidance to his students. Despite the philosophical influence Aristotle gained from Plato, he is widely acknowledged as a major critic of Platos philosophical perceptions. He believed that knowledge was fundamentally empirical, a factor that led to his conclusion that the world cannot be view in an abstract way as Plato claimed (Pangle, 2002). Through his philosophical approach to problem solving, Aristotle founded the concept of inductive reasoning, which form the foundation of the modern western scientific method.

Among the most outstanding works of Aristotle, the schematization of knowledge, the four causes, and the ethical doctrine of the mean characterize his unique thinking (Ackrill, 1981). Aristotle resolved the problem on the nature of human knowledge by defining the different types of knowledge based on their core objects and the certainty of knowing such objects. According to him, some types of human knowledge objects such as mathematics and logic dictate for having absolute knowledge of their certainty (Hines, 1999). Therefore, such objects of knowledge are categorized based of certain and precise explanation. However, Aristotle asserted that some other forms of knowledge such as human behavior did not require certainty (Hines, 1999). This claim brought the modern concept of probability. According to him human knowledge such as ethics, psychology, and politics did not confirm to Platos concept of precise explanation.

Another influential concept by Aristotle is the four causes of occurrences in the world. According to Plato, the fact that the world is nothing less than change compromised the human ability to know anything (Ackrill, 1981). Based on this reasoning, Plato developed an unchanging empirical world marked with intelligible forms which claimed the world to be an imperfect copy of reality. However, Aristotle contradicted this by engaging all his life in qualifying the underlying reason behind change and motion of things. Indeed, he is claimed to be the first philosopher ever to base his thought and scientific explanations on the principle that everything that is in motion is caused to move by something else (Ackrill, 1981). According to many, this acclamation by Aristotle is the foundation of the western rationality and science.

The four causes concept by Aristotle asserted that changes in the universe are due to four reasons. There is the material cause to change in the universe (Ackrill, 1981). Based on this reason, Aristotle acknowledged that everything in the universe is made of some form of matter. Due to this, its appearance or change should be defined by the material used in modeling it. As an example, bowl as a change is made out of clay. Another possible cause of change is the formal cause. This is defined as the pattern or structure based on which something is made. Such meant that the shape something is what defines it. For example, a human being is defined by the human shape just like a bowl is defined by its bowl shape.

The other causes of change in the universe are efficient cause and final cause. According to Aristotle, there is a means or an agency through which things in the universe come into existence (Ackrill, 1981). These are the driving force to change. Without the presence of force, things cannot change or move. Such could be explained by the fact that without a potter the existence of a bowl could be impossible. On the final cause of change, Aristotle declared that all changes have a purpose or function in the society. Just to be appreciated is the fact that without a goal, human beings cannot engage in developing products.

Although the final cause has received critics as being quite unscientific, the concept is widely appreciated in the ethical and scientific fronts of the modern community. Therefore, Aristotles teaching on the cause of change was fundamentally teleological (Ackrill, 1981). This is because it asserts the fact that everything in the world is constantly changing and moving for some goal or purpose. Such propositions were later supported by the Newtonian physic which asserted that everything in the universe has a potential of being actualized.

Another commonly cited philosophical contribution by Aristotle is found in his doctrine of the mean. According to philosophers, the science of ethics is marked with high degrees of uncertainty (Hines, 1999). Such are closely attributed to the diversity of human reasoning, actions, and motivations. This seems to contradict the fact that ethics dictate for absolute principles to be effective. Such can be found in the laws that govern our behavior in the community. However, the concept of ethics as an institution by man makes human actions to be limited to the individuals situation which determine whether an action is right or wrong. This is what Aristotle claimed to the changing forces of revolution in the community.

In his doctrine of the mean, Aristotle defines ethics based mean as a roadmap for guiding human behavior. He rightly asserted the fact that there can never be a correct definition to moral virtue simply because moral virtues are subject to two opposing vices (Pangle, 2002). According to him, occurrences questioning human behavior should be judged based the relevant underlying circumstances and situation. As an example, the question of having courage can be found to lie between two opposing vices cowardice and foolhardiness (Ackrill, 1981). Therefore what can be termed as the mean between this opposing vices brought by courage is a variant phenomenon dependent on the situation of the time.

This doctrine of the mean as defined by Aristotle has found its much appreciation in the modern human community. Indeed, this is guideline for judging human behavior is called equity. This has been the underlying principle in the development of our modern law and execution of justice in the community. According to philosophers and theologians, the doctrine of the mean by Aristotle is crucial in understanding the development of initial Christianity in the world as well as its later divisions such as the protestant reformation movement (Hines, 1999). Such contributions are also thought to have influenced the philosophical thinking of the historical Islamic and Jewish traditions.

In politics, Aristotle conceived the concept of man as a political animal by nature (Kraut, 2002). He conceptualized the city as a natural community that preceded the family and the individual despites its being last in the making process. According to him, politics was to be understood as an organism whose efficient functioning sole depended on its individual parts (Kraut, 2002). This had the implication that there can never be politics without the people. This concept of the city ass a political community by Aristotle is found in the concept of the state in the modern community. Aristotle perceived politics as an establishment whose aim is not to mitigate injustices or promote economic development, but rather as a mechanism for enabling individuals to live a good life. Therefore, the city as a political community was to be founded to serve for a noble purpose rather than just promoting communal living.

Aristotle also impacted on the philosophical understanding of rhetoric and poetry (Pangle, 2002). According to him poetry, music, tragedy, and comedy are the works of human imitations. Such imitations varied from the medium employed, to the objects of the work, to the method used to convey the message. Based on this reasoning, Aristotle claimed that music is for example an imitation of rhythm and harmony while dancing is only guiding by rhythm (Ackrill, 1981). For him, the practice of imitation is the underlying reason why human beings are different from other animals. Aristotle asserted that tragedy should consist of six basic elements. Such included plot-structure, character, style, spectacle, and lyric. For him the plot is the core issue in a tragedy and characters only serve as a media for conveying the message (Ackrill, 1981). It is claimed that Aristotle found a strong interest in rhetoric based on the fact that his school had a big collection of riddles, folklore, and proverbs.

According to available information, Aristotle brought numerous contributions in metaphysics. Through is observations, he asserted that every substance was made of both matter and form (Ackrill, 1981). From his explanation in his Metaphysics, Book VII, matter is the stuff, which creates a substance while form is the actual casing covering the substance. This led him to distinguishing change and its causes into three parts. Change in quantity is caused by growth or diminution while change in space is due to motion or locomotion (Ackrill, 1981). The other cause of change is alteration. This is mainly found in terms of the quality of the substance. Such were the basis of his philosophical proposition on potentiality and actuality of matter. Unlike Plato, Aristotle believed that the reason why man is unity is because both the potential (matter) and actual (form) aspects of man are the same.

The influence of Aristotle has gone down history. Many centuries after his death, Aristotle is praised for pioneering numerous ethical and scientific schools. He was the driving force behind the development of the modern formal logic (Ackrill, 1981). Another contribution is that he was the pioneer of zoology studies. Just to be appreciated is the fact that Aristotle formed many influential contributions in defining scientific methods. Indeed, it is asserted that almost every future philosopher and scientist found remarkable aid from the teachings of Aristotle. He was the driving force behind the successful political power enjoyed by Alexander the great as well as other kings like Ptolemy and Cassander.
Other much influence by Aristotle is the philosophical and theological thinking of Christianity. Aristotle was greatly praised by great Christian thinkers like Thomas Aquinas for his scientific and artistic principles which formed the basis of understanding and formulating modern ethical laws and justice systems (Ackrill, 1981). However, the works of philosopher have received a number of critics. The most profound is his perception of women as being inferior to men in the community. He consistently claimed that women can never be full humans. For him, the concept of procreation meant women acting like a passive medium.

Nevertheless, he believed that women and men deserve the same rights to happiness (Ackrill, 1981). He claimed that the human community cannot realize sustainable happiness unlike by ensuring that its women population is happy. Other critics of Aristotles philosophical works are in the accuracy of his claims. According to him, animals were to be grouped into two groups those with blood and those without blood. By this, he failed to acknowledge the fact that even insects do have hemoglobin for respiratory purposes. Still, Alexander the great came to appreciate later that Aristotle gave him wrong geographical information.

In conclusion, Aristotle remains one of the most influential ancient philosophers. Through his logical philosophical arguments, Aristotle pioneered the formal logic school found in the modern society. Another notable contribution is the influence he brought to the character and rise to power of Alexander the great (Ackrill, 1981). Aristotle believed that the strength of a king and his family is sustainable by insuring that the strength of the citizens is lower. It is also claimed that his philosophies brought much influence in the philosophical and theological thinking of the middle age Islamic, Christian, and Jewish religious traditions. Therefore, Aristotle the great philosopher deserves honor for his numerous contributions to the schools of science and arts in the human community.


On October 27, 1986, Pope John Paul II, together with the Dalai Lama next to him, led the first ecumenical World Day of Prayer for Peace held in Assisi, Italy.  The Dalai Lama was honored by giving the first speech to 160 religious leaders from 43 faiths, including Catholics, Lutherans, Quakers, Baptists, Anglicans, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Shintoists, Animists and many others.  A Similar interfaith gathering led by the Pope and the Dalai Lama in St. Peters Square on October 28, 1999 was held to unify all religions.  In a dramatic turnaround of centuries-old Church policy, the Pope apologized during his reign for all historical Church crimes or sins, and he acknowledged that salvation is no longer exclusive to Christianity through his various interfaith meetings.  Indeed, the Dalai Lamas influence on the Pope is remarkable because it makes sense.  Religious diversity should truly be welcomed because it is beneficial to society, it is the essence of religion itself and it allows different strokes for different folks.

Exclusive religions historically sparked or influenced many conflicts and wars.  Pope John Paul II, for example, had to apologize for more than 100 offenses that the Church perpetrated since it began centuries ago.  These offenses include the Crusade attacks torture, burnings and imprisonment during the Inquisition Spanish conquests of the Americas and other foreign lands in the name of the Church forced conversions of ethnic groups involvement in slave trade Protestant religious wars Holocaust indifference and many others.  Many famous personalities, such as Joan of Arc and Galileo Galilei, died, were tortured or were imprisoned by the Church.

The Islamic conquerors of the Middle East and Europe, and even todays Muslim jihadists, also claim to act in behalf of their god or religion.  Muslims conquered the Middle East in the 600s Eastern Europe, Spain and Portugal in the 700s and Mediterranean Europe in the 800s.  Anatolia was also conquered in the 11th century.  The Muslims continued to convert people from Africa to South East Asia in the 1200s.  They also attacked Western and Northern Europe including Iceland and Britain in the 17th century.  Today, they continue terrorist attacks in the name of Jihad and Allah all over the world.  They also have regular guerilla fighters in countries like the Philippines where Islamic-inspired fighting against Christians never end.

Furthermore, Hindus in India and Sri Lanka attack people who believe in other religions like Islam, Christianity and Buddhism.  In the early 1990s in Bombay, India, for example, hundreds of Muslims and Hindus died in rioting and bomb blasts.  But these riots are not rare occurrences they happen regularly.  Hindus also regularly attack Christians in India sometimes they even rape nuns.  And until recently, Hindu Tamils have been terrorizing Buddhists in Sri Lanka.

Jews and Muslims also regularly attack each other in the Middle East.  For hundreds of years the Jews and Muslim Arabs have been fighting each other.  Israel has fought numerous battles against its Arab neighbors, but the war never ends.  A cold war still exists, especially with Iran, which is currently trying to produce nuclear weapons.  Jews and Palestinians also continue to destroy each other in the occupied territories in Israel.

 Protestants and Catholics also fight each other in the UK.  Conflict between these groups has plagued England and Ireland for centuries.  Terrorist attacks sometimes occur in this area due to the Irish Republican Army, but historically Protestant England has been at odds with its Catholic neighbors such as Spain and Ireland.

With all these religious conflicts, it will definitely benefit mankind, not just to tolerate each others religion, but to accept it all as true.  As Gandhi says

I came to the conclusion long ago  that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu  But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian.

In other words, religions should practice convergence instead of conversion.  The more each religion thinks itself to be superior and the other inferior, the more conflict builds up.  Moreover, the more salesmen there are trying to sell their religious views to others, the more irritated and annoyed people will be.   Accepting each others preferences will be difficult to do in the beginning, but over time, people get used to it just as they are used to each individuals unique personality.  Otherwise, trying to force people to buy something that they dislike will simply lead to more conflict and war.

Indeed, the very essence of religion itself is harmony, love and understanding, not competition and conflict.  If each religion believes that their faith is the exclusive path to salvation and everyone else is headed for hell, then no one can go to heaven.  Everyone will be destined for hell.  In the same way, whats the use of having a religion if ones religion causes conflict and war  There might as well be no religion if that were the case.  As John Lennon sings in Imagine

Imagine theres no HeavenIts easy if you tryNo hell below usAbove us only skyImagine all the peopleLiving for today

You may say that Im a dreamerBut Im not the only oneI hope someday youll join usAnd the world will live as one (Lennon 1971)

Truly, in order for religion to be useful and beneficial, it has to be able to solve the problems of mankind.  It has to cure the ills of man, not create it.  It has to be practical and functional, not theoretical and fantastic or imaginary.
No single religion can do this all religions have to work together.  If the goal is world peace and harmony, and the method to accomplish the goal is religion, the most efficient way to complete the task is for all religions to join together as a team or as a system to be successful in the task.  Otherwise, if religions fight and compete against each other, they will be contributing to more conflict instead of accomplishing their mission.  This can be compared to a man with alien-hand syndrome where one hand tries to pull up his pants and the other hand tries to pull it down.  It can also be compared to schizophrenia where the mind is split and is indecisive because one wants to do something and avoid doing it simultaneously.  The analogy is also similar to an army where the generals compete with their fellow officers and are disagreeable with them.  The soldiers under their command dont know who to follow because one officer says this and another officer contradicts what the previous officer said.

Instead of accomplishing their mission, they go no where and nothing is completed.  On the other hand, if all the different religions work like a world-class basketball team and pass the ball to the open man, each member having roles such as shooting guard, power forward, center, small forward or point guard, then they can win.

The Dalai Lama also has many similar analogies and stories.  The Dalai Lama believes that people should devote themselves to their own religion and respect other religions simultaneously.  He believes that just as people prefer various types of food, people will prefer to practice their own religion and worship their own god in their own way or style.  Not everyone wants to eat Chinese food, for instance.  Some like Italian, French, American, Japanese or other types of food.  If a person is forced to eat only German food for his entire life after being able to taste other food types and liking it, he or she may go crazy.  In the same way, when one is forced to believe and practice only one type of religion, such as Judaism, because the persons parents impose it, not really because the person likes it, then that person may develop psychological problems.  People may want a set menu or they may want to choose different types of food from an a-la-carte menu, so in the same way, people should be allowed to choose one religion or a little of several religions.   This is more natural and harmonious.
The Dalai Lama also compares the diversity of religion to the variety of medicine.  As he says
I never say Buddhism is best. Buddhism has been best for me. Each person is different. I cannot say what is best for 100 people Their own religion is best for them. Its like medicine. We cannot say pick one medicine, this is best for everybody.

Just as a doctor prescribes different kinds of medicine in different doses and frequencies, depending on the ailment and the biology of the person, various kinds of religions in different doses, combinations and frequencies are needed to heal different kinds of people with various problems throughout the world.  People have eccentricities that are peculiar to them.  Their habits, tastes, likes and dislikes are all different.  Their needs and wants are not the same too.  Women, for example, are more comfortable with female goddesses than male deities, so many female Catholics pray to the Virgin Mary because of their gender, something they were born with and cannot really change.

Usually different religions try to emphasize what they value, and values are all different for every person.  The members, for example, of Jehovahs Witness emphasize the name of God.  The Seventh Day Adventists emphasize health and well-being thus, they value the observance of proper rest and a vegetarian diet.  Buddhists value mind training.  Muslims value the aversion from desire.  Born-again Christians value renewal.  Jains value all life.  Hindus love variety.  And Atheists value reason.  People develop different kinds of medicine, just as they developed different kinds of religion for various types of needs, ranging from health, to social life, to money, inner harmony and mental soundness.

The Chinese may know why there are so many religions.  The Taoists believe that everything in the universe is composed of Yin and Yang.  Yin, for example, is female, black, sadness, bust, etc.  On the other hand, Yang is male, white, happiness, boom, and so forth.  Yin and Yang, however, are dynamic and come in various degrees and combinations.  Thus, Yang males also have a little bit of Yin female and vice versa.  Depending on time and circumstance, Yin and Yang can also switch roles.  All animals and plants can also be categorized using Yin and Yang, so all religions can also be classified in this way.
Rodney St. Michael, in his book, Sync My World, explains this in more detail.  Yin and Yang can be divided further into the Wu Xing or Five Elements which can be structured like a star in the Pentacle of Confucius.  The Five Elements are composed of Wood (or Air), Water, Earth, Fire and Metal (or Ether).  Wood or Air and Fire are more of Yang elements, while Earth, Water and Metal (or Ether) are more of Yin Elements.  St. Michael asserts that races, genders, classes, political systems, religions, economic systems, and so forth, correspond to the Five Elements or to its combinations or variations.  For example, Yellows are Wood.  Whites are Fire.  Yellow and White races are Yang in various degrees.  Blacks are Earth.  Small Browns are Water, and Big Browns are Metal.  Blacks and Browns are Yin.  Moreover, Yangs are Democrats or Liberals.  Yins are Republicans or Conservatives.  In the same way, Chinese, Japanese and Korean Buddhism are moderate Yangs as Wood.  Western Christianity is also Yang as Fire.  South East Asian Buddhism is Yin as Water.  Hinduism is Yin as Ether.  Islam is Yin as Metal.  And animism is Yin as Earth.  Other religions can also be categorized this way, according to Rodney St. Michael.   Together, they all form a five-pointed star, along with the various economic systems, political system, classes, genders and so on.  This is why the five-pointed star, with or without a circle around it, is often used as a political symbol in flags or as logos for corporations.

The star lines and the circle encompassing the Wu Xing show the harmony and conflict relationships among the Elements.  They form an ecological model.  For example, Wood (or trees) needs Water for nourishment, but flooding rots Wood.  If this happens, Earth absorbs the excess Water.  Trees also need mild sunshine (Fire) but Wildfire destroys the forest.  Metal chopping down Wood may produce fine furniture but excessive logging or the absence of tree farming produces deforestation and perhaps even contributes to global warming.  In the same way, all religions, which correspond to the Five Elements are also at odds with each other while helping each other in some situations.  When there is balance among the Elements, there is harmony, peace and prosperity.  In contrast, when the Elements are imbalanced, such as the case during the Age of Imperialism, when the Fire Element and Christianity flamed the world through forced conversions, then destruction, unhappiness and dissonance leaps out.
Rodney St. Michael also compares the Wu Xing to Abraham Maslows Hierarchy of Needs.  The Elements form a five-level pyramid in the mind, but the shape of this pyramid varies from person to person.  For some, it may be shaped like a Coca-cola bottle.  For others, it may be an inverted pyramid.

But for the classic pyramid, the apex is Wood or self-actualization needs.  Below it is Water or superego needs.  Then comes Earth or belongingness needs.  Below it is Fire or security needs.  Then the base of the pyramid is Metal or physiological needs.  The religions near the apex believe more in religious diversity while the religions near the base of the pyramid assert exclusivity more.  The religions near the base may also attempt to avert more from material desires in extreme ways since the people in this area tend to be addicted to the material world more than the others.  So the base religions may try to counter extreme addictions with extreme aversions.  Muslim women, for instance, may need to cover their entire body, including their face, to counter extreme desires.  On the other hand, the religions near the apex strive more for balance and moderation.  In other words, different religions create various customs and laws to combat problems in various degrees.  Sometimes, they use extreme solutions for extreme problems.

St. Michael also explains that this phenomenon is all caused by astrophysics.  Lao Tzus Tao Te Ching explains that astrophysical forces and phenomena such as gravity, space and time create Yin and Yang or the Wu Xing just as batteries and magnets have positive and negative charges, or just as atomsthe substance of everythinghave protons and electrons.  Thus, religious variety will always exist since Yin and Yang are not creations of man.  In other words, trying to create a world where there is only one religion like Christianity is not possible since it is like creating a world where there are only males and no females.  If that happens, sooner or later, humanity will perish.

In the end, the Dalai Lama is right.  Religious diversity, while simultaneously devoting ones self in ones preferred or favored religion, is a necessity for harmony and peace.  It is mankinds hope for sanity and survival.