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There is a link between Socrates learning about money and benefiting off of others success and and learning from the elderly and growing from their experiences. While talking to Cephalus he sees and learns about a different way of thinking and seeing how people benefit from others. Not all people are able to make it on their own. They might need a little guidance from others who have come before them and or were more successful then them. But it is here where we learn the difference in how you are viewed from gaining money or experience from others.

I found the talk about money to be the most interesting. This is when Socrates and Cephalus are talking about old age and the importance of money. Socrates asks, “you seemed to me not to have a very strong love of money, and this is the way people are, for the most part, who didn’t acquire it themselves” (1.330C). Most people who earn their money are much more protective over it and want to spend it in ways that they feel is important to them and or their family. But when people inherit something and it is just handed to you, it may not seem as significant or important because you do not know what it took to get there and earn it. “As poets love their own poems and fathers love their children, in just this way moneymakers too take their money seriously as their own work, as well as for its use the same way other people do. So they are hard even to be around, since they are not willing to praise anything other than their riches,” (1, 330C). People who work to create or raise something have more appreciation for it in the end and in its completion. People who have earned the same amount of something that was given or handed to somebody else may not be able to appreciate it in the same way and or the person who earned and worked for it might not respect the person whom it was handed to.  They know the work that it took and the sacrifices that they made to get what they deserved, where this other person was just handed something due to family ties. “And it’s for this very thing that I for my part hold the possession of money to be of its greatest worth, not for every man but for a decent and orderly one,” (1.331B). Not everybody is deserving of the luxury that some people have worked for.

I feel that this also very closely tied to his feeling about the elderly. “I enjoy talking with those who are very old very much, for it seems to me one ought to learn from them, as from those who have gone before us down a certain road which we too no doubt will need to travel, about what sort of road it is, rough and hard or easy and readily traversable” (1.328E). Everybody eventually gets old and you mine as well learn and prepare for what you will encounter. It is worth talking and learning from people older and much older because they will have different perspectives and hopefully can help guide you through even your younger years and not just the time period that they are in at that point. Different perspectives will help to change the growing generations and mold them into the better parts of the past. “And from you especially I would be glad to learn how this looks to you, since you are just now at that point in life which the poets say is ‘on the doorstep out of old age’ whether it is a hard part of life or how you report it” (1.329A). He is asking what it is like to be dying and knowing that your life is coming to an end. Again it is a type of perspective that not everybody has and especially someone so young.

Both of theses topics help to mold different perspectives and develop the aging generation into something better then before. Money is a way to separate the hard working and the people just getting bye or people who are benefiting from other peoples success. Although in both cases you are gaining from somebody else different characteristics stick out. Learning and growing from others successes and failures to make yourself a better person and then either working hard to make a living for yourself or using your families success, name, and money to do well. There is respect to be gained from learning from the elderly and working hard to earn a living for yourself and you family.

20 Responses to “Courtney – On Old Age and Money”

  1. khoneycutt says:

    Courtney,

    Money is an interesting example of what we might call the love of one’s own. As Socrates suggests, we love what is ours, especially what we have labored to produce. So poets love their poems; parents their children; and so forth. Those who inherit money do not love it as much, if we follow this line of reasoning, as those who work for it.

    But money is strange in that it does not seem to be an end or product in itself; it seems more like a means to other ends. A poem is a product; a child is a product. But is money importantly different in this respect?

    I think you are right to highlight the connection between money and age, as well. Cephalus is glad he has money and is proud that he is leaving his sons a little better off than he was. But since money is mainly good to pay for one’s injustices, this is perhaps not a resounding recommendation of the moral character of either Cephalus or his family.

    KH

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