Monday, March 31, 2008

Aristotle Lives in Singapore (and Co-Teaches Logic, Ethics, and Love in Translation)

Aristotle lives in Singapore today. However, the Greek scientist must share his teaching post in his new multilingual and multicultural Athens with three other "great thinkers," all barbarians if all men:
  • an enlightened North Indian prince;
  • a Chinese sage;
  • and a Jewish rabbi.
Aristotle does get to take the most credit for having "shaped not only the Grecian civilization but also that of the entire Western hemisphere" and "for his logic and his idea of the importance of virtue (staying on the balance, without going into extremes)." And yet he has to play second fiddle to the Chinaman, whose "profound influence on Chinese, Korean, and Japanese even greater than Aristotle’s prodigious influence on the West." Furthermore, Aristotle can no longer exclusively teach only Greek boys even if the others are making a bigger difference on the girls. The Sino-sage teaches "to venerate ancestry and to honor ones parents," a lesson not lost on "the foster mother of [the] daughter [of a professor and his wife]." And the North Indian prince shares his light in a "taxi driven by a female driver," and he later wakes up a "little Asian girl who was slumped all through the mass" for the rabbi-turned-Christian-baby born of a virgin. Indeed, Aristotle finds himself teaching all of us to "revisit, renew and relearn our ABCs" in English primarily, and to be, like him, like these other men, "fully human in a world that has gone into extremes."

Nonetheless, we note a subtle sexist extreme while reading of the plural contemporary influences on us (as noted by Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan in the Manila Times of March 25 and April 1, 2008).

We note that our multicultural, multiracial, multilingual, multispiritual influences who make us fully human only represent, rather extremely, half of the human race: the male half.

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