Alfred North Whitehead, a famous thinker, once said, “All of western thought is a footnote to Plato.” But imagine that western thought is a person. How would he or she feel? Behave?
In Spanking Plato, a satirical, funny, and irreverent story that some have called the next Monty Python, I have personified Western Thought—also known as Wes or Wesley Thought—as someone who is confused and angry because everybody thinks he is nothing more than a copy, a cheap imitation of Plato. After all, as he says, he was around long before and after Plato.
He also is angry because many other famous people like Newton and Galileo have put words in his mouth. As a result, he is confused about who he is and suffers an identity crisis. He seeks the help of a therapist.
In this set, we will explore the tragedy of Galileo, Newton’s enemies, and Descartes’ disaster. How does Wesley Thought unintentionally create disaster for the three scientists? How does he create problems for his therapist? How does he handle his new crush on his Therapist?
Critical Thinking questions:
1. Wesley Thought states that the scientific revolution changed people’s worldview from seeing the universe as a mystery to seeing the universe as a machine. Is this true? Can you give examples of how modern society acts like a machine?
2. Can you draw a picture or write a few paragraphs giving examples of how society or culture treated people before the scientific revolution and after culture became mechanistic?
3. Give examples of people you know who hate being treated like a machine, i.e. voice mail, robo calls, etc. How do they handle these situations? What could they do that would be more effective?
4. What evidence can you find in this reading selection that the scientific revolution did change humanity’s worldview to that of a mechanistic universe?
5. Restructure the roles of one of the main characters to create a different outcome or world view or compare and contrast two of the three main characters, i.e. Newton and Descartes, Galileo and Newton, etc. how were they different? How were they alike?
6. If you disagree with the idea that the scientific revolution created a mechanistic universe, describe an alternative outcome that you think happened.