Inspirational Articles

Provocative Thoughts From The Next Generation

N.B. This is a subjectively objective investigation of the two main ways of acquiring what you want.

People do not need lessons, books, manuals or seminars to teach us how to get what we want. From the moments even prior to comprehending or forming language, babies and toddlers have become professionals at announcing what it is they want and their displeasure about not having it. From that young age of only a few months old individuals develop the skill and tools that they will need in life to gain what they want from life and from others. Although this article only emphasizes the two main forms of obtaining your desires there are hundreds more. Within the models of coming from above and coming from below are infinite different models and specific styles to “victory”. For times sake, we focus on the main two as we join our Greek friends.

* * * * *

Plato and Socrates discuss the different forms of attaining what you want at the Olympics.


S. Damn.

P. What is wrong?

S. More students have recognized me. I thought shaving and wearing this black toga would have thrown them off for sure. (Socrates stood to politely wave to the crowd of young men who enthusiastically raised their cups to salute their beloved teacher).

P. You know many men would kill for the privilege of being recognized and saluted at the Olympic games like that.

S. Oh silence yourself Plato, the sand is always whiter on the other beach isn’t it.

P. What event is next?

S. I believe it is the gold medal competition for archery, how dreadful.

P. You haven’t enjoyed a single game since we have been here, why did I purchase these wonderful seats? Why didn’t I bring a girl?

S. That isn’t true, I enjoyed the sailing competition.

P. You were drunk, do you even remember who won?

S. Yes, it was the Trojans, and they let me ride their ship after they were victorious.

P. And you proceeded to thank them by throwing up on half of their ship deck and on their brand new gold trophy.

S. How was I to know that I get seasick?
(Plato rolled his eyes; he had grown numb to his friend’s endless shenanigans).

P. How is it that the oldest and wisest man I know acts with the maturity of an adolescent?

S. The better question may be “why is it that you are surprised?”

P. Look at the bow from the fellow from the south, it looks like it is made of marble.
(Socrates sat starring blankly in a direction nowhere near the games).

P. Are you watching?
(Socrates continued to stare jaw dropped).

P. What is it?
(Socrates pointed).

S. Look at her.
(Plato chuckled, he had never seen his old tutor so in shock by anyone or anything before. Plato followed Socrates’ finger to find that he was staring at a woman who was selling honey. She was indeed very beautiful but had a rare beauty that not many men her age would appreciate. Plato looked to his friend as he still sat there tranquil and in awe).

P. Well…. Are you going to buy some Honey then?

S. Yes, yes, that is what I need, some honey (Socrates still spoke with his head in the clouds).

P. Then I shall fetch her (and with that Plato gave a loud whistle catching the lady’s attention).
(With this Socrates was interrupted from his state of peaceful nirvana and erupted into a nervous frenzy).

S. You moron! Why did you beckon her! I have no idea what to say! I am a mess.
(Plato was thoroughly enjoying his friend’s frantic state).

P. Why don’t you ask for her name?

S. Her name! Yes, that is a great idea. What then after I have her name?

P. Well you could ask her where she lives, jump straight to seeing if she is married or go a little more personal and ask her how much the honey costs.

There was no more time for the two Greeks to prepare Socrates for this, the most important meeting of his life.

Lady. Good afternoon gentlemen, would you like some honey?
(The lady was even more beautiful up close and to Plato’s amusement after their planning of how to meet the lady, Socrates sat paralyzed staring up at her. As the moments grew more awkward Plato started to feel embarrassed for his friend, but still entertained).

P. Yes, I would like to buy two cups of….

S. Marry me! (Socrates had awoken from his sedated state again and apparently released the first thing that had come to his mind).
(Thankfully the young lady had a good sense of a humor and simply looked around pretending to search for the lady that Socrates must be speaking to).

Lady. You know, I’ve always thought if I was a man I would propose on top of a mountain but if you find sports arenas that romantic, then I wish you well. That will be two pieces of silver for two cups of honey, sir.

Plato. Thank you very much; my friend has had a little too much to drink.

Lady. Not a problem, I can understand.
(At this the lady winked in their direction and then moved on to sell more honey. Although

Plato did not feel a thing, the lady’s wink must have had a certain amount of power because Socrates fell off his chair and onto the ground).

P. Get up! Pull yourself together man, what is going on with you? Drink some honey.

S. Bless the Oracle, I have splashed wine all over my toga. I am going home to change. Shall we meet tonight at the fencing final?

P. What about the girl Socrates?

S. We will talk tonight, I have to go.
(Before Plato could say goodbye Socrates rushed off and out of the arena. Plato was puzzled, more puzzled than he usually was after talking with his friend).


That evening the stadium was packed full of all types of men watching in anticipation for the gold medal fencing match. But one man in the crowd could care less about the upcoming match; instead his focus was on one thing, power. Earlier that day he had gotten into a fight with his wife. She had told him that he was too focused on politics and ignoring her and his children. Although this point irritated the man, because he sensed some truth behind the accusation, he shrugged off the conversation by telling himself it was normal for every family to feel this way when their provider was busy elsewhere.

Plato sat down and turned to see if Socrates was anywhere in sight, not yet. He looked in his other direction to find one of the youngest and most powerful senators in all of Greece sitting next to him.

P. Julius! How are you my friend? What a pleasure it is to see you here.
Julius. Ah Plato! I am well. Indeed I would not miss these games for the world. Where is that old man of yours?

P. I seem to have lost him today although he told me he would be here tonight. I’m sure he will be delighted to see you.

J. Yes, very good. Knowing him he won’t mind if I ask him a few questions during the breaks, eh?

P. I don’t think…

S. Of course I wouldn’t mind. Any question from you is a distraction from this despair they are calling life! (Socrates had appeared out of nowhere. This time he was wearing a purple toga and decorated in more gold than Plato had ever seen him wear before.)

J. Socrates! Welcome, do sit down. I hope you don’t mind but I ordered a bottle of wine minutes ago, it should be here any second, we shall need three glasses! Am I right?

P. But of course! Thank you, Julius.

S. I dare say we will need three bottles before the night is through.

J. I shall have them ready! Socrates, if I may before the games get underway, would you mind if I consulted you on some of my more personal affairs?

S. My dear friend, there is nothing I would rather talk about! I’m sick and tired of all this rubbish philosophy and people thinking I have new ideas. Someday they will understand it’s not what we think it’s how we think. Heavens forbid that Plato here should record my methods and people would perhaps catch on.

P. Ha! The methods of Socrates, I like the sound of that.

S. I despise it. Ways of thinking were here before me and I have no intention of being glorified… anyways what was it that you wished to consult me on, dear Julius?

J. Well, my friends, before coming tonight I had a dispute with my wife. She has come to the conclusion that I am focusing all of my attention on gaining power instead of loving her and the children. I am quite cursed by this because it is one of those times when I see her point and yet… I do not see many other options.

S. Interesting. Her complaint is specific to the amount of time you spend with your family or how you spend the time you have with your family?

J. I am home almost every night gentlemen! Certainly that is not the issue at hand. I can see where you are going with this Socrates!

S. Oh?

J. You are next to say that if I spend my time when I am at home interacting with my family that they will be content!

S. Actually I was going to ask if you have seen the honey seller woman anywhere.

J. Really?

S. Truly! You need my advice for nothing Julius! I am not quite as sharp in interpersonal affairs as I am in the realm of philosophy. Actually, tonight I believe you could offer me the real advice.

J. It would be an honor, my dear man! To assist the famous Socrates with any issue is a great delight. What has occurred that has stumped the wisest man in all of Athens?

S. I have been overmatched and overwhelmed by the most beautiful woman in the entire world.

P. I thought you had forgotten about her!

S. Forget? Have I ever forgotten the burning image of the sun even as it hides behind the clouds with the Gods? Have I ever forgotten the deep blue color of the ocean? Have you ever forgotten the feeling of the wind as it…..

P. Oh that’s enough rubbish. We are supposed to be philosophers. Men who have forsaken their romantic life in aspirations of attaining some of life’s answers!

S. My heart has no more questions to be answered; instead it would be content by being by her side, if only to serve.
(At this point Plato sprayed his mouthful of wine everywhere)

J. I must agree with Plato Socrates! I have never heard you speak this way.

S. And I have never beheld such earthly beauty.

J. Well then, how may I assist you?

S. I must win her heart!

J. Well that should be no trouble for a man such as yourself.

P. You haven’t seen him in action yet…. (Socrates scowled as Plato said this).

S. Alas, my Julius, it has been far too long since I have set out upon winning the heart of any lady, especially one so exquisite.

J. Come come now Socrates. Surely there is no equal match for a man as virtuous and humble as yourself. We shall set out to conquer this young lady but first I must show you the ways of seduction.

S. Oh dear.

J. Plato, choose me a lady from this crowd and I shall win a date with her. (Although Julius was a very arrogant and prideful man, his attitude had brought both himself and Greece much power).

S. Ah there! Two rows above the entrance.

J. Dear me, she is fine, let us go Socrates, pay heed to my manner.

S. But Julius, she is clearly on a date with the man on her left!

J. It matters not, if we play our cards right she would leave even her boyfriend at a chance for a night with men such as us!
(The two men walked over to where the lady was sitting, leaving Plato behind to watch and consider their tactics. Julius was a man with no shame and very naturally followed his instincts. As they came closer to the spot where the lady was sitting it became more apparent that she was on a date, nevertheless it did not stop Julius from approaching her and making eye contact along the way).

J. Dear beautiful lady, may I have the pleasure of your name.
(To Socrates’ great astonishment the lady smiled and seemed to be the more embarrassed one even though it was Julius who was taking all the risk by so clearly seeking her out).
Woman. My name is Gianna.

J. That is not a Greek name! Where are you from?

G. I am from Italy. And what is your name sir?

J. My name is Julius. This is my friend, Socrates. Socrates, say hello to Gianna.

S. Good evening to you.

G. Socrates? The philosopher?

S. Ah! No. Ha ha. Alas. I am the Socrates of Horse Dealing; there is no price we can’t beat!

G. Oh goodness, I am so embarrassed, do forgive me.

S. Of course, worry not, the mistake is often made.

J. Dear Gianna, would you mind if I asked your opinion on something?

G. But of course!

J. My friend Socrates here thinks he is not capable of winning over the heart of some young beauty running around these parts and I am attempting to show him that any sane women would find him terribly attractive. Would you not agree?
(The cheeks of Socrates had reached the shade of rose at Julius’ last comment).

G. Well certainly! A gentleman so noble looking and cute would be a golden catch for any Athenian lady.
(Socrates cheeks were now brighter than the sun).

J. Thank you! I have tried to tell him but it is always more comforting from a beautiful woman such as yourself.
(Socrates could not believe his eyes and ears. Julius went on complimenting the lady as if the man sitting next to her did not exist, and indeed, his lack of complaint only made Julius seem all the more the greater man).

J. One last favor Gianna?

G. Yes My Julius?

J. Accompany me and my friends to drinks after the games tonight?

G. I would love to!

J. Of course, there are three of us so if you have any friends anywhere near your beauty we would be delighted to entertain them as well.

G. I shall let them know immediately.

J. See you later then!
(Socrates was in complete shock. He had just seen Julius not only steal another man’s date but gotten two more dates for his friends as well. He was talking with the right man).


            (Upon their arrival back to their seats Plato overheard Julius telling Socrates that he must simply be confident and insist that any woman he asks on a date will say “yes”).

J. I tell you Socrates, people admire confidence, after you exemplify that you are strong you will have too many honey girls to choose from!

S. I see, I see. Plato what do you think of all this?

J. Yes, Plato! You are a wise fool, tell dear old Socrates here what I speak is the truth.

P. Well my friends, I will admit that Julius’ “system” does seem to have a charming effect on not only women but many men of the senate.

J. Thank you Plato!

S. But?

P. But I believe there are two main ways of acquiring, or attempting to acquire, whatever you want. This role that Julius plays for people is what I would call the elite model. You manifest confidence and go about getting what you want by telling others what to do whenever you can, diminishing the option of not getting what you want whenever possible.

J. Ha! Of course, there is no other way to get something other than taking it!

P. I feel pain for your wife and children Julius.

J. Scoundrel! What are you inferring?

P. Socrates if you catch my drift, I believe our friend might be more receptive if what I have to say came from you.

S. Indeed. Julius, my friend. When you were first married did you ask for your wife’s hand in marriage or simply demand that she marry you?

J. I demanded she be mine!

P. Oh my.

S. But does she not come from a very distinguished family?

J. Yes, one of the finest in all of Athens!

S. Then how was it you just told their daughter she was to marry you?

J. Well I first had to ask her father for his permission?

S. You had to what?

J. Ask her father’s permission?

S. You didn’t tell her father?

J. But of course not! I would risk offending him and losing her.

S. So there must be more than just the one way of getting something rather than just taking it, eh?

J. Well yes, you could ask.

P. Exactly, I didn’t mean to offend you, Julius, in fact, I admire you very much! The fact that you couldn’t even recognize that we all have to submit and ask for things sometimes is oddly remarkable!

J. Thank you, I think?

P. But I believe our mutual friend Socrates is of a different breed than you.

J. You are suggesting he should ask for the girl to come on a date rather than just take her?

P. Precisely. The two models of acquiring your desires can be seen as coming from above and coming from beneath.

J. But why on earth would you ever come from beneath?

P. Well, we all have our different reasons, I suppose. Like you said, you didn’t want to risk losing your wife by demanding that your father-in-law grant your permission to marry his daughter.

J. Yes, but I cannot do this very often because I run the chance of being denied!

S. True. Very true. But you see, men like Socrates here are more easy going and I find that when they ask me for a favor I am much more inclined to grant them their request rather than if they had demanded it of me.

J. Yes, I see your point but it still seems silly to risk being told “no” so often!

P. Perhaps it is silly but if it works it works!

J. I see the student has become the teacher now!

P. Not quite, by the twinge of his eyebrow Socrates is about to embellish us with some divine wisdom…
(At this moment Socrates stood and gained the attention of many surrounding Greeks, he had a look in his eye as if he were ready to climb down to the center of the arena and make a speech. Thankfully many of the people around recognized him and quieted down to listen to him. After awhile even the sword fighters tried to listen in to this man who had captured the crowd’s attention).

S. Greeks!
(Plato quietly mumbled “only child” under his breath so only Julius could here him).

S. My fellow citizens! I call upon you now with great respect for your wisdom! For only the wisdom of the multitude will perhaps provide us with the honest answer.
I ask you now Greeks, what is more valuable, trust or control?
(The audience paused in thought but eventually yelled in consensus that trust was the greater of the two, even Julius agreed).

S. Now another question, what is more valuable, love or power?
(At this question the audience burst out into loud shouts of both power and love and quarrels broke out everywhere amongst the crowd).

S. Men of Greece, I beg you, listen to me.
(Plato mumbled under his breath again to Julius, “see what I mean? He is a beggar!”)
I have no ultimate answers for you; I have many times been attracted to control and many times needed trust. I have many times been power hungry and many times been love thirsty! But I will tell you this, you cannot control love! And as long as you control someone you do not trust them!
(At this remark Julius jumped to his feet as well and the crowd watched as he spoke loudly with Socrates).

J. The things you say may be true, but Greece must be careful! We must build a democracy with power!

S. Have I said otherwise my friend?J. No, but I assumed you might be suggesting that road for all of Greece.

S. Not at all, in fact I agree, I believe Greece’s country should be based on power but our families based on love.

J. You and love! Lover boy! Go find your honey girl and beg her to marry you!

S. I shall! Thank you for your ears, Greeks, let us enjoy the games!
(Everyone applauded and happily continued watching the games whilst also chatting about the crazy and eccentric Socrates).

P. Socrates, forgive me but I am unclear, why did you talk about control, power, trust and love?

S. That was what we were discussing earlier and I was interested to see what conclusion the crowd would come to.

P. But we were talking about the models of achieving your goals and desires, coming from above and below.

S. Yes, do you not see their relation? They are almost twins!

P. Expand?

S. You see, our friend Julius was right, when we ask instead of demand we do take the risk of not getting what we want. And you were right as well, when we ask people are more likely to be receptive, but the issue burrows far deeper than that.

P. Burrow away!

S. Well, tell me something, whom would you rather have in your army. Men who have elected to fight for their country and are excited to enter into battle or men who have been forced to enlist in the army and cannot wait to return home?

P. Why the first army, of course!

S. Exactly. You see that is another consequence of control; we cannot trust the second army nearly as much as we can trust the first. However, as Julius would point out, the second army would almost certainly be bigger and possibly could defeat the first. It is all a game of give and take, which is why I sought after the opinion of the crowd.

P. You made a great point, we can never control love, and if I may add something, I don’t believe we really do love if we feel the need to control.

S. Aw, don’t be so radical young one! Every parent in Greece will try to control their child, they still love them, they just don’t trust their judgment fully yet.

P. Hmmm. So who will win? Love or Power?

S. I do not know my friend, I believe Julius is right, in the game of war, I will take power. But in my relationships I will always choose love.

P. But what is an army if you cannot trust them? They may desert you when you most need them?

S. I believe I would use power in different ways, I would have Greece pay them a handsome sum to fight and give them a reward for our victories.

P. Genius!

S. Hardly.

P. Where is your beloved honey girl?S. Oh dear, I have lost track of her. Oh well, I trust I will see her again.
(At this Socrates winked and Plato rolled his eyes).