One could easily make a case that there exists no greater influence on Western thought/philosophy than Plato. Not only is he responsible for his own incredible theories and writings which are widely taught today but he was also the main source of almost everything we know from his teacher, Socrates. From Plato’s writing, we learn of Socrates’ method of examination, appropriately named The Socratic Method. Simply put, to solve a problem or find and answer to a question, one breaks down the big picture into a series of smaller parts. As you answer each part individually, you reach your answer to the larger original problem. Plato’s writing on Socrates helped humans develop the scientific method which would shape our entire way at looking at the world.
Clearly, Plato did more than simply write down what his teacher taught him. Plato’s own writings have been used to shape everything from logic, ethics, religion and mathematics. After Socrates’ death, Plato would go on to found the Academy in his hometown of Athens. Plato’s Academy is widely believed to be the first school of higher learning in the Western world. So all of us who went to college have Plato to thank for opening the first one. His best known idea, other than perhaps The Allegory of the Cave, is his Theory of Forms, which is basically the birth of metaphysics. Plato’s theory was that all things in our world have a true form or a perfect version in the “real world”, a world of ideas, not physical representations, things we experience here on earth. That’s likely why our guy here is pointing to the sky in Raphael’s The School Of Athens, he’s pointing to the true Form or Idea of everything that exists in thought alone. So basically, everything from your lamp, the chair your sitting on or maybe even the Blackhawks third period has a true form and everything in our world strives to represent that. Everything in this world though suffers from not being perfect. And clearly what we saw from the Hawks was pretty damn far from perfect. Hopefully with a few days rest to stew on it, the Hawks can get a little closer to the Form of hockey.