Rousseau’s Romantic View of Pre-Civilized Man

After putting down Rosseau’s Discourse on Inequality, I’ve come to the conclusion that while I disagreed with a great deal of it, I still found it interesting and enjoyable. What I really loved about the entire argument is that half of the entire text’s focus on Man in his natural state is completely off-topic from the Dijon Academy’s initial questiont. Yet we’re spending a great deal of time studying and analyzing a thesis that was once deemed completely irrelevant. So who knows, maybe taking a few liberties with our thesis’ for some of our essay questions isn’t such a crime after all, eh Jon?

Anyways, what really stuck in my mind was how much Rosseau idealizes the concept of a “savage” man. It’s very easy for him to romanticize a period which predates all written history, right? It’s touching to envision mankind as humble, and peaceful without war and murder. While it may be compelling today for it’s connection to Darwin’s theory of evolution and our relation to animals, it still lacks what we and the Discovery channel deem as life “within nature.” To simplify both this blog, with little relevance to the text, let me contrast Rosseau’s vision of primitive man our closest living relative, the Chimpanzee.

Now while Rosseau believes that without civilization and language to support it, complicated emotions like jealousy, hatred and envy are impossible to convey. Rousseau believes that art and civilization corrupt man from his peaceful, non-violent and simplistic ways, to which I reply “Bullshit”. Chimpanzee’s are capable of demonstrating all these complex emotions, to which Rosseau would believe that not even primitive man were capable of. I once did a project on Jane Goodall’s travels to Gombe National Park in Tanzania and learned about her discoveries among the chimpanzee’s living there. She would recall witnessing females of the troupe discovering other females bearing offspring from the same male chimp (In other words “Baby Mama Drama”. This would lead to the females brutally attacking and murdering the infant offspring as a means of no gains other than retaliation representing what some would call jealousy or hatred. Furthermore Chimps and most animals are far from peaceful.

While animals may be majestic, enchanting beautiful etc., the truth is they can sometimes kill without hesitation. Rosseau believes that man would never purposefully murder another in the wild, he would only clash for resources or females, with little resentment afterwards. Wrong. A long time ago I told by a zookeeper that a man foolishly feeding a chimp had unintentionally led to a brutal murder. In the wild there is always an alpha male among the chimps, a position not too different from tyrant. In this way there is a very simple hierarchy that applies to all members of the troupe. The alpha male always eats first, and get’s his “cut” or potion of the meal. End of story. Now this isn’t too different from mankind’s invented tax system isn’t it? Maybe the IRS is simply natural.  By feeding a chimp a small snack it led to what many would call a crime. This particular one attempted to circumnavigate this system and (selfishly) eat this acquired food for his own without giving his due’s to our tyrant chimp. Now it wasn’t long before the alpha male discovered this act, and proceeded to grip the younger chimp to the local reservoir pond and drown him in front of both his troupe and a crowd of spectators. Why did he do this? To assert dominance, and demonstrate clearly what is “his” and what is owed to him by all. Rosseau believes that this complex assertion of property and taxation requires several levels of development with language and cultivation. I guess for chimps it’s simply innate, as it most likely is for us.

It’s easy for Rosseau to embellish and romanticize the alternative to civilization. Life is complex in society, we often find ourselves wishing for better alternatives to slaving away at our job to buy food and furnish our houses, only to be robbed by the tax-man. We often wish that life were easier and things such as love and mating were simplified at times, to which we fall to the fallacy of believing the “grass is greener” on the other side of the fence. Animals and Man, no matter what state, are complex and emotional creatures with common problems. Life outside of society’s walls offer a simple life, but comes at the cost of watching family members die of disease, starve and freeze during harsh climate conditions, and being abandoned without hope when something as simple as a knee fracture, or broken bone could mean certain death. Let’s all not fall for a simplified and enticing theory. Civilization may have fostered it’s own complexities and cumbersome conditions, but life’s a lot easier in here then out there in the cold where anything and everything goes.


Hobbes: Matter in Motion

So we’ve spent the last week talking about Hobbes political science but very little into his philosophical theories. One of my favorites is his underlining belief in determinism.

So where to begin? Lets start with the fact that Hobbes strictly believes in the vacuum of the material world. By vacuum I mean the confines or restricted boundaries, and by materialistic I mean matter’s actions without the belief in either superficial or a deities influence. He believes in the Prime Mover; the creator or spark of creation, the first domino in life’s succession. Whether this be a God or a Big Bang is irrelevant, all what really matters is that the Universe began. Now Hobbes firm belief is that man is predictable and our actions can be likely predicted. We’re like robots our watches, our actions are certain. In theory this really is sound when you get into the core of the argument. Are we constantly just reacting to matter around us? Is every action we make an inevitable succession of prior actions? If so what was our Prime Mover or action that began our succession of actions? Does this destroy the theory of free will?

To be more concise, let’s just think. We pride ourselves with the freedom of choice, but when exactly did we gain conscious choice? We couldn’t of obtained it when we were born, We were merely infants. Babies can hardly do anything on their own nor rationalize their actions.They only reacted to their environments. Dad gives bottle we drink because we’re thirsty. We couldn’t feed ourselves on our own. Shiny read ball? We touch or analyze because it intrigues us. Our parents controlled our fate, and we only responded to their actions. So when did we really start being able to freely choose our own actions? Well according to determinism… never! From that moment onwards our actions were a succession of the actions made when we were infants. If there were a way to compute and account for the nearly infinite number of stimuli that affected us from that point forward we would come to the same equation or conclusion, which is me sitting down and writing this blog post. If we could add like an equation literally every molecule of influence around us we’d arrive at the same instance and character we are today. It’s incredibly complex but easy to rationalize.

Today I woke up at approximately 9:22. It occurred because I went to bed at 2:17 the night before and I would predictably need that amount of sleep due to my biological needs and my characteristic of laziness which I have fostered and developed in my lifetime. I went to my psychology class because I am a creature of habit and have never missed a psychology class and furthermore I fear missing out of lectures, because I fear failing. I fear failing because my parents and society instilled that belief into me whether conscious or unconsciously. Today I didn’t feel a desire to skip class for breakfast because I had a large dinner last night, and because intrinsically I as a person have developed the consistency to make it class and eat late night meals… I’m probably not explaining this as well as I can, but essentially my life as well as yours and all others are dominoes falling in succession, that inevitably interact in a predictable (By which I mean certain, it would be rationally impossible to predict it) manner. At the end of the day our actions are dictated by our surrounding stimuli. We don’t really have free will, we’re just responding to external world surrounding us.

Let’s put it this way. If I were all-powerful. Let’s just say for fun I decided to recreate your morning for you. I place you in a bed, your memories and biological neural circuits are in the exact same condition they were that day at exactly 7:14:0456 am. I place every individual on the earth in the exact place, ready to carry out the plans they did the night before. Every rain drop is ready to fall and every piece of nature and shade of grass is in the exact place it was that very day. I click the play button and watch everyone carry out their days. Would it not be an exact replicate of the initial day I’m trying to recreate? If everything were exactly as it was before would it not be like rewinding a VHS tape to rewatch the same scene carry out? Well determinist like Hobbes, would think so. If we do have free will, we’d be doing completely random actions at every decisions turn, but why would we when actions and influences prior to these decisions have already led to the decisions likely outcome.

 

Anyways I’m ranting on, but it’s moments like these where I feel we need to embrace the philosophical aspects of the course which are overshadowed by political science.  Really makes me think of my actions everyday. Makes me trip balls on life.

SEE YOU ALL IN A MONTH. Happy Holidays!

 

Kyle


Robinson Crusoe: Isolation and Anarchy

This isn’t my first time reading Robinson Crusoe, and I have to say it’s pretty enjoyable re-experiencing the story all over again.

One of my favorite themes from the story is how Crusoe must adapt and adjust to a completely different way of life. After stranded and isolated from civilization, Robinson must produce a variety of items and preform tasks that society had once made readily available for him. His successful status and fortune as a Brazilian tobacco farmer is worthless in his new setting. Even as he stumbles upon a series of treasure troves, he realizes wealth’s futility without others to trade with. He’s furious and acknowledges that these possessions do nothing to aid him. He prays that he would stumble upon conventional items such as a spoon or metal pot. How often do we praise our possession or value of these things? One of his most difficult and trialing tasks on the island is simply creating a ceramic bowl, and after continuous efforts it proves to be one of his greatest victories.

Crusoe’s greatest flaw and continual impediment is his lack of skills. He frequently laments upon the fact that he lived a life of luxury and never spent any due time acquiring any skills that would aid him in everyday life. Sewing, farming, cooking and craftsmanship are initially daunting tasks that frequently result in his failure. How many of us know how to sew or even create rope? How many of us could create a makeshift canoe or create a hammer or axe from scratch? I certainly couldn’t. Do most of us even know common first-aid? Just think of how much we rely upon civilization and it’s numerous trades to help us in our everyday necessities. We don’t grow our own food, we don’t create our own tools, and we certainly can’t build our own houses. If the world ended tomorrow how helpless would majority of the population be? If for some reason we all succumbed to anarchy how many of us would survive the first week without civilization to protect us?

It’s simply fascinating to just take a moment and realize how much we rely on other to produce our everyday necessities and how this this processes has dumbed down our species as a whole. Three centuries ago, the ability to farm, sew and create fire would be just common sense. Can the average person do any of these effectively without the aid of a manufactured tool? Everyday tasks such as washing clothes and churning butter would be difficult but well known tasks amongst most people. Is this new shift to mass production and reliance upon technology such as calculators, washing machines, microwaves and furnace heating really worth it’s benefits? What crucial knowledge are we sacrificing to achieve these lives of luxuries? When will it be our downfall?

 

 


The Tempest: Happy Endings and Monsters

Just finished the Tempest and have to say it’s quite a breath of fresh air. This is my first time reading a Shakespearean play that doesn’t end with complete tragedy. And boy does this story really serve as a direct contrast. No one dies, new love springs, traitors are forgiven, and everyone lives happily ever after. After reading the last nine texts of the course, I forgot these kinds of stories existed.

The thing that immediately struck me at the play’s conclusion is that Prospero is in every way a modern protagonist. Not to embellish him too sharply, he maintains some flaws, but overall his actions redeem his worst traits. He’s a loving and devoted father, who sacrifices his own grievances to allow his daughter to find love. He’s christ-like in his ability to forgive his rivals. Even after Alonso and Antonio selfishly stole his throne, he openly forgives them and reconciles without any desire for bloody vengeance. Imagine Medea or Odysseus being able to accomplish such a feat. Could they even imagine redemption without the spilling of blood? Furthermore Prospero’s is noble in keeping his promises by freeing Ariel at the play’s conclusion and allows Caliban to remain in his household even though he blatantly plotted his murder.

Caliban is another distinct monster within our course. He-like Grendel, embodies a monster’s complexion, but is also tainted with an evil nature because of his heritage. Shakespeare must of invested his belief into nature over nurture. Although Prospero does everything in his power to educate and nurse Caliban into a noble character, he cannot tame his wicked traits. Like Grendel he was simply born a monstrosity. Although he is portrayed as mainly wimpy and harmless as comic relief, he is immediately demonstrated as a beast for attempting to rape Prospero’s daughter. It’s never clear exactly what his reasoning behind betraying his master is, but it is evident that there is clear tension between both the servant and lord. Caliban believes that he held some title  to the island due to the inheritance of his witch mother.  Caliban curses his lord for ever giving him the gift of speech because all he can vocalize is his misery. Although Prospero treats him rather poorly, he is somewhat deserving. He’s an unfaithful servant who attempts to murder his master, defile his daughter and disobey him at every order. If he had perhaps attempted to win his masters merit like Propsero’s other servant, Ariel, maybe Prosperos generosity would have shined on him too. All in all at first glance Caliban embodies what a monster really is, but I’m sure he’ll find his sympathizers.


Machiavelli in Practice

I remember the first time I was introduced to Machiavelli’s political philosophy. A friend of mine finished reading his presentation before my Philosophy class and the first question I asked was “So is he just an inhumane dick?” After reading his political guide and Looking back on my initial thoughts, I realize how naive I was to just shrug it off for its harsh rational. Evidence of the truth in his  preachings surrounds history.
Within the first few chapter I immediately found myself agreeing with many of Machiavelli’s laws. The first was perfectly relevant to me. If you are to strike your enemies, you must cripple them to never retaliate. As ruthless as it sounds its argument is sound. After the Great War, Britain, France and the United States were left in a position to disarm and dissolve Germany beyond recovery. Instead they chose to scold them into temporary economic hardship and reduce their military strength, rather than eradicate it’s presence entirely through disassembling Germany’s territory. This was a crucial mistake that only served to backfire upon the Entente Alliance with the restructuring and rebirth of the Third Reich and Hitlers avenging European conquest. If the Entente powers had applied Machiavellian principles, the largest conflict in the history of mankind may of been avoided.  As cruel as it would have been to cripple Germany beyond repair we can see in hindsight that it would have been for the better.

Another valid assessment is that neutrality or peace among rivals is evasive and futile. Conflict should confronted immediately or it will only impede the inevitable and give the enemy the time necessary to strengthen it’s strike. Another evident historical context is the Nazi-Soviet Pact signed between the USSR and Germany. Through Stalin’s consent, he only averted an inevitable conflict between the two powers and spared Germany a strengthened opposing force. Doing so lost respect from the West and allowed itself to be stabbed in the back with the German assault on Stalingrad .

Machiavelli’s dialect is used as a primer for any leader, and acts as a handbook dictating how to rule and be represented. A Prince should maintain the illusion of goodness or the guise of morality to appease and find confidence in the nations citizens. This tactic serves to strengthen a rulers support by the masses and suppresses revolution. Furthermore a Prince should not follow the advice from advisers or share his power amongst the nobles. Stalin’s purges and 5 Year Labor Plans were kept in omission from the populace by censoring the press from the Russian people. Doing so weeded out all rivalry and threats within his regime and kept his people in check while committing his atrocities. Millions were placed in labor camps under excruciating conditions. Hundreds of thousands died from the harsh conditions and all objectors were executed to instill fear. Doing so restructured the USSR into industrial prosperity that would ascend it to the level of the world’s only other Super Power. The atrocities committed were horrendously inhumane, but it saved the country from political and economic turmoil. According to Machiavelli these ends were justified and the necessary steps to achieve them were irrelevant.

Machiavelli acknowledges that a Prince must not be pervased and dominated by emotion. Essentially it has no place within politics. The role must be filled with someone who is a martyr of his or her own conscious and rules their actions by cold and calculating logic alone. Men are futile and must be governed through fear. My boss once practiced Machiavelli principles when he first took place as ruler of his new “principality”/supermarket. He fired two managers within his first week. Their work was nothing special, but was adequate at the very least. I’ve never seen so many workers snap in line and work so diligently.

I hate to be a defender of Machiavelli with his ideals, but they do hold some truth in practice.


Christopher Columbus: Spain’s Most Successful Screw-up

So after reading all of Columbus’ various letters through his travels, I have come to the conclusion that his autobiographical accounts are actually literary pieces of work. This is not due to any form of artistic flare, or use of sudden poetry. It’s because he has a bias reflection of his own experiences.
When we retell any story from our memories do we tell it how it was, or how we perceived it? Our own opinions and desire to be seen in a positive light constantly embellish our own memories to the point of notable distortion. Columbus seems to be an expert at constructing an image of himself to that of a devote Christian and a selfless explorer. Whenever things seem to run a muck on his voyages he is portrays himself as a victim of circumstance.
When writing a letter to the Governess of Don Juan Columbus moans of the cruelty of the world around him “If it is new for me to complain against the world, its habits of ill-treating me is an old one. It has made many attacks on me, many of which I have resisted until now…” He goes on to say that he is wrongly accused in his arrest and that his accusers have cited his “false crimes” in the Indies out of sheer spite and a selfish desire for wealth. He fails to acknowledge that over 23 individuals are confirming his crimes as a corrupt Governor of the Indies, and have testimonial evidence of his cruelties. Any modern historian will tell you of Columbus’ brutal treatment of the indigenous people of the Indies and his immoral tactics to pay off his investors in Spain.

One example of this is when Columbus’ actions on the Cicaoan Islands. In order to meet the needs of his gold quota, he ordered that all native inhabitants give tribute of gold every three months. Those who met this quota were granted a cooper token to worn around their necks. Those who were found lacking these tokens suffered the punishment of arm mutilation. I don’t remember him making mention of this in any of his letters.

Aside from omission of his brutal treatment of the indigenous people of the Indies, the most prevalent message Columbus is trying to report is that he is always just around the corner from hitting the sweepstakes. In his eight years of his voyages he has yet to find a substantial amount of goods to meet the investment costs of his ventures. Spain wasn’t financing his voyages for simply exploration and cartography. They demanded he bring riches and exotic goods from his travels. His first two voyages appear fruitless (apart from some acquisition of slaves and small examples of gold), but he goes on to lead Queen Isabella of Spain to the imaginative possibility that the New World may contain the “Earthly Paradise” as described in Genesis. When he is arrested on his Third Voyage he asserts that if the Hispanolia people had not revolted against him he would of brought back fathoms of pearls and gold, but his selfless nature allowed them to keep their treasures as a means to maintain the peace.

Columbus constantly comes up with excuses for his shortcomings. Despite evidence from Ptolemy’s calculation Columbus firmly believes he has discovered China, and refuses to think differently. He failed to find a Western trade route to India. He failed to bring back any gold, pissing off the Spanish monarchy and his investors. He fails as his role of Governor of the Indies and is mutinied by his people. And finally he fails as a navigator and has to call home for help on his Fourth Voyage because he shipwrecked himself and his crew.
Why do we have a day to celebrate this man?


Beowulf: Age, Honor and Duty

Just finished Beowulf and have to say it was a pretty easy read. The poem’s short enough to read within a few hours and the plot transitions pretty well from one part to the next. The real difficulty in reading Beowulf is understanding the context of the era and value system of the time. Since the poem takes place in 7th century Nordic lands, most readers will find themselves lacking any insight of the culture of the Dark Ages. No need to feel guilty though, most historians and archaeologists have a scarce understanding of the people of the period as well.

History has a tendency of repeating itself, and it seems that although Homeric and Germanic culture were separated by roughly a millennia, the cultural values of honour, strength, and skill in battle are still prevalent.

Beowulf is a man in the prime of his youth who seeks to aid the foreign land of Denmark, against a looming threat. Grendel, a swamp beast, has continually terrorized King Hrothgar’s halls out of spite and jealousy. Fear has kept the people of Denmark from retaliation, even the King has failed to seek action against the abomination.  Our hero Beowulf rises to the occasion not out a sense of moral obligation or goodness, but for sheer honour.The characters Hrothgar and Beowulf serve as clear contrasts to one another, mostly due to their ages.

Beowulf is still young and careless, he has not yet achieved a sense of purpose or obligation. His youthful courage is in actuality recklessness, and grants him the ability to act quickly and decisively. He wishes to extend his honour and title through acts of glory. Hrothgar on the other hand in in the later years of his life, and has achieved much. He has fostered a family and an entire kingdom is dependant upon him. He has failed to act upon Grendal out of his fear of death, but more importantly out of a sense of duty. His loss would be too great for his people.

The brashness of Beowulf does not appear to fade with his age. Even after 50 years have passed he boldly rises to the occasion to personally defeat a threat to his people and lands. Beowulf has ascended to the role of King of Geats and has ruled valiantly for decades. His leadership has kept his kingdom secured against rivalling tribes out of fear of his greatness. His choice to personally assault a dragon may seem courageous but is ultimately careless and reckless. When he arose to the duty of King his duties changed from that of a warrior to that of a leader. His role is not needed in brute force, but in govern ship.His death leaves feeling of paranoia among the people of Geats. Their lack of leadership wounds their kingdom and leaves it easy prey to enemies.

Beowulf’s life ultimately reflects a sense of duty that comes with age and obligations onto others which are absent in bashful youth. I’m sure our parents understand this conflict.


Oedipus Rex: Choice or Destiny… Conveniently bundled with Incest

So after reading a couple tragedies I’ve come to the conclusion that majority of the characters and their spouses have to die and or mutilate themselves in the worst way possible. Brutus runs onto his own sword, his wife swallows hot coals and chokes to death. Macbeth is decapitated, his wife loses her mind and flings herself from a tower. Oedipus stabs himself in both eyes with clothing pins and his wife hangs herself from a noose. Quite a spectacular pattern. Shakespeare must of felt inspired by Oedipus’ conclusion

Unfortunately I didn’t have the good fortune to read this in secondary school, but of course I heard the most controversial part. *Spoilers* Oedipus bangs his own mom and bears children of incest. Now I think this is one of these instances- like Medea, that although incest is a major part of the plays plot, it is not the major theme of Oedipus. However, I’m sure it made for a good hook in the Athens theatre district. “He does what?! Oh I have to see this.”

All jokes aside the obvious themes in Oedipus are both Fate and Tyranny. Now what confuses me the most is whether or not Oedipus is to blame for his misfortune or if it was simply bound to be. When the play begins Oedipus has already done both heinous deeds without his own knowledge. He has already ascended to the King of Thebes, and has raised two daughters born from his mother’s womb. Are they his sisters or daughters…? This hindsight perspective doesn’t give the reader the impression that he had much choice. We don’t get to see him conflict over any of these decisions. All we can do is wait in suspense, waiting for a verdict. But was the prophecy fulfilled?

The Oracle predicted three things. Oedipus would murder his own father, sleep with his mother, and eventually murder her. Now to be fair, the Oracle did predict it least two of these occurrences, but did he really murder his own mother? Oedipus may of drove his mother into an emotional state but she did die by her own hand, not his. This could be an example of how his own choices can be applicable to his fate.  Jocasta pleads with Oedipus to end his search for truth. Both she, Tiresias and The Shepard know it can do him no good and will lead to ruin. If he had “chosen” to abide to her wishes perhaps the Oracle’s final prediction could have been avoided. But you can’t blame the guy. If anyone had any sort of reason to question whether their spouse was related to them, I’m sure they wouldn’t just shrug off the notion.

One last thing, Is Oedipus really to blame for his father’s death? His dad did cut him off while he was driving. Things escalated from there, but Laius was the instigator and he attacked Oedipus first. And although it’s taboo in Ancient Greece to murder your father it’s a bit of a double standard. No one talks down Laius for attempting to murder his own child… Well, maybe it was actually Jocasta, but I’m sure he still had some say in it.

Kyle


Plato’s Idealistic Republic

After a long flight and careful examination I have finally finished The Republic. Now that I’ve finally finished Plato’s text and read his long winded arguments I can finally critique him.
What I found consistent with the text is that Plato is obsessed with objective truths. He cannot fathom the notion that there is no single answer to any question. For example according to him everything in this world must be either “good” or “evil”, or a person is either “Just” or “Unjust”. There are no shades of gray in his morality code. Furthermore he believes that every scenario can only have a single outcome. According to his own system every Democracy will eventually devolve into a Tyrannical system, but this isn’t a destined equation. Wouldn’t his praised Timocratic or Obligarchy governments be what we today define as tyrannical governing systems? Would we consider only those who posses property rightful to dictate it’s citizens? Wouldn’t majority of these leader rule based only on their own needs? Plato is stubborn in his thinking and cannot come to terms with the complicated subjectivity of the real world.

Plato is an idealist who firmly believes that all human emotion can be suppressed with enough will power. In Book X, he states that poets and poetry are not ideal for his society. Plato believes that poetry often invokes negative emotions such as sadness or grief and fosters sympathy to those who succumb to it.  Plato believes that if a father loses a child and falls into hysteria than it is not ideal for either himself of those around him. The rational thing to do is to move forward and continue with our lives, This is absolutely true, what good comes of grief? But could any loving father master this discipline? Absolutely not! Plato does not realize that human beings decisions are mainly subject to our emotions. Grief for loss isn’t by any means a good thing but it is a necessary one. Grieving is just a part of life, and any attempts to avert it can only lead to worse emotions. Would any man be capable of completely controlling their emotions? Is a Philosopher King even possible?

To Plato, a philosopher or proper ruler is one who lacks all characteristics of humanity. If he cannot understand his people’s emotions should he really be fit to rule? Plato’s vision of an ideal human state lacks all realism. He simply cannot deal with the fact that human nature and imperfection cannot be tamed.

 

 


Kallipolis: Hitler’s Utopia

When I first picked up my copy of the Republic I had only heard of whispers of it’s content. I had taken courses in Philosophy and was familiar with both Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and The Ring of Gyges. In both concepts I found much insight that became applicable to everyday life and changed my way of thinking. I envisioned Plato’s Republic as a set of enlightened concepts that would give better shape to what an ideal society should strive to be. I never expected to disagree with a man I practically worshipped.

Now although Plato disguises his own opinion through that of Socrates, it is clear that they are his own. Socrates and his conversations with Polemarchus and Glaucon are not for literal interpretation. The Republics plot is simply a means of narrative to carry his argument and prove it through rebuttals and counter arguments by his adversaries. What is intriguing is that “Socrates’” arguments are constantly evolving and he sometimes deceives his adversaries with his own beliefs in order to rethink their own. This is his legendary “Socratic method of arguing”, which is effective but also makes his own points unclear. His belief in equality in women and ideals of justice, drastically change from one book to the next. Having not completed the book, it would be unfair for me to say that I know exactly what his morals are.

Up to book VI, it is clear that his ideals of a perfect city; Kallipolis are in fact one that our society would be revolted by. Plato’s Utopia is a city that lacks imperfection, and it’s means of achieving so is truly grotesque. Plato determines all men are to be placed into a classification of either “Gold and Silver” “Bronze” Or “Iron”. People are born into these roles and can only inherit these status’ through hereditary. He deems that any person who is born into this society who lacks traits in either of these categories of this should be immediately exiled. Furthermore Plato believe’s in forced Euthanasia, which is critical to maintaing perfection among Kallipolis’ citizens. If any individual is chronically ill they therefore cannot fulfill their craft to their greatest efficiency. He argues that they are a detriment and lag to their own society and should be swiftly killed, due to pure logic.

Plato’s Republic also believes in heavy propaganda to ensure that it’s citizens act accordingly to their upbringing. Who goes to such lengths as to censor poets tales, such as the Iliad that portray heroes as flawed and personified with in-idealistic traits. He even believes that classic tales of the God’s and afterlife should be converted to meet with the ideals of the society. For example Zeus should not be seen as a seducer of women and unfaithful to his wife, and warriors should be taught death only in a positive light. The underworld should not be seen as a place of horror and suffering, but a place of pleasure and leisure. Furthermore death on the battlefield should be idealized. If this seems at all ludicrous than be prepared for his final point.

Plato finally believes that all children should be removed from Paternal and Maternal upbringings. Children are no longer raised in households but are raised by the community. He further hypothesized that these children should only be surrounded by those who embody what their class should be determined to be. So, Gold and Silver children should be surrounded by those like themselves, and the same goes for all other classes. Furthermore these children should only mate with those of their class system. Plato’s Utopia certainly sounds like quite a “Brave New World”.

Plato’s Kallipolis is a place that is dictated by pure logic, lacking any emotional objections to order. Heavy propaganda is used to brainwash it’s citizens to follow the “guardians” ideals to structure the city, and brings upon heavy censorship of the arts in order to achieve this. Another strong belief is forced exile or euthanatizing of any citizens who are not seen as “ideal” in his society. This is obviously seen in a matter of genetic deficiency since they are deemed flawed only by an inability to meet hereditary standards. It is also in a matter of those who are either chronically ill by disease or disabled. By doing so places by default a belief in genetic superiority and inability to tolerate those he sees as weak or inferior.

In conclusion: Maybe the German Chancellor took some notes out of Plato’s Book when establishing his Third Reich. Should logic supersede emotional conflict when it comes to the structuring of society? Do we see Plato’s perfect Kallipolis as a society we would like to live in?

No thanks.

Also a fun fact male Greek teachers used to commonly have sex with their male students. It was called Pederasty. Plato may at some point practised it in his Academy.

Have a good weekend everyone!