Much of book one deals with the (fairly pessimistic, in my opinion) debate of whether justice or injustice is more beneficial. According to Thrasymachus, justice is simply the advantage which any given ruler has in that they can shape the official concept of it to meet their personal needs. Rather than seeing it as an ideal, or an embodiment of goodness, Thrasymachus, perhaps while representing the majority, seems to believe that it is relative to whatever ruler executes it. He also thinks that an unjust person can potentially become the happiest of people, that is, if they’re perceived as just (possibly like the aforementioned ruler). Socrates disagrees. First, in Socrates’ opinion, true rulers, determine true justice, and are able to impose it onto citizens for the good of all. In Socrates’ view, injustice is caused by tension with different parts of the soul to the point where the soul’s possessor can’t get anything done. It is believable, at least, that unjust people by nature cannot at least do much for anyone but themselves. Considering all this, it’s safe to say and more or less proven later in the book that Socrates didn’t think the current rulers of cities were true leaders.
Another topic of book one I found relevant was that of aging and the loss of youthfulness. The traditional reputation of old age is noted as being accompanied by a decline in spirit and potential for physical pleasures. It is argued that while this may in part be true enough, it allows more space for other, possibly intellectual pleasures. For example, Socrates describes the loss of lust as something which is “escaped from, like a slave who has escaped from all such things”(4). I found the positive argument Socrates put on the issues of old age and injustice quite pleasing if nothing else. For me, it was as if he is encouraging readers to question certain issues or reputations, in hopes of finding their benefits and true forms.