Plato Continued

Continuing to read Plato, was an interesting experience.  For one, his arguments are very well-founded and hard to refute.  So on some occasions I agreed with him and when I firmly disagreed with him, I couldn’t really argue with his logic.

There are a number of ideas and suggestions that Plato makes that I firmly agree with.  The idea of women ruling with men being one of them.  It may be one of the more redeeming qualities of Plato that he sees no difference between men and women.  However, the concept which I find myself most intrigued by is the allegory in the cave, in which humans are the ones continuously grasping at the shadows to try and seek the truth, when they can’t.  I wouldn’t say Plato has found the truth in his representation of the perfect kalliopis, but I have to say that his allegory of a cave is a very accurate representation of how we are striving to identify the shadows which seem to change and flicker.

My thoughts on Plato’s suggestions of a bad city state were mixed.  They were all… bad, but historical examples made me question Plato’s argument.  If one looks at the Roman Empire/Republic… there is a parallel to Plato’s argument in there.  There was a republic, that descended into a tyranny.  Yet, if one looks again at the Roman empire, some of the most successful inventions were during the Tyranny.  So… what Plato suggested is that the Roman Empire was a bad city-state… in a sense, it was, but in a sense it wasn’t since it did last for such a long period of time.  Still, I had to admire how Plato described the decay of the city-states as they were later proven by historical examples.

As for the philosopher kings, the auxiliaries and their training?  Well… In theory, they seemed to make sense.  In all practicality… humans don’t obey logic and have desires.  Plato knows that and he tries to address that ‘problem’ with censorship, conditioning and creating a societal role that would make it difficult, for the desires.  However, while I cannot say he’s wrong, I think that Plato is only trying to at the most, set aside the problem of human desire and not addressing the source.  All his limits, censorship and role-molding that he forces upon the philosopher kings would work… but without any sort of true passion for their jobs, the philospher kings would be in effect, screwed because their job is rather thankless.

Still, Plato’s attempt to grasp at the truth of a perfect government, is an attempt and a good attempt at trying to define the shadow of perfect government.


Vincent Yam



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