It takes a great deal of integrity to admit one is wrong. I do not have this integrity and fortunately neither did Plato. However, despite our many disagreements that will never truly be solved I do think that in light of America’s most recent election, Plato does deserve some credit. Congrats, Plato. You were sort of right about something. Don’t let it go to your head.
In celebration of such a rare event, I have put together a short dialogue. Hope you all enjoy.
COOPEREON: Good evening from the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. I’m Coopereon and will moderating tonight’s debate. The first question is: Socrates you claim that only a true philosopher can rule over a city. Who is a philosopher and who is not?
SOCRATES: Philosophers are those people who are passionately devoted to and love the things with which knowledge deals, as the others are devoted to and love all things with which belief deals. The latter love and look at beautiful sounds, colours, and things of that sort, but cannot every bear the idea that the beautiful itself is a thing that is.
COOPEREON: Thank you, Socrates. Trumpidus, same question to you.
TRUMPIDUS: Look, here’s the story. I want to make the kallipolis just again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Socrates will. He’s been a disaster as a philosopher. He was asked what justice is. He couldn’t answer the question. He didn’t know. I’m not a fan of Socrates. He’s a nasty guy. A really nasty guy.
COOPEREON: All right. Let’s move on to the subject of forms. Socrates, how can someone gain knowledge of these forms?
SOCRATES: The realm revealed through sight should be likened to a prison dwelling, and the light of the fire inside it to the sun’s power. And if you think of the upward journey and the seeing of things above as an upward journey of the soul to the intelligIble realm–
SOCRATES: Only god knows whether it is true–
TRUMPIDUS: Wrong. You’re wrong. The allegory of the cave is the worst allegory maybe ever created anywhere, but certainly ever created in this city. He’s been doing this for 30 years. And why hasn’t he made the allegories better? The allegory of the cave is defective. So you say to yourself, why didn’t he make the right allegory? This is one of the worst allegories ever made by anyone in history.
SOCRATES: So you think I quibble do you?
TRUMPIDUS: Excuse me. Quiet. You were very much involved — excuse me. My turn. You were very much involved in every aspect of this city. Very much. And you do have experience. I say the one thing you have over me is experience, but it’s bad experience, because what you’ve done has turned out badly — Our guardians are fleeing the city. They’re going to Thebes. They’re going to many other cities. You look at what Sparta is doing to our country in terms of training our guardians. They’re taking our guardians, and there’s nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight. And we have a winning fight. So we’re losing our good guardians, so many of them.
COOPEREON: We have to move on to the final question. Do you believe your opponent is just?
TRUMPIDUS: Well, I have much better judgement than he does. There’s no question about that. I also have a much better reason than he has, you know? He doesn’t have the look. He doesn’t have the justness. I said he doesn’t have the justness. And I don’t believe he does have the justness. To be in charge of this city, you need tremendous justness. Socrates is the unjustest person on stage right now. Thrasymachus said Socrates has very bad reason. This is a perfect example of it. I am going to make the kallipolis just again. It’s going to be very, very just. It’s going to be tremendously just. And it’s going to be a beautiful thing to watch.
COOPEREON: Your response, Socrates?
SOCRATES: No comment.