Although Plato’s Republic was incredibly dry and a rather difficult read for me, I found a few of his nuggets of wisdom to be quite interesting. Plato, speaking through Socrates, is annoyingly very full of himself and his ideas, but a few of them stuck out to me that I quite appreciated. When I read the Republic I tried to focus less on the most popular philosophical ideas like the Allegory of the Cave (which took me forever to comprehend when I read it in high school) and the Myth of Er. Instead, I wanted to familiarize myself with some of his ideas that I hadn’t ever heard of before.
When I took world history, I remember learning that Ancient Greece was not in the least bit friendly towards women, so Plato’s ideas of equality between the sexes came as a bit of a surprise. Although what Socrates and his companions say is still biased and not completely encouraging ideas of equality in a politically correct way, it warmed my feminist heart to read at least the start to some justice for the women of Ancient Greece. On page 144, 455d-456b4, Socrates argues to Glaucon that women who show strength in the qualities of being a guardian have just as much of a right to be a guardian as men. Although he still refers to women as “the weaker sex”, his argument is progressive for the time. Admitting that some women could be suitable in the role of a guardian is definitely a start to shedding positive light on gender equality. You go, sort-of feminist Plato!
Another piece of wisdom that stuck out to me was Adeimantus’ opinion of being blunt with people. On page 110, 426b 3-4, he says, “Being harsh to someone who tells the truth is not charming.” Although the general argument that Plato is making in that passage is a bit extreme, I quite liked the small wisdom that Adeimantus says. I like to think that this can reign true in our own lives today, to appreciate those who give you the honest truth, even if you don’t like it. Pertaining to Arts One, this can be applied to tutorial. Although we may want to be told that our paper is the best ever written, it won’t help us to be lied to. We may hate the person for pointing out our flaws, but it is incredibly helpful and will only help us get better. Even though it can be hard to hear, I agree with Plato on this one, we should appreciate the truth over false niceties. As rapper G-Eazy puts it in his song Been On, “criticism’s worth some more than compliments.”
So even though the Republic was hard to get through, thanks Plato for sharing some wisdom I can agree with.