Plato’s Republic was another tough read, and I agree with some of the other posts, in that,  it required so much concentration and patience just to get through it. That being said, the book definitely raises a few important questions and takes a close look into issues that hold relevance in our modern society, so, at the end of the day it’s a worthwhile read, in my opinion. It’s transcendence through time and culture are reflective of it’s poignant remarks and essentially unresolvable conflicts. This struggle of thought is enough to keep this book’s ideas in my head because it’s very nature demands deeper analysis of it’s contents and personal struggle with the issues it raises. Plato’s Republic is the perfect example of a book that remains alive because we haven’t found it’s meaning  yet.

Plato’s discussion of justice and injustice was particularly interesting to me because the points of logic the were making, all strung together well and all made rational sense. Valid points were supported by valid points and, when either person disagreed, a logical statement was made in return which the the other person actually took into consideration. However, taking the sociological perspective and applying to the society at large doesn’t work by sitting in the living room and reasoning out, point by point why society is the way it is. What’s not taken into account in the discussion is the idea of a non scientific, but still valid, way of attacking the argument. The part of us that just doesn’t mix with the idea that injustice disguised as justice is right is what the either man takes into account. Nor does either man take into account the societal conflict that is inevitable if certain members of society are constantly treated to injustice and told it’s justice. Ultimately, I think the biggest thing missing from these great logical debates is a practical real world application, which often tends to complicate even the most well thought out plans. Especially when the plans deal with humans who are volatile, in a sense, because they are subject to emotion and a change of ideals which is an, almost always, immeasurable detail. Overall I enjoyed reading the republic so far and look forward to the rest of the book.


Republic – Plato

Having read the Allegory of the Cave earlier I had a slight idea as to what I should expect from this book. However that did not prepare me at all for what I was about to read. Argument after argument and image after image. Reading this book makes your head start to spin a little bit (in my opinion!) and yet it is so interesting to read that when rereading countless paragraphs it was not a task but a genuine want to understand what exactly was happening!

What I found most interesting was the idea of the unjust being more profitable and happier because of this profitability. Growing up hearing about corruption and injustices and the like its easy to see why this argument makes sense – the unjust end up having more and thus materially and perhaps socially are more profitable and happy and yet it is a sad but true thing that the just are the ones who end up suffering because of their morals and values. Without the threat of something, the afterlife or god or something, anything, the unjust could end up living incredibly fortunate lives and it is an interesting thing to note that even at that time this was something which, while sad, was true and appeared true. The idea that injustice is for the individual whereas justice benefits the mass is interesting and upon further thought it makes sense, when one is selfish and wants to benefit oneself then one would be unjust and take without cause from others and corruption begins. However when one wants the good of someone other than themselves than that person is just because their actions are benefiting the masses, not the individual.

Another idea which interested me greatly was that of the perfect city – where the media and religion were controlled to such an extent that the people only heard and knew only what they are allowed and a select few decide this – this reminds me so much of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell. It’s like Winston being made to change the old news because the enemy changed again. The people are only taught certain things in a certain order and special attention is paid to music and physical exercise (the obsession with mini-golf?). Perhaps this is just me but I don’t think that this would make the perfect city because someone, somewhere will begin to question everything and then eventually things will begin to fall apart. Then again at the same time if the people were to know every singly thing wouldn’t the world settle into a sort of chaos? How can we know the line to draw between what people should and shouldn’t know? People talk about free speech and knowing everything that is happening all over the world and yet at the same time when people find out certain things a part of them always wishes they didn’t know. Is it possible that having a world in which everything you know and abide by is dictated is the best way for us all to live?


Julianna’s Thoughts on Plato’s Republic, Part 1

To say the least, The Republic has not been the simplest of works to tackle. However, despite difficulties and confusion, it offers interesting notions on  society, as well as the importance of justice and virtue.

One aspect that I found interesting was simply how overly idealized the city of The Republic is. I understand that it is meant to be a theoretical model, but Plato factors in virtually no aspects of human nature. He completely negates human greed or selfishness, assuming that humanity will work for the good of the city, and be unconcerned with their own desires. I find this difficult to swallow, almost, as it is so removed from reality. His depictions of children being removed from their families and each indiviudal sticking to his or her own trade, longing and understanding that he will always be stuck in the same aspect of life, all to better the city, brought about thoughts of Marxist ideals. My opinions of Marx are almost the same as with Plato, in that both forgot to factor in human emotion.

However, instead of a utopia, as Marx intended, Plato’s world reminded me of a glorified dictatorship. His ideas of the guardians protecting and being all-knowing in a sense, whilst everyone must abide by their rule, appeared to be strickingly similar to the Nazi regime. As well, the business of removing children from their family seemed horrifically Spartan in nature. It seemed that Plato was far more concerned in a nation of mindless, law-abiding automatons than with a realistic working of the cities.

The narcissism of Plato towards philosophers invoked a chuckle. Plato, who seemingly appears to create Kallipolis in order to demonstrate the ideal city, holds only those who have studied philosophy to be worthy of protecting the city. This assumption that all other humans are beneath the great knowledge of the philosopher was slightly appalling. It is understandable that he believes that only those who understand the nature of man should rule, but Plato refers to the average man as if his intelligence were comparable to a dog. I found this praise of the philosopher to be a blatant attempt at demonstrating self-righteousness.

Finally, I do agree with Plato in his beliefs regarding justice. One particular section discussed the fear that the unjust have as they reach old age regarding death. I agree that despite the early pay-off of being unfair or deceitful, the just will always prevail, be it in the afterlife or later in the present.

All in all, I cannot say that Plato has dramatically altered my perspective on society, but rather introduced me to a dictatorial, overly idealized city, which, in a sense, foreshadowed latter dystopias, such as communism and Nazi Germany.

Platos Republic: Logic and George Orwell

I’m really enjoying reading the Republic right now. I like reading things I disagree with because I can feel clever with my sort of pseudo-intellectual criticism. However, it was only  at around books 4 and 5 that I began to look really closely at what i’m sure is going to be discussed a lot in the next week, and that is the very Orwellian, fascist-esque (that’s not a word is it) nature of Plato’s perfect city. The whole book reads as a very well planned doctrine, and I imagine Plato hunched over a writing desk, getting excited imagining people using it as a model for all the real cities in the future. Socrates demonstrates an interesting logical tactic, and there were a number of ideas near the beginning that had me agreeing and such, but as I progressed into this book a lot of things began to come together in an ominous way.

In the eyes of Socrates (and therefore Plato, I would guess) an ideal city is based on strict censorship of stories, ideas, religion, music, and citizens relations. The Guardians must “guard as carefully as they can against any innovation in music and poetry or in physical training that is counter the established order.” and “considerable use of falsehood and deception for the benefit of all they rule.” This in itself is an immense, massive, gigantic issue that so many people have grappled with forever: Does one group of people know what is best for the group below them? Can benevolent dictatorships ever work, even if the leaders truly believe they?

One main difference in Socrates idea as opposed to a regular fascist state, and something that could be seen as a conflict in his ideology, is that he wants his citizens to be knowledgeable. If they are knowledgable, they will understand that the way they are living is the way that is best for them. This, like a vast majority of arguments I read in “The Republic” is a realistic idea in theory, but when you factor in that humans are, well, human, it seems fairly realistic. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Sometimes I felt like Socrates assumed were too human, and that our humanity is so standard and ongoing that it can become some sort of formula. I do agree that as a race we humans have become fairly predictable, and looking at similar cities to the one Socrates creates, I can predict that this one might fail.

Soon enough I got to selective breeding, the use of terms like “superior and inferior class”, and the idea of parentless children being controlled by the state. My sentimental self wanted to say something cliche like “what about love?” The last thing I thought was interesting was the fact that this “perfect city” is still going to be one of war. hmm. I’m of a particular mindset right now about this book, but i’m only halfway and it’s likely that during our discussion my opinion will radically shift. That’s what’s been happening the last few classes, in any case.

I really look forward to it




This book is definitely an interesting one to read as it contains subject matter that is still yet to be fully resolved today. I myself am enjoying it thoroughly, though reading it on a bus where I’m prone to motion sickness has proved to make the experience a bit more nauseating than it would be otherwise. The content is indeed heavy and requires some measure of concentration to absorb properly, but the arguments themselves are mostly based on chains of simple variable logic that can be connected together without having to scan every word. With that said, I’ll give my thoughts on some of the arguments discussed.

Somewhere in the book, there is an argument brought up against Socrates that injustice is by nature more profitable than justice due to the “naïve” and “exploitable” nature of justice itself. There was also talk of a 2D classification diagram which was rather interesting and amusing to read, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, it was argued that injustice is by far more profitable than justice because injustice can gain the advantages of justice (i.e. public support) and at the same time possess the advantages of injustice. Justice, on the other hand, cannot possess the advantages of injustice and will also likely not possess the advantage of public support according to the argument presented. Thus, injustice that cloaks itself as justice is by far more profitable than justice itself and anyone who follows justice is a complete and utter fool who is naïve and cannot handle the moral strains of committing injustice.

While this argument can be pretty convincing when viewed by itself, its flaw lies in the fact that it doesn’t see the bigger picture. Socrates presented a very effective counterargument (half the contents of which I can’t recall at the moment) detailing exactly what that bigger picture is. To paraphrase it without all the complicated metaphors and moral jargon, injustice is by nature something which only takes away but cannot contribute. Because it cannot contribute, it is nothing more than a parasitic existence that cannot survive without its host (i.e. justice). Because it cannot survive without justice, the advantage of injustice is also fundamentally insecure and prone to unstable lapses in the degree of advantage provided. Furthermore, the advantage gained from the parasitic injustice is of a lesser level to the advantage gained by the nonparasitic and contributing justice should it associate with other nonparasitic and contributing justices. Thus, it can be depicted like this

Justice + Injustice = Advantage for Injustice, Disadvantage for Justice

Injustice + Injustice = Disadvantage for Injustice

Justice + Justice = Great Advantage for Justice

Though injustice can profit from the contributions of justice, that profit is smaller than the potential gain that could be produced from multiple justices working together. We see then that rather than calling justice naïve and weak, it would be far more appropriate to call injustice small-minded and useless due to their inefficient philosophy. This also connects to the part of the book where Socrates talks about the ideal city, which is in essence a city full of justices working together to prosper mutually. I won’t go too much into this topic here as that would take far more words than I’m willing to write for a blog entry, but the problem with Socrates’ argument may be that he is neglecting to view the smaller picture. Though absolute justice and ideal efficiency is great, there is a certain level of the human consciousness that cannot be measured and compared to a standard. That’s all for now. 

Plato’s “Republic”

I’m not going to lie when I say that reading Plato’s “Republic” gave me a headache. Not only does “Republic” demand absolute patience and concentration, even when you fulfill these two requirements while you read, often you have to reread passages to get more out of it.
While I was reading Book 2, I found that close to the end, the discussion becomes rather confusing. What I mean to say is that when Socrates and Adeimantus are discussing the gods, they seem rather fearful or reluctant to express their opinions. They are definite in their opinion that “since a god is good, he is not… the cause of everything that happens to human beings but of only a few things… we must find some other cause for the bad ones, not a god.” However, I have to disagree on this point. The Greek gods were certainly not “good” as modern society terms it. The gods in Ancient Greece were capable of inflicting misfortune (and they did!), could be spiteful, malicious, and prone to temper tantrums. When one is discussing philosophy, shouldn’t one question how our general beliefs came to be? Rather than simply accept the gods as being god, I expected Socrates and Adeimantus to delve further on into the topic of whether or not the gods were truly god or not. It would’ve enhanced the philosophical debate on justice, virtue and vice.

I agree with another blog post about how Book 5 mirrors the ideology behind Hitler’s regime. The idea that babies who are born malformed or with defects should be essentially tucked away from the eyes of society is something Nazi Germany followed. I remember back in high school one of my friends once asked me this question:

Do you think that it is right to put physically or mentally disabled people to death under the reason that this would give them a better life?

This was something her Social Studies teacher had asked his class and what she later asked me. The question, of course, asks: is it better for physically or mentally disabled people to die rather than live? I found that my mind kept on straying towards this question and, consequently, lost my concentration on “Republic”. Overall, I found “Republic” rather burdensome to read. Not only did my mind continuously stray because I was pondering questions related to the text, but I found it hard to follow the conversation once my mind had strayed. Perhaps the best way to read a book like “Republic” is to read it with a rational, logical mind; that is, not to put your personal feelings into it.

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!

Some thoughts on Genesis from Kailer

This was my first time reading a whole book from the bible. Up to the age of eleven, my mom took me to a United Church which is the equivalent to a frat when it comes to churches. This is to say that I am familiar with the stories, but have never read them in full. I will be honest in saying  that I may have used Genesis to help me take naps because my eyes just did not want to stay open while reading it. My own moral values and opinions made Genesis a difficult read for me, but when I pushed these aside and read this as literature all I could think was “sweet, only 10 more pages!”.

Despite having difficulties with the text, there are interesting aspects brought forth throughout Genesis. One thought that was continuously recurring in my mind was that The  Lord and god in Genesis is very similar to the gods in The Odyssey. The Lord is seemingly  omnipresent and omniscient, but he also makes a corrupt world that he tries to fix by sending the flood. This is similar to Zeus and his place on the hierarchy of the Greek gods, and of how they seek guidance from Zeus. Zeus and The Lord both have their faults, and quirks that make them imperfect, which typically cause more extreme consequences for the mortals they are dealing with. With this in mind, one could say that Genesis is the modern day Odyssey. I argue this from the perspective that the Odyssey was not a “novel” to the Greeks, but the story of gods who existed and of how they influenced the life of men. If we look at how Genesis (and furthermore the Bible) as the word of God to men, and The Lord’s word and will being done, influencing the life of the human race then there is an easy line to draw connecting the two.

Ok, I don’t want to offend anyone, but I feel as if the whole perspective of God having unconditional love for mankind is contradicted throughout Genesis. God is constantly threatening the men to do Gods bidding and wishes, and rewards Abraham for his dedication and fear of the Lord. This goes along to God’s treatment of women, condoning of slavery and acceptance of adultery by men. This starts with God’s treatment of Eve in the garden, where there is a rather hash punishment on Eve for falling into the snake’s ploy, compared to the punishment placed on Adam. For having unconditional love, God appears a tad biased. This enters into many of the other stories, where women are often portrayed to be the root of men’s suffering and hard work, as is seen with Joseph and his master’s wife. Joseph is one of the few characters who is not led into temptation by a woman, but her own spite leads to his imprisonment for several years. This is a topic that could be discussed for hours, days or years, and I don’t think you would reach any more of a conclusion.

All in all, I’m grateful to have read this just to have some experience with the text, and a bit more of an understanding of another perspective. Alas, I apologize if there was anything within these paragraph’s that offended people, but that is part of my opinion on a somewhat touchy subject.


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Reading a part of the Bible for the first time was very interesting. I’ve never been at all religious, but reading Genesis definitely gave me some great insight, along with helpful context. There always seem to be references to parts of the Bible, so this reading was very useful. I found the text itself fairly strange to read. Genesis obviously does not follow modern conventions, as it is thousands of years old, but some aspects of the text clearly cater to the more devoted readers. For example, if I were to evaluate this text as a modern piece of fiction, I would consider character introduction to be terrible. The entire paragraphs filled with family heritage and people’s names are pretty much blank zones in my mind. I could never remember every character mentioned in any single one of those paragraphs in only one pass. So as I read about the battle of Sodom and Gomorrah, I had not one clue what was happening, as there were many city names thrown in, just as many characters, and very little explanation. Of course, there are many other aspects I didn’t really understand, such as why the amount of years that every person lived was always included, even in the more minor characters. Another thing is why God put the tree of knowledge (can’t remember exactly what they called it) in the garden, since he is omniscient. He would know that Eve and Adam are to eat from the tree, disregarding his warning, so why not leave the tree out or forgive Eve? It doesn’t make sense to me to put a tree that one knows will be eaten from in the garden and then punish those that eat from it. The last thing I found strange was that when men took their wives to cities they always lied and said they were siblings. When the men from the cities found out that the women were actually the wives of the men, they backed off and were ashamed and offered the men animals and other treasures. It’s unclear what the husbands based their need to lie off of. In any case, it was an informative text giving me some interesting perspective.

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Having not read the Bible before this it was interesting to see the way it plays out and its similarities and differences to other religions. While some of the stories were new others were old, ones that I had heard as a child (albeit with some differences). The attention to detail and the intricateness of the stories was fascinating and revealing at the same time. Some religions have such similar stories and teachings that it is just a matter of a few details sometimes with which to differ one story from another and this is something that I found interesting when reading Genesis. Genesis is interesting, more than just a holy book it is like a collection of short stories which each have a meaning or main idea and talk about that main idea by giving examples.

Peoples lives play out in such interesting ways and seeing the role of humanity in relation to God and the way humanity is led and helped by God’s actions and ideas. It was interesting to think of Genesis in terms of monster in the mirror and I find it strange to see the stories I heard growing up (albeit differently) and I’m quite excited to hear different interpretations of it.