Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Plato’s Play-doh: Molding the perfect society

Ah, if we could only remove the humanity from humanity could we possibly experience the perfect world of Plato’s society. To sever our hearts from our heads and gaze upon the brilliance that is Plato. It is he who holds all the answers that may guide us to enlightenment. For it is only Plato that can make sense of it all, and we are but buffoons searching for shiny objects to dazzle our simple minds. Thank God for Plato, or should we simply thank Plato for Plato?

Does he not realize what he is proposing is lunacy? He is proposing censorship of the common man for he believes it to be dangerous. A free mind is a dangerous mind as far as Plato is concerned. Unless of course we are talking about Plato’s mind. Plato seems to believe that he should never be stifled by censorship, but the people are too fragile to hold such a power as free speech. Does he truly believe that he has the power to stop the people from thinking “illegal” thoughts, or speaking their minds at will?

Plato discusses grief

“Whereas there’s another part of our mind which urges us to remember the bad times and to express our grief, and which is insatiably greedy for tear. What can we say about it? That it is incapable of listening to reason…” (Republic X p74).
If we cannot experience grief, then how do we know what pleasure is? If every day were sunny, would we not miss the rain? Life is to be experienced, not hobbled by what another claims to be a perfect society. We must be free to choose our own path.

There are three sides to every story: Their story, the others story, and the truth.

Plato suggests that there are two kinds of literature, “true and false” (Republic II p46). He then attempts to manipulate the reader by using the fragile minds of helpless children as his example to make the point that false stories are damaging to society and should not be spread amongst the people. He also uses the children as his example in attempts to activate the emotions of the reader unaware that Plato is setting his stage upon a slippery slope. “Shall we, then, casually allow our children to listen to any old stories, made up by just anyone, and to take into their minds views which, on the whole, contradict those we’ll want them to have as adults?”(Republic II p46). Then the response is, “No, we won’t allow that at all.”(Republic II p46) He then utilizes his incredible arrogance to take charge of what is and what is not acceptable reading. “So our first job, apparently, is to oversee the work of the story-writers, and to accept any good story they write, but reject the others” (Republic II p46). We see politicians of today flagrantly use images that weaken the head and penetrate the heart just so they can slip past the people their own misguided personal agendas. Plato and today’s politician always seem to be attempting to manipulate the people and through their arrogance believe they know what is best for all of us.


I suppose most of us have toyed with the idea of a perfect society and what that would entail. I believe it is very unlikely that any two views would be exactly the same. Therefore there is no such thing as a perfect society nor will there ever be. There are simply too many variables, too many opinions, too many people with too many ideas with the inability to see far enough into the future to analyze all the consequences of every action made presently for ever a perfect society to exist. Man is a flawed creature, and a perfect society is perfect. To achieve a perfect society it is necessary to expel all that is flawed. Therefore a perfect society could never include man in the first place.

Plato. "Republic, Book II". ed. Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2010. Print.
Plato. "Republic, Book X". ed. Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2010. Print.

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