Tag Archive: Plato_Republic

Tending to the affairs of that good man, Plato

Monday, July 23, 2018.
Admittedly, I myself am not moved by the “gloriousness” or “nobleness” of Plato’s vision itself, though I am moved by him. More properly, I think that I am moved by his love for Socrates—and that always seems to move me. But from that original movement, I am moved to attempt to realize and defend all of the beautiful things which Plato believed — such as his belief that the gods do not neglect the affairs of a good man, even after he dies. And I believe that Plato was himself a good man. And so, I am compelled by the gods, insofar as they are in me and work through me, to tend to the affairs of that good man, Plato — just as he tended to the affairs of the good man Socrates.

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The grounding of reasons

Sunday, June 10, 2018.
On the other hand, I think that the sort of virtues that Achilles possessed should more rightly be called “moral virtues” because they are genuinely “moral” virtues. Everything that Achilles does is rooted in the piety of the “self.” Whether or not his actions benefit others, the reasons for his actions — or, more precisely, what his reasons are grounded in — are what make all of his forthcoming actions morally just. And this moral correctness isn’t simply a matter of having the “right intentions” — since, after all, every intention aims for the good if Aristotle is to be believed. But that which grounds his reasons for his actions are what make his actions examples of the four canonical virtues: justice (subdivided into piety and ethics), sensitivity (ie sophrosune), wisdom (sophia), and courage (andreia).

Rage — Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles

Tuesday, May 29, 2018.
So, not only is Achilles a good role-model for how a leader of men should be, but by the end of the games, he even leads Agamemnon to have the correct attitude. Notice how, in the last lines of Book 23, Agamemnon gives up his own prize to a “subordinate”. He is no longer the basileus who competes with his own men for geras, as he had once been in Book 1…

Like Achilles, we must hold fast to our principles

Wednesday, May 23, 2018. 🐬
If Socrates is correct, and presuming that we also wish to be just, then we ought to engage in acts and activities that contain intrinsic pleasures no matter what the world or society or says about those acts and activities. Even if the world condemns us according to its conventional standards, we must care more for justice than we do care about any possible benefits we may receive (and its derivative pleasures) and we must refrain from acquiescing to the demands of the mob.
If we truly cared for justice, then we must not give up any of our intrinsic pleasures at any cost. We must hold fast to what brings us intrinsic pleasures. Pleasure would be our truest guide to helping us get to where we belong. Like Achilles, we must hold fast to our principles, our truth, our genuine selves, and we must not allow ourselves not be bribed into selling away our souls — gold for bronze…

Botched interpretations of Plato

Friday, March 9, 2018. 🦉
But one shouldn’t take Aristotle’s botched interpretations of Plato to be the authoritative source for telling us quite accurately what Plato himself actually thought. That would be like thinking that the Alexandrian conquest was a manifestation of some Greek design, just because an ambitious and ruthless Macedonian decided to use the Greeks and their history as an excuse to invade Persia.

In Service to Humanity

Thursday, March 1, 2018.
This is why I think that I can argue that the numbers can and do matter, despite agreeing with Taurek that in some sense, they also don’t. As it is said in the Euthyphro, there are two parts to justice: the part of justice that is in service to the gods (that which is called “piety”) and the rest of justice that is in service to humanity.
Now, insofar as we are speaking of the part of justice that is in service to the gods, the actual numbers don’t matter. But insofar as we are speaking of the part of justice that is in service to humanity, the numbers do matter. However, the fact that numbers do matter doesn’t always lead to the conclusion that the greater quantity of some “good” is always the best conclusion. Sometimes the lesser quantity (even of a “good”) is what the objective requires. The numbers matter because they are useful in determining the “correct” quantity, rather than because more is always better.

Paint with all the Colors of the Wind

Saturday, February 17, 2018.
[Chinese New Year] 🐺
Language is not only rules and grammar, but it is also learning the unspeakable meaning of the words so that one can “paint with all the colors of the wind.”

Beyond metaphysics

Friday, December 15, 2017 🥇 🏆
It is also distinctly anti-Platonic. According to Plato, the truth can only be known by seeing the world outside of the Mind-cave. Even if one somehow begins inside of the Mind-cave, the goal isn’t to simply remain there. At least, this is what I take to be Plato’s intended message when he makes the analogy of the cave in Republic.
But, Aristotelians like Augustine seem to be content with remaining inside of the Mind-cave. And so, despite the so-called European “enlightenment,” the so-called philosophers like Descartes and Kant did not lead their flock outside of the Mind-cave as all good philosophers were supposed to have been doing (according to Plato’s plan, anyways). And it wasn’t until Nietzsche came along that those who were able and willing to follow him were finally able to be free of Aristotelian metaphysics. (That said, Nietzsche is a gnarly and twisted character, and he speaks in metaphors and he is a master-trickster whose skill over the illusory power of mirrors has caused some of his more naive followers to lose their way; Hitler is one such example of a naive follower. One would do well to remember that Nietzsche’s anti-Semitic or misogynistic comments are mirrors revealing the truth of one’s own painful and “ugly” scars, as a German Christian and as a male. But the übermensch eventually plows himself, his scars, and his pain under — and when he ceases to be “anti” anything, then he finally becomes free to just be his own beautiful self.)

A reminder

Wednesday, December 13, 2017. ✍️
I think that the most important thing about this space, is that it reminds me of my Uncle’s love for me. It is a real and concrete reminder of his love. In this space, I was able to spend doing what I love doing the most in this life — studying philosophy. And that is love; to let me have the freedom to find and be my truest and best self.

When we can each be free to pursue our truth

Monday, December 4, 2017.
Well, it’s clear that in this passage Gauthier is here speaking of things like “caste systems” and other such social inventions (eg, slavery) when he uses words like “higher level of artifice.” And it’s also clear that Gauthier doesn’t think that “natural harmony” is a realistic goal.
But, I think that “natural harmony” can be achieved — that is, when everyone actually gets to do, be and have whatever is truly in their hearts. When we stop trying to universalize (ie, Catholicize) values, we can each be free to pursue our truth. And only then can we ever have genuine, true and everlasting justice in this world.
This is what I call ‘Platonic Existentialism’ (or, Socratic Existentialism, take your pick).

I think that I like being me

Friday, December 1, 2017.
I think that life has pushed me into a corner now, and the only thing that I can do is try to remain true to my self no matter what the cost, because the fact of the matter is that though I hate how life is treating me these days, I think that I like being me and I don’t want to change who I am…

The Power of the Ring of Gyges

Sunday, November 19, 2017.
“Someone who has the power to do it, however — someone who is truly a man — would not make an agreement with anyone, neither to do injustice nor to suffer it. For him, that would be insanity.” (Republic, 359b)

I will tell my son that his nature is beautiful and wonderful — because that is the truth.

Friday, November 17, 2017.
But if this were true, then Hobbes himself should not presume how people are in the state of nature, saying that their lives are typically “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Believing this sort of thing to be true is itself to dishonor the self-God (Plato/Socrates’ God, not Aristotle’s mind-God) — for all meaning is something remembered by the individual. Hobbes accuses the so-called “heathen” of making up false stories about the gods, yet he doesn’t seem to be aware that he himself makes up false stories about his God…
Hobbes has the typical Aristotelian elitist attitude of an “up-and-coming” peasant; the “new-money” bourgeoisie are often this way (though, I certainly think that there are also exceptions). Hobbes’ mindset is paradigmatic of that pretentious elitist snobbery, common to ambitious tanners and shoemakers and court physicians especially. And so, now that he is himself a learned “Christian,” the adopted child of “Yahweh,” he thinks himself superior to the so-called “heathens” (the Jews would have called them “gentiles,” and he would have been one of them at some point in time) and raises his nose at them. Thus, he fails to recognize how he dishonors himself by claiming that human nature is so wretched when it is, in fact, not.

In God We Trust

Thursday, November 16, 2017.
Now, communication involves sending out an encrypted message (because language is made up of arbitrarily designated symbols) followed by some correct decryption on the other end by the receiver. In truth, however, the decryption is up to each individual’s mind (which is what Augustine, Aristotle, and some others call “God”) since, the meaning is neither in the symbol/label itself nor in the cipher itself. In other words, what is revealed to each person’s individual mind is up to the individual’s mind and the sender of the message cannot determine/control what the receiver will get.

Once upon a time, anti-semitism was an anti-racism

Wednesday, November 15, 2017.
According to this hypothesis, the gnostics didn’t like this attitude of semitic-superiority. And so, the gnostics attempted to assert a strong anti-racist view. Now, if it’s true that Semites were the only ones being racist at that time, then an anti-racism would end up looking very anti-semitic . And so, it’s possible that what began as an anti-racist attitude for the gnostics probably got interpreted into an anti-semitic attitude in expression, because for the gnostics of the time, anti-racism=anti-semitism.

Land of the Free

Wednesday, November 8, 2017.
In the Gorgias, Socrates reveals to the [wise] tyrant the method to achieve what she wants. Basically, the advice to the would-be tyrant is that one may attract more flies by means of honey than by vinegar. That is, by offering other people what they want (eg, liberty to do as they please, to eat or drink or smoke as they please, etc), they will give the tyrant what she wants (which, presumably, is money and power).

To know the man, one must taste the milk that nourished him

Thursday, November 2, 2017.
“You call for justice.
But God speaks through me.
Only I, Pallas Athene,
Possess the key
That unlocks the thunderbolt of Zeus.
But the time of brute force
Is past.
The day of reasoned persuasion,
With its long vision,
With its mercy, its forgiveness,
Has arrived.
The world hurled in anger shall be caught
In a net of gentle words,
Words of quiet strength.”
(Aeschylus, The Oresteia, Part 3: “Eumenides”)

Fortune favors the courageous, passionate and genuine

Friday, October 20, 2017 ⚖️
[Happy 21st Birthday Julie]
I don’t think that Socrates advocated for an Epicurean asceticism; in this, Nietzsche had a mistakenly Stoic version of Socrates in mind, and the not the Platonic one. I think that what Socrates meant was for us in life to aim to get a certain amount of wealth, comfortable and pleasant homes and foods, enjoyable and satisfying relationships and experiences, and even technological assistance so that we can have the least degree of distractions to our souls and to our goal of attaining self-knowledge.