A blupete Essay

The Platonic Ideal, Part 4 to blupete's Essay
"On Philosophy"

It was Plato who wrote the first Utopian blueprint in history, as is represented in his book, known as the Republic (380 BC). To Plato, the ideal political state consisted of three principal classes: the guardians (planners), the military (those that enforce the plans, you know -- the ones with the guns), and the workers. "Plato's ideal state is static, a closed society without class mobility achieved by the propagation of 'convenient myths.'" To Plato the "unphilosophical man" was at the mercy of his sense-impressions, he is like a prisoner in a cave, who mistakes the shadows on the wall for reality.

Now what drives persons to adopt the Platonic ideal, to subscribe to a state of such a dreadful existence? It is the same thing that has driven all the conquerors found in history: In a word, egotism. This "cosmic philosophy,"8 this philosophy of Plato's which expresses the idea that there is the real and the unreal, the universe and the un-universe, is dualistic. The fact is, that the great natural world that we perceive, just, simply, exists; so far as we know it, it is neither good nor bad, it just exists: and, natural scientific laws may be used to define it.

To be a Platonist is to be one who aspires to change the world. He is convinced he is a philosopher king, a poet, a legislator, a person who knows what is good for others; one who is prepared to lie, (excuse me I should probably say maintain a myth) in the interests of order, -- necessary, if one is to deal with the "irrationality of the masses." Socialists, whether they belong to an organized political party or not, qualify on all counts; they are Platonists, though most of them could not begin to properly define the term at its roots.


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[Essays, First Series]
[Essays, Second Series]
[Essays, Third Series]
[Essays, Fourth Series]
[Subject Index]
Peter Landry

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