In this final paper I decided to demonstrate how the ideas and works of Plato still around and influencing many arguments made, especially in the political world. At least in my opinion I think that some of Plato’s ideas and phrases became more like predictions as the time went by. And I am glad that he is still consider so his history is kept alive and his ideas give context to what had happen, what is happening and what will happen on our society and how can possibly affect us. Plato was a philosopher, which means he was a thinker, at first I didn’t know what this meant but the name sound like they did something really important which can be but not for all people, and also I found Plato’s “job” without meaning and then I found out that he was also an teacher in Greece and make me realize that his job was meaningful and important enough that he wanted to teach others and spread his knowledge.
But, I don’t think that he could even imagined how he as a person and his works will be used as an example of a philosopher and how we, will discuss and some will contradict his ideas. A little background information to give context to his personality and his way of thinking is that he was one of the most important thinkers and writers in the history of Western culture. Plato was born in Athens in a family that was one of the oldest and most important in the city. On his father’s side, he was related to Codrus, the last “legendary” king of Athens, maybe this was the source of such wealth and importance of his family. Probably, Plato had the best education growing up in Athens with the best teachers which can be the base for Plato’s study of nature and knowledge. Nowadays a very good education is really significant, actually, I think that people believe in what your say based on your knowledge, profession, or schools you go to. Plato’s father, Ariston, died when Plato was only a child. His name Plato was a nickname that means broad shoulders. Plato’s real name was Aristocles.
Plato had the aspiration of becoming a politician, but his hopes were destroyed and gone when Socrates, who was also a philosopher, was sentenced to death. This really hurt Plato maybe because he was a student of Socrates, after Socrates’ death Plato left Athens and traveled for many years. When Plato decided to returned to Athens he founded a school of philosophy and science that is known as the Academy. The topics in that school were related to astronomy. One of the things that Plato was interested in was how we can use a single word or concept to call many other different words or things, Plato say that various things can be called by the same name because they have something in common, he called it common factor the thing’s form or idea.
Plato also thought that ordinary things change but their forms do not. For example, a triangle may be change in size or shape but the form of a triangle can never change. But in the other hand he said that forms exist neither in space or time and that forms can be known not only by the mind but also by our senses and because of their stability and perfection, forms have better reality than ordinary objects observed by the senses. So, in conclusion he believed that true knowledge is knowledge of the forms. In ethics and moral psychology, he had the idea that a good life needed to have not just a certain kind of knowledge as Socrates, his teacher, had said. But also, getting use to healthy emotional responses and then harmony between the three parts of the soul (according to Plato, reason, spirit, and appetite). His works contain many discussions in different topics. His school research not just in philosophy today would be called mathematical or scientific. Like most other old philosophers, Plato kept a theory that the highest ethical goal is happiness and personal well-being. The main question he was interested was about justice. In the discussion of justice, he used his own work, he studied his theory of education.
He believed that education and justice are related. For that reason, without education, there will be no justice. But, it is important to study better what Plato try to say by justice. To Plato, justice is the highest social good, an ideal. Plato describes human nature using three statements. ‘We are not individually independent, but have many wants’ ‘No two persons are born exactly alike, but each differs from each in natural endowments,’ and ‘Each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts. These statements give us an image of what human nature is according to him. Plato is saying that we exist in a condition where we need things and that we are not independent, neither capable of taking care of ourselves on our own. At the same time, he is saying that we are different in terms of what we like, what we want, what are we good at, etc. for example, someone can be the greatest singer but her/his friend may be great in something totally different from something artistic.
Plato says that we are different since we are born. When we were born, according to Plato, we came into the world with our own set of abilities, which makes us who we are. Now people accepted this reasoning, we are told that we have our own personality and if we are not good in something is okay because we are better in something else, we just have to fond what are we meant for. But, Plato is best known for his work entitled “The Republic”. The purpose of this work is to explain and define the true of justice and highlight the imperfection of the democratic political system, which is our actual political system today. Plato made the argument that leaders of a nation should become philosophers, or philosophers should become kings. In his book, Plato expressed his belief that it takes a special kind of knowledge to rule a nation with justice. He is the author of “The allegory cave” a theory that we had write about in the class. With this Plato try to prove that knowledge gained by our senses was not more than an opinion and to get real knowledge we should gain it through philosophy. To link his ideas, I did a deep research and made list of 2 actual situations that show how he still relevant today.
In the first place I found that years ago Plato taught that every human soul has the desire to reach for a higher, pure, and more spiritual truth that will illuminate our lives and change our world. That made him the main topic for many religious themes and every believer in a supernatural reality, for poets, artists, musicians, and lovers who think they are soulmates, maybe there’s an answer to the why it’s called Platonic love. And in second, a different topic, politics. Plato thought political authority eventually will follow a direction that we could predict, from oligarchy to democracy and from democracy to tyranny. Democracies leads to tyrannies when someone takes control over the rest of the people. But the tyrant, leader, is not quite a tyrant at first but is someone that eventually changes with his public and at the end his ideas and attitudes finally take control. If anything is sounding familiar is because we have an example, an actual recent example of this ideas that can help to understand better.
The president, Trump, we have the knowledge of what his evolution looks like, first he was just a candidate to the presidency, then he was a racist and hateful man, later most people accepted and shared his views, now he is the president of a democratic nation, and we still have time to see another phase of his evolution. Plato said that it takes a particular kind of person to win over a democratic large group of people, and he is right. Many people ignore the hate that the president spread and instead focused on that he was rich, and maybe he was the best option because he was a successful man. The kind of person he is has placed him on the white house. In tyrannies, it’s what the tyrant wants. There are five regime types for Plato and five kinds of human characters, but I am going to focus on the most relevant, the tyrant. A tyrant, for Plato, wasn’t just someone who rules over others but someone who can’t rule over himself. As Plato kind of predicted, Trump’s tyrannical mind are obvious in his political views.
He has proposed killing the family members of terrorists, waterboarding suspects because “they deserve it anyway”, refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, joke about placing nuclear weapons, banning all Muslims from the country, and said a federal judge’s Mexican heritage makes him not able to have his place and be recognize as a judge. This is a man with no respect for norms, ethics, morals, he has no understanding of compromise, and he is not even prepared for his position. Also, he expresses a lot confidence when he talks in public but what people don’t really questions is that he talks without any facts that support his claims like, “Nobody knows the system better than me”, “which is why I alone can fix it”.
His tyrannical moves can’t be more obvious than that. A democratic tyrant gets in power by faking his real character. “In the early days of his power,” Plato wrote, “he is full of smiles, and he salutes every one whom he meets … making promises in public and also in private, liberating debtors, and distributing land to the people and his followers, and wanting to be so kind and good to everyone”. Plato couldn’t be more right and even though he was just a philosopher and not someone that could see the future, he was right about many things.
And for this reason his ideas at least, his political views should be more out there to reach out to more people because, not many people take time to research this kind of stuff and also there is many young people that leave school and they miss the opportunity like the one I have to get to know more of this and be woke instead of blind to what is happening because we may think it does not affect us directly but it actually does.