Plato

 

Plato

From a video by The School of Life: Plato is considered the world's first true and greatest philosopher. He wrote thirty six books, mostly showcasing Socrates philosophy, but many think the ideas expressed were his own. His spent his life trying to help people reach fulfillment - eudaimonia. He had four ideas how to reach this goal. 1. Think more. This meant to spend time in reflection and make our own choices rather than go along with popular opinions that are commonly filled with errors, prejudice, and superstitions that push us towards the wrong values, careers, and relationships. Thus his most famous quote was "know thyself".  This meant thinking things through rather than acting impulsively. This questioning perspective became the Socratic discussion or method.

2. Let your lover change you. Here he said true love is admiration. He believed we should find someone who had qualities that we lacked so we could learn from them as we endure the stormy times this inevitably involves. 3. Decode the message of beauty.  He believed beautiful things are whispering important truth to us about the good life like generosity, modesty, selflessness, gentleness, harmony, balance, and peace. They educate our souls. Conversely ugliness makes it harder to be wise, kind, and calm. Artists, poets, painters, novelists, and designers help us live a good life.

4. Reform society.  He saw the great war power Sparta as an effective and productive society but he wanted one that would help people become fulfilled. He reasoned that our heroes affected our outlook, ideas, and conduct so he didn't hold wealth and power in high esteem. Rather good and wise people who were distinguished for their public service, modesty and simplicity. He called them guardians.

He also didn't like democracy because people who vote don't always make the best choices so influential despots could rise to power.  Rather he thought people should be educated and become philosophers before they could vote. To this end he started a school in Athens called the Academy which went on for 300 years Where people learned math and spelling but also how to be good and kind. He said that "the world will not be right until kings become philosophers or philosophers kings"

Plato, in a dialogue, Phaedrus uses the Chariot Allegory to explain his view of the human soul. He does this in the dialogue through the character of Socrates, who uses it in a discussion of the merit of Love as "divine madness"."First the charioteer of the human soul drives a pair of horses, and secondly one of the horses is noble and of noble breed, but the other quite the opposite in breed and character. Therefore the driving is necessarily difficult and troublesome."

The Charioteer represents intellect, reason, or the part of the soul that must guide the soul to truth; one horse represents rational or moral impulse or the positive part of passionate nature, while the other represents the soul's irrational passions, appetites, or concupiscent nature. The Charioteer directs the entire chariot (soul), trying to stop the horses from going different ways, and to proceed towards enlightenment.

There are many excellent videos on Plato, you may access some here.

 “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”

“The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.”

“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

“Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”

“Love is a serious mental disease.”

“One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws”

“The measure of a man is what he does with power.”

“Ignorance, the root and stem of every evil.”

“If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.”

“I'm trying to think, don't confuse me with facts.”

“...and when one of them meets the other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and one will not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment...”

“There is truth in wine and children”

“Those who tell the stories rule society.”

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. ”

“The madness of love is the greatest of heaven's blessings.”

“Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.”

“There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.”

“Courage is knowing what not to fear.”

“In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill... we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.”

“You should not honor men more than truth.”

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”

“When men speak ill of thee, live so as if nobody may believe them.”

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

 

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