kay, first things first, Mr. Plato – if you are going to assign a guardian class to your dream city, one which scouts and trains its next generation, one that continues without any input from the people rules, it isn’t a republic – it’s an aristocracy.
And screw you for what you said about astronomers.
Yes, I know that The Republic is supposed to be one of the major philosophic works, one that turns men on their mental ears and all that. But it didn’t work for me. Two much of it was Socrates leading his pet fanboy Glaucoma through his logical paces. All in all, the logic flowed like the bit from Monty Python where Sir Bedevere explains how to detect witches – where logic slowly steps off beam, becoming more and more illogical until you end up with something totally preposterous.
I’ve always liked the reference of “The Cave”, which is a truly brilliant allegory of man’s perception of reality (truthfully, I think that is why I bought and read this twenty years back, probably following a reference about it elsewhere). But as for the rest of it -it didn’t click. I just drifted along, doubling back when I was so phased out I couldn’t remember what I was reading, desperately looking for a truth I could believe in. Specially, I’ve always been vexed with needing a belief in why one should bother to be moral and just. What is the advantage when others around me are greedy and devious? And the book seemed to be circling slowly around this point (as a clot of hair slowly circles the drain) but never, for me, got there. If I read it right, it’s that immoral people hate their lives and go to hell. Well, I don’t know, but tyrants seem to have pretty good lives, all in all. You can say that tyrants suffer, but poor righteous peons suffer too. The goodly poor die of malnutrition and disease in their hovels, and that’s supposed to be balanced by a cruel kings musing about a sense of unease? No, I didn’t find my answer there.
But on things for sure: I did find a font of great agreements. After 311 pages of Glaucon rattling off “It is so” and “By Zeus, such is true” and “Yes, your worship”, well, I’ll never have to scratch for dialog in the affirmative. I’ve got every possible bootlick agreement here.
Hey, I’m a pretty solid reader. And I’ve read deep into classics. But this one was a hard slog, so much so that I had to wash out the taste with a break to sixties scifi, just to get my reading jones back.
Yes, it is as you say.