Tagged: Plato

On Comfort and Freedom

In my “Impolitic Reflections,” I noted Plato’s antagonism toward democracy, rooted in his presumption that the majority of men will always have appetitive natures, and therefore be unfit to direct a city that wishes to be just and wise. For this reason, I explained, he has his Socrates argue that in founding a good city, “you would never place any of its decision-making...

Impolitic Reflections

Plato’s Socrates begins his great political speculation with the presumption that the vast majority of men in even the best imaginable city will be ruled by appetite, from which he infers that if you actually wanted a city to be governed wisely, you would never place any of its decision-making authority in the hands of the innately and irreversibly appetitive majority. The modern...

The Enlightenment Error

Plato’s allegory of the cave (Republic, Bk. VII) is the most memorable and detailed presentation of a belief that was essentially shared by classical thinkers in general, namely that a societally constructed view of reality is a necessary condition of life for all humans, although a minority of men may gradually, through a painful process of spiritual reorientation, begin to find their way...

Introduction to Metaphysics: A Dialogue (Part One)

The defining mission of this website, sometimes pursued subliminally, sometimes overtly, is to undermine the corruptive influence of “current events,” which is to say the distracting noise of the everyday, in the lives of anyone within reach of my voice. As our civilization winds down, the attraction of building a solid spiritual fortress to defend the soul against the glittering degradations and nihilistic...

The Tyrannical Soul: An Observation

A summary of the private life of the potential tyrant, or “tyrannical soul,” from Plato’s Republic, Book IX: “When these men are in private life, before they rule, aren’t they like this: in the first place, as to their company, either they have intercourse with their flatterers, who are ready to serve them in everything, or, if they have need of anything from...

Friends and Distance: A Musing for An Age of Isolation

I have friends I have never met face to face whom I would trust with all my money. Meanwhile, very few of the “friends” I have made through the normal social accidents of my life have ever been more than useful or pleasant acquaintances in the end — “nice,” agreeable enough, but lacking the essential kinship of soul that is the essence of...

Socrates on the View from Our Hollows

Several days ago, I wrote a short piece about Socrates’ description of the Earth to his companions, as he sat in his prison cell awaiting the hemlock. Today, as a spiritual escape from the moral prison formed of modern politics and the mass hysteria of coronavirus, I would like to reflect on one of the key themes of that famous episode in the...

Soaring Below the Surface of the Earth

In Plato’s Phaedo, Socrates, in his dying hour, describes his mind’s eye view of the Earth, as a final life lesson for his friends. The most striking feature of his remarkable quasi-mythical account is his speculation that the true surface of the Earth is not the ground we walk on, which we mistakenly call “the Earth,” but rather the upper limits of our...

The Problem of Evil

I received an e-mail the other day from a former student who continues to keep in touch due to a mentoring relationship we developed while she was in university. This most recent exchange, though personal in its focus, highlighted a human tendency that has universal implications, as it opens out on nothing less than a traditional ethico-theological quandary, the problem of evil. This...

Freud vs. Plato on Eros

In my recent piece, “On Freud,” I said of the “father of modern psychology”: He saw his theory as a more scientific version of Plato’s tripartite soul. He was in fact Plato for auto-mechanics. And for all his titillating and supposedly shocking nonsense about sex, he was oblivious to Eros, which is the specifically human manifestation of sexuality, and the key to mankind’s...