Interesting Ideas From Plato’s Republic

Free resources = insanity

“But tell me this: does excessive pleasure have anything in common with moderation?” “How could it,” he said, “since it puts men out of their minds no
less than pain?”

Petty = unenlightened

“In your opinion, is this really baser,” I said, “than when someone not only wastes most of his life in courtrooms defending and accusing, but, from inexperience in fair things, is also persuaded to pride himself on this very thing, because he is clever at doing injustice and competent at practicing every dodge, escaping through every loophole by writhing and twisting and thereby not paying the penalty, and all this for the sake of little and worthless things; ignorant of how much finer and better it is to arrange his life so as to have no need of a dozing judge?”

Sick societies just make up diseases

“And,” I said, “needing medicine, not because one has met with wounds or some of the seasonal “, but as a result of idleness and a way of life such as we described, full of humors and winds like a marsh, compelling the subtle Asclepiads to give names like ‘flatulences’ and ‘catarrhs’ to diseases, doesn’t that seem base?”

Middle class = productivity

“Take the other craftsmen again and consider whether these things corrupt them so as to make them bad.”

“What are they?”


“Wealth and poverty,” I said. “How?”


“Like this: in your opinion, will a potter who’s gotten rich still be willing to attend to his art?”


“Not at all,” he said. “And will he become idler and more careless than he was?


“By far.” “Doesn’t he become a worse potter then?”


“That, too, by far,” he said. “And further, if from poverty he’s not even able to provide himself with tools or anything else for his art, he’ll produce shoddier works, and he’ll make worse craftsmen of his sons or any others he teaches.”


“Of course.”


“Then from both poverty and wealth the products of the arts are worse and the men themselves are worse.”

Secret eugenics

“On the basis of what has been agreed,” I said, “there is a need for the best men to have intercourse as often as possible with the best women, and the reverse for the most ordinary men with the most ordinary women; and the offspring of the former must be reared but not that e of the others, if the flock is going to be of the most eminent quality. And all this must come to pass without being noticed by anyone except the rulers themselves if the guardians’ herd is to be as free as possible from ;
faction.”

Most people have brains made of oatmeal

“Well, then, keep all this in mind and recall this question: Can a multitude accept or believe that the fair itself, rather than the many fair things, or that anything itself, is, rather than the many particular things?”


“Not in the least,” he said.


“Then it’s impossible,” I said, “that a multitude be philosophic.”


“Yes, it is impossible.” “And so, those who do philosophize are necessarily blamed by
them.”

How an oligarchy comes into being

“Therefore, don’t they then set down a law defining an oligarchy  regime by fixing an assessment of a sum of money—where it’s more of an oligarchy, the sum is greater, where less of an oligarchy, less? Prescribing that the man whose substance is not up to the level of the fixed assessment shall not participate in the ruling offices, don’t  they either put this into effect by force of arms or, before it comes to that, they arouse fear and so establishment this regime? Or isn’t it that way?”

The flaw of an oligarchy

“Yes,” he said. “But what is the character of the regime? And what are the mistakes which we were saying it contains?”


“First,” I said, “the very thing that defines the regime is one. Reflect: if a man were to choose pilots of ships in that way—on the basis of property assessments—and wouldn’t entrust one to a poor man, even if he were a more skilled pilot —”


“They would make a poor sailing, ” he said
“Isn’t this also so for any other kind of rule watsoever?”


“So I suppose, at least.”


“Except for a city?” I said. “Or does it also apply to a city?”


“Certainly,” he said, “most of all, insofar as it is the hardest and
greatest kind of rule.” “Then oligarchy would contain this one mistake that is of such
proportions.”

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