Friday, February 2, 2007


"The unexamined life is not worth living."

I finally, finally finished Plato's "Republic". This is the hardest book I've ever read. I don't know if people are sophisticated enough today to already understand the points he was trying to make, or if the whole thing is over my head. Confuscious says "To know what one does not know is characteristic of one who knows." I don't claim to be wise, but I kept up with him. But I'm just not sure where we went.

The book is a dialog. Plato, through the voice of Socrates, leads his audience on a quest to figure out what justice is. Is it better to be a just man perceived as unjust or to be an unjust man perceived as just? In trying to answer the question of who would be happier, Plato builds up a theoretical Republic from the ground up. He covers art, education, religion, politics and family matters and their place in his perfect state. He envisions a state where everyone is happy working with their own talents. Yet he builds in classes.

I was reminded of "Animal Farm."
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
It's nowhere I would want to live.

1 comment:

moonbeam said...

Kudos to you for getting through such a hard book. I think philosophy books can be very challenging. Never read Republic, but I have read Albert Camus philosphy essays and am very proud of myself for that! LOL! Pat yourself warmly on your back, Kimmie!