Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
RonPrice

Democracy and Socrates and Us

Recommended Posts

A broad brush stroke at politics, current events and the whole democratic ethos.-Ron Price, Tasmania.

 

Socrates was a threat. His politics was anti-democratic in a crucial period of the frightening anti-democratic revolutions, 411 and 404 BC. So, too, were the politics of Socrates’ student, Plato, whose visions of community grew out of his fears of anti-community associated with the Peloponnesian War of 431 to 404 BC, of the secular humanism of the sophists and of the rootless individualism of the masses. Plato wanted a new form of political community. This same desire motivates the poetry of Roger White. White does not find his political community in the Republic but, rather, in the embryonic Order associated with the teachings of the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah.:cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Socrates was only a threat to the elite that he made fools out of. He proposed that democracy was not an effective form of politics, but that's hardly reason to call him a threat. The oracle called him the wisest man alive and though he called himself a fool, the general consensus is that he lived up the the oracle's prophecy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read The Republic, the Symposium, and parts of the Last Days of Socrates. It's good to be familiar with for historical perspective but Plato and Socrates had a lot of things all wrong as far as I'm concerned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is going to be kind-of general, but here's how I see it:

 

 

Regardless of how dilligently we try to paint them otherwise, philosophers are subject to the same flaws, bias and egocentricities as the rest of the us. This should be fully understood before anyone ventures into filling their head with this stuff.

 

To put it another way:

No matter how absolute much of it may seem, the simple fact remains that philosophy is, at best, tedious guess-work for the hopeful.

 

Hell, Socrates was vain enough to suggest the proper length for keeping one's fingernails.

 

 

So pick your value systems and philosophies in accordance for what you think will work for you, and know that yours are just as big of a sham as the philosophies, or religions, that do not work for you.

 

Then kick back, make a wish and watch it unfold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Socrates claimed he "knew nothing", so I don't know how he could put a gauge on fingernail length. If anything, his trial was an indication of a flaw in democracy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hahaha, sure he said that, but Socrates was one of the biggest know-it-alls in history. Plato exudes self-righteousness. Socrates badmouthed the gods. His trial was the status quo attempting to preserve itself, like so many other things in history.

 

"I have always found that Angels have the vanity to speak of themselves as the only wise; this they do with a confident insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning." - William Blake

 

That's Socrates in a nutshell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good argument.

 

OK, Socrates claimed to "know nothing." In being the only one to recognize this, he also thought he was pretty damn smart ("Angels have the vanity to think of themselves as the only wise.") And in any case, he had an answer for everything; he would use "reason" to determing anything you wanted to know! He believed pure thought could answer every question ("confident insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning") and thus he in fact thought he knew everything, or at least could figure everything out. In the case of fingernail length, I'm sure he would have had a very specific opinion on the matter after considering the practicality of eating, working with tools, etc. with fingernails of different lengths.

 

My beef is more with Plato anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you read any of the conversations Socrates has in Plato's work, you'd see that most of the time he never came to an answer and never claimed to have one, he simply proved the arrogant wrong. Your view on Socrates is pretty warped and definitely not an accepted one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It doesn't seem like I'm gonna convince you of anything, but here are some excerpts from an essay I wrote on the topic:

 

1.In The Republic, Socrates and his friends follow meticulous lines of reasoning to pick apart what it means to be just, eventually putting forth precise guidelines for the attainment of individual and societal refinement. Socrates calculates, at one point, that the man who lives this sort of life will experience precisely “729 times more pleasure than the tyrant” (587e.)

 

This is what I'm talking about - Socrates claimed to "known nothing" and then went ahead and made outrageous claims such as this. 729 times more pleasure? If he said shit like that I'm sure he would have had a very precise opinion on fingernail length. I realize this is from Plato but since we only know Socrates through Plato the two can't really be separated.

 

2.Plato attempts to impose too much order on his ideas, and this undermines everything he writes. The Republic is tainted by this “confident insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning.” Plato’s unreasonable defense of reason stems, perhaps, from indignation over the death of his friend, the supreme sophist, Socrates. There is also an undeniable undercurrent of arrogance, which is evident in Plato’s idea of the “just” aristocracy. By his own definition, those in charge of Plato’s ideal city – those best and most just men – would be people such as Plato himself.

 

Speaking through the character of Socrates, Plato makes the claim that the best possible form of government is an aristocracy of philosophers. And that the discipline of philosophy is the most noble pursuit conceivable - putting it above natural science, sport, music, etc. If that's not self-serving I don't know what is. Say what you want about the use of dialectic, I'm an extremely logical person myself and I found a lot of the basic assumptions in The Republic to be not only baseless but wrong (the separation of soul and body, and the idea that everyone will always act in their perceived interest). I don't know why, but I have a very strong opinion on this subject. It bothers me when people take Plato's ideas seriously because I think they represent fundamental misconceptions in western thought, ones that even helped define the Catholic church, and we all know THAT had loads of philosophical issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Register for a 12ozProphet forum account or sign in to comment

You need to be a forum member in order to comment. Forum accounts are separate from shop accounts.

Create an account

Register to become a 12ozProphet forum member.

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×