2. Plato : (Selected Passages) edited by :RW Livingstone 1940
My Detailed Summary, Full Analysis and My Comments ..links
1. Book Review and Summary
Summary : Amazing : a voice completely outside mainstream society, finding it largely crazy and with vast room for improvement . Even though I have not studied him before I had evolved the same system of thinking i.e The whole process of making a logical argument : you have to get down to Fundamentals and build your arguments with truths which cannot be refuted, not unsubstantianed assumptions.
It seems Plato is the basis for the entire western culture which dominates the world. But his values have become distorted as if by a process of Chinese Whispers, between teachers and learners throughout the ages. Cos his arguments are way ahead of modern politics.
Life today is not very aspirational.. well not towards the idea working it out

This book is in fact an annotated summary :making it much easier to read than the original works. The language of the translation is quite obtuse and long winded, so I had to paraphrase and interpret. Maybe he was not able to express alternative ideas freely, so he uses this vehicle : Instead of putting his own viewpoints directly forward he writes in a way describing the debates others people had mainly Socrates. (widely accepted some are Socrates ideas others are in fact Plato's himself) I guess, through this vehicle he is able to express ideas without having to fear persecution like this :
Beauty : Truth : Justice :True Philosophy : Anti-Sexism : anti-War : anti-Envy : Forgiveness : anti-Selfishness : Middle-way : Promotion of Inspiring Art : Anti-Freemarket/ pro- Nanny State : Truth is the real God. Also "power corrupts", so we need better sytems of government.

Think ! Continually talks about a higher life, study of philsophy etc. Live your life according to reason ie thinking what is the right thing to do
The Idea of Good, this is his basis for understanding. he uses the words divine, truth, beauty, love, virtue, philosophy/philosopher
I equate the divine with enlightenment = understanding of life.
At the end of theories and hypothese there are absolute Truths which are concrete and irrefutable. Beauty seems to be a quality of such perfect ideas. Love seems an emotion towards these ideas. So the love of truth motivates you to find enlightenment. Virtue is behaving good, doing the right thing. And perfection is when there is only virtue and no vice. Philosophy is not exactly the same meaning as we use : he seems to mean thinking and logical argument. So a philosopher is one who analyses, thinks and uses logical argument, so a mathematician is a philosopher ... and so is a good manager etc
Christian Propaganda ? - I thought that the Greeks had many Gods and Zeus was the head, yet throughout the text he talks of "God" and the "Creator" etc, I suspect this is a bit of pro-Christian propaganda put in by the original translators
Resurrection : There is an afterlife and life is some kind of test for which we are rewarded or punished. Divine wisdom is the ultimate aim and when we get there we live with the gods
Be Good : If we all behave well then everyone has a better life. The fundamental is stop selfishness and then you get rid of most of the problems in society, people wouldn't lie wouldn't break the law etc
Popularity is not a measure of true value: So democracy is imperfect. Arts become debauched.
Other Understandings : peppered with these, e.g. you maybe wrong accept criticism, there are alternative viewpoints, don't judge a book by it's cover, power corrupts etc

Summary by section

Socrates - not afraid of death

Spirtitual Life - move on in your beliefs and find the real truths, don't be afraid if others don't understand you. The idea of Reincarnation and life being a journey to divine wisdom."Love" is the ultimate motivation cos it causes immortality (ie succeeding generations). beauty of the mind is more honourable than physical beauty Wisdom is the most beautiful thing cos when you have that you have the ultimate immortality. So man must seek out the best idea. Cryptic talk about homosexuality : some strange comments about Socrates being entranced by youths : and the original 3 sexes.

Religion -There is a "Creator". Divine wisdom is the ultimate in life and being. Don't be Atheist ("Perverted Disease") . Some people leave it up to nature don't need laws, they are wrong cos "art" ie ideas came before and are higher

Politics - Current systems of government are just not good enough "Until philosphers are Kings ...Need real wisdom in government. Need to understand society is one body and if we help society all interests gain. Need the best mature people. Need systems to stop corruption could try communism for leaders. (Cook vs trainer) Politicians shouldn't pander to the public or business they should get on with fixing the basis of society. The best people stay out of this crazy system. 5 types of systems they are all crap including democracy (cos it's got many flaws you end up doing what is popular not what is right. You wouldn't apply the same theory to other professions) ( get a diverse society ..not cohesive ?) ). Need laws. Society shouldn't tolerate men who don't worship the gods. (was this really in the original Greek). Remember The Soul is the highest thing so when you do business don't rip people off. Capitalism twists this: people forget that making money is third to soul. It needs to be tightly governed.
The Basis for a Society is freedom from avarice and a sense of justice. "poverty is caused by man's increasing desire", it will never end, but if you can teach people not to be so greedy .."we have real Social Security" )
Sexism is wrong. War is Bad except for the sake of peace.
in general the system has distorted ideals so the people suffer.
almost exactly the same as what Thomas Moore said in Utopia

Education - Education is very important for the state cos it brings out the Enlightenment is already inside us. So a good man should govern it and it should be compulsory (not upto the parents cos it's for the good of the state). Pleasure and pain reduction are secondary. Make education pleasurable, but pleasure is merely a motivation not the goal. Need alround balanced education for mind and body and lifelong. In particular need Theoretical Maths, Geometry and philosophy (sharpens the brain also "draws the soul towards higher truth).

Morals -We need laws, cos natural justice leads to strongest wins (but less than he would share under a fair society) and chaos. When you break the laws you are actually hurting yourself, yes you please your appetite, but you "insult your soul. " and "Beauty is second to virtue" , Earthly things are not as important as the divine. And you end up among the other bad people with all of the drawbacks."TRUTH is the beginning " Be law abiding, Then people respect you and life is good.
"let us compete for prizes in virtue not in sport." . Unenvy is good - You aren't any better for pulling others down . Be gentle and forgiving.
Selfishness is the source of all wrong acts Think of Justice not of yourself !
Take advice when you need it. Avoid excess of laughter or tears.. cos things will get better etc .

Reason -Reason is our best control, though there is fear and the law too. Don't follow the mob. . Be monogamous. It's your duty to have children so that they can serve God. (you are fined if unmarried !)

Art -The arts are amazing and closely linked to the divine, but there is a problem when popularism drives the artists it become crass and uninspiring. Instead of it pushing society forward it devalues it. If you let the market decide you end up with a pile of Cac, you need the elite to filter it. To the elite the more enlightening the art the more pleasureable it is.

misc -He reinforces his idea of the right life being a search for the absolute truth., it's not easy keep going don't worry if others don't agree, don't get apathetic, criticise and get to firmer arguments. You will find enlightenments. Lies are the worst things in life. agreed cos they stop you getting to the fundamental truths you need for pure argument
It's the job of the state to stop vice, so we need laws and judicial system. Judges need to be mature and ever-honest then they know what is virtue and what is vice.
Against palliative care; it's a waste of resources. If people can't be cured let them die
Be just to slaves.
History - interesting he differs from the bible saying it's more than 10 million years old, but his "civilisation" has only existed for less than 2000 going up and down through different types of government

Fables -There are always alternative viewpoints
A tells 2 resurrection stories but doesn't refer to the bible - I think the moral is "not to judge a book by it's cover". In each we live then die then go to heaven or hell for 1000 years before being reborn. Lesson : always be good. So live well in life and in heaven

Full Analysis

Literature experts seem to be much more skilled at interpreting the book than I am see the links, but this is my analysis
Page SOCRATES : his story
not afraid of death -Socrates talks after his trial - He was sentenced to death for misleading the youth (seemingly some kind of treason charge cos he was questioning the system of government) - He says he is not afraid of death, cos he believes in an afterlife so he looks forward to talking in eternity with all the wise people who have died.
It is surprising to me that he seems 2500 years ago to describe the Greeks as being enslaved to capitalism.
death is good cos it frees us from bodily desires which actually impede the search for wisdom - it causes wars, needs money etc
Is this a distorted translation by Christians ? -He keeps on talking of "God", surely the Greeks had lot's of Gods. It seems suspicious ..

Page THE SPIRITUAL LIFE : LOVE The Idea of Good is Plato's God
The Cave dwellers fable ..stop your stupid beliefs and look at the real truth !

to them the shadows are reality.. truth is important
most people have an imperfect picture in their minds, when they hear higher arguments they are dazzled. The Idea of Good is the highest argument. we can set everything by it (In the world of thought it is the sun)
In fact are the cave dwellers people who run their lives by religious dogma ? Religion is bad cos it gets in the way of absolute truth ?
Take a cave dweller into reality and when he talks to the other cave dwellers they will think he's crazy.
.. I am not afraid when others don't understand me.
talks of Reincarnation
It's difficult to understand the allegories ..he talks of the Gods in High Heaven riding in chariots pulled by winged horses, Top of Heaven, High Heaven and Normal Heaven, mortals in High Heaven whose horse wings wither etc
In High Heaven
The God's have no vices so are only driven by virtue, but the mortals are driven by two horses vice and virtue so difficult to follow the correct path.

When Mortal Souls are enlightened they have "wings" (energy ?) to fly and remain in High Heaven with the gods.
"losing her wings" she comes down to the ground and is put into mortal creature

The "wing" of the soul ( energy ?) feeds on beauty, wisdom and goodness, but evil and ugliness deteriates it.

The Gods go to the Top of Heaven for Banquets and the mortal souls have difficulty in following.

talks about "the revolution of the spheres carries them around, and they behold the things beyond."
is he showing an appreciation that the planets are revolving spheres ? It sounds like the Gods go up in spaceships and orbit the Earth looking down on it.

At the Top of Heaven is a place of enlightenment a divine state where justice, self control and true knowledge are understood. There lives the Divine Being - all knowing, invisible and fed from all souls. "until the revolution of the worlds brings her round again to the same place and she descends back to Heaven."

Souls who "follow God best , lifts the head of his charioteer into the outer world" ie the Top of Heaven Others try to follow, but don't have enough energy, tread on each other etc
They want to go to the Top of Heaven cos it is the place of best nourishment for the soul. If they get there they stay there from one period.
Again this sounds like a satellite if it escapes the atmosphere it stays up there rotating otherwise it falls back down.

But in the crush many lose energy and fall back to down out of High Heaven. They go away and " feed on opinion". instead of true knowledge so their enlightenment level is reduced

Outside High Heaven

When the soul fails to maintain a sufficient level of enlightenment cos of forgetfulness and vice it falls back to Earth and is reborn a man.
The level of the man varies from philosopher to despot and reflects the level of the soul. Stays outside High Heaven for 10,000 years, unless choose three times to be a philospher then only 3000 years, then "wings are given to them"
Body dies then soul passes to judgement, then heaven or hell for 1000 years, then choose next life (man or beast) from stack.
philospher's mind is on the divine, so most others don't understand him and think him mad
Hell is a place for correction.

When it was in the Top of Heaven the soul knew beauty, but on Earth it has forgotten mostly, so doesn't recognise it easily.
Does "Beauty" mean the "Divine Enlightenment" - justice truth purity etc. ?
Those that remember the enlightenment are amazed and excited when they see "beauty" on Earth

Diotima and Socrates debate Love
Love is - the intermediate between divine and mortal
- the interpreter between gods and men - it's the highest art
child of Plenty and Poverty
- the state between ignorance and knowledge

wisdom is a most beautiful thing

happiness is the possession of good
love is the possession of good
(stupid playing around with language)

people look for an undeformed mate.. they are looking for beauty
so it's love that causes the next generation
It's love that causes immortality !

Love is so powerful
- controls creatures through sexual desire
- causes them to defend offspring to death
Why, cos it's part of the process of immortality

If a soul wants to give birth to wisdom and virtue, self control and justice then he must seek other beautiful souls
Now I think he is talking about ideas cos they are even more immortal than real children
Youths should first seek out a beautiful idea
then next there are other ideas of equal beauty
So will understand wisdom
He will consider that beauty of the mind is more honourable than physical beauty
some strange ideas about youth !
"Be attracted to, share and teach youth, show the beauty of law and science" etc
It's strange when he talks about people sharing love of ideas he always refers to the other person as him and as a youth
- Is it that these classical Greeks had female partners to make children and male youth partners to share ideas with ?

Wasn't Socrates tried for corrupting youth ?

Through this process you will finally achieve enlightenment, a wonderous beauty - perfection, everlasting beauty absolute
Begin with beauty on Earth
better than gold dress and "fair boys and youths who sight now entrances you ... you only want to look at and be with them, without food or drink"
If you can find true beauty it's the ultimate immortal etc ....and love is the way to this beauty

Is Plato worried about Socrates being distracted from real philosophy by an obsessive attraction to young boys ?

Love 2 : The 3 Sexes story
There used to be 3 sexes : man was the child of the Sun, woman was the child of the Earth and the man/woman was the child of the Moon. The form of the people was like 2 people joined together : 2 faces 4 legs, 4 arms etc. This species was successful and set out to attack the God's. Before the Gods had annihilated a race of giants, but they wanted to keep the scrifices and worship that men gave. So Zeus said lets cut them in 2.
So people wander the Earth and sometimes meet their true other half and are inseparable.
"The pursuit of this wholeness is called love"

Interesting when you think about it's cryptically talking about homosexuality. To get back to their original form some men will have meet men to form the original man, some women meet women etc and some men meet a woman to form the original 3rd sex

The Creation Of The World
- the "Creator" was free from jealousy so wanted ??? Unintelligible
- wanted all good and nothing bad
- saw disorder and wanted to order it - he wanted beauty and intelligence is mmore beautiful than unintelligence
- Only things with soul have intelligencce; so he put intelligence into soul and soul into body
- "the world became a living creaturee"
God and Man - There is an immortal conflict in the world, there's more evil than good .
- Gods are our allies
- Justice, self control and wisdom are our salvation
Don't be Atheist
God is always accompanied by justice
- happy are those who obey the divine laaws - he who is lifted by pride, wealth, rannk etc thinks he can guide himself. Well he is forsaken by God and is ruined.
- Every man should follow God cos sacriffice, prayer etc leads to happiness

Sounds like a load of Christian propoganda to me !
Material World vs Art - Nature is most beautiful. Art is artificial and not as good
- natural elements existed, then their interaction formed the universe, then animals and plants. "Neither mind nor God had anything to do with it". It was a work of nature and chance.
- "Art" created by man is nothing .. just toys
- "Arts " in co-operation with nature arre better ..e.g. medicine etc
- but politics , laws etc are the opposiite

- Some say Gods are creations of Art andd convention
- "Well they are WRONG" ....---- exactly what I expect someone to say in a religious society. Did Plato say this or was this put in at the time of translation ?

Counter Argument - Material World vs Art - No they've got it back to front. You get the elements cos you have the universe etc.
- the soul is one of the first things soo "art" comes before the material
Atheism that "Perverted Disease"
- the young are naive don't be too hard on them. They always grow out of it.
- So take care not to offend the God's
You are right to question religion
If you can't work it out follow the best example you can find. -- what's he mean, naive public 'so you can't understand religion, well just tow the line, and don't rebel !' ?
State Religion
- We should have a sacrifice a day
- The Oracle of Delphi will help us work out what and to which god.
Socrates Prayer
Let me rich in wisdom only as much as one man can bear --- that's all

"Until philosphers are Kings or Kings have the power of philosophy" , ie until wisdom joins forces with power "cities will never have rest from their evils"
dilemma The best leaders are philosophers, but these types are wanderers
The right type of people are steadfast, but have closed minds
It's the duty of the best people at 50 years old having life experience and having proved themselves to study philosophy and govern. They should also guide the next people who take over from them.

The whole of society matters not just the individual. If you cut your finger. The pain is not just felt directly there, but throughout the body and mind. "So the best state is the state which most closely resembles the individual human being".

So I would guess that if someone commits a crime we (the society) can't just criticise him, but we have to put effort into putting him right

Leaders To make them uncorruptable and remove faction forces they give up possessions including wives and children and live communally with food and accomodation provided.

Power corrupts ..
1.philosophers and warriors must live in poverty in a communal manner so commoners don't desire power as a way of obtaining wealth. i.e communism for the ruling class.
2. PaW children held in common don't know who their real parents are. Even selected breeding by a secret process each year the people will think it's a lottery.
3. Freed of responsiblity women have equality
4. Meritocracy all children PaW and commoners are educated, those who pass tests go up to be PaW

but surely they still have the interest so have the incentive to do some things for the ruling class faction ... e.g. vote themselves extra days off etc

trainer vs the cook
Sure the cook is good satisifies the body appetite... but this will lead to bad health in the end
The trainer is better .. he thinks of the whole
So the politician can mistakenly think building a strong economy is good, but then the society becomes diseased by injustice
Problem is the politicians pander to the crowd rather than actually doing what is right
The best people stay out of this crazy world
5 Types of State
1. Military State - wisdom reason and judgement doesn't work
2. Autocratic- It's impossible for the individual to resist the temptation to advantage himself instead of doing what is right for the nation
3. Plutocratic- Capitalist, The rich have the most power, but not necessarily the ability.
get conflict between the rich and poor.
So nation can't defend itself as rich are afraid to arm the masses
money obsessed society .. people don't want to pay tax
4. Democracy- One of the worst systems !
Seems to have high ideals, but only really respects freedom , like Athens
the responsibility is too divided
Get a diverse society ..not cohesive ?
popularism, people ignore principles and the best people don't get to lead
If we follow laws we are on the right route to a higher life, but instead this sytem leads us to follow pleasure
If you applied the same principles to medicine or transport how ridiculous would this be
Anyone looking for improved ways would be executed as a traitor (Socrates)
5. Despotic State - Final one in the chain. A charismatic leader gets elected
Does things just to please people
When he is secure the destruction of society begins - He creates wars to keep popular, impoverishes population by taxes so they have no time to argue
uses pretexts aginst opposition and even turns against his own when they criticise him.
need to govern by laws. When we put public interests before private in fact both gain
Irreligion - Goes on about why non believers should be prosecuted very severley. (eevn if they are good people otherwise) ..... was this really in the original Greek
The order is - Soul, Body, Money
money supports the body which in turn supports the soul which is most important
Good men take a moderate profit even if they can take a large one
Greek Inns are like modern motorway service stations. They rip off the travellors who have no choice.
The problem with capitalism is too often instead of providing a service it causes rip-off.
Capitalism corrupts ..we treat friends like enemies.
Take a castle visit - the intention should be to provide an educational experience, but instead it becomes distorted to become how much can it screw out of me.
poverty is bad cos it prevents us from the higher things
wealth is bad cos it corrupts us and so prevents us from the higher things
The Solution :
1. Few traders as possible
2. Choose uncorruptable people for the job
3. Govern them properly to stop them ripping us off
"Regard poverty as an increase in man's desires
not the dimunition of his property"

(e.g. people these days think they live in poverty cos they don't have a car)
Understand this and we have "Social Security"
The Basis for a Society is freedom from avarice and a sense of justice
Against Sexism We don't make a difference for dogs so why for humans
Women can do the same jobs and therefore need same education
The counter argument "Women and men are different ?"
Not true they are more different among themselves .. look a musical woman is similar to a musical man more than to other women
In fact in marriage similar types should be paired
Rulers wives should rule also not do music.
War is Bad
... except for the sake of peace

Education is essential
True Education : helps us understand the truth we ALL already have in us
He is talking about education for enlightenment, not just pain avoiding and pleasure seeking
true people seek pleasure that's why we sugar coat medicine, but it's the medicine that does the good not the sugar
"Knowledge which aquired under compulsion obtains no hold over the mind. Instead.. Let early education be a sort of amusement."
Lead the young away from moral deformity
need alround balanced education .. arts and philosophy
- Theoretical Maths - sharpens the brain; so helps learning in other areas
- Geometry - Practical (useful in battle etc), theoretical also "draws the soul towards higher truth"
- Philosophy - Begin young, but people lose interest in later life. Enthusiasm turns to cynism and people don't believe anything. Just seek to contradict every argument, wheras older men regain the focus and seek truth.
Mode of Education
- lifelong
- for mind and body (details etc)
- Need good person in charge of education; elected by magistrates for a 5 year term
- we need teachers throughout our lives
- Education should be compulsory as the pupil belongs to the state rather than the parents

Seems to be a debate between Socrates and other people
They argue in favour of natural justice
In nature the strongest gets his way. Man made justice is bad cos it stifles the best, they are kept down with the idea of equality
Continues in a long argument including the Gyges invisible ring story He finds the ring and is able to use it's powers to be superior to others and dishonestly become king. They argue that anyone would break the law like him if they could get away with it. (ie power corrupts)
Men who restrain themselves to be just are unhappier in life (life is not fair ?
In practice the unjust would destroy everything
Justice helps us control the beast blah blah etc
Attitude : When you break the law, you think that you are gaining something actually you help your appetite, but you insult your soul.
"Beauty is second to virtue" (so a good woman is better than a beautiful)
you think that prison etc is the penalty for law breaking wrong !
The greatest penalty is that you become bad, cut off from good society, you are stuck with having to live among the other bad men .. so you cannot relax, you have to watch your back etc
The middle way is best. e.g. You work for too much wealth in order to pass it on to your children, but it's bad for them cos it makes people hate them
lead the young by example
a law abiding man has the highest status
TRUTH is the beginning
Be law abiding, Then people respect you and life is good
If you help make others law abiding you are doubly respected
"let us compete for prizes in virtue not in sport."
Unenvy is good - You aren't any better for pulling others down
need to be able to defend yourself against injustice
When people break the law it's not really their fault. Cos they would be stupid to do so.
Be Gentle
  1. pity them
  2. forgive them if they are curable
  3. don't get wound up about it
Selfishness is the source of all wrong acts
Think of Justice not of yourself !
Also accept good advice when you don't know
avoid excess of laughter or tears.. cos things will get better etc

Page Rules of REASON

3 wants
  • eat
  • drink
  • Sex (which can lead to madness)
   3 controls
  • fear
  • law
  • Reason
We are puppets - reason is our best control
So follow the expert not the mob
"don't fear death, fear dishonour"
Sex : control ourselves .. animals don't make love too young ..and birds stay in pairs we should be better than them
(Is there divorce in the animal world ? In truth actually very few animals are monogamous)
Marriage - It's your duty to have children so that they can serve God
People unmarried over 35 should have to pay an annual fine !

Poetry and music are amazing things. The effect and excitement is passed on through a chain of people like magnetism is passed thro a chain of iron rings.
Before there was control and only the best enlightening stuff was let through by the aristocracy, but now there is a big problem anything is allowed so it's gone popularist and the works have become crass so inspiring people to debauched and bad behaviour (similar to punk ?)
I agree if you let the market decide you end up with a pile of Cac (we have the BBC to set a moral lead ?)
true quality is measured by the amount of pleasure gained, but that of educated judges not of the plebs
writers write to please the masses not for some higher ethic
So that the characters put before them reflect their current behaviour instead of characters that they might aspire to

Truth is beautiful and endearing
" I believe in thinking and learning even if others don't
Don't be apathetic ... cos you come to realise that idea after idea is unsound
..learn and continue the pursuit
I correct others and am willing to be corrected too
"An uncriticised life, is a life not worth living"
The worst thing is when people think they know when they don't
The noblest study is .. "what shall we do in life ?"
First need an aptitude for justice and other noble ideas
Enlightenments are not easy to explain. You suddenly understand them and then they are obvious
Lies : The worst thing is deception in what to do in life.
word lies especially when you are lying to protect someone are OK
..Yes I agree especially in thinking. You need to satrt from absolute truths and the problem is you lie to someone/society you start to believe your own lies as truths and you can't think properly.
Doctors - needs personal experience of disease to work better
Judges - opposite - they shouldn't have personal experience of law-breaking
The young are easily led into crime cos they don't know better
so judges need to be old and experienced in life
experienced criminals are confused among good men they don't know what is right, yet among their own they are respected
Vice cannot understand virtue ... yet virtue can understand vice
Against Palliative Care
Medicine has got in a mess. e.g. doctors are treating people when they are no sick; ie cos they ate the wrong thing and it gave them wind etc
- treat all men like the common worker ... if someone is ill treat them ..if they are cured great they can get on with life.
If they can't be cured let them die
There is no use in a prolonged useless life where you need treatment every day (Like many rich people). It's a form of torture ?
It's a drain on the state and against natural selection.

Doctor types
1. slave - quick routine diagnosis and treatment
2. freeman - detailed investigation ..then diagnosis then treatment. ... so ?
be just to slaves
History is more than 10 million years long ..many government systems have existed good and bad, but classical Greek civilisation has existed for 1000-2000 years only

Grasshopper Story
when music first arose. Some people were so enchanted they never ate or drink. They came back to life as grasshoppers and play music for us
invention of letters - great cos helps the memory
- no it weakens the memory cos men rely on them
-There are always alternative viewpoiints
Judgement Story
People were judged on the last day of their lives and sent to heaven or to hell
but the problem was the judicial process was flawed people were sent to the wrong place (cos judges were influenced by clothes and friends of the person)
So the rules were changed ..people judged after death and judged naked
many kings were then sent to hell to be punished (for abusing their power etc)
punishment allowed people to reform and showed example to others
Is he saying we must be careful too "not to judge a book by it's cover ? interesting , the bible is not referrred to, this fable existed as a separate story
but then it is suspicious that he never refers to worship of the Greek gods in detail, was this censorship by the Christian translators
Resurection Story
A war hero comes to life 12 days after death. He told how he had seen the Judgement court and had been sent back to inform men.
Yes it was as described above plus after 1000 years people left heaven or hell and returned to live. (except for the most evil who could never leave hell)
- the returners get to choose a new life (bird/animal/man) from a pile.
told to choose carefully so that they may have the best life and best death time afterwards.
e.g. they might not chose to come back as a rich man cos they may be tempted to be corrupted and serve 1000 years in hell.
He says they need experience of philosophy to make a good choice.
next fastened on a spindle and the threads spun, go beneath the throne of necessity to place of forgetfulness, drink from the river so forget. Then back to life

Lesson : always be good. be modest . So live well in life and in heaven

My Comments
Wow Yes ! I am amazed with how closely I Identify with him.Even though I have not studied him before I had evolved the same system of thinking i.e you have to get down to Fundamentals and build your arguments with truths which cannot be refuted not unsubstantianed assumptions.

His Main point : THINK ! . OK we have a status quo in society and culture ,but there is surely something better and we should try and work out what it is. At an individual level you know what are the right things to do by thinking, ..reason is our best control
The whole process of making a logical argument.

What do you do in life ?
Answer - "I don't know, let's think about it"
e.g. "Do you set out to maximise happiness ?"
Well then you could give everyone a load of happy pills.
Yeh, but then everyone would sit around being happy and not do anywork and they would all starve to death. They would all die happy except the babies and others who can't administer their own happy pills. Then there would be no more people. Is this what you want?
Well you have to find out what is the right thing to do ?

you can't rely on unsubstantiated assumptions, you have to get down to concrete truths (and make sure they really are concrete truths) ie points which are irrefutable ie they are provable
e.g."There is a God" - this is an assumption
e.g."Everyone dies (physically)" - this is a fact ..or is it
e.g."If you stop drinking water you will die soon" - this is a fact
Getting rid of the assumptions does make the whole thinking process a whole lot more difficult, but you do end up with better results. (Garbage in= garbage out)
Karl Popper is the only person I know who has built on from Plato's original idea of logical argument.

I think Plato and I would agree "you look at society and see it's full of these false assumptions", only the modern world is even more full of BS than his world.
I am sure he would agree with me that watching soap operas and TV sport is a waste of time. If you are trying to maximise pleasure then you should get up and do things yourself ..not live your life by proxy.
If you are trying to learn and enjoy then forget pulp fiction. Live is too short, you should look to the classics etc, cos they are more enlightening. Capitalism has perverted our world: it is full of crap products, cos products are promoted not cos they are worthy, but cos people are trying to make money. In life I believe we should try to filter all the crap out.
"let us compete for prizes in virtue not in sport." Absolutely agree ... I guess the Nobel prize is a start. But see how twisted society is; there are so many prizes for sport. I would award prizes for the best enviromental, peace and cultural progress promotors.

His Ideas in Modern Society : It seems incredible that he was criticising a culture 2500 years ago. We have taken on board many of the ideas, but in many other ways we don't seem to have moved on that far. We have a form of democracy and it has the flaws he describes. We have tried his communist idea. We still have the same problems with capitalism today as he pointed out 2500 years ago ie modern motorway service stations are a rip-off just like the original Greek road taverns were.
So many people must have read his works, yet I find it incredible that we have been so slow to take his ideas onboard. Yes we do control capitalism much more, we try to elimate sexism, avoid corruption etc But there is no big campaign to find better ways and certainly not to promote what he meant by philosophy (thinking skills) except by people like Edward de Bono and Tony Buzan.

Communism : Everyone thinks that Marx and Engels are the founders of modern communism, but Plato clearly spoke of a form of the idea 2500 years before them.

criticism : Perfect except for a few things : I did find it difficult to read, cos of the obtuse way it was written and the language and the allegories. And I am a little suspicious of possible Christian propaganda slipping into the translation; why does he use the word "God" so many time when I thought the Greeks had lots of gods. I also find some of his more extreme ideas disturbing e.g. paying fines for remaining unmarried and the idea of some people being beyond redemption so they sould be killed, his non condemnation of slavery, atheism is a "perverted disease" etc. And I am concerned about unsubstatiated theories like reincarnation , though these might be stories just used to make allegories.

I'm sure I have missed a lot of things. I know I will have to read more and reinterpret etc

Plato, More and Thoreau are amazing men. All trying to put forward ideas for a better world. I'm sure Plato would have been tickled to think he was making himself immortal by being part of this process.
I too believe that there are major problems in our traditional capitalist way of life and that in due course we will adopt a much fairer and efficient way of life so that today will seem like the Stone Age.
My Future Culture Page, see my notes about classic works inspired by Plato Utopia by Thomas More written 500 years ago and Walden by Henry David Thoreau written 150 years ago.

LINKS : Back to the Plato 1. Book Review and Summary
Online Plato texts from The Project Gutenberg .. Good notes on Republic , Good Discussion

HOME ** mail me ** BOOK INDEX ** Non-Fiction Reviews ..Stew Green 2002