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JaneGallagher
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Re: Plato

Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing? The idea that classical tradgedy must be sensored, that the classical poets were nothing more than imintators of an imitation, the idea that there is no place for family, the idea that the state is the most important part of society... why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?

Needless to say, although I appreciate its literary merits,I have a pretty big problem with the underlying message of the Republic and its vision of the ideal society.
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historybuff234
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Re: Plato

I have not read Republic yet, but I just ordered it this morning!
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
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Laurel
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Re: Plato

Yes, Jane. It would be a very restricted life to live in Plato's ideal world. Or is that what he is trying to show us--that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it? He certainly raises a lot of elemental questions.



JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing? The idea that classical tradgedy must be sensored, that the classical poets were nothing more than imintators of an imitation, the idea that there is no place for family, the idea that the state is the most important part of society... why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?

Needless to say, although I appreciate its literary merits,I have a pretty big problem with the underlying message of the Republic and its vision of the ideal society.


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Re: Plato



historybuff234 wrote:
I have not read Republic yet, but I just ordered it this morning!




Good going, Buff! Let us know when your books arrive and which you decide to start with.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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historybuff234
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Re: Plato

I estimate it should come within 4-7 days
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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Laurel
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Re: Plato



historybuff234 wrote:
I estimate it should come within 4-7 days




Okay. Back to your algebra!
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Everyman
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Re: Plato



JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing?

It was meant to be disturbing.

What we need to think about is why we find his suggestions disturbing, what his view of the virtuous political life is and why he thinks that is the most virtuous life for a citizen, what ills he sees in his society that he is trying to avoid in his created society, and why we think our way of living is better than the one he propounds -- what civic virtues does our system promote that his doesn't.

When BNBC schedules the Republic for a future book discussion, these are some of the issues we can look forward to discussing.
_______________
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Everyman
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Re: Plato



Laurel wrote:
Yes, Jane. It would be a very restricted life to live in Plato's ideal world. Or is that what he is trying to show us--that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it?

It would be restricted to us today, given the sort of life we have become accustomed to.

But would it have seemed restrictive to his audience?
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Choisya
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Re: Plato

'...why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?'

I expect that these are indeed ideas which we will discuss when we are discusing Plato and likewise when we are discussing Thomas More's Utopia. They are ideas which crop up in all kinds of 'utopian' literature and need to be looked at within their historical context. We live within prosperous 'free' societies but if you lived within oppressive/repressive/famine stricken ones, some of these ideas were not as outlandish as they seem to us. If you were extremely poor, for instance, the idea of the state ensuring that you had a job, an income and an education and that your children were well looked after could seem much more desirable than a day-to-day struggle for existence and an early death.




JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing? The idea that classical tradgedy must be sensored, that the classical poets were nothing more than imintators of an imitation, the idea that there is no place for family, the idea that the state is the most important part of society... why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?

Needless to say, although I appreciate its literary merits,I have a pretty big problem with the underlying message of the Republic and its vision of the ideal society.


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Choisya
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Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Plato

It is good, I think, that we are reading The Republic and Utopia within a short period of time because it will be interesting to compare the one piece of Utopian literature with the other, so many centuries apart. Another interesting utopian essay, which may be of particular interest to Americans, is Looking Backward (1888) by Edward Bellamy which presents a vision of a glorious future society. A young Bostonian falls asleep under a hypnotic trance and awakens in 2000(!). He finds a new Boston, a city of beauty and grace, with undreamed of prosperity, populated by people who are remarkably healthy and happy because equality has been attained throughout the population. There are no more rich, no more poor, everything is nationalised, money has been outlawed and credit cards are used (!). There is no army, no navy, no police, no lawyers (Christopher!), bankers or salesman. Everyone enters the workforce, 'the industrial army', at the age of 21 and serves there until they are 45.....and so on:-

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/lookingbackward/summary.html

After reading our Utopian literature we perhaps ought to tackle a couple of anti-Utopian pieces like Butler's Erewhon of 1872 as well as the more usual Brave New World (1932) by Huxley.




historybuff234 wrote:
I have not read Republic yet, but I just ordered it this morning!


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Choisya
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Re: Plato

The world of Plato was very much smaller and more restricted than ours in the first place so this would have fashioned his thinking. To the citizens of Greece at that time it may well have represented an 'ideal', to us it may not.

What I find more interesting is how many pieces of 'Utopian' literature present the same ideas of 'communality' and state intervention. Could it be that there is a grain of truth within this core of writing? Christian Socialists, of course, believe that Jesus' ideas on 'brotherhood', loving your neighbour as yourself etc. also promoted a communal framework for living not unlike the Utopias of literature. The descriptions of heaven too, both in the Bible and the Koran (and other religious works), also come within the 'utopian ideal' and have many of the same attributes. You could, for instance, look at God as a benevolent ruler within whose 'restrictions' people have to live.




Laurel wrote:
Yes, Jane. It would be a very restricted life to live in Plato's ideal world. Or is that what he is trying to show us--that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it? He certainly raises a lot of elemental questions.



JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing? The idea that classical tradgedy must be sensored, that the classical poets were nothing more than imintators of an imitation, the idea that there is no place for family, the idea that the state is the most important part of society... why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?

Needless to say, although I appreciate its literary merits,I have a pretty big problem with the underlying message of the Republic and its vision of the ideal society.





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Choisya
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Re: Plato

I agree Everyman - we need to 'think outside the box' to see if our way of living can be improved by any of Plato's ideas, not just complacently accept that the way we live or are governed now is an ideal.




Everyman wrote:


JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing?

It was meant to be disturbing.

What we need to think about is why we find his suggestions disturbing, what his view of the virtuous political life is and why he thinks that is the most virtuous life for a citizen, what ills he sees in his society that he is trying to avoid in his created society, and why we think our way of living is better than the one he propounds -- what civic virtues does our system promote that his doesn't.

When BNBC schedules the Republic for a future book discussion, these are some of the issues we can look forward to discussing.


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Laurel
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Re: Plato

Did I miss something? When are we reading The Republic? I have Bellamy's book but have not read it yet.



Choisya wrote:
It is good, I think, that we are reading The Republic and Utopia within a short period of time because it will be interesting to compare the one piece of Utopian literature with the other, so many centuries apart. Another interesting utopian essay, which may be of particular interest to Americans, is Looking Backward (1888) by Edward Bellamy which presents a vision of a glorious future society. A young Bostonian falls asleep under a hypnotic trance and awakens in 2000(!). He finds a new Boston, a city of beauty and grace, with undreamed of prosperity, populated by people who are remarkably healthy and happy because equality has been attained throughout the population. There are no more rich, no more poor, everything is nationalised, money has been outlawed and credit cards are used (!). There is no army, no navy, no police, no lawyers (Christopher!), bankers or salesman. Everyone enters the workforce, 'the industrial army', at the age of 21 and serves there until they are 45.....and so on:-

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/lookingbackward/summary.html

After reading our Utopian literature we perhaps ought to tackle a couple of anti-Utopian pieces like Butler's Erewhon of 1872 as well as the more usual Brave New World (1932) by Huxley.




historybuff234 wrote:
I have not read Republic yet, but I just ordered it this morning!





"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Re: Plato

Exactly. To me, the desirability of such a system depends on the hearts of the people and who the ruler is. I would not want it on this earth as it now is, but I am looking forward to it. The early Christians tried something like this, but they soon had to give it up, because they, too, had flawed human natures. As I see it.



Choisya wrote:

What I find more interesting is how many pieces of 'Utopian' literature present the same ideas of 'communality' and state intervention. Could it be that there is a grain of truth within this core of writing? Christian Socialists, of course, believe that Jesus' ideas on 'brotherhood', loving your neighbour as yourself etc. also promoted a communal framework for living not unlike the Utopias of literature. The descriptions of heaven too, both in the Bible and the Koran (and other religious works), also come within the 'utopian ideal' and have many of the same attributes. You could, for instance, look at God as a benevolent ruler within whose 'restrictions' people have to live.




Laurel wrote:
Yes, Jane. It would be a very restricted life to live in Plato's ideal world. Or is that what he is trying to show us--that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it? He certainly raises a lot of elemental questions.



JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing? The idea that classical tradgedy must be sensored, that the classical poets were nothing more than imintators of an imitation, the idea that there is no place for family, the idea that the state is the most important part of society... why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?

Needless to say, although I appreciate its literary merits,I have a pretty big problem with the underlying message of the Republic and its vision of the ideal society.








"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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KristyR
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Registered: ‎11-01-2006
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Re: Plato


Laurel wrote:
Did I miss something? When are we reading The Republic? I have Bellamy's book but have not read it yet.



Choisya wrote:
It is good, I think, that we are reading The Republic and Utopia within a short period of time because it will be interesting to compare the one piece of Utopian literature with the other, so many centuries apart. Another interesting utopian essay, which may be of particular interest to Americans, is Looking Backward (1888) by Edward Bellamy which presents a vision of a glorious future society. A young Bostonian falls asleep under a hypnotic trance and awakens in 2000(!). He finds a new Boston, a city of beauty and grace, with undreamed of prosperity, populated by people who are remarkably healthy and happy because equality has been attained throughout the population. There are no more rich, no more poor, everything is nationalised, money has been outlawed and credit cards are used (!). There is no army, no navy, no police, no lawyers (Christopher!), bankers or salesman. Everyone enters the workforce, 'the industrial army', at the age of 21 and serves there until they are 45.....and so on:-

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/lookingbackward/summary.html

After reading our Utopian literature we perhaps ought to tackle a couple of anti-Utopian pieces like Butler's Erewhon of 1872 as well as the more usual Brave New World (1932) by Huxley.




historybuff234 wrote:
I have not read Republic yet, but I just ordered it this morning!








I am confused too, if we are reading The Republic as well as Utopia I need to order a copy.
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Choisya
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Re: Plato

Sory Laurle, I don't think we are - yet. I was think that this thread meant that we were:smileyhappy:




KristyR wrote:

Laurel wrote:
Did I miss something? When are we reading The Republic? I have Bellamy's book but have not read it yet.



Choisya wrote:
It is good, I think, that we are reading The Republic and Utopia within a short period of time because it will be interesting to compare the one piece of Utopian literature with the other, so many centuries apart. Another interesting utopian essay, which may be of particular interest to Americans, is Looking Backward (1888) by Edward Bellamy which presents a vision of a glorious future society. A young Bostonian falls asleep under a hypnotic trance and awakens in 2000(!). He finds a new Boston, a city of beauty and grace, with undreamed of prosperity, populated by people who are remarkably healthy and happy because equality has been attained throughout the population. There are no more rich, no more poor, everything is nationalised, money has been outlawed and credit cards are used (!). There is no army, no navy, no police, no lawyers (Christopher!), bankers or salesman. Everyone enters the workforce, 'the industrial army', at the age of 21 and serves there until they are 45.....and so on:-

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/lookingbackward/summary.html

After reading our Utopian literature we perhaps ought to tackle a couple of anti-Utopian pieces like Butler's Erewhon of 1872 as well as the more usual Brave New World (1932) by Huxley.




historybuff234 wrote:
I have not read Republic yet, but I just ordered it this morning!








I am confused too, if we are reading The Republic as well as Utopia I need to order a copy.


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Choisya
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Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Plato

So for you Laurel, the only Utopia will be in heaven?




Laurel wrote:
Exactly. To me, the desirability of such a system depends on the hearts of the people and who the ruler is. I would not want it on this earth as it now is, but I am looking forward to it. The early Christians tried something like this, but they soon had to give it up, because they, too, had flawed human natures. As I see it.



Choisya wrote:

What I find more interesting is how many pieces of 'Utopian' literature present the same ideas of 'communality' and state intervention. Could it be that there is a grain of truth within this core of writing? Christian Socialists, of course, believe that Jesus' ideas on 'brotherhood', loving your neighbour as yourself etc. also promoted a communal framework for living not unlike the Utopias of literature. The descriptions of heaven too, both in the Bible and the Koran (and other religious works), also come within the 'utopian ideal' and have many of the same attributes. You could, for instance, look at God as a benevolent ruler within whose 'restrictions' people have to live.




Laurel wrote:
Yes, Jane. It would be a very restricted life to live in Plato's ideal world. Or is that what he is trying to show us--that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it? He certainly raises a lot of elemental questions.



JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing? The idea that classical tradgedy must be sensored, that the classical poets were nothing more than imintators of an imitation, the idea that there is no place for family, the idea that the state is the most important part of society... why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?

Needless to say, although I appreciate its literary merits,I have a pretty big problem with the underlying message of the Republic and its vision of the ideal society.











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Laurel
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Re: Plato

Plus a thousand years on Earth, but I always get fuzzy on prophecy.



Choisya wrote:
So for you Laurel, the only Utopia will be in heaven?




Laurel wrote:
Exactly. To me, the desirability of such a system depends on the hearts of the people and who the ruler is. I would not want it on this earth as it now is, but I am looking forward to it. The early Christians tried something like this, but they soon had to give it up, because they, too, had flawed human natures. As I see it.



Choisya wrote:

What I find more interesting is how many pieces of 'Utopian' literature present the same ideas of 'communality' and state intervention. Could it be that there is a grain of truth within this core of writing? Christian Socialists, of course, believe that Jesus' ideas on 'brotherhood', loving your neighbour as yourself etc. also promoted a communal framework for living not unlike the Utopias of literature. The descriptions of heaven too, both in the Bible and the Koran (and other religious works), also come within the 'utopian ideal' and have many of the same attributes. You could, for instance, look at God as a benevolent ruler within whose 'restrictions' people have to live.




Laurel wrote:
Yes, Jane. It would be a very restricted life to live in Plato's ideal world. Or is that what he is trying to show us--that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it? He certainly raises a lot of elemental questions.



JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing? The idea that classical tradgedy must be sensored, that the classical poets were nothing more than imintators of an imitation, the idea that there is no place for family, the idea that the state is the most important part of society... why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?

Needless to say, although I appreciate its literary merits,I have a pretty big problem with the underlying message of the Republic and its vision of the ideal society.














"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Plato

Where does the 'thousand years on earth' come from: Is that the End Times?




Laurel wrote:
Plus a thousand years on Earth, but I always get fuzzy on prophecy.



Choisya wrote:
So for you Laurel, the only Utopia will be in heaven?




Laurel wrote:
Exactly. To me, the desirability of such a system depends on the hearts of the people and who the ruler is. I would not want it on this earth as it now is, but I am looking forward to it. The early Christians tried something like this, but they soon had to give it up, because they, too, had flawed human natures. As I see it.



Choisya wrote:

What I find more interesting is how many pieces of 'Utopian' literature present the same ideas of 'communality' and state intervention. Could it be that there is a grain of truth within this core of writing? Christian Socialists, of course, believe that Jesus' ideas on 'brotherhood', loving your neighbour as yourself etc. also promoted a communal framework for living not unlike the Utopias of literature. The descriptions of heaven too, both in the Bible and the Koran (and other religious works), also come within the 'utopian ideal' and have many of the same attributes. You could, for instance, look at God as a benevolent ruler within whose 'restrictions' people have to live.




Laurel wrote:
Yes, Jane. It would be a very restricted life to live in Plato's ideal world. Or is that what he is trying to show us--that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it? He certainly raises a lot of elemental questions.



JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing? The idea that classical tradgedy must be sensored, that the classical poets were nothing more than imintators of an imitation, the idea that there is no place for family, the idea that the state is the most important part of society... why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?

Needless to say, although I appreciate its literary merits,I have a pretty big problem with the underlying message of the Republic and its vision of the ideal society.

















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Laurel
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Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Plato

Yes. The Millenium. But as I say, I'm fuzzy.



Choisya wrote:
Where does the 'thousand years on earth' come from: Is that the End Times?




Laurel wrote:
Plus a thousand years on Earth, but I always get fuzzy on prophecy.



Choisya wrote:
So for you Laurel, the only Utopia will be in heaven?




Laurel wrote:
Exactly. To me, the desirability of such a system depends on the hearts of the people and who the ruler is. I would not want it on this earth as it now is, but I am looking forward to it. The early Christians tried something like this, but they soon had to give it up, because they, too, had flawed human natures. As I see it.



Choisya wrote:

What I find more interesting is how many pieces of 'Utopian' literature present the same ideas of 'communality' and state intervention. Could it be that there is a grain of truth within this core of writing? Christian Socialists, of course, believe that Jesus' ideas on 'brotherhood', loving your neighbour as yourself etc. also promoted a communal framework for living not unlike the Utopias of literature. The descriptions of heaven too, both in the Bible and the Koran (and other religious works), also come within the 'utopian ideal' and have many of the same attributes. You could, for instance, look at God as a benevolent ruler within whose 'restrictions' people have to live.




Laurel wrote:
Yes, Jane. It would be a very restricted life to live in Plato's ideal world. Or is that what he is trying to show us--that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it? He certainly raises a lot of elemental questions.



JaneGallagher wrote:
Does anyone else find the message behind Plato's The Republic nothing less than disturbing? The idea that classical tradgedy must be sensored, that the classical poets were nothing more than imintators of an imitation, the idea that there is no place for family, the idea that the state is the most important part of society... why when Plato is discussed does no one bring up any of these issues?

Needless to say, although I appreciate its literary merits,I have a pretty big problem with the underlying message of the Republic and its vision of the ideal society.




















"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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