Saturday, September 17, 2005

A closer look at Plato

Though protected from criticism by the moldy
gauze of antiquity, Plato and his
teacher/mouthpiece Socrates are not so different
from us; they had their fears and prejudices just
as we have ours. We still live in the fabled cave
Socrates describes in The Republic, watching the
shadows on the walls and thinking them reality.
He thought that only the philosopher could throw
off his shackles in the sensible world and leave
the cave for the heaven of Ideas; the philosopher
alone could wield this pure knowledge in ruling
the Republic. In didn't occur to Plato/Socrates
that the World of Forms beyond the cave might
only be another shadow or even hallucination.
Plato could not escape the trap into which any
utopian can fall: he didn't believe enough in his
own fallibility.

So goes Plato. Into the shitter.