Plato and the philosophies of Plato

About Plato
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(about Plato, page 2 of 2) 

   What Plato attempts to convey to those who will listen is the fact that government and politics are merely the fruits of man's labor in an effort to become socially adept. In order to gain such social order, there must be some semblance of structural force that will maintain control over the masses. This aspect, coupled with the fact that no single individual can be considered fit to lead until and unless he is first able to guide his own self, is the credo upon which Plato lived. Man must work diligently so that he establishes a form of political system that reflects these important aspects.

"ůMany enmities have arisen against me, and such as are most harsh and grievous, so that many prejudices have resulted from them and I am called a wise man. For on each occasion those who are present think I am wise in the matters in which I confute someone else; but the fact is, gentlemen, it is likely that the god is really wise and by his oracle means this: 'Human wisdom is of little or no value'" (Plato Apology 23a).

  To reach true happiness, Plato contended that the people must strive for a contentment that only comes from being true to one's own choice. The inherent relationships that exist between and among men are integral components to the overall benefit of government; if these relationships are shattered, there can be no justice for anyone. According to Plato, the people have the power to control their own destinies by way of reconciling mind and matter with the inner and social life. They are all intertwined, he claimed, and as such must be addressed as one entity rather than numerous. Unity was all-important to Plato's primary concept of government. If there is no unity, then there is no realistic political system, for it takes considerably more than one man's word to impart a true sense of happiness. "Make your first and chief concern not for your bodies nor for your possessions, but for the highest welfare of your souls" (Plato Apology 30b).

  Plato's ideals on government claim that citizens are obligated by loyalty to obey the state. Is it not possible that, as a community unto itself, the people can govern themselves with minimal guidance or interference from the political system? However, Plato contended that in order to gain protection and maintain a safe society from enemy intrusion, it is so that the citizens consent to follow the law. Without laws to maintain order, there would be nothing but chaos in what would otherwise be a civilized society. Yet this is merely Plato's interpretation of government, which he noted to be his own personal rendition of what represented a workable regime.

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