Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The “Free” Man, Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The School of Athens (detail). Fresco, Stanza ...Image via Wikipedia
This from The Republic, seems a pretty good description of much of what is going on, and admired today in this country and the West. It comes down, as shown in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which seems a rather feckless purposeless gathering only for the sake of gathering. We need better, not sure we deserve it.

“And,” I said, “he doesn’t admit true speech or let it pass into the guardhouse [of his soul], if someone says that there are some pleasures belonging to fine and good desires and some belonging to bad desires, and that the ones must be practiced and honored and the others checked and enslaved. Rather, he shakes his head at all this and says that all are alike and must be honored on an equal basis.”

“That’s exactly,” he said, “what a man in this condition does.”

“Then,” I said, “he also lives along day by day, gratifying the desire that occurs to him, at one time drinking and listening to the flute, at another downing water and reducing; now practicing gymnastic, and again idling and neglecting everything; and sometimes spending his time as though he were occupied with philosophy. Often he engages in politics and, jumping up, says and does whatever chances to come to him; and if he ever admires any soldiers, he turns in that direction; and if it’s money-makers, in that one. And there is neither order nor necessity in his life, but calling this life sweet, free, and blessed he follows it throughout.”

“You have,” he said, “described exactly the life of a man attached to the law of equality.”
Plato; Allan Bloom (1991-10-02). The Republic Of Plato: Second Edition (pp. 239-240). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

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