a75 Thrasymachus (in The Republic) says morality is the interest of the stronger. Not so stupid a statement. This, as Nietzsche pointed out, was the sophist culture that made Athens great. At least it is an advance from a complete absence of orality. Where it is weak is that it contradicts the logic of morality if it is introduced into any moral system, and in the intellectual type easily leads to the undermining of morality. So it is not morally neutral. 'Morality is the interest of the morally stronger' might be better.
ab202& Interesting case of Plato, the philosopher of the Forms and hence of aesthetic experience, yet retaining so many offensive coercive elements. The personal will, the urizenic petulance of the old. In some ways he seems profoundly right, yet in others an old bastard. He did not see fit to require a total elimination of the ugliness of individual will. Beauty, mysticism, religion, Catholicism, Protestantism, art.
ab217 Plato protesting against the relativism and scepticism of the sophists and trying to find a basis for certainty (which he found through the idea of reminiscence). Relativism, sophism, idea that there are only different points of view, no objective standpoint from which you can judge all these points of view and what might be common to them. We can see that Platonism was an attempt to restore objectivity, to make an objective universal judgement possible. Sense in which Christianity, Eastern Orthodoxy rather than Catholicism, was the heir to this Platonist programme. The implications of relativism tied up with the democratic levelling movement. Suggestion this is essentially what is bad about it. The idea of what is good becomes degraded..... Sophistry as leading not to Catonistic decadence, the validity of which concept is dubious, but to Viconistic which is a clear enough concept. Platonism, move towards concepts which are clear as distinct from concepts that are arbitrary. Vico, decadence, will to power, relativism, Nietzsche.
ac216 Not selfishness, egoism, that brings evil and is essentially immoral, but unselfishness. It is the individual's surrender of his identity in the collective, when he voluntarily surrenders his interests to those of the community. As Plato has it, immorality is a kind of disorder. Those swept away by fanatical enthusiasm are likely to be guilty of it. Against Golo Mann. Whole of classical civilisation based upon egoism.
ac27 Nietzsche on the tyrannical urges of the Greeks. Every Greek, he suggested, desired to tyrannise over other people. Philosophers too desired this & this explains much in Plato. Only Solon said he despised individual tyranny, though he exercised his tyranny as a lawgiver. Plato became frustrated and extremely embittered in old age, he says, as a result of the thwarting of his tyrannical urge. Limitation of the classical and by extension of the renaissance.
ae156 Plato's totalitarianism. It has had a long influence in history that is mostly pernicious. It rationalises bigotry and persecution, justifies attitudes which may seem paradoxical, by appeal to long tradition and profound intellectual authority. How can we say that those who benefit by freedom, live by it, acknowledge no dogmatic authority over themselves, think it right to destroy freedom for others? Could we say it is a form of megalomania? One aspires to be God the creator father. No longer a man among men, one does not want to reproduce in the normal sense, to create equals, but to tyrannise over future generations. A vice of philosophers. Ego gratification. It does seem to involve psychological dishonesty.
ae287 Schopenhauer's object as to set up a perspective against the worldly judgement deified in the Hellenic philosophy. A point of view from which it is possible to condemn the philistine. A viewpoint without God. Plato's viewpoint. The hyperphysicality of gothic architecture. Surrealism. The triumphalism of freedom of the spirit, the acid high. Dali. The perspective opposed to this, the one rooted in worldly judgements. Modern culture and the world. Opposed viewpoints. The democratic culture. Our type of culture.
ae291 Value of Plato in all this. Plato as atheist. Showing something positive. Through the Idea. Insistence on a reality within. What he shows is that this frustration can be overcome. That there is a vision of an answer, and it is different from the success in which the philistines believe. This is the great importance and contemporary relevance of Plato. Greeks.
ae327 Platonic intolerance, and to what extent it is forgivable. Plato, Proclus, Julian, Plethon. Callous intolerance. Reprehensible, tyrannical lack of sympathy, a kind of autocratic megalomania, if not as bad as its Christian or communist equivalent. One objects most strongly to repression of something one feels to be of vital importance. Christians seem worse than pagan neoplatonists, one feels repressiveness as intrinsic to them, rather than a mere callousness or indifference to those who think differently. Intolerance by someone one basically likes, and intolerance by someone one does not like. Both repressive, but the latter is directed at something one feels to be of vital importance.
af113 The platonic tradition that many these days are eager to reject, a tradition of pure logic and argument, think of Meno's slave. That method is intrinsically systematic. Different possible routes out of chaos. Clinging to Hegelian logic, arbitrary elements within that. Hegelianism as essentially Catholic and counter reformation, introducing a mysterious priestlike authority. Mantle which has now fallen on Derrida and others
af288 Plato's influence on the whole of western mysticism. The theory that this whole influence rests on certain logical confusions about the forms. Vlastos on this. The oddness of the view. For one inclined to feel that mysticism is just experience, that mystical writings are writings about experience, the anti mystical point of view may appear wrong and ignorant. Idea that the form of beauty is itself beautiful. Possible logical error. Is the form of plurality itself plural? but mystical experience gives a profound feeling of penetrating to the underlying reality. But if you did not have certain ideas in your mind then you would not have that experience of that reality, and perhaps the ideas come to be implanted, insinuated through the effects of the general culture with so many people influenced by it. To see Plato as actually inventing mysticism must surely be an intellectualistic distortion. He himself claimed to respect the wisdom of the Egyptian priests. ...if we explain flaws etc etc
ah226 It might be thought that Aristotle's world is much flatter than Plato's. Plato's is a world rich in mysticism, in mystery beyond what is perceived. Some want to blame Plato for mysticism, for the entire western tradition. As if he was responsible for inventing a world beyond that of which we are immediately aware, but Aristotle's work depends upon Plato's, derives from a criticism of it, almost assumes it as background. Doctrine of potentiality and actuality is very good & might seem to remove a lot of confusion about reality. However Aristotle seems stuck uncomfortably between Platonic ideas and a full blown nominalism. The idea of universals and natural kinds. Either it seems we remove universals from the realm of reality or we place reality in the realm of universals, ie in language. With Plato one thinks of the whole future development of Platonism and neoplatonism, of states of enlightenment, grades of consciousness. Taken on its own there seem grave difficulties in the Aristotelian account. Less an explanation than a system of classification.
ah84 The feeling of not understanding anything, of confusion. That one's defence of liberty is no more than one's own imperialism, that there is no escape from the prison. We think of the key each one in his prison. See what Plato was concerned to combat.
ai107 Philosopher kings, guardians, Plato's tyrannical attitudes. 'You yonakkas'. Plato's tyranny is often seen as that of an old man perhaps it is more characteristic of youth.
ai34 Plato's totalitarianism so repellent. This is so hard to reconcile. On matters of pure philosophy he is very attractive, he seems right, in favour of freedom etc. Yet politically he belongs in the camp of the unsympathetic people. Totalitarianism may have its value but the viewpoint of a true believer, completely contemptible.
ai41 Origen and his times. Platonism. One is so used to emphasising the superiority of ancient Athens that later ages come to seem inferior. But the Roman Empire had Plato to read, which the fifth century Athenians did not. We claim to understand Plato and his times which we admire. Are we to say that the Middle Platonists didn’t? Can we say that there were possibilities in Plato's or Socrates' day that were not realised? Things moved inward, a more contemplative type of life supervened, but not wholly inferior for all the lack of originality in some respects. What level of original production would one want to see? A hundred Platos and Aristotles all competing with each other? Such is the situation we have today in the realm of the visual arts. The effect is not a multiplication of genius. Some might say it is a cheapening, at least it is a changing of the concept.
aj296 Plato's tyranny and the attitude to the low. Freedom not something considered necessary for them. Seeing them as some men see woman. As a pattern for living, as the idea that they are self sufficient, they are rejected. Thus as a threat, as a personal challenge, there is revulsion. In another aspect not so at all. Repulsiveness comes in the suggestion of a model or pattern.
ak211 Laws. Intensity of his will to power. What he is not interested in is the enlightenment that uncovers the will to power and displays it for all to see. Even his idea of the state as something that promotes virtue comes across as an unpleasant oppressive and totalitarian thought reached by a series of sophisms....He has shed Socrates in more ways than one. Greek idea of science so clearly different from our own. Plato was perhaps just not interested in the sort of psychological understanding we are interested in. He had no desire for that kind of enlightenment. It was not part of his programme, so it is possible that he was not in error. One reason for this may have been the institution of slavery. Oppression, denial of rights, may have seemed to be simply the law of life. ....His theory of knowledge does not have to be universally acceptable. Even though he probably did more than anyone else to create the demand for the universalisable, he does not appeal to it. In this respect he is still half oriental world of prophets and revelations. Reading Plato see how knowledge & the concept of knowledge had to advance beyond him. How a doctrine has to be universally persuasive. Pleasure of tyranny being no longer possible....true knowledge rather than an egotistical opinion one desires to impose upon others for ones own satisfaction....what was not fully developed in Plato & what he helped to develop. A community of truth seekers....
ak237 What Plato says in Laws about different kinds of young people those with control over their appetites and those without.
ak239& Plato writes about pride in comeliness of body. Comeliness of body as a worthwhile value, a true, a noble value. How may it come to seem a low value? Communism springing from different motives from the class resentment or upper class guilt usually thought of as its sources today. quote. His contempt for the wildness of the young. The anarchic instincts of youth. Alcibiades. Apply to the rock culture of the late sixties. That ideal of individual freedom with its claim to validity. He dismisses that claim absolutely from the viewpoint of age. The views of the young are like those of children, not to be taken seriously. He does not respect the other point of view. A terrifying tyranny. In Plato argument is too unrestrained. This great mental energy, this philosopher’s will to power has no check on it. Find the checks and you have the beginning of scientific enterprise, as with Aristotle. The viewpoint of youth demands to be heard, expressed in balance, ie demand for freedom.
ak253 Plato on standardisation as of cooking utensils (Laws). It is easy to feel deep revulsion for standardisation, feeling it takes away whatever is of real value in life. But in different circumstances one might not feel that at all.
ak376& Laws a sinister book. So closely it recalls communist practice. He advocates busybodies, informers, snoops, nosy old women. Such people may be well established forms of life but they have only rarely been given intellectual credibility. The concept of freedom is something the Romans developed, and which Tacitus noticed in the Germanic tribes. Plato recognises that some of the laws he would like to pass would be resented. He would not allow intellectual credence to such resentment. Laws is an appallingly tyrannical work. Exercise in intellectual tyranny. He likens it to a tragedy which he has composed. He is the artist tyrant. Plato may have a point in his opposition to the desire for novelty. Novelty means destruction often senseless & undesirable. United States may sometimes seem a nation in the process of destroying itself.
al237 Plato's tyrannical rationalism, almost Chinese in its appalling cruelty. At the very beginning of philosophy, when speculation had no competitors, there was freedom to tyrannise.
al244 Plato's Clinias (Laws), all the pompous and repressive attitudes of old age. The 'proof' of the existence of the gods. No old people deny it, ie if you live long enough you would not be an atheist.
am309 Plato and the birth of knowledge. The Greek agon. The wrongness of Hegel. Follow the origin of science through Plato.
am81 Plato, Darwin and theory of knowledge. Connection between Plato's tyrannising, his pioneering & his conception of knowledge, which is in some ways well conceived but naturally limited in practical application. At the very end of Laws Plato expresses something of his theory of knowledge. Like stepping out into an untracked wilderness. As if there is any grasping of essential principles by such a method. Formation of dogmatic hypothesis. The true seeming. Subjective certainty cannot be adequate except insofar as it is drained of specific content. Pythagorean misconceptions of knowledge. What is wrong, the unforeseeable. In principle unforeseeable. The contingent. To do with alternative possibilities which strive for existence. ie the need to consider alternative theories and the need to submit to the test of fact. The nature of alternatives is in some sense the error. The fight against opponents.
an17 Power for the young, power for the old. But power for the young is not just for the young. Philosopher as priest, power seeking and bearer of knowledge. Aristocratic. As seeking enjoyment. Not the incompatible enjoyment of those he hates. Ideals of enjoyment. What the ideal? The triumph hoped. Not to presuppose the standard premises of the time which give power to those who succeed by them in way of which they are unconscious. And against you will be the evil demoralising suggestion that prevailing standards are good enough....Every doctrine as to the true end of life. It may be meant only as a description. But if it is at all something at which other people are better at than I am, then it is not the highest end for me but a depressing lie. It may be that a doctrine of power depresses others.
an339 Persecuting spirit of the middle ages as attributable to Plato rather than directly to Christianity. Mistake in thinking of the twelfth century as early or naive. Times were old, there was a long history of Christianity to look back on...
b17 Leary as mystic. The sense one is part of some Catholic church of LSD as totally alienating. The brotherhood of man a bad concept. Need for originality. Plato teaches us how to escape from conceptual webs which ensnare us.
b91 Compare the thought of the Upanishads to the thought of Plato. Think of both as the elaboration and development of certain high level concepts of which we are to make use, not the identification and explanation of some supreme being, of some constraining entity or some dogmatic terminology. Lower levels of religion may be seen at their best as more or less psychological means of enabling us to grasp and make us of some of the highest concepts the pure intellect has been capable of producing. Mystery has its place but it should never rule only the highest and clearest thought is worthy of that....Blake on mystery..
d13 Plato's works looked upon as a power manual for philosophers. Words are the ultimate arbiter. Do we want a culture in which words are the ultimate arbiter? How else may we penetrate to meaning if we feel moved to look for it? We wish to understand ourselves as living in accordance with the dictates of the highest reason. This gives us cosmic security.
d47 One pointedness of Catholic Christianity, its Platonistic elements. Form as the transcendental glyph for the meaning of a word. Understanding is hierarchical but not thereby dogmatically restrictive. Plato would ensure that the 'mind' of society is aware of the diverse possibilities of ideas. He wishes to place control in the hands of the liberal understanding. He uses a transcendental doctrine to escape the limitations of the contemporary clash of opposing internally consistent ideas. Understanding of a transcendental metaphysical concept which is declared to be logically prior to both conflicting ideas and their ultimate source....comparison with Wittgenstein.
dd15 Plato's Republic, philosophy must be at the summit. Propaganda must not usurp the function of providing ruling ideas. Journalism is essentially propaganda, yet the arrogance of journalists is one of the characteristic manifestations of modern denial of all higher wisdom.
e117 Were Nietzsche and Plato concerned with such different issues that Nietzsche's criticisms do not apply? Of course world rejection in Plato but the central issue with which he is concerned is Understanding. Great expansion of power bestowed by Plato's new set of concepts. Plato has provided the form within which philosophy is possible...presocratic philosophy unstable. Plato offers a higher set of co-ordinating concepts. Not concerned to impose a set of values. In insisting that the highest form of life is lived under the guidance of reason he does not present reason as a despot. ...form of life by which we may co-ordinate all our knowledge and thus attain to a fuller control over ourselves than before. This does not have to mean being virtuous in the conventional sense unless one has some good reason for valuing virtue.
f145 Merits of Plato's view that society should be founded upon understanding rather than simply upon appetite.
ff9 View of Plato's great contribution to western thought as the doctrine that truth is unitary, that there is a set of concepts under which everything can be subsumed. That relativism is wrong, that it ignores the true meaning of the concepts we habitually use.
gg192 To think, to see what is wrong with current values and assumptions, to analyse what these are, to attempt to delineate an ideal. To judge what is wrong in the light of what should be, to set right what can be set right by thought and understanding. ..Values and attitudes are of the very first importance in determining what is experienced, they are as the very essence of religion. Thought can so to speak underpin experience. When thought is free it really can do this, which is what Plato really means, it can create experience itself. 'Matter' in the Gnostic sense becomes the faeces of necessity as when the possibility of thought appears bound and restricted by practical considerations to a particular social and cultural framework.
gg96 Suggestion that the educated classes should take a lesson from Plato's guardians devote a part of their energy to guiding and nourishing the people by means of myths and propaganda. They should take gratification in the sense of power this brings.
hh159 Plato's guardians. Such ideal social arrangements may be possible, but they are extremely difficult to set up, impossible by fiat, since all the questions of power relationships come to cause trouble. The philosopher king could hardly be effective, he could not take into account the results of all the power conflicts to which he would give rise in his remoulding of society. People follow the line of least resistance. Occasionally a very long tradition can cause people to behave in a certain unnatural fashion without coercion, but how are Plato's guardians to be given that tradition? If not how are they to be coerced? And by whom? Perhaps they see the logic of their position, and the force of Plato's argument. But there is not sufficient justification for assuming this. Plato assumes that it will be necessary to have a tradition of duty to make them keep up their social responsibilities to the rest of humanity, which they will see as an irksome chore. This means that it would feel very unnatural to do it, and there is every reason to suppose that it would not be done. One does what one has to do and what one enjoys doing. Otherwise one is not especially concerned to ensure long term survival as a class. Plato's guardians have no joy of leadership, for one thing, which is fair enough for he has given no philosophical reason to expect that they should. To expect them to see his argument and act in accordance with it, is being too optimistic over the strength of the paper with which he has covered one of the cracks in his thought.
mm160 Vast influence of individuals like Plato. Not solely to do with the excellence of his thought. That he became an orthodoxy was perhaps to do with the fact that some of his ideas appealed to a class of people who subsequently expanded in numbers out of all proportion. Perhaps his ideas only happened to appeal to a few people at some particular time. Why did we get lumbered with Christianity? It could have been shown, perhaps, that we had to get lumbered with something, but who could claim that the Apostle's Creed represents anything fine in philosophy? Often it is the base in philosophy that flourishes best of all. Sound arguments are not what convinces, which is irritating for philosophers. Some bad argument wins total victory, and becomes the premise for new philosophical disputes. The vast shadow cast by Plato, not entirely the result of his intrinsic merits.
nn76 Nietzsche's aim compared to that of Plato. Plato was concerned to fight against the same kind of democratic rot. His solutions however are markedly lacking in appeal. Ossification. Admiration for Sparta. Sparta the pure aristocratic ideal, different from later appeal of Stalinist Russia. Fascist subjection of the demos, destruction of the chaotic & levelling tendencies of democracy....Sparta may have been puritanical and repressive but it was felt that it was immunised against a more serious danger, democratic plebeianism.
pp77 Plato's idea that extreme individualism leads to tyranny. Conflicting principles:- 1. listen to no one. 2 change your rules and institutions in accordance with reason. Extreme individualism preached as a universal doctrine leads to socialism and tyranny as each individual becomes desperate to preserve his egoistic morale. One does not want it to be possible to be judged a fool, for each individual isolated is exceedingly vulnerable. He joins in with socialism to protect himself against hostile judgement.
rr101 Edgar Wind's idea (Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance) that the whole notion of esoteric philosophy derives from a misunderstanding of Plato's jokey comparison of philosophical discovery to initiation in the mysteries. The whole edifice of Hellenistic neoplatonism he regards as a sad degeneration.
ss169 Reading Whitehead (Adventures of Ideas)....a kind of Platonist positivist. Plato deriving social forms from the needs of the individual soul as revealed in contemplation. But more than that, Whitehead has this almost teleological conception, as if the ideas enumerated by Plato themselves offer a true form or essence to which human institutions ever since have ever less imperfectly aspired. Thus he justifies Christianity as the source of modern humanitarianism and democracy, as if all Christianity were was something aspiring to the realisation of this Ideal, an ideal which even Plato but dimly adumbrates and which is closer to realisation in the modern west than ever before. His is a secularisation of religion much cruder than Collingwood's. Collingwood sees religion as enunciating through symbols the scientific presuppositions of a period. Whitehead views it teleologically as the attempt to realise the Platonic ideal in its full potential. Reality is thus an imperfect approximation to this ideal, which has a kind of continuing existence throughout. And all this ideal amounts to in reality is the liberal democratic humane positivist ideal of freedom and equality for all. As if there were nothing more desirable than that.
ss27 'Laws'. Plato's arguments for the superiority of 'goodness' I think there is much in it that is sound, there is something unsatisfactory about the separation of the concepts of goodness and expediency, moral schizophrenia... However it is Plato’s interpretation of what goodness is that is distasteful. The good person in the platonic sense is by our standards a prig and an informer. Soviet Russia is the closest approximation to a society run on platonic lines. This is to say that there is a rational case to be made out for such a society. I object to it mainly because of a revulsion that I feel for the type of the prig and the informer, for a society in which that type of person is hailed as the ideal. Also Plato's insistence that political fundamentals should only be discussed by the aged and mature. The society is thus not actually based on a lie but truth is only to be available to a privileged few and elite.......Platonic ideal, a really oppressive kind of elitism because it does not allow the intellectual space to disagree with the propaganda. Politically the Platonic is the opposite of the Byronic. Plato may have had some excuse for this as he saw unrestrained 'Byronism' as the downfall of Athenian democracy...It must be true that Plato heralded downfall. We assume that the bourgeois prig is necessary. That materialism and business acumen are in the highest degree useful to society. What is the use of artistic sensibility? .....
tt40 Attacks on Plato. The point about Plato as not the correctness of his arguments but he standard of logical coherence he demanded. Philosophy rooted in paradox is self negating. Plato means the effort to a full rational coherence that put a more rigorous and commendable demand on thought. The new agon.
tt44 Plato's refutation of scepticism. Not so much a refutation as a demonstration of the need for philosophic certainty. A demonstration that it is not satisfactory to attempt to be content with scepticism, that if intellectual potential is to work freely and vigorously there needs to be a foundation of that which is sure. In that we have one of the intellectual justifications for Christianity. The actual content Plato put into the form of philosophic certainty, the need for which he had discovered, was indeed unsatisfactory, there was the strong coercive element that reappeared so much later in Hegel, the move from the general to the particular. Perhaps I should take up the attack on Socrates & Plato in Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. wet hippy pseudo oriental stuff. But Plato needs defending. Synthesise the insights of scepticism and the need for certainty. Very Hegelian very dialectical.
tt58 Anselm, Roscelin, nominalism. In Anselm for the first time for many centuries a voice reminiscent of Plato's dialogues, as he argues against nominalism. Return to arguing about fundamentals rather than working out just what is already given. The radicalism of nominalism and attack on Platonism. Platonism, universals, doctrine of causation.
yy130 Platonism. An image of a philosophy permeating all aspects of life and culture. An anti historical, anti Hegelian type of philosophy. Plato's conservative aims, resisting the decadent tendencies of the democratic movements in his own day. Western esotericism & magic, infusing society as a whole with a philosophical meaning of which the primary function is to draw away from immediate prejudice. It should not be treated as superstition. Resistance to the tyranny of fashion.
yy141 St Augustine, appallingly concrete imagination. Put the neoplatonic scheme to a use for which it was not intended, a superstitious & morbid use. Not a philosopher's escapism but a disillusioned sensualist looking for another world. With his world, unlike that of Plotinus, it makes a lot of sense to ask 'does it really exist?' Plato's own speculations contain a strong vein of scepticism with which he seems to have been quite happy. St Augustine, neoplatonism, Plotinus.
yy176 Plato and the old. Plato as old man. Old men as repressive. Is an old person expressing himself fully by being repressive? is the essence of an old man to repress? Proclus, Ockham, Platonism.
yy301 Mcluhan's idea of 'probes' instead of theories. Should this recall Plato’s method?
yy79 Consider what is most frustrating about myself, all the frustrated desire, then self dissatisfaction the desire to be something different from what I am. Not only would that be impossible it would be considerably less interesting. I inhabit a form which is my life with all its destinies and frustrations. This is an organic form like a plant of some sort. It is my true body. essential discontent with this is like some astral traveller who returns to find he cannot re-enter his terrestrial body....self understanding difficult, one generally thinks in clichés overgeneralisations. Thus I confuse myself with a set of abstract qualities belonging equally to others. ...my true body then lacks coherence and connectedness I cannot understand why it needs to be as it is....those who lack connectedness cannot understand why emotional truth is so interesting. But what else is interesting? the ideal? and success or failure in approximating to that?... here one can be quite critical of Plato and the type of thinking he introduced into the world. The value attached to the ideal The ideal is only the minutest cross section of reality. but reality perhaps only reveals itself in a failure to match up to the ideal, perhaps the ideal provides a set of co-ordinates by which reality can reveal itself....Proust.
zz168 1984 as a nightmarish inversion of Plato.
aq57 Importance of the Apology. Suggest the gospels reiterate this theme in a cruder, more populist form. See Christianity as a Greek creation, rather than a Jewish conspiracy, expressing the tyrannical urges of one man, Plato. The Crito. Socrates and Plato's respect for the laws. This by no means universal., Think of Alicbiades. This respect for the laws. So different from the Hobbesian tradition, with its focus on the individual. A desire for a certain kind of freedom, this intensely sociable freedom, the freedom to coerce and tyrannise. Reason why ultimately slavery had to be abolished. Grand Inquisitors, Cardinal Granville. Such people not incompatible with Plato. Tensions and ambivalences in one's interpretation of Socrates. Socrates and knowledge, Plato and tyranny. Like in the early stages of knowledge, the power of hypothesis runs riot. Science does not serve freedom at first. In western civilisation, this unique intolerance, inquisitorial spirit. Philo suggesting to the Greeks what could be done with Judaism. Greek colony very near to Galilee. Plato's idea of the real excitement of life. Fluidity of the city state. Cruelty. See how freedom turns to domination. Socrates' knowledge as form of resistance to authority. Plato's genius acquiring like a new authority. Only not open to the same objection because it has no competitors.
aq65, Plato's solution to decadence, relativism, etc in the Theatetus. Relating it to Wittgenstein. Solution to all the different paths that may be taken. Language, logic, the fundamental underlying reality. Vicious regresses to which all such solutions are vulnerable. If we see it as Platonism, Christianity might even be seen as progress. Creation of a new heaven and new mysticism.
aq136, Plato. Kubla Khan. See an obscure connection. What is the comprehensible root of everything, of all civilisation? Some act of assertion, or raw dominance. Seeing even Christianity in terms of a will to dominate. The will to damn. Like a kind of witchcraft. The whole structure of Christianity to be understood in terms of some of Plato's malevolent urges. We can get far away from even the temptation to believe it.
aq229 What Socrates does is to make an attack on received wisdom, on established power. Established power hits back and kills him. The effect of this is so moving for his friends as immeasurably to reinforce their feeling of opposition to that power. What Plato did was especially subversive, in so preserving that personality in memory that we all feel the same. After Socrates, Greek culture is different. It is embarked on a different project. 400-500 years later the gospels performed a parallel function.
aq235 Take any established order, any established ideal of health and happiness. It is a fact that it is possible to think differently. See that there is a kind of superior knowledge in this. Implicit laziness in any established order. Presenting this laziness as a mark of inferiority. The claim to superior knowledge. Forms of life, ways of doing things, ways of living. Acceptable in their way, ways of coming to terms with the world, fitting in. but also as marking cattle. Whatever path to heaven is proposed, there are alternatives. The objection to any orthodox standard of health. The reason why Socrates's questioning is an adequate foundation for civilisation. Like a Protestant attitude of rebellion. Against this is the conservative attitude that there is sacred knowledge that is being disturbed. One identifies that as marking power, not knowledge. Question of the motive behind the questioning. The importance of this reduces to the question of the stability of the alternative proposed. The power of dialectics to uncover the truth. In the case of Plato, this truth is to a great extent intuited.
aq307, Plato, in the Republic, on the sage who would be crucified.
ap325, Gemistus Pletho, who after the fall of Constantinople, not only invented a new religion, but advocated the death penalty for those who dissented from it,.. Plato as devaluer, Plato as tyrant. Diogenes as debaser. We can look at Christian history not as a product of the Jewish conspiracy but as a Greek problem. We can relate it to Plato’s tyranny, which was something springing from his earliness. There is a sense in which it is somehow forgivable because of this. His tyranny, his cruelty, his lust for dominance. We can see the whole of our culture as an intellectual problem, the intolerance of Christianity as Platonic in origin.
at102 (See GH Sabine, A History of
The retreat from society as with Plato. His contemplative fellowship.
monastic ideals. Aristotle as Plato's
best commentator/critic. Making the
connection, the city state. Application to other forms of community,
than the city state. The political origins of so much in Plato, even
understanding of the virtues of contemplation. Which is why Aristotle
reject so much of his so easily. The need for contemplation of
The unsatisfactoriness of life in society. The seeking satisfaction
that. The flaws, vices and frustrations to which that is subject. The
solution to the weakness of society, not entirely a retreat, but a
ideas in memory. The preservation of
Use of a doctrine. Aristotle can dispense with this, because he sees
where it comes from.
Giving up your freedom. Becoming a slave. After which what?
The solutions and ideals formed by young people who do not want to lose their freedom. The fantasies of 'alternative society'. The basic problems with any society. Society as a vehicle for needs. The retreat into fantasy. Mental tyranny.
Origin of Plato's and Aristotle's philosophy in the flaws of the city state. In the frustration of the will that is experienced. But there is something different here from the lust for tyranny. Almost a sort of socialism. Man as a political animal. The economic needs that come before the desire to dominate comes to the foreground.
Origin of the whole religious history of the west. This contemplative internality. In the very rejection of current society, current reality, there is this need to insist upon a pure doctrine. Upon a reality which is outside and above that which is given, the doxa.
Aristotle, beginning from much the same point, manages to avoid this move.
This is the very origin of this sort of religious truth, which comes to be most tyrannically conceived.
So Aristotle aims to correct the principles of the city state, avoiding its evils. Massive common sense but little revolutionary power.
Like Plato offers something of great historical fertility. Power against democracy.
With Nietzsche the desire to tyrannise which would extend beyond his achievement, beyond justice and truth. As the strong, the weak to be protected. Focussing on the tyranny, the wilfulness of the will.
Everything Plato wants. We may say he wants it because he wants to impose his power upon others. In one sense that is too simple.
As Aristotle understood, there has to be community. Such tyranny is not even desirable from the viewpoint of the tyrant. Master and slave dialectic. Desiring power one will desire something to exercise power over. Enjoyment of power does not mean necessarily tyranny
The arbitrary character of the tyrant. Of course there are other factors in Plato and what he led to. Aristotle as Plato's best critic. Civil society and what it offers.
Plato and Nietzsche. Will to dominate in each. In Plato's case his message considered as something without opposition or as opposition something to be overruled and suppressed.
Christianity and Judaism as growing out of stoicism with its universalising tendencies. So as well as the tyrannising, the imposing of the own will, there is another motive which may count as more virtuous. Insisting on wilfulness and tyranny one is interpreting away something else.
The 'worthier' derivation of Christianity from Plato, via stoicism and the Roman Empire.
Aristotle as Plato's best critic.
Will to power in Plato and Nietzsche. The attribution of the motive behind a thought as will to power, we bracket all more detailed descriptions of motivation. This is no denial of other motives. Looking at Plato we see will to power in a raw state. The reason why Plato wants so much of what he wants is to do with the unfettered nature of his desire. It is like an artistic creation. The artist tyrant, with a blank canvas. So what makes it a useful idea? Power is an end and an explanation in itself.
at159 A programme for the reform of civilisation. More people to become like me, sharing my tastes and my understanding. Leftish young people, Freedom and folly. How much one values, how much folly one deplores. This great problem that I feel sure Plato was aware of. One imagines he was the rebellious young man. Rebellious youth which has been such an important feature of recent history. Youth culture, much of it inevitably shallow and valueless. What happened in Athens. What is happening in Britain. Like some sort of excessive individualism, extreme form of decadence.
at211 Say that Plato had some of the most original thought of the ancient world, how could it be embodied in civilisation? Machiavelli and the restoration of the city state.
at217 Eckhart. Plato. To get back to the pre-socratics, to understand the motive that underlies Plato while escaping his spell. See how a study of Eckhart might inspire Heidegger. The mystical question, ideas under whose spell we still perhaps remain. The nature of the experience, how to analyse it. The power of creative thinking.
at369 Timaeus. Like the first scientific work. Even though it brings in God, it is logical and systematic. It invokes probability for what is wild hypothesis.
as213 Nietzsche as
supposedly. People using Nietzsche for a sort of multicultural idea.
how perspectivism is used as an attack on big Daddy Plato. The kind of
desire young people have to legitimise all kinds of alternative
Obvious appeal to the young of an attack on Plato. Idea of a 'truthful' account of the whole. Idea of the decline that takes place with age. Also idea that the passion of youth brings a potentially greater happiness than anything available later, even if it is so rarely fulfilled.
as263 Note what Shahak says (Jewish History Jewish Religion) about classical Judaism as totalitarian. Heir of Plato and Sparta.
as310 The sickness that was in Plato. Something that had to
undone by returning to the classical.
Thrasymachus and his portrait of the unjust man. Extent to which this resembles the Ubermensch. Extent to which it is wrong, i.e. not a portrait of the highest happiness. But why might it seem to be so? Rebellious aspect. What is expressed, a kind of taboo breaking, a resistance to repressive morality.
Unjust man as the Ubermensch. Even the unjust man is a dimension of present desire.That is to say his desirability is the expression of something else. A particular perspective. The reality behind it, something quite mundane.
Thrasymachus, the rebellion of youth. My theory about Thrasymachus suggests he is in rebellion against something. Why does the amoral tyrant appear to embody the highest happiness? Because there is something he has overcome that needs to be overcome.
as315 Integrating sex into mysticism. The nakedness of
women and the power of the guardians to supervise mating. Erotic
that comes with this.
Ubermensch and the unjust man. Just something that has to be done, achieved, before simple enjoyment is possible. Conceive the reaction of the young to being so supervised. Their tendency to reject it. Need to repudiate it, if this justice then the need to escape form it by means of injustice.
Plato. Creating culture. Whitehead on the history of philosophy as footnotes to Plato. Plato's raw power, the creative effect of his will.
Both Judaism and Christianity as Platonic. Rabbis as Guardians. The examination naked of a prospective female convert by rabbis. Rules like this established by someone's will. The sexual feeling that infuses it.
Thrasymachus making a valid point as well as an invalid one. Whoa are the founders of culture? People with immense power, like Chinese emperors.
English public schools as based, to a great extent, on Plato' Republic. Esoteric nature of a lot of their significance. Even the Platonic homoerotism. The masters as the Guardians.
The idea of The Republic may possess a virtue which is capable of being divorced from his totalitarianism. In the context of the public schools a virtue is extracted from it that is compatible with liberty and other virtues.
Plato's marriage festival. Pederasty The aesthetic enjoyment of the nakedness of boys.
A pleasure in a society that allows only a limited place for enjoying the nakedness of girls or women.
The aesthetics and the virtue of Plato's republic were what life was supposed to be really about. They offered life's highest consolation. Add one's sexuality to one's mysticism and philosophy. A school was more than just a job for the teachers. It was a community i.e. Plato's Republic. To a high degree communistic, it realised a value for the masters as well as the pupils.
The Republic as having a value when it is not everything, not the whole of life. Seeming bankruptcy of this value in the modern world, where its meaning is not understood.
Thinking of what can be achieved in the future. Escaping democracy and multicultural sludge, need for something as basic and inspiring as original sexuality. Democracy itself a as a form of virus. The rejection of the classical, meaning the victory of the Christian.
The beauty of nakedness is a powerful aesthetic value. But it should be the naked woman that is our highest ideal.
Plato and the importance of love. In beauty and wisdom. The creation of a new value directly from desire. Rather than just having these 'language games' these 'realms of experience' just hanging about.
Weaknesses, flaws, in democracy. The sense of decadence. What could possibly be done about it? What to reverse the trend?
Love versus resentment
The most enjoyable, most satisfying love is the love of women. But that only comes when there is nothing to resent, when there is security against her democratic will.
What Plato is dong to counter democracy, this excessive self righteous demand of individual separate wills. Rather than just 'traditions'. The revolutionary feeling. Idea of stripping all values naked.
Love is pure affirmation. What you love you do not resent. And the latter is part of the clue about what is wrong with democracy. One loves beauty. To follow beauty is a sort of freedom. In resisting democracy often we cling to fragments of tradition.
as322 Surely Nietzsche's idea of
the separate will to power of the different parts of the mind comes
out of Plato?
Plato's valid point that the life of the tyrant is not only not the happiest, but that it is not particularly happy at all.
as330 Ryle (Plato's Progress). His codebreaking and
Idea that Plato was himself put on trial for corrupting youth.
So his view of Socrates is not at all historic. Often writing about himself, forbidden to teach dialectic.
"It was his exile from this duelling that drove Plato, though only after years of frustration, into solitary pro and contra reasoning. Plato did not write the eristic dialogues because he was a philosopher, he became a philosopher because he could no longer participate in question and answer moots or any longer be their dramatic chronicler". (p208-9)
7th letter forged by a supporter of Dion.
as340 Ryle on Plato, the controversial theory that he
the theory of ideas.
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