Today, I want to share with you my idea, which I’ve got in my mind since my youth, about philosophy as I believe it is the primary thought of our life. As I wrote once, I got knowing philosophy from Socrates through Plato. However, history shows that society accepted Aristotle’s philosophy more plausible. What a pity! I think it’s because Aristotle had better understood humans with greed, envy, and lust of power.
Oh yes! As most people know Plato’s name in the “platonic relationship”, Plato was more preoccupied with the human soul. He might be a dreamer, as I think the philosophers must be. And I believe following his lessons would make a better world for us all to live in.
Of course, if we try to understand his thoughts, we will find that it is not so wrong or illusive:
Plato is also considered the founder of Western political philosophy. His most famous contribution is the theory of Forms known by pure reason, in which Plato presents a solution to the problem of universals known as Platonism (also ambiguously called either Platonic realism or Platonic idealism).
Here is a declaration of “blind man” who is quite noticeable these days.
And as we look at it more deeply, that is a psychological observation of the man’s soul. Here is a brilliant description of Plato’s definition of the soul. I hope you have enough time and joy to read this good article.
Desires and Pleasures in Plato’s STATE: Man, Lion and Monster
By Dimitris Kalantzis, with thanks to SearchingTheMeaningOfLife
According to Plato, the three parts that make up the soul are the desirable, the thymic and the mental.
The desired part of the soul expresses the bodily or “horse desires” of man, such as the body’s needs (hunger, thirst, erotic mood, etc.). It is the seat of desires, multifaceted and polynomial. The realization of these desires is a pleasure, which, however, according to the philosopher, is apparent and superficial. If, for example, you are hungry and eating, you have simply satisfied your desire to stop being hungry and nothing more. There can be no substantial pleasure from the desired part of the soul but mere satisfaction of a bodily, equine need.
Higher than desirable is the thymic part of the soul. It is the fighting element or, in other words, the radically volitional element. It is about satisfying your need to be recognized as dignified and honest by other people. The thymic part of the soul can lead to ruptures and battles to defend your honour. It can make you seek positions and greater recognition. It is not related to material goods but to protecting your “being”.
The third part of the soul is the accounting or mental. According to Plato, this should “rule” the soul with the consent of the thyroid and the voluntary submission of the desirable. The mental part “houses” the proper judgment and is attracted by the pleasures provided by mental employment and knowledge.
According to the philosopher, the pleasures from the satisfaction of the mind are the only true and accurate. Their pursuit offers permanent relief from the vicious circle of desire and its fulfilment, since the objects of philosophical knowledge will not disappear, as do, for example, the foods we eat, but, as unchanging and immortal elements, will offer a stable filling status.
Plato uses an image to show the inner battle being waged in man between the three parts of his soul. In this battle, the accounting part is represented by man, a lion’s thyroid, and a multi-headed beast’s desirable. If a man lets the lion and the beast become more assertive at the expense of the accounting, then they will fight fiercely, leading him to a sinful life, the slave of his opposing desires and passions, as well as the outbursts of his rage. But suppose a man (accounting) manages to tame the beast (voluntary) with the help of the lion (thymus). In that case, he will be able to discipline his desires and uproot his passions to enjoy the pleasure of harmony in his soul.
But it would be wrong if this view concluded that man can, or should, try to exterminate the beast or lion within him. On the contrary, Plato proposes man satisfy his desire in moderation so that he is not passionate about either deprivation or overfilling. Thus, he leaves the accounting part of the soul devoted to its search in a state of calm. Knowledge is the supreme pleasure.
When the accounting part reaps the pleasures it seeks, all soul aspects will be satisfied. At the same time, if the happiness of another part prevails, then the whole order of human life will be disturbed, so no interest will be satisfied as it deserves.
PHILOSOPHICAL LIFE: The ideal life, according to Plato and how it can be achieved
The three parts of the soul and their predominance in every human being determine all three types of life he can have: an intellectual life for the man who is dominated by accounting, dignified life for the one who is overwhelmed by the thymic and profitable life for the one who is overlooked from the desired.
It may seem to all three categories of people that the most hedonistic life is theirs. Still, in reality, only the philosopher knows that his own life is the most hedonistic because he has experienced the pleasures of the other two, while the others have not been able to meet his own. The philosopher also can value his life as a “whole” and reach his superiority over the lives of others, using his experience and logic, something that others are not able to do.
According to Plato, three essential virtues characterize a virtuous life: prudence, bravery and wisdom. If we add to them a fourth, justice, which corresponds to the balance of the whole, then we have a just man, a man who has managed to harmonize the three parts of his soul under the hegemony of the mental.
With the supremacy of the mental, man can control his desires and, with restraint and wisdom, transform his passion into bravery. In other words, by ruling the other parts, reason offers man happiness, as it eliminates internal conflicts and the harmonious relationship between the features of the soul.
Plato calls “friendship” the ideal relationship between the parts of the soul, as it does not describe a state of uninterrupted repression but a discipline in which the just man finds pleasure. The kind part of the soul, having achieved this “friendship” with the other two pieces, comes in contact with knowledge, the “really being”, and then the conjunction “mind and truth” is born, where “mind” is the accounting part of the soul and “truth” the “really being”. Neither the “truth” exists before its coupling with the soul nor the “mind” before its collar with the truth. Only union gives substance to the two parts of marriage, and only with marriage does man acquire fundamental knowledge.
Happiness does not depend on the existence of a specific favourable environment (from others or on circumstances) but on ourselves. We can create it, developing the “logic” and making us righteous.
The pursuit of spiritual pleasures, according to Plato, offers permanent relief from the vicious circle of moving bodily needs. Since thanks to the greater degree of reality, the objects of philosophical knowledge will not disappear, like the foods we consume. Still, they will keep the philosopher in a steady state of filling.
Man, free from inner compulsions and impulses, therefore enjoys the feeling of permanent fulfilment and, unmoved devotes himself to the further search for wisdom that offers the ultimate sanctity and goodness in life.
Platon, State, introduction. Note – mtf. Interpret. Notes N.M. Skouteropoulos, Athens: Polis, 2002.
Annas, J., Introduction to Plato’s State, mtf. Ch. Grammenou, edited by C. Zafeiropoulos-P. Bourlakis, Athens: Kalentis, 2006.
Despotopoulos, K.I., Plato’s Philosophy, Athens: Academy of Athens, Research Center of Greek Philosophy, 1997.
Dimas, P., “The Philosophy of Plato”, in S. Virvidakis et al., Greek Philosophy and Science, from Antiquity to the 20th Century, vol. A ‘, Patras: EAP, 2000.
Kalfas, V. – Zografidis, G., Ancient Greek Philosophers, Thessaloniki: Institute of Modern Greek Studies [Manolis Triantaphyllides Foundation], 2006.
Lekkas, G., “Argumentative Strategies in the State of Plato”, Platon 53, 2003.
Pappas, N., Plato’s State, A Reading Guide, mtf. D. Papagiannakos, Sci. edited by I. Patsiotis, Athens: Eight Publications, 2006.
Vegetti, M., History of Ancient Philosophy, mtf. επιστ. Edited by G.A. Dimitrakopoulos, Athens: P. Travlos, 2003 .Source: http://www.postmodern.gr/