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Socrates and Jesus

Socrates and Jesus

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Published by Nihilist

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Published by: Nihilist on Jul 15, 2010
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Socrates/Plato’s Discussion of Character and the Cycleof Civilizations followed by a Christian Apology
IntroductionThis is a slightly changed posted comment on theGoogle's AnswersService inresponse to the following question:”How does Timarchic, Oligarchic, Democratic personalities differ from the idealAristocratic personality? Distinction between necessary and unnecessary desireswhich is helpful for distinction for trying to characterize these three types of personality. – pittsburgh-ga”Pittsburgh,I will start with the one personality you did not mention, the Tyrant, and move morespecifically to your question soon afterwards. At the end I will add a spiritual point of view. Socrates/Plato saw the seeking of the overall good of society as the onlynecessary desire. He saw the desires for honor, money, freedom, and love asunnecessary. When exercised in fact, the desire to be loved according to Socrates/Platobecomes the master passion unleashing the other unnecessary desires in force. This isthe Tyrant. Because all these desires are unnecessary to the happiness of a human, thehuman who has all these desires raging is the least happy of all humans. For some itmay be hard to understand today, but the idea is that the only truly happy man is hewho is looking out for the good of everyone: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.The Tyrant wants everything to come to him, but since he gives nothing in return, hemust rely on increasingly criminal means to get what he wants. He always sees himself as being wronged and thus justified in doing whatever is necessary to get his desiresfilled. He despises himself and others because he and they won't give except under force, i.e. never willingly. He goes mad. The maddest of all becomes the leader, and theTyrannical society is born.The good people, of course, leave rather than be persecuted and the society just getsworse (as I suggest later the best stay or comeback and sacrifice themselves – thesemartyrs are the seeds of the rebirth of society). Eventually the mad leader takes on theworst criminals to protect him (i.e. - the body guards) and a fury is unleashed.Plato seemed to be able to quite accurately depict how (at least in Western societies)would go through a series of stages to an end stage of tyranny, but he seems to haveless to say about how to rescue a Tyrannical society from its state. He has some ideasbut doesn't get into specifics of how a natural evolution might occur from thepreponderance of the Tyrannical man and a state of Tyranny, back to the Aristocratic(the man of merit) and the Aristocratic society. Perhaps he implies that a consciouseffort must be made to restore a destroyed Tyrannical society to an Aristocracy(Meritocracy). I will make a case that this conscious effort starts with a belief in a good
and loving God.Meritocracy (Aristocracy?)What we mean by aristocrat may be entirely different than what Socrates/Plato meansby it. Below I will provide an expansion of my understanding on the topic of Plato'sRepublic and his ideas about the five types of personalities. I want to warn you that atthe end, I provide a Christian "Apology". Aristocratic personalities in the (8th?) 9th and10th book of the Republic could really be re-termed Meritocratic, because they are thepersonalities with the most merit. The term Aristocracy is used today in a different waythan the one in the Republic. The goal of the Aristocrat/Meritocrat is to seek the greatestgood for all. They only take power under protest and not under selfish ambition. Thiscould characterize the power of the monks and priests during the "Dark Ages".Timocracy (Hereditary Aristocracy?)Timarchic personalities could be re-termed the untimidic or courageous personality or perhaps even the military personality. Their highest good is honor. The society ruled bythe Timarchic Class is characterized by a rule of a few elite who have the most honor, or are held in the most honor. Honor could be characterized perhaps as human respect for a kind of selflessness that is not true selflessness, but arises out of selfish ambition. It isselflessness out of a desire for fame, renown and human rather divine regard. Thischaracterized the Medieval period in European history dominated by the crusades andknights of honor. Timarchic personalities are respected. The "Aristocratic" or Meritocraticpersonalities are instead loved for true selflessness. The Meritocratic person may noteven be aware that he is loved. I am honestly a bit unclear as to how Plato describesthat a Timocratic man and a Timocracy develops from the "Aristocratic" society.OligarchyOligarchic personalities according to Plato and Socrates are the next step down in de-evolution of personalities. The Oligarchic man's chief aim in life is the accumulation of money. Plato/Socrates delineates that the child of a Timocratic person becomesdisgusted with how his father's funneling of all his resources into doing noble things hasleft the family in poverty, and that the society is unappreciative of the father's efforts tobegin with. The father is sort of made fun of behind his back by the society at large andis considered a fool in a Don Quixote sort of way. The son thus sees the pursuit of honor as futile (it doesn't work i.e. - no one appreciates it and you only fool yourself) and iteven threatens your very existence with poverty. The Oligarchic society is one wherethe society is ruled by the rich. This would characterize the Renaissance where familieslike the Medici’s ruled the land. The Oligarchic personality subsumes all his other desires in the aim of making money.DemocracyThe Democratic personality chief goal is freedom. According to Plato and Socrates, theDemocratic man sees how miserable the life of his Oligarchic father has been since he
has subsumed all his unnecessary desires for the purpose of making money. TheDemocratic man says a little pleasure won't hurt. The Democratic societies appear to bethe best kind of societies, but they are a prelude to the worst, Tyranny. According toPlato/Socrates, Democratic societies are characterized by the freeing of slaves,women’s rights movements, the finding of all varieties of people, criminals are let gowith light sentences, and all problems are blamed on the rich (e.g. - the rich corporatelobbyists in the U.S.). Yes, that stuff - except for the lobbyist specifics - is really in theRepublic in the 8th, 9th and 10th book. This kind of society is found in the "IndustrializedDemocracies" today.TyrannyI know I haven't done too good a job at defining necessary and unnecessary anddesires I know you have not asked for it but the last step in the downward path is theTyrannical Personality. The chief aim of the Tyrannical personality is power andunconditional love. According to Socrates/Plato the desire for love is actually implantedby in the sons of the Democratic by idle sons of Oligarchs that still exist in theDemocracy. Note again that Democracy includes all the types of personalities includingmaligned Oligarchs. It is as if the sons of the rich take advantage of the idealism andinnocence of the sons of young Democrats. They plant the ideal or encourage theyoung men to seek Romantic love, even though the Oligarchic sons don't believe in it.Maybe they seek revenge for their loss of power and prestige that occurs in theDemocracy, but the idle children of the richest Oligarchs (they can afford to be idle) arepuppeteers to the most innocent and idealistic of the sons of Democrats. This desire for Romantic Love drives the once Democratic mad, because it is an unnecessary desireand an unleasher of all the others.My own spiritual and psychological explanation of the derivation of the madness follows.If your chief goal in life is to find someone who will love you unconditionally, and yousubsume everything to this, you will die. You will die at least to reason, and sometimesphysically. This is because perfect love is unattainable in this life apart from the love of God. No person will sacrifice himself/herself completely for another human imperfecthuman being unless he/she knows that God loves him/her and that God wants him/her to sacrifice himself for that person and by doing so attain eternal life. The buddingTyrannical person has no relationship with God (the Oligarchs and Democrats haveremoved it from him) but is going around looking for an angel who will sacrificehimself/herself for him. The sacrificing person he is looking for is very rare, and sincehumans are essentially sinners, even the most selfless saint of a human being does nothave enough love and resources to satisfy the atheist-budding tyrant. The tyrant is theleast happy and needs more and more human love to fill his vacant atheist heart,however the more he attempts to get people to love him the more people turn him awayas a needy person. Since he only believes in human love not divine, he becomes moreand more disenchanted with human beings and their ability to love and with moredisenchantment people love him even less. It's a vicious cycle that leads to despair,mental illness and even suicide. Perhaps out of the ashes of despair comes the will topower, to control people into loving him even though he does not love back. Basically

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