Hey all! Sorry this is late…. I was pretty overworked the week before break. But I am on vacation right now, so hopefully I can crank out a few of these! Anyways, today we are going to be finishing The Republic. Heads up, I am pretty sure Plato smoked some grass before he wrote this last book because it is REALLY trippy.
The book begins with Socrates talking about the different forms of objects. There of course, is the physical world, which is effectively an imitations of the actual concepts of the world. For instance, he says an actual physical chair is just the raw matter, but chairs are really in there purest form just a concept. He then says that because of this, all forms of imitation should be banned as they corrupt the true world. Lets say there are two men, a carpenter and a poet. The carpenter is crafting a chair but he messes it up, and the poet is describing a chair and he gets it wrong. While the carpenter is just messing around with the physical matter, a poet is actually misinterpreting the real form of something. So, he says, the imitative arts such as painting and poetry must end in this city. Now as we have begun to understand the living world, we must, as all philosophers do, delve into the unknown. So let’s move off the subject of life – and onto death.
He says that though he does not have an original view on this, he heard a tale of a warrior who died and then came back to life. The man then describes what he saw in the afterlife. Socrates says this is the best guess he has as to what the afterlife is like, and so he recants what the man said. Keep in mind it is hard to analyze and simplify this part, so there will be errors. The man says that when you died, you entered a chamber in which you were judged. If you were deemed a good person, you went to the right. (Presumably Heaven.) And if you were bad, you got to the left. (Presumably hell.) He describes how you get many tortures for each bad thing you did, and many pleasures for all of the good things. When you finish that (which will presumably be 100’s of years), you fly up to a massive construction using many turning rings colored differently. On each of the rings is a siren, singing a single note so when they’re voices join together they make a great chorus.
In front of this massive contraption is a spirit. The spirit transforms these people into what they wish to be in the next life. There memories are wiped. But this prince says he, instead of being resurrected in a different form, was so admired he was brought back to life.
Thus Socrates ends The Republic, having defined justice, explained the human mind, and built the perfect conceptual city.
One thought on “An Analysis of Plato’s Republic: Book 10”
This struck a chord with me. I’ve been reading Lucian lately and found his Necromantic Experiment very funny and very interesting. Ancient ideas of heaven and hell are something I have never really thought about before. http://lucianofsamosata.info/wiki/doku.php?id=home:texts_and_library:dialogues:menippus
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