Plato’s The Republic, Books 9 and 10 Reflection

I don’t know how, but my post got deleted, so I had to post this again. Who knows where the original post went.


 How will the unjust man ever live a just life?

It was mentioned in Book 9 that the just man has more control over his decisions than the unjust man has over his own. This is because the just man lets his reason, the rational part of his soul, rule his pleasures and desires, while the unjust man does not use his reason, but enslaves himself to his appetitive pleasures and desires. The desires and pleasures of the unjust or tyrannical man can never satisfy them as they are not permanent—they are only illusory pleasures that need to be renewed every time. These insatiable cravings, if they are the only pleasure sought by a man, could only make him a being always hungry of food that will never provide him of all the nutrients which will lead to his well-being.

If the tyrannical man has to start turning his soul into a healthy one, he has to do his part in order to provide himself of his basic needs. Because of his lack of understanding on the pleasures or “nutrition” of the philosophers, the most rational men in the city-state who pursue wisdom on all levels, he must let himself be subjected under the rules that are crafted by the philosophers or guardians. This way, the tyrannical man is not done any harm, but is fed with the nutrients, which we call the knowledge of how to control the unnecessary desires of a man.

Still, just like how the tyrannical man may change his ways and slowly let his reason be the leading component of his soul by abiding by the laws created by the philosophers, the philosophers are able to stay rational as they continuously seek all wisdom and understanding in the universe and attempt to imitate the Form of the Good, which can be regarded as the supreme collection of what is to be known and understood by the wisdom-loving man. Since the just man cannot truly grasp the totality of this form, it can be said that the philosophers are still on the process of becoming the just people, like a piece of metalwork that can be eternally modified to attain perfection, whose bound no one truly knows.

If that is so, then we may regard the tyrannical man, no matter how unjust his deeds in the past were that branded him as such, as potential beings that may be, to some extent, on their way to seeking the just ways. I think that continuously living a tyrannical life will wear a man down, and I believe that human, as every human has a rational part in his soul, will eventually seek a life most pleasurable through the acquirement of wisdom. The tyrant might realize this himself or he might meet some people who are wiser than him within the entirety his life, who could lead him to seek a change in his ways that would help him levitate from his earthly past. This is the possibility in every human being—tyrant or not—that I personally want to believe in.

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