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...until political greatness and wisdom meet in one, cities will never have rest from evils, nor the human race.

Name Plato
Life427 - 347 BC
CountryGreece
CategoryWisdom
Wikipedia>>
The tension between Moses and Thales continues between Plato and Aristotle. Plato, the closest pupil of Socrates, still had something of oriental mysticism. He played with the idea that an ideal world, something like a heaven, existed somewhere and that, sooner or later, the ideal forms could be realized down on earth. The ideal government of our societies would be one in which ruthless, testosterone-driven, power-ambitious men kept some order but, at the same time, did it as softly as possible, having internalized the restraints of wise philosophers. Philosophers almost always think themselves wise. Today, philosophers are called university professors. They, too, are very wise! However clever Plato may have been, we have never seen his ideal government realized on this earth. Why ? Man has always speculated about Good and Evil. In old Babylon and Egypt these two forces were seen in eternal combat with each other. Sometimes Good, and sometimes Evil got the upper hand. In whichever case, the struggle would go on, and the situation would change, but the conflict would never come to an end. Man
had to learn to live with it! It was not until the advent of Zoroaster that the idea of a perfect "final solution" took hold. Zoroaster predicted a final battle in which the army of the Good would, forever, defeat and annihilate the forces of Evil. After that, humanity would, forever, live in a good and peaceful society! Isn't that a seductively tempting idea? The youngest of the Jewish prophets fell for it, the wise Norman Cohn tells us. So did the eschatological teachers of Christianity; the day of Doom, when the Good ones are to be separated from the Evil ones, was soon to come. Such thinking may be equally dangerous as seductive. If you would be naively idealistic, as some think Plato was, you could imagine yourself to be a soldier in the Army of the Good, fighting the final battle against the army of Evil. If you firmly believe this is the very final battle, that if you win you will take down the ideal state from heaven and mankind will forever live in a good, just and peaceful society, isn't that a horribly good justification for killing any amount of enemies with any weapons available? Can you possibly find any examples of such fanatically millenarian thinking in the past 20th century? Why don't we, instead, find any of Plato's calm kings and wise philosophers jointly ruling the world?