Whoever recognizes Plato’s “Republic” in the series of posts “The Antithesis of Combat“, even if it is only a small glimpse of it, with incomparably less philosophical and literary quality, is not in the face of mere coincidence. I have always admired the construction from scratch of Plato’s state in Book II of the “Republic”, and I think it came to my mind when I realized how inferior the adults are to children, and I decided to get rid of them (us) in “my state”.
The “children” on the other side of the valley would have been very surprised, but welcoming. Decades would have passed without anyone to observe, talk or play. They would be happy to give chocolate to the prairie children and let them play with their toys. They would also have heard about the different types of toys the children from below would have, and would be more than happy to taste the meat they would have brought. Their valley would be too narrow to allow cattle to be raised, and all they would have would be goats and poultry. Only then would they realize how fed up they were with goat meat. They would propose to provide more chocolate if the prairie kids brought them more meat, and an agreement would be made cheerfully. But something strange would happen when the prairie kids asked for toys in exchange for even more meat. The kids on the mountain would not agree to trade their toys.
Let me now deepen my fantastic assumptions and establish that these kids would never grow old. Well, they would eventually reach sixty, seventy or even ninety years of age and then die like we do, but their bodies would remain the same throughout their lives. This means that women would never exist, only little girls that wouldn’t elicit nor feel any sexual appeal. Boys and girls would forever attend to their chores and play with their toys. This is not to say that they wouldn’t become mature — they would. But their relish would never move from that innocent playfulness of childhood towards the lustful shallowness of an alcohol-induced hunt for the pleasures of flesh. Their vices would be others.
Imagine a fantastic scenario similar to that shown in the movie “Children of Men”: the devastating effects of our neglect of the world ended up making women no longer able to conceive; the human race is in a countdown to extinction. In my scenario, the problem is even worse — all but the children die suddenly.
Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430), Saint Augustine, was originally from the Roman province of North Africa called Numidia, now part of Algeria. About forty years before his birth, in 313, Constantine legalized Christianity; about forty years after his death, in 476, the Western Roman Empire came to an end.
When the alarm goes off at two in the morning, he is sure he is still dreaming. He just closed his eyes, so it can not be time to wake up. But it is. The problem is that after twenty hours working hard to protect the families of others, trying to earn in the private sector the money the police is supposed to provide, those three hours of sleep seem to pass like a glimpse, a brief interlude of life as deep as one’s own death.
I once played with the idea that I would not only read the Great Books of the Western World, but memorize them all. Of course, I was indulging myself in impossible dreams, but that has led me to a whole universe of thought (literally) that I had never dreamed existed: the Art of Memory.
SUMMARY: In the beginning, laws were customs, and man did not have individual rights, but with property, marriage and government, laws evolved, and the individual emerged.
The sophists have been branded throughout history as greedy and imoral teachers, but that’s polemics for a history course, or one on Plato and his obsession with them. Leonard Peikoff focuses instead on the ideas they put forth — even if their main idea is the negation of all ideas.
“Yo no creo en brujas, pero que las hay, las hay”. That summarizes the agnostic’s creed. This is no attitude at all. It is sitting on the fence. It is renouncing the responsibility of judging, of choosing your path, of building and then standing behind your own convictions. In a word, it is evasion. I used to say I was an agnostic. No. Let’s take a stance. Let’s have the guts to say it. Let’s be bold for once. I am not an agnostic anymore. I am an atheist.