||2018-08-25 16:04:37, 조회 : 34, 추천 : 20
| Abraham Yim|
August 29th, 2018 - Wednesday
O. S. Guinness - Doing Well or Doing Good?
Chapter One - Part Two - Money-Medium of Exchange or Mammon?
Hello, today we are going to go into Chapter One - Part Two, Money-Medium of Exchange or Mammon? Last week, we briefly looked at the three views on money: Judeo-Christian view, Greek view, and Roman view. With the coming weeks, we are going to look into each of these views; the first of which is going to be the Greek view.
We start off with the Greek view. Greece is best known for its philosophers, its warriors, and its politics. Often dawning the title of the Birthplace of the Western World we have a lot to learn from the Greeks. We see its awe-inspiring military, still looked up to in some of today’s societies. We often attribute Greece as the birthplace of modern democracy. We continue to learn about ancient philosophers from the Greek philosophical golden age. In fact, some of Greece’s greatest exports were its philosophical ideas. Greece produced great thinkers like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Archimedes, Hippocrates, and more.
Today we are going to look into Plato, one of the greatest thinkers from Greece. Plato was the born into a family of politicians. Plato quickly saw all of the corruption in politics, and he turned away from joining the political square. Plato took a different route, and “he sought his cure from the ills of society in philosophy.” Under Socrates’ careful guidance, Plato became enlightened, and he became one of the greatest thinkers of his age. With all of this enlightenment - wokeness - he recognized that only real philosophers could be good politicians. Plato stated, “until either real philosophers gain political power or politicians become by some miracle true philosophers [justice would not arrive].” This idea of philosopher-rulers ushers us into one of Plato’s greatest dialogue, The Republic.
In Plato’s The Republic, the dialogue is between Socrates and a student. Socrates describes a utopian society, in which, Socrates trains a group of individuals called Guardians. These people are seen as the best of the best, and they train to become philosopher-rulers that are fit to lead The Republic. For the Guardians to feel devoted to the nation they are serving, everyone needs to share money and property. Guinness paraphrases, “By holding all goods in common, they escape the corrupting power of the quest for material goods.” This requires, in Plato’s words, “First, they shall have no private property beyond the barest essentials. Second, none of them shall possess a dwellinghouse or storehouse to which all have not the right to entry. Next, their food shall be provided by other citizens as an agreed wage for their duties they perform as Guardians; it shall be suitable for brave men living under military training and discipline, and in quantity enough to ensure that there is neither a surplus nor a deficit over the year.”
If you ever heard of the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” then you might find it astonishing to think that Plato would want his entire Republic taking care of all of the children in his utopia. However, the state would have control over who is allowed to have children, and who they may have intercourse with. Only the genetically best offspring would be selected, and the rest would be disposed of. The Republic shares the burden of the state equally amongst all of its citizens - everyone being required to do their own part to bring progress to society.
Plato’s legislature would be strict, complicated, and draconian. With such outrageous claims, came many critics of Plato’s utopian society. Plato’s critics described his society as a rigid dystopia, rather than a free utopia. Two of Plato’s contemporaries criticized Plato’s utopia:
Aristophanes joked about Plato’s sharing of sexual partners in a dialogue between two men named, Blepyros and Praxagora. Blepyros is complaining that if he wanted to kiss a women, then he would have to share this women with every other man in the city. However, Praxagora sees this as a great opportunity because he could sleep with every woman in the city without having to spend a single penny. Aristotle, another one of Plato’s critics, said, “There is further harm in [Plato’s] doctrine: the greater the number of owners, the less the respect for the common property. People are much more careful of their personal possessions than of those owned communally; they exercise care over common property only in so far as they are personally affected.” Aristotle is pointing out that what really makes people care about things is to be able to call it their own. You wouldn’t fix up your neighbor’s house while leaving your own home in shambles, right? Aristotle goes even deeper into the topic by saying, “There are two impulses which more than all others cause human beings to cherish and feel affection for each other: ‘this is my own,’ and ‘this is a delight.’ Among people organized in this manner no one would be able to say either…”
In the end, we can see why the Greek view on money is so toxic. The government controls every aspect of the lives of its citizens. It operates to breed only the best humans through a complicated systemization of sex. Plato’s republic denies any human emotion into his equation for a successful society. Plato believes that if everything is shared then all is well, but in reality, a human’s thirst for more is the real problem. A shared community is cherished equally, but rather the community is equally neglected.
1. What does Plato’s idea of a master human race, and disposal of unappealing offspring remind you of? How so?
2. In what ways does Plato’s Republic fall short in? Wealth? Family? Happiness?
3. How does Plato plan on making up the philosopher-rulers known as the Guardians?
4. How does Plato’s republic remind you of Marxist Communism?