I was making my way through ‘The Republic’ by Plato yesterday when I came across a particularly passage I will share in a moment.
Quickly though I wanted to mention that like most books ‘everyone’ seems to know a little about, the primary knowledge is no where near what the books actual message is. I see this pattern a lot, everyone talks about books in this general knowledge sort of way, and those messages I have found to be about 100% NOT what the pseudo-elites pretend they know about it.
For example another book I just finished was Thus Spoke Zarathustra by F. Nietzsche, for a long time until I educated myself I thought Nietzche was FOR nihilism. Little did I know this gem of a book rails against nihilism and how the superior man should take his rightful place.
Anyway, so The Republic, conventionally understood as some feel-good novel of a utopia, and perhaps understanding philosopher-kings. Man oh man, is that wrong, it is basicly a pro-eugenic book about the best being the leaders of the rest. I believe this was the first real book on Meritocracy.
Anyway, here is the relevant quote (He is talking about what someone who understood truth would do in a corrupt society. Underline mine):
“Those who belong to this small class have tasted how sweet and blessed a possession philosophy is, and have also seen enough of the madness of the multitude; and they know that no politician is honest, nor is there any champion of justice at whose side they may fight and be saved.
Such an one may be compared to a man who has fallen among wild beasts –he will not join in the wickedness of his fellows, but neither is he able singly to resist all their fierce natures, and therefore seeing that he would be of no use to the State or to his friends, and reflecting that he would have to throw away his life without doing any good either to himself or others, he holds his peace, and goes his own way.
He is like one who, in the storm of dust and sleet which the driving wind hurries along, retires under the shelter of a wall; and seeing the rest of mankind full of wickedness, he is content, if only he can live his own life and be pure from evil or unrighteousness, and depart in peace and good-will, with bright hopes.”
God damn Plato. Ahead of your time.