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Perception of Absolute Unity: From Socrates–Glaucon Dialogue in “The Republic” by Plato (vegetarian)

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The venerated Socrates was born in Athens, Greece circa 470 BC. Many people consider Him to be the father of Western philosophy. Others think of Him as an insightful teacher and an enlightened Master. Most of the information about Socrates, His life and His philosophy, was transcribed after His departure by two of His students, Plato and Xenophon. These disciples wrote about their Master in several books, in which Socrates is depicted as the main character. One of Plato’s most famous and influential philosophical works is titled “The Republic.” It features valuable dialogues between Socrates and others, mainly on the topic of justice, and also the philosopher’s journey to acquiring higher knowledge. Socrates believed that an individual’s main purpose on Earth was to discover the Truth. With compassion for all life, Socrates followed and promoted a vegetarian diet. Today, we will read an excerpt from Plato’s book “The Republic,” with a dialogue between the philosopher Socrates and Glaucon, where they reflect on true ruling guardians and on the kind of knowledge which would draw one toward “contemplation of true being.”

“You must contrive for your future rulers another and a better life than that of a ruler, and then you may have a well-ordered State; for only in the State which offers this, will they rule who are truly rich, not in silver and gold, but in virtue and wisdom, which are the true blessings of life. Whereas, if they go to the administration of public affairs, poor and hungering after their own private advantage, thinking that hence, they are to snatch the chief good, order there can never be; for they will be fighting about office, and the civil and domestic broils which thus arise will be the ruin of the rulers themselves and of the whole State.” “Who then are those whom we shall compel to be guardians? Surely, they will be the men who are wisest about affairs of State, and by whom the State is best administered, and who at the same time have other honors and another and a better life than that of politics? They are the men, and I will choose them, he replied. And now shall we consider in what way such guardians will be produced, and how they are to be brought from darkness to light, – as some are said to have ascended from the world below to the gods?”

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