In his long, exhausting search of what makes nations and peoples happy, Plato often wrote about the community and its members. He tried to address their problems in various aspects; political, social, economic and others. His philosophy was said to set the basis of European philosophy, to the extent that it made some say that the Western philosophy was a mere interpretation of Plato's philosophy. This great philosopher lived in the age of Greek Enlightenment, an epoch where intellectual, political, and social harbingers dominated the small states then; some of those heralds still haunt faithful people in various parts of the world till today, especially those who refuse their peoples be driven into the abyss, in the name of holiness, sacrifice or loyalty.
In the midst of his intellectual manifestations, Plato identified three major sources of human behaviour; desire, passion, and knowledge. Regardless of his position in his society, man carries these manifestations of behavior with him, but at different levels. There is whose desire dominates everything, transforming him into a personification of flaming hunger, which pushes him into competitions and materialistic conflicts, burning with the craving of luxury and appearance. This type of character will have meager gains when viewed according to life objectives.
This category is common among the glitterati, especially when extravagance - real or pretentious- increases. I could not find a better description of those people than that of the novelist Paulo Coelho in his novel The Zahir. In one chapter of his novel, Coelho talks about those who attend intellectual gatherings and formal occasions describing them in a very meticulous wording. He says that you hear them complain about their lives just to add some flavor to their private and public evenings.
In such evenings, women wear revealing and sometimes overt clothes, yet guests must not stare at them so as not to be said they were rude! You hear compliments, such as, "You look so elegant tonight!" and "Your skin looks great!", and when they go back home they say, "How ugly everyone's clothes were!" Paulo says, "There are those who are workaholic, and those who are addicted to pleasures. Both parties are unhappy, and they know that they are missing an opportunity, but they cannot avoid acting as such."
The second source of human behaviour, as classified by Plato, is passion, which flaws in the heart the flaw of blood in blood vessels. Passion, for me, is what dominates the soul; when it forces our way, it turns our communities either into a mass celebration, or into a mass mourning.
This is true in countries like Iran and Egypt. In Iran, religious passion encompasses the members of the community, like a snake coiling around its prey, and it penetrates into every detail of their lives. Even you find the homes of those who refuse such concepts and ideas, black- tainted, to match the emotions of grief, the sense of the injustice and the feeling of oppression of other countries.
In some cities in Egypt, you feel like walking in an a public mass wedding where people enjoy listening to a song, even if the singer is from the same neighborhood, opposing the Arabic proverb that reads, "The neighborhood singer gives no joy " . Nonetheless, everyone is seeking entertainment to escape hardship and poverty, and everyone is waiting for a joke that may make them, forget that they live on the land of one of the greatest civilizations ever.
In Egypt and Iran community is led by passion and stirring emotions, which sometimes supersedes opinion and logic, like the cart when put before the horse thus stopping the caravan. The way is then paved for the emergence of a new type of men who neither have any passions and emotions nor care about any of them. They are seen by their communities as "heroes", and they believe that the nation's sole victory lies in military triumphs and revolt against monarchy. In both cases, they are playing on the cords of the hearts of poor peoples, who dance to the funeral tune ignorantly.
When emotion-resisting people emerge in a society full of emotions, "victory" is re-defined to become synonymous to "rogue", and a "gain" in the battle field, not in the markets!
All of those people, previously described, are the men with a will of fire, burning all that in their path to them, even as they believe they are doing the right thing. The men of light are the men of wisdom. Their life is full of serenity, and their springs are those of thought and meditation. They are described by Plato as those who stand aside; the world does not know how to benefit from them, neither does it appreciates or values them.
Men of light represent the philosophers, whose desires are pure, and whose emotions are so warm and need not fire. In knowledge lies their wellbeing. Men of light are like the stars which add holiness to the night. Plato says, “A nation without the guidance of knowledge is a mass without a system, and a herd without a shepherd”. Philosophy means wisdom, culture, and knowledge.
This is how we understood philosophy from our early teachers. Cities and the human race will not survive corruption and evil, as Plato says, unless philosophers become kings, or kings are turned into philosophers; the honest and the faithful, whose wills are of light not fire, the ones who prefer their lives to shine, rather than bang, to be like a celestial planet, rather than fiery meteors. In short, they are those who triumph over themselves, before they triumph over others.
In his long, exhausting search of what makes nations and peoples happy, Plato often wrote about the community and its members. He tried to address their problems in various aspects; political, social, economic and others. His philosophy was said to set the basis of European philosophy, to the extent that it made some say thatRead more
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