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Old 06-05-2010, 03:11 PM   #8
FlorenceArt
High Priestess
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Montreuil sous bois, France
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Why I hate Plato

To be honest, I have only recently started being interested in philosophy. Of course I read some when I was a teenager. I remember reading Nietzsche (mandatory teenage reading I guess) but I don't remember anything about it. I also read a few religious texts, the Koran and the Tao, and even parts of the Bible

I tried reading Plato at that time, and was shocked by the so-called "dialogs" that consisted mainly of some acolyte cycling through a dozen versions of "yes, you are so right" while Socrates was rambling on. The shock was because of the way my father had told me about Socrates and the "maïeutique", or how he helped others "give birth" to ideas. Yeah, right.

I have always been interested in ideas and theories, but until a few months ago, so during an interval of at least 20 years, I don't think I read any purely philosophical book. Then I decided to give Plato another try.

Oh my. It was even worse than I thought.

Not only is Plato's Socrates a rather unlikeable individual who obviously enjoys befuddling and making fun of adversaries who are invariably presented as barely able to rub two ideas together, and quickly reduced to either bovine agreement or threats(*). The worst is his philosophy.

No wonder the Catholic thinkers were delighted by him and tried to make him a sort of honorary Christian. He was, in the worst sense of the word. He hated life and the body. He had a passionate contempt for reality. He was -gasp- an idealist.

One example stayed with me: in one of his -ahem- dialogs, he explains why medicine is an art, while cooking is not. The reason for this, ladies and gentlemen, is that a cook learned how to cook (which food tastes good, which is poisonous, etc) through experience. But he doesn't know why. Which makes him obviously inferior to a doctor.

In case you're not getting this, let me expand: a cook, who knows how to feed people and keep them alive, is inferior to a doctor, who kills people (because that's what doctors did in these times). But that's OK because the doctor has a theory (most likely some nonsense about humors or the balance of elements in the body).

It's with nonsense like this that you end up killing people for their own good.

So in case it's not clear already, no matter how much I love ideas, I don't think they matter more than people, or life, or reality. Even if they are so much more comfortable to play with

So, I guess that was a bit more on my philosophy, or lack of it.

Aren't you glad you dropped by?


(*) Well, considering what happened to Socrates, I'm obliged to admit that maybe the threats were not entirely fictitious
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