What Plato says about eros, its withholding, and how its withholding leads to inspiration seems to me to be a virile truth. The creative nature between any two comrades, it may be said, is inherently tied to the mostly unconscious sexual tension that lies between them. The more that this sexual tension is suppressed and sublimated through the friendship’s energy and direction—its expending in the most powerful and fulfilling of ways—the greater each friend has to benefit from that relationship and what creative energy they gain from it in their pursuits.
The extrovert is simply he who expends energy in introverted isolation in order to create, while the introvert is he who expends energy in extroverted communication in order to create. The extrovert gains energy through communication and then expends it during introverted processes in order to discover and be inspired, while the introvert is the one who discovers and becomes inspired more so in conversation with others. Friends and creative relationships are always as good as they are because they are good transferences of this suppressed tension. In cases where such tension is breached with eros, it might be that it is penetrated in such a way as to allow the daemonic miasma beneath that broken membrane to remain and fester—perhaps in certain, more Dionysian spirits this is of an even higher creative drive into truth by beauty rather than beauty by truth.
Plato was, with the help of Socrates, the true founder of psychoanalysis. What is the psychoanalytic process, really, other than a glorified and more formally arranged Socratic method? If the analysand is led on by the analyst in such a way as to discover more and more about himself, about what is not within his own conscious knowledge but that which nevertheless takes hold of him in his everyday living and cognition, then the analysand will come into more and more control of himself. He is more and more so less affected by ideology—the truths that have already been determined for him! He denies these truths set out for him in analysis, and instead is watched over by the midwife as he births his own truths, for which he shall decide to pursue overtly or discreetly in his day-to-day life.
Plato was aware of the inherency of the soul—the very incarnate being of who the individual is. The psychoanalytic process—despite Freud’s own metaphysical neophytism—is inherently a metaphysical construct of the soul, for it says that there is something to individuate upon despite the environmental education we are inevitably subjected to by the world outside the womb. What better term for Socrates to label himself than as a midwife? For the analyst is always in pursuit to show the man out of the womb, as Wittgenstein said of the fly and fly-bottle in regards to the purpose of philosophy. What else is out there beyond one’s own self, and how is this being a reflection of my own?
Is Plato a great philosopher? We know such a title to be nonsensical by most current standards—but it is worthy an investigation. Of the little I know of that world in the written philosophy, what philosopher ever says one thing another has not? Do any philosophers really disagree with one another? In being forced to divide the world of the psyches into two, I am fond of the binary with philosophical souls on one side and the non-philosophical souls on the other. Did Plato see that differently? Subtracting one from his tripartite, what is the purpose of his Republic? To serve the discovery of inherent truths, that is, to provide the education for the Philosopher Kings—the philosophical souls. All other citizen duties are to mind their own business and stay out of political judgment, to do their duty to the city in such a way as to promote the continual harmony of themselves and the city’s affairs, so as to ultimately support the souls of the philosophically natured.
There are only two opinions in the world: There is the opinion of the philosopher, that wisdom is the greatest pursuit; then there is the opinion of the non-philosopher, that wisdom is not the greatest of pursuits. These are not mere isolated opinions, of course, but drastically differing natures that produce such manifestations, regardless of the education one might receive. For one to go from fool to philosopher is of course not unheard of, and may in fact be the best course of education for the philosophically natured, but such a man was by his nature a philosopher already; as to whether or not it is ever discovered within him depends on his own volition and luck.
The harmonious and ethical society for Plato is the one in which the few greatest individuals who have the nature of the philosopher are given the proper education in law-making and philosophical conduct, and in which they are supported by the city they command. In such a society it is up to the non-philosophers to serve their kings, for by their nature they do not find wisdom to be the greatest pursuit. It is not a vice to be of such a nature, it is only a vice to act in any other way than service to those who do possess the philosopher’s nature if one himself does not possess it. What is the vice of the philosopher, then? To pursue anything other than what his nature has given him. Wasted talents are a crime against nature and The One. It is near to disregarding one’s business in the Platonic hierarchy of sin, and in most cases the two vices abet one another.
Plato proposes a most ahistorical and likely radical conclusion—the kings are to be the slaves, the slaves, kings! Where in mankind’s great cultural and political history has such a state been seen? It has, for the most part, been quite the opposite, regardless of whatever subverted manifestation of tyranny it has adopted. There have been the rulers who rule over the ruled, but not the rulers ruled over by the city in itself. The ethical city must become its own consciousness—it must be recognized as such, its very own spirit! It is a living and glorious creature, an organic litmus to the quality of its own people and their fruits.
When I was younger, long before I ever encountered Plato, I imagined a society not dissimilar to his own, except in my head then I was convinced that through ethical education all could become philosophers, and therefore all their own ruler. Experience and Plato have led me to be convinced otherwise. This is however a very delicate belief within me, I do not know which aspects of it are true. I do fear that in order for everyone to be a philosopher, great costs would have to be made to the point where man has become so foreign to his own nature, like some sort of postmodern blob, that he is no longer a willful creature but a weak and disheveled mechanism of dis-originality. He would simply parrot and reinforce the culture of his time without any insight into a higher truth, for he has abandoned it in pursuit of an egalitarian society of slaves.
Is nature democratic or aristocratic? Democratic, if all return to dust and death—oblivion. Within Platonic metaphysics, we are still of differing natures. It is in fact these Heavenly natures that produce the difference of the Earthly ones. But if such things are not true, only in its end does nature reflect fairness and equality. In the life of itself, in the processing of its being, it seems rather the opposite. Competition and inherencies of natures produce differences that can only be controlled through intense limitations of individual will and potency. To go against these inherencies is intrinsically tied to the production of meritocracy over excellency. To do this with animals man must create a laboratory, to do such a thing to himself he secures a government.
Should government reflect nature or man’s idea of man? I do not know such a thing even more so than other things I do not know. Perhaps in most situations moderation between the two would be of best approach. Nature in itself is Hobbesian, dark and relentless. Man’s nature is of an animal with the addition of reason, and it is reason that leads one to the Sun, to the soul, and away from the spirit of the Earth.