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Best "Star Wars" saga synopsis ever. "Man Eating Teddy Bears", indeed!Perfect convergence of the icons of your kidhood....Legos & Star Wars.
--YELM Mon May 10 12:14:20 2010
My only criticism of the Utopia link is that I don't think the guy understood The Republic as well as he could. Personally, I think Plato's flaw was his emphasis so much on pretty much stripping away the emotions and trying to become an automaton of reason.

The writer of the article only seemed to partially understand the parable of the Cave! Or maybe I'm not understanding it. . .I always had a feeling that even Plato believed that the unveiling of "illusion" was something of an unending quest.

And the exercise of imagining The Republic for the little is kinda interesting. The exercise wasn't to show a community that necessarily made everyone happy in the fashion that we think people should be happy (equality, freedom, benefits, etc. etc.).

The goal of The Republic was to imagine a nation that was pretty much well greased and put people in their places. In other words, it was assumed there were certain types of people, and they had particular places. Put those people in their places, and they'd do just fine.

And the idea of that mental exercise was essentially to demonstrate how to develop a well ordered life, body, soul and mind in a way that would bring contentment.

I'm not saying that I would want to see The Republic made reality. I just think it's much more productive to try understanding the point of a utopia & see what can productively be gotten out of it instead of tearing it down for the practices in it that basically create disgust in modern man. I find it completely anachronistic to do so.

Anyone ever hear of sociological heuristics?!
--The_Lex Mon May 10 23:48:32 2010
I can guess what solciological heuristics means: mathematical guesstimates of what large numbers of people will do? Kind of like Asimov's "Foundation"'s psychohistory, but more guess-y?

FWIW, folks, Lex is a serious scholar of Utopias, which is one of the reasons I posted that link...
--Kirk Tue May 11 08:53:28 2010
Nope. Sociological heuristics is pretty much keeping in mind historical, social and community context when evaluating the words of a person (I'm willing to even say literary words). Reacting to the words of a philospher that was alive millenia ago strikes me as very shallow.

Yeah, Plato's words and ideas don't fit the current milieu in, say, middle to upper class educated America. Academic and intellectual activity has come very far since Plato.
Nonetheless, it pays to remember that Plato and Socrates were big contributors to the tradition of Western civil society and, at the time, they presented civilized options of thought that were far and beyond better than their historical and social milieu. Compared to Plato's day, The Republic could probably be considered an amazing utopia without early as much arbitrary rule of might.

I still think middle to upper class America is a better option than The Republic. I just think it's very shallow to take The Republic at face value.

And I thought you had your own interest in utopianism, if not on a larger social level, at least on a personal habit level.
--The_Lex Tue May 11 18:13:26 2010
I think some of the anti-Plato thought is also a reaction to how insanely highly regarded he was for centuries...

I am interested in Utopias, yeah, it wasn't just for you.
--Kirk Wed May 12 15:27:39 2010
– Tim, yep. There’s stenohimg implicit or unthought in their practice, which is about keeping things pretty much the way they are, I’d suggest.
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