Thursday, October 27, 2005
The Realized Alternative
The man who takes up continuous contemplation is often one who cannot reconcile himself to his community, despite his endless self-analysis and his numerous attempts to change. He turns to thought when his object ceases to be reconciliation through the recreation of himself in the image of the community and becomes reconciliation through the recreation of the community in the image of himself. Consider Plato’s Republic. A tripartite community as the mirror image of the human soul, with reason and thus philosophers in control, was ultimately the mirror image of Plato. The forms, the ideals, the universalizing principles that so altered the course of Western perception were simply the means for Plato to justify his claims for himself. It does not matter that he never saw the realization of his community. He probably never expected to. For him it was enough to have created the alternative in theory and to believe that it was real, while the one tormenting him, the democracy that had condemned and killed Socrates, was only an illusion.