Along with Aristotle he created from scratch almost every major idea and thought you’ve ever heard of.
Forget TED Talkers and authors of airport books. If you want real wisdom, go back to the source, that’s what I think.
Few people understand what Plato was doing.
They maybe heard about Socrates and his pop quizzes interrupting lunch-time in the market square. They heard that Plato believed in non-physical Forms and Ideas behind the visible world. (What an idiot, right? LOL)
That’s about it.
Plato’s concerns can be summed up in a single word:
How do human beings live well? What makes a good, excellent life?
Back in his time, when Athens had just fought and lost a major war with Sparta, along with other chaos, you weren’t but a hair’s width away from real barbarian violence.
Living well meant being a great warrior, famous for bravery and cunning, and wealthy from all the riches you accumulated.
Socrates asked his annoying questions to figure out whether this was really the best way to live. Could there be more than fighting, fame, and f… material pleasures?
Do we really know what we say we know about good living?
Come to see beyond the delusions and illusions of ordinary life and you can get a glimpse of the true Good.
That change of vision takes a transformation inside the person.
You can’t be taught this or made to see it by cramming book-learning into your mind, the way we treat education today. There are no “value bombs” in Plato. You can be led to it, but each must come to see the truth as a personal vision from within.
Unlike philosophers today, Plato didn’t ignore the body. He believed that the living body and its needs were essential to good living. Life goes best when the body and its desires are balanced in harmony with your higher intellectual parts.
A healthy diet and a regular habit of physical activity are essential to the harmony of your whole being.
Good mind, good body.
How do you do this? Plato wrote that it came down to what you love.
If you truly love the Good, your whole being will fall in line like iron dust lining up in a magnetic field.
You won’t have to force yourself to do the right thing. You’ll do it because that’s what you want, that’s the good that you see.
Lots of lessons in that for anyone struggling to stay consistent, with exercise or anything else.