To compare The West's greatest philosopher with the 2017 movie adaptation of manga's equivalent to War & Peace - Ghost In The Shell - may seem at first glance to be an odd pairing. Especially since many critics panned the film as a complete failure.
But in truth, comparing The Major with Plato is in fact very relevant to The West today.
Ghost In The Shell is a story about Man's core reality - his immortal soul - and the fact The West no longer believes it exists.
Severely underrated film in my opinion. The mass audience didn't seem to care about it while the anime community didn't want to give it a chance. It's such a shame too because you can tell they literally put their all into this.
Dragonheart22 - Comment on the lack of recognition this live action adaptation of Ghost In The Shell got in The West.
Put their all into it. Passion, love, heart... soul?
A few men may still argue about the existence of God here and there in the sphere, but the soul? Why would western, godless, atheist, materialist masses respond to a film whose entire theme is about a completely immaterial reality none of them believe in anymore?
I recently finished reading Plato's Republic once again after 19 years, having picked it up at 25 almost two decades ago when I decided I wanted to read something intelligent. Philosophy was "smart," or so I had learned in high school. It was also Greek and, or so I had also been told, this book and author was the very foundation of western civilization.
Maybe it takes a couple decades of life experience to be able to read Plato's political work about the ideal city and see deeper into what the philosopher was trying to teach. I hope to do a more full (perhaps even by Book chapter) review in the future, but what I wanted to note as important right now is precisely why The West is dying.
With the death of the soul in The West, so too went justice and pursuit of the good.
It is not just God-is-dead that is the problem in The West. Plato's Republic made it crystal clear the decline of The West goes even deeper than belief in God or not.
What the belief in God entailed at it's core was a connection to God via Man's immortal soul.
A connection that was vital to his existence and was a major actor in his ultimate fate... after death. How a man took care of his soul was not just a matter of spiritual hygiene, it was literally a matter of punishment or reward for the entirety of his words and deeds, said and done, in this mortal life.
When you reflect on the fact that for over 2000 years, pre or post Christianity, western Man had some concept of an immortal soul that he must take into account as he lived his life... it's not really all that difficult to see how, when and why The West went astray.
Plato IS The West.
Without Plato, there is no soul.
Without a soul in Man, there is no western civilization. Period.
Plato's Republic is The West's foundation for all inquiry into justice and how to find and live the good life - the just life. Most importantly, Republic presents the argument for why a Man should strive to live a just life rather than one of injustice, as was the counter argument put forth at the beginning of the book by Thrasymachus. This quest was especially relavent during the European Enlightenment when Christian foundations of moral truth on justice and the good life were crumbling under the onslaught of science and the eventual kill shot for the soul's existence - Darwin himself. While the logical argument put forth by Plato in search of justice and the good is breathtaking to behold, I was surprised and absolutely shocked by the last chapter, and thus Plato's conclusion to all his dialectic investigations that had preceded it.
Plato's entire argument for justice to exist... is in the existence of the immortal human soul and the consequences, or rewards, it attains after death.
Therefore, since it's not destroyed by a single evil - either it's own [injustice/evil in the soul itself] or an alien [sickness/evil afflicting the body] - it's plainly necessary that it be always and, if it is always, that it be immortal.
Plato - The Republic, 611a, p294
Plainly necessary that the soul is immortal.
This is the conclusion of the investigation of that which western Man no longer believes to exist. Plato goes on to conclude that since the soul is immortal, it can only be made up of "the finest" things. That is, those things that are and partake of what is and do not pass away.
To it's [the soul's] love of wisdom, and recognize what it lays hold of and with what sort of things it longs to keep company on the grounds that it is akin to the divine and immortal and what is always, and what it would become like if it were to give itself entirely to this longing and the rocks and shells were hammered off...
Plato - The Republic, 611e, p295
Plato's entire argument in the Republic is that the body - our material existence - is not what's real, but the soul that is that is real.
What are the soul's "wages and reputations" with respect to justice?
Thus, it must be assumed in the case of the just man that, if he falls into poverty, diseases, or any other of the things that seem bad, for him it will end in some good, either in life or even in death. For, surely, gods at least will never neglect the man who is eagerly willing to become just and, practicing virtue, likens himself, so far as is possible for a human being, to a god.
Plato - The Republic, 613a, p296
To which Plato then details the opposite wages for the unjust man, especially as he reaches old age, for not having lived a life in accordance with the reality of his immortal soul and that which it is and what Man is to be striving for while enmeshed and ensnared in the material world.
Book X's final conclusion (starting 614b), is Plato telling a tale, a poem and myth of philosophy as it were, of the journey of the soul after death. While Greek beliefs about life after death are varied and interesting, the general conclusion is that after you die, that was it.
The Greeks accepted the existence of the soul after death, but saw this afterlife as meaningless.
Mikalson, Jon D (2010). Ancient Greek Religion. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, p178
It is striking to me that Plato's sole purpose with the Republic was to refute this ancient and long standing belief. It was to prove to Greek men that one's actions and words in this life had real consequences. But more importantly than that (for the Greeks did have a Hades for punishment and torture and Elysium for heroic men), it was to root justice in the next life as open and available to all men. That life after death was not only far from meaningless, it was the sole purpose and thus proper orientation for conducting ones life in the here and now. Elysium was not just for heros like Achilles, it was open to all men who pursued a righteous path. That striving for virtue, for justice, was not wasted effort or for fools, as Thrasymachus had argued.
Thus, without belief in consequences or reward after death - i.e. judgement of the soul - there is no justice to be found.
No good life, here are afterward, for any Man. The only reward then in life is that of "the strong," as Thrasymachus would teach. Or, said in more 21st century Red Pill terms - be alpha.
This is how far The West and its men have fallen.
They can see The West is dying, but the response to this crisis is to instead become the Thrasymachus'es of our age. The sophists and teachers of rhetoric on how best to achieve "success" in life - hustle, money and bitches. Just look around the manosphere as it is called by our enemies and see the truth of what men of The West have become - Thrasymachus'es, all hustling to attain material success, women and money, and completely forgetting who and what they are; a mortal body heading to a day of judgement for it's immortal soul.
Do you believe you have an immortal soul?
A real part of yourself that is eternal and abiding, approaching the divine in nature?
How can The West rise again if men do not believe there is anything special about themselves worth fighting for? I touched on this what do you believe aspect about Man and his existence last week. I made the same argument there as I am making here, but with last weeks topic Being Christianity - God and Christ - the root message may have been lost.
Reading Plato's Republic slammed home, for me, the absolute root to me of western man's corruption and disease.
Western men today believe they are nothing but shadows and dust.
Shadows and dust.
Why would any man fight for The West if there is nothing after this world to give him a reason to fight?
Why does Maximus run up that colosseum ramp to fight yet another man intent on killing him to kill the dream that was Rome?
What was the dream that was Rome in the first place?
The dream of Rome was a dream of a just and good life, for all men, because the truth of Man's immortal soul made it incumbent upon him to become virtuous.
The Republic was Plato's anchoring of justice as the guiding principle for Man. For the next 2000 years, this book grounded western belief in justice to deeds, to laws, to morality and ethics in this life, because the consequences of NOT doing so were dire and real in the next one. The West took this seriously because they believed in the existence of the soul, especially with the advent of Christianity and the supplanting of pagan myths about life and death.
Augustine leaned heavily on Plato and grounded no less than 1000 years of European culture and life on the importance of the soul's journey over the body. The Christian soul had a destiny - a just one, rewarded with a good afterlife for living a good and just life in this one. This belief on the soul's fate guided western men for centuries, centuries that just so happen to coincide with our almost near complete dominance of the earth.
Even the advent of science and Darwin did not shake this foundation of western belief in the soul until well into the 20th century. But after WW2, the soul was forgotten. Increasingly, the body and materialism became the idol and god of western man, but if the body and matter is all there is, all Man will ever be, where is justice? In place of a soul, is feminism, Darwinian Red Pill philosophy and increasingly, dogmatic belief in psychological personality types as can be seen in many a Twitter profile declaring what psyche tribe they belong to. Try debating that four letter psyche type is bullshit with respect to the whole of a Man, and watch the serious and angry rabid response you get.
This... was the kind of passion and belief the soul of Man once used to have in The West. At least a turn to psyche type and temperament is something, but it is nothing because all it does is once again, explain man as matter, as genes, as a specific neurological map that boxes man into this or that but does not free him.
The soul, free in its ability to choose it's path in life, is the very root foundation in The West's grounding of the rights of man.
It's where honor, virtue and respect are drawn from. Without it... what is a Man?
This is an interior fresco of the Vank Cathedral in Isfahan, Iran. I believe it is considered part of the tradition of Christian doom paintings that depicted "when Christ judges souls to send them to either Heaven or Hell."
Dooms were encouraged by the early medieval Church as an instrument to highlight the contrasts between the reward of Heaven and the agony of Hell so as to guide Christians away from misbehaviour and sin. A Doom was usually positioned either on the rear (liturgical Western) wall, if that space was available, or at the front (Chancel end) of a church, often on the Chancel arch itself so that it would be constantly visible to worshippers as they faced the altar during services.
Doom Paintings - Wikipedia
The closing chapter of The Republic would be completely dismissed today because western peoples now completely dismiss Christian doom paintings - there is no soul to be judged or rewarded. This is why arguments for a return to virtue being the heart and soul of a real Man, capital M, are constantly ridiculed as being 'trad' and, well, stupid.
Yet, if Plato's argument for the immortality of the soul is as valid and true today as it was over 2000 years ago...
How on earth do we get western Man to believe in a soul again?
Forget God or Christ. Just get men to believe they have something immortal within them that will carry over into the next life, taking with it all the words and deeds that immortal something performed while on earth.
No distillation of Red Pill philosophy can compete with the philosophy of Man's soul.
If Man's immortal soul is his reality, and we refuse to look into its ideal form and what its purpose is in Man's life, we will forever be thrashing about in darkness, hurtling toward destruction.
Plato understood one thing very important about his time and place in history. If he could get pagan man to take his soul seriously, and tie the concept of justice to it, it would transform not just that man's life, but the whole of humanity within the city of men. We see what happened when western Man took Plato to be wise and focused his entire life around perfecting the divine within and making justice and the good life the sole goal of life.
What is Red Pill philosophy giving to western Man for a legacy that will last 2000 years?
What is Red Pill philosophy building as foundation for western Man's future greatness?
As far as my eye can see, materialist Red Pill philosophy is only resulting in the acceleration of the death of western Man and the feminnizing of his very being. In believing there is only this material world that is real, western man is pursuing the goddess into the dirt of the earth, a coward who has not the courage to take back his own lands and culture from foreign invaders. Invaders who, curiously enough, believe in a divine soul and judgement after death.
Mind and body. Are they just material atoms and molecules? If so, then we should be able to digitize everything about humanity and strap it into a robot.
But for what purpose? To what end? Why?
Why try to preserve nothing more than the firing of neurons to sensory stimuli?
Either Man is more than a machine, or he is not. And if not, the pursuit of justice and the good life is delusion and fantasy.
Man's justice and the good life is as Thrasymachus says it is - the strong over the weak.
Is this The West that was? The dream that was Rome?
To return to a belief that Man is an inconsequential being of no intrinsic value?
That justice is what the strong can impose on the weak?
That the good life is only for those master sophists who can talk their way into getting everything they want?
Does that sound like solid Red Pill philosophy and good advice to you?
If so, then I guess Plato, and this author, is a fossil of The West's past. A past where Man once believed he was more than shadows and dust, mere play things for the Gods.
A past where Man once thought it was possible, through his own choices and effort, to dine with the Gods themselves as one of them.
Strength & Honor