From the Times of Plato to Our Current Cultural Decline

8 Jan

Michel deMontaigne, in his essays (16th century), summarizes his understanding of a segment of Plato’s beliefs:       [Content in brackets is inserted by me]

“Plato in his Laws esteems nothing of more pestiferous [harboring infection and disease] consequence to his city than to give young men the liberty of introducing any change in their habits, gestures, dances, songs, and exercises, from one form to another; shifting from this to that, hunting after novelties, and applauding the inventor; by which means manners are corrupted and the old institutions come to be nauseating and despised. . . .  [For, according to Plato] no laws are truly worthy of credit, but such to which God has given so long a continuance that no one knows their beginning, or that there ever was any other.”

Realizing that this is an oversimplification of Plato’s thought (for example, taken at face value, one might conclude that Plato could never have been open to Christianity), I find it somewhat, and in a weird way, comforting that Plato (born about 2435 years ago), student of Socrates and noted philosopher in his own right, felt that his own society was plagued by “undesirable” and culturally-undermining changes driven by the immature and naturally-rebellious visions of youth.


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