I am currently studying Platonic (Plato) and Aristotelian (Aristotle) philosophies in the hope of making sense of the world, and it’s current changes. This is what I have come up with so far – my Plato vs Aristotle debrief.
The real Truth is unknowable. Reality is another dimension and comes through revelation. ‘Philosopher-kings’ (priests, leaders, guru’s) can reveal ‘Truth’ to you but is unrecognisable to the common man.
This ideology often leads to authoritarian models. Recent history has shown this with Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin and Chairman Mao.
Collectivism, generally considered left-wing politically, puts the community needs ahead of the individual’s needs. Platonic philosophy will inevitably lead to a collectivist system.
This can (and often does) lead to excessive altruism; having concern for the welfare of others without looking after oneself – psychologically, spiritually and physically.
Specific welfare programs in the west may be seen as a good example of positive ‘collectivist’ manifestations.
We can know reality through our senses. This enables us to be our own master rather than needing ‘philosopher-kings’. We can build high levels of self-esteem through this knowing and personal mastery.
Individualism is born of this philosophy. Using our senses and the subsequent gift of reason, we can know the world around us and make the most of the resources available. We can create and develop whatever we wish with the right application without the need for others.
Individualism is generally considered right-wing politically, although many ‘individualists’ would argue that ‘left and right’ are both statist and do not fit individualism at all, with the individual as the highest principle above the state.
In excess, this ideology can lead to extreme capitalism—destruction to the biosphere and utterly unconcerned for the welfare of anything but profit. We are seeing a lot of this today.
It can also lead to excessive selfishness. Having no concern for the welfare of others, providing the individuals wants and needs are met.
Passing Thoughts – Plato vs Aristotle
Consciousness seems to swing like a sin wave from the individualistic to the collectivistic. This tends to happen to individuals and societies over time. Plato vs Aristotle seems a good example of this shift in these alternating realities.
These shifts in consciousness create a change in values. As values change, so do the systems we use.
This is why I think it is essential to study the work of these two great philosophers and realise how their ideals are being played out.
Can there be a merging of the two to create a holistic and integrated modus operandi? I think what we see at the moment is a move towards the next level of consciousness as a species; ‘The Shadow’ coming to the surface to be recognised.