Athens, 2400 years ago. It’s a compact place:
only about a quarter of a million people live here. There are fine baths, theatres, temples,
shopping arcades and gymnasiums It’s warm for more than half the year. This is also home to the world’s first true
– and probably greatest – philosopher: Plato Born into a prominent and wealthy family in the city, Plato devoted his life to one goal:
helping people to reach a state of what he termed: εὐδαιμονία (Eudaimonia) or fulfilment. Plato is often confused with Socrates Socrates was an older friend,
who taught Plato a lot but didn’t write any books. Plato wrote lots of them: 36, all
dialogues: beautifully crafted scripts of imaginary discussions in which Socrates is
always allocated a starring role – among them: The Republic
The Symposium The Laws
The Meno and
The Apology Plato had four big ideas for making life more
fulfilled. First big idea: Think more We rarely give ourselves time to think carefully
and logically about our lives and how to live them. Sometimes we just go along with what the the
Greeks called ‘doxa’: ‘popular opinions’. In the the 36 books he wrote, Plato showed
this ‘common-sense’ to be riddled with errors, prejudice and superstition. Fame is great Follow your heart Money is the key to a good life The problem is, popular opinions edge us towards
the wrong values, careers and relationships. Plato’s answer is ‘Know yourself.’ It means doing a special kind of therapy,
philosophy: Subjecting your ideas to examination rather
than acting on impulse. If you strengthen your self-knowledge, you
don’t get so pulled around by feelings. Plato compared the role of our feelings to
being dragged dangerously along by a group of wild horses. In honor of his mentor and friend, Socrates,
this kind of examination is called a Socratic discussion. You can have it with yourself
or ideally, with another person who isn’t trying to catch you out but wants to help
you clarify your own ideas. Second Big idea: Let your lover change you. That sounds weird, if you think that love
means finding someone who wants you just the way you are. In The Symposium , Plato’s play about a
dinner party where a group of friends drink too much and get talking about love, sex and relationships, Plato says:
“True love is admiration.” In other words, the person you need to get
together with should have very good qualities … which you yourself lack. Let’s say, they should be really brave Or organised. Or warm and sincere By getting close to this person, you can become
a little like they are. The right person for us helps us grow to our
full potential. For Plato, in a good relationship, a couple
shouldn’t love each other exactly as they are right now. They should be committed to educating each
other – and to enduring the stormy passages this inevitably involves. Each person should want to seduce the other
into becoming a better version of themselves. Three: decode the message of beauty. Everyone – pretty much – likes beautiful
things Plato was the first to
ask why do we like them? He found a fascinating reason: Beautiful objects are whispering important
truths to us about the good life … We find things beautiful when we unconsciously
sense in them qualities we need but are missing in our lives. gentleness harmony balance peace strength Beautiful objects therefore have a really
important function. They help to educate our souls. Ugliness is a serious matter too. it parades
dangerous and damaged characteristics in front of us. It makes it harder to be wise, kind
and calm. Plato sees art as therapeutic: it is the duty
of poets and painters (and nowadays, novelists, television producers and designers) to help
us live good lives. Four: Reform society. Plato spent a lot of time thinking how the
government and society should ideally be. He was the world’s first utopia thinker. In this, he was inspired by Athens’s great
rival: Sparta. This was a city-sized machine for turning
out great soldiers Everything the Spartans did – how they raised
their children, how their economy was organised, whom they admired, how they had sex, what
they ate – was tailored to that one goal. And Sparta was hugely successful, from a military
point of view. But that wasn’t Plato’s concern. He wanted
to know: how could a society get better at producing not military power but fulfilled
people? In his book, The Republic, Plato identifies
a number of changes that should be made: Athenian society was very focused on the rich,
like the louche aristocrat Alcibiades, and sports celebrities, like the boxer Milo of
Croton. Plato wasn’t impressed: it really matters
who we admire, because celebrities influence our outlook, ideas and conduct. And bad heroes
give glamour to flaws of character. Plato therefore wanted to give Athens new
celebrities, replacing the current crop with ideally wise and good people he called Guardians models for everyone’s good development. These people would be distinguished by their record of
public service, their modesty and simple habits, their dislike of the limelight and their wide
and deep experience. They would be the most honored and admired people in society. He also wanted to end democracy in Athens.
He wasn’t crazy. He just observed how few people think properly before they vote and
therefore we get very substandard rulers. He didn’t want to replace democracy with
horrid dictatorship; but wanted to prevent people from voting until
they had started to think rationally. Until they had become philosophers. Otherwise, government
would just be a kind of mob rule [back to To help the process, Plato started a school,
The Academy, in Athens, which lasted a good 300 years. There, pupils learnt not just maths
and spelling, but also how to be good and kind. His ultimate goal was that politicians should
become philosophers: ‘The world will not be right,’ he said, ‘until kings become
philosophers or philosophers kings.’ [show Hollande, Merkel, Cameron all trooping into
a uni- then coming out as philosophers] Plato’s ideas remain deeply provocative
and fascinating. What unites them is their ambition and their idealism. He wanted philosophy
to be a tool to help us change the world. We should continue to be inspired by his example.

100 thoughts on “PHILOSOPHY – Plato

  1. Females do not think rationally so why have they got the vote?

    Female power is destroying Western civilisation.

  2. Hello my name is Pieter Zandvliet a Dutch Artist, in my webshop I made drawings of philosophers, poets and writers, have fun watching! @t

  3. ‘’ A life based on the question of its greatest good is a life lived to the fullest ‘’ This quote by Plato stuck with me since I was 17 and I am 26 now. Philosophy changed my life in a good way thank you so much for sharing this content with other people to see and free their minds.

  4. One thing i learnt, whenever you say 'first, great, only and inventor of the world' you only mean the person from your society only. You think there was no World existed beyond Europe and China for the taste of argument.

  5. KNOW THYSELF. “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. … “Know Thyself.” The meaning of these two words are attributed to the Greek philosopher Socrates and inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

  6. Real philosophy comes from Persia. All the evidence got burnt by terrorists from Macedonia, Arabia and Mongolia.

  7. now I know why in The good place chidi and aleonor(im forgot her name) always into each other

  8. "We find things beautiful because we find qualities in them" Damn this is game changing! I never thought of it about this way.

  9. I have been wracking my brain (and the internet) for years trying to find out which ancient sage said (or wrote), "When athletes and actors are revered as gods, the end of the republic is near." Was that Plato, in "The Republic?"

  10. This would be BRILLIANT without the Pythonesque graphics: we are not ALL American teenagers – and people who NEED silly graphics are hardly likely to be interested in Plato in the first place, surely ?

  11. Democrats are primarily ugly. It’s a fact that most republican women are hot. Thankfully we have a constitutional Republic in America

  12. Know thyself is ancient african knowledge,it is well known greece praised and stole african schools of thought.

  13. None.of Plato's principles are even remotely applicable to.the World today. For the just Appreciates,Admires and Understands one Principle, that is the Principle of Money that is why the intelligent never pursue Higher Education, the iconic examples are Zukerberg and Mr.Gates.For the rest no amount reading Plato's works or Ceicero's orDescartes would help.The world has changed.Wake up!

  14. It’s an absolute abomination of logic to say that since we don’t have any works from Socrates, he must not have written anything down.

  15. Uff, that's a pretty depressing video from a philsosophical point of view. You nearly left out everything that makes Plato so important and great. No words about "ideas", the system of a State, nothing about the development in Plato's work, nor the things he introduced into philosophy which are still relevant today (like metaphysics and anti-sceptical argumentstion)
    Pretty disappointed

  16. OMG- 2400 years ago Plato realized the (potentially) fatal flaw of Democracy: people should not be allowed to select a leader unless they have a certain level of rational/understanding. Fast forward to 2016, and the USA elects Donald Trump. Plato is somewhere saying, "Will you people ever learn?"

  17. Go to Google and search for the global truth project and read the
    book named The Present so you will discover all the answers of the big questions of life ⬆️⬆️

  18. Dear White People, India had started philosophy in 2000 BC, platonic studies is a small chapter in Indian discourse. We realized it 1500 years before him.

  19. Philosophy In The Ancient West: 👏👏👏
    Philosophy In The Modern West: 💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩

  20. getting slightly triggered when people read Greek words wrong but then understanding that it's okay since it's not their first language

  21. Well, most people don't think too much before they vote and our rulers are no philosophers — and just look at where we are now!
    I hate democracy when idiots outnumber those who actually think about who to vote.

  22. I'm a bit more into Neitzsche and Freud but you always manage to hit on very pertinant points which relate to today's issues. It's just sad that universities today don't introduce philosophy the way it was implemented long ago. I would like to think that things might be different now.

  23. This comment is triggered by the comment section: You do realize this school of thinking is termed 'idealism' and was not really ever shown to be working in any point in time? It's a vision of the society completely based in one man's head which is detached from reality. So, when you say '2500 year later, we have…', well, yes, not only 2500 years later, but all the time, including Plato's time, you have something completely different because Plato's state is basically made up and impossible.
    Also, there are a lot of things you would not like with Plato, which look pretty much like fascism and dictatorship. For example, for his Guardians, the people that are supposed to defend the state (soldiers), he says families should be abolished. Children should be taken from their mothers and educated and raised equally, so that nobody can know from which family they come from. 2500 years after Plato, we don't have this kind off thing, and thank goodness for that…

  24. 2:14 This really hits home. When my wife and I got married, the advice I heard the most was "don't try to change each other. Love and respect each other the way they are." I heard this from my in-laws the most, and their lives are miserable. My father-in-law almost drank himself to death and my mother-in-law has an obnoxious personality, extremely obese and has numerous health problems. They are like the window to the future of our marriage if we followed their terrible advice. Plato is absolutely right. You should help each other grow in a loving relationship, not try to be polite and not confront each other's horrible habits.

  25. It's totally fine to admire sports stars because they are usual good role models and motivate you to do better in your life. Stop with this hate against sports stars.

  26. I suspect our media guides how many vote as few take the time to ferret out the lies and deceit. With the passage of time, it seems that ethics plays less of a role in the information we receive. If we haven't already totally lost the ability to distinguish what is and isn't true, it is just matter of time. Plenty of examples of media/other blatant lies with repercussions. It's a Brave New World out there and there is no going back. Maybe that is way it should be.

  27. What if ur poor, homeless and sick??will any of his teachings help me or cure my sickness or give me a home to live or food to eat???

  28. I agree with Democracy and believe that Socrates is correct when he said that people with an education are the only ones to have the right to vote. Socrates stated that ONLY educated people could vote, were he wants to let the listeners know that it would be better and smarter decisions. He also said “voting in election is a skill”, not everyone has the skill to vote. Many people just vote, because family and friends push them to do it, and they don’t know anything of whats going on in a country or state. I feel that educated people would increase a better way to help us become a better world with less dumb decisions from those who just do it to do it. Many countries and states push their people to vote, but don’t push them to learn more about candidates and bills that are trying to be passed on to make our world a better place, so half of the people voting wing it and pick whatever/whoever.

  29. I have been watching the school of life videos for quite some time. usually I dont leave comment on youtube. I just wanna say thanks to ALAIN DE BOTTON . Really great work you and your whole team have done . You are a great thinker if not modern PLATO. I really hope the school of life will last forever and more people get to know and learn from it and have a meaningful life and get to learn how to think rationally .

  30. And they say philosophy makes you argue better.
    It's just full of existential dread, and condemnation of the flaws of current society

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