Posted by: mattcolvin | May 19, 2011

What Would Plato Think?

I won’t say what comes to my mind when I read this quotation. Instead, I’ll let my readers make their own application:

“I mean such things as these: that the young are to be silent before their elders; how they are to show respect to them by standing and making them sit; what honor is due to parents; what garments or shoes are to be worn; the mode of dressing the hair; deportment and manners in general… There is, I think, small wisdom in legislating about such matters. I doubt if it is ever done; nor are any precise written enactments about them likely to be lasting.”    – Plato, Republic IV


  1. How small of all that human hearts endure / That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

    Laws, like the spider’s web, catch the fly and let the hawk go free.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

  2. I am glad I did not waste time to teach the young such things when the true futility and of such actions was clear since 5th century Athens!! May is TOUGH for teachers, I remember all too well!!

    • I wasn’t actually thinking about school, Mom. I like the dress code just fine: it eliminates a lot of foolishness and distraction. The question is more for outside of a school environment: how are such things to be inculcated apart from legislation, if Plato is right.

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