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Atlantis: Plato's Allegory of Social Control?
07-21-2014, 09:08 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-21-2014, 09:10 PM by R.R.)
#1
Atlantis: Plato's Allegory of Social Control?




(12-11-2010, 08:59 PM)R.R Wrote: Users Recommended Reading & Book Overviews

Taken from Plato: Complete Works edited by John M. Cooper is Timaeus. Italics represent quotes while (brackets represent my own brief thoughts).

Timaeus is generally considered one of Plato's final works. The work is a conversation between Socrates, Timaeus, Hermocrates and Critias. Timaeus dominates the conversation but Socrates begins it with a review of yesterdays conversation which was about politics and in particular the social structure and people required to make the city, in Socrates' terms 'the best possible'.

Socrates' review of the previous days conversation

He begins by saying they had agreed to seperate the farmers and all other craftsmen in the city from the millitary class (compare with Mosca's theories regarding the Ruling Class). These guardians were to be paid in gold or silver but taught that both of these commodities, like everything else they obtain, should not be considered private property. To maintain professionalism, they are to be provided with a moderate way of life funded via taxation (protection tax) from the rest of the cities' workers. They were to be encouraged to spend their money together and maintain their own exclusive social circle due to them being 'relieved of all other occuptions'. Socrates then discusses women saying how 'their natures should be made to correspond with those of men' and that sex would be no barrier to any occupation (in order to achieve the highest levels of productive efficiency), which then brings us to their opinion with regards to children and procreation; Socrates advocates that in this ideal city, citizens would have 'spouses and children in common and that schemes should be devised to prevent anyone of them of them from recognizing his or her own particular child. Everyone of them would believe that they all make up a single family, and that all who fall in their own age bracket are their sisters and brothers' (eliminating family loyalty replacing it with loyalty to the city/state, which was attempted in Israel with its Kibbutz system). Socrates then mentions that marriages would be arranged secretly to ensure people of the correct characteristics match-up and would be done in a way to make the pair think they got together 'by chance' (eugenic considerations in creating the types of citizens required by the state, shows future planning for vast periods of time and correlates somewhat with the marriage practices of Royalty or any religion attaching importance on ancestry such as Judaism or Hinduism with its caste system). In conjunction then with the communal bringing up of children, Socrates says that this method will allow the city planners to monitor the development of 'children of good parents' while at the same time being able to secretly hand over the bad children to other city states, all of them will still secretly be continuously watched in case misjudgements were made and useful or useless children can be returned to the city or sent elsewhere. Socrates wraps up the review then compares this description to a painting or even viewing real animals standing still in that he yearns to see them in motion; in other words he wants to see this idealised city state bought into being. From this he invites the others to give their thoughts on how their proposed system will actually function in reality. He says actors cannot be used due to them being unable to depict anything outside of their training which is largely based on imitation of currently existing things (think about Hollywood today and its use by our modern controllers as a tool to prepare for different outcomes and the responses of the public) and as their proposed way of life is new it cannot be achieved in this manner, thus it is up to these philosophers who are also versed in politics to discuss the potential implications.

With this in mind, Hermocrates agrees with Socrates and informs him that both he and Critias, while on their way home from yesterdays conversation, were discussing the very same thing which reminded Critias of an old story he had heard, which the group go on to agree to listen to.

Critias' Story

Critias goes on to tell a story that his ancestor, also called Critias, told him, a story that Solon 'once vouched for' (Solon is considered an ancestor of Plato's who helped change the social fabric of Athens which was probably helped by his writing of patriotic propaganda). Solon bought this story back with him from Egypt in the Saitic district in the city of Sais. The city was apparently founded by the goddess 'Neith' who was the same as Athens' 'Athena'. Solon attempted to get the Egyptian priests to share their knowledge about antiquity by telling them his own stories in regard to the first human Phoroneus and of Deucalions' surviving of the flood. Upon hearing these stories the priests told him:

'Ah, Solon, Solon, you Greeks are ever children, there is not an old man among you.'

From this the priest meant that as the Greeks had no knowledge of deep antiquity, they were but children. The priest elaborates by telling Solon that there have been and will continue to be many disasters that destroy human lives, primarily through fire and water. He hints at certain myths being allegories for solar phenomenon such as comets or asteroids hitting the Earth. Depending on the type of catastrophe, those dwelling by the sea or in mountains are affected differently and this has a direct bearing on their chances of survival, in the Greeks' context, the priest claimed that when the Greeks reached a certain point of development a flood usually destroyed what they had created leaving them to start all over again, thus the account Solon just mentioned to the priests was proof of their infancy, for they only acknowledged one flood when in fact there had been many wiping out previous generations. He doesn't blame them though, for no written records were left except for those preserved in the Egyptian temples.

Wanting to know more, the priests go on to tell Solon of Athens' previous ages, in particular a time around 9000 years ago (roughly 9500BC in todays calendar) which Athens has not since surpassed in terms of law, war and social arrangement (in light of ancient Egyptian and Greek social structures we can conclude this was a perfected slave system). Continuing the priest tells him of the similar laws that Egyptian society had in that day that were similar to the Athens of 9000 years ago; priests were seperated from everyone else, all the different occupational classes worked independantly with no communication with other workers and the warriors were also kept apart from everyone else (amazing confirmation of Mosca's work). This was all mandated by their mutual goddess (showing religious 'justification' for subjugation) and the priest then informs Solon that from the earliest times in this type of social system, devotion to wisdom was present (in other words the persuit of learning or science by the priestly/ruling class). The goddess (symbol of the rulers) decided upon the location and type of education to be given to the Greeks to create the type of people she was looking for - lovers of war and wisdom (seems like a hint that the manipulators, being the priests, took a small group of people, placed them in ancient Greece and observed their development from afar). Apparently these ancient Greeks improved upon the initial laws given to them by the goddess which was to be expected due to their 'divine nurturing'.

Of all the great accomplishments of ancient Athens, the priest says the greatest was the cities' repulsion of a foreign invading power attempting to conquer Europe and Asia. This foreign power was said to come from beyond the Pillars of Hercules on an Island in the Atlantic ocean. The Isle of Atlantis had a powerful army and its rulers controlled many other Islands as well as parts of the continent beyond the Atlantic ocean as well as Libya as far as Egypt and parts of Europe. It was at the point of expansion when it was stopped by Athens and later earthquakes and floods sank the Isle of Atlantis and decimated the war ability of Athens.

Critias ends his story here, calling it a concise version of the one the older Critias told him and remarks to Socrates that he was impressed at the similarity of Socrates' proposed perfected state with the stories of the priests of Egypt. He proposes to expand upon the story but first asks Timaeus to give an account of the origin of the universe followed by humanity where they will then put into context Socrates' proposed state in a modern setting. (Critias' continuation of the story is in a seperate work called Critias).

I'll leave the work here but in conclusion I just wanted to show the level of social manipulation (and the threat of invasion to justify dictatorship with the story of Atlantis) that was being discussed over 2000 years ago. Timaeus does carry on with an elaborate cosmology but, based on the material covered so far, it is not necessary to discuss it at the moment, I do plan on doing so later when we discuss some of the deeper beliefs of the elite. What one must remember is that Plato's Republic continues these themes in greater detail and Plato is a very influential figure throughout history. His works are still discussed today in prestigious universities and in this small sample we have seen the intellectual foundation of all modern day bureaucrats. Platonic thinking has generally been in the domain of societal elites throughout the Christian and Islamic eras. In a way it is the esoteric teachings in contrast to organised religious exoteric teachings for the public. I've remarked in older posts that Manly P. Halls' work 'The Secret Teachings of all Ages' is essentially the history of the use of Platonic and Neo-Platonic thought by elites through history and that Karl Poppers' book 'The Open Society and its Enemies' elaborates on how Plato is the ideological founder of totalitarianism (I also intend on discussing the contents of those two books too). Taking these two into account it is no wonder that down through the ages, humanitys' recorded history is filled with bloodshed, violence, death, manipulation and war.
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