Mindless ramble of politics and philosophy!

Plato, they say, spent a little time on the bank of Ganges during his unrecorded 12 years of leaving Athens and living elsewhere. For that matter, most of the world's greatest philosophers and spiritually inclined people have learnt much from India, if not actually lived here. But thats all the credit we can claim: spirituality. How do weigh in the worldly system? How close are we to our own dharma, or a similar system that is echoed by Greeks too, which a simple overview of Socrates' voice in Plato's Republic confirms.

I wonder what kind of times would now have been if a state were to be continued on the grounds of Plato's ideal state or our own varNAshrama dharma had existed now. The reverse is equally mind-boggling: what if Socrates were to live in today's India? Perhaps, he would have taken the hemlock before the verdict! A philosophic life has always seen problems everywhere. Plato was seemingly sold as a slave for teaching, to an aristocratic-king, the ideal of a philosopher-king, later to be rescued by his friends! Aristotle ran away from Athens being scared of meeting an end like Socrates declaring that the Athenians sin twice against the philosophers. Only a rare Socrates exists in eras who would rather die than lie! Socrates refused to even flee Athens, because after the Apology and accepting death, it would be lying if he took flight. The truth about philosophy is that it is about truth.

Its important to notice that all philosophical systems, that are eligible to be called as systems, have come to a common conclusion, be from independent analysis of their own people, or being guided by mysticism, or by influence of the Indian system. Its also interesting how all of them tie very closely to their own social order and political system, all based on truth, morality,ethics, virtue, justice, being guided by *right* education and only the ones that survive in the intellectual and moral run, were to be the leaders. While that meant a philosopher-king in the Greek system of The Republic, it meant a kshatriya king guided by a brahmin, in the Rama Rajya system, here in India. It means the same thing, doesn't it? Socrates, says in the dialogue that a state may not become an ideal state, but if it comes close, they've succeeded. In that, Socrates seems to have said that if you go away from that ideal state, you've failed and possibly, doomed!

Lets try to approach it another way. Justice, in the end, is put by Socrates simply as each person doing is own work, so that the state does its own work. Clearly, one doing someone else's job means injustice, obviously leading to an unjust state! What else was our varNAshrama system, but each person doing his own work, guided by right education and filtering mechanism? And what else is the existing injustice due to? Many of us would say the solution is education. To me, its quite clear that the failure of the state to educate all and to identify the right person for the right job is what needs to be fixed. Thats what the varNAshrama system was, and thats what Plato's ideal state is, and thats what can save us all. The physically strong ruling the weak is a barbaric system, while the intellectually weak ruling the strong is worse than that. Thats what our reservation system has brought us. Funnily enough, the Indian politics has brought us a dichotomy of "no superior caste" but "reservation for the backward caste". Its sadistically funny actually that while we don't base reservations on economically-backward grounds, but socially-backward, with worser-yet less threshold marks, we are leading to an utterly ridiculous and intellectually-backward India. Socrates' definition of a state leader is a poor person who can have nothing more than his needs-- bare necessities-- met. In India, there's a well-known myth that Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) doesn't stay in a brahmin's house where Saraswati (the goddess of learning) stays. Some may say I'm a caste-ist and I'd agree since, to me, the Indian caste system was based on birth-and-ability as I voiced earlier in my blogs. This is hardly different from the Greek Republic and there's no doubt that Greeks were once one of the best races, as much as Indians were. But its also a shame that such systems have fallen to the crime of time and a handful of dimwits have somehow always managed to harm the entire system that was formed in the larger interest!

Animals live better in the forest than we people do in today's society. While the animals hunt only when hungry, we humans hunt for greed; we accumulate, we stock. And thats how we intend to secure our place in the society, progress and grow to rule others. Such has become of us so-called God's greatest creation, or Darwin's most evolved (read selfish) beings! Socrates' or anyone's virtue has no meaning in today's world. Where people cannot do right things without bribe and do the wrong ones with bribe, where you pay taxes to fill individual pockets, where what goes-around-doesn't-come-around, where truth leads to no good end socially and yet those that want to remain virtuous are dragged into falsity, is all leading to an overkill; the unseen harm is worse than what we see. While the philosopher chalks out a perfect tomorrow for us, we sacrifice the philosopher to meet our bogus today!
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