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A good nation must resemble individuals

Posted February. 21, 2024 07:38,   

Updated February. 21, 2024 07:38


What is pain to some can be joy to others. It's sad and absurd, but sometimes that's reality. But no matter how much other people's pain may be, how can it become your joy? The reason lies in their enmity and malice toward each other. If you look at Plato's 'Republic,' there is a passage where Socrates says that a proper state can only be achieved if such a divisive reality is turned in the opposite direction. In an ideal country, someone else's pain and tears are my pain and tears, and someone else's success and failure are my success and failure. What he believes is most harmful to the nation is the division that accepts even the suffering of others as joy. That division prevents the sharing of emotions. According to him, what unites a nation is "the sharing of joys and sufferings among all citizens as much as possible."

Socrates believes that a "state that resembles individuals" is good. Let's consider when a person hurts their finger. At that moment, the entire body feels the pain because the fingers are an organic part of the body. The whole body shares in the pain. This principle holds true not only for pain but also for other emotions such as joy or pleasure. The joy or pleasure experienced by one part is the joy or pleasure felt by the entire entity.

Socrates draws a parallel between the state and the human body, asserting that a "well-run" state should resemble the relationship between a finger and the body. Just as the entire body organically feels the experiences of one part, all citizens and the nation should collectively share the emotions felt by individuals. According to him, a "good country" is one that regards individual citizens as integral parts of itself, rejoicing or grieving with them as a whole when something good or bad happens to an individual. Socrates' perspective, articulated more than 2,000 years ago, underscores the enduring significance of a state acknowledging the wounds and pain of its individuals as its own. This remains relevant and valuable, especially in an era of extreme distrust, cynicism, and hatred.