I don’t hate anyone. Yes, I despise some and am not fond of many, but I don’t believe in hatred. Well, unless those people are historical figures. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have a couple of historical figures that I put under the “Hate” category. Do I have any legitimate reasons? Probably not. These people are mostly philosophers, authors and artists, and my hatred is based on nothing but my own judgement of them. You probably think it’s dumb to hate on great historical figures, and believe me when I say I agree with you. That’s why I’m starting this series under the name Enemies to Lovers, which is based on the romantic trope where two people who are not quite fond of each other fall in love over time. My mission is to make a through research of people under my hate list (Yes, that’s a thing and there are currently seven people) and try to decide if they’re worthy of being loved and if my hatred is unnecessary. But why the (?), you may ask. That is because there is no promise that I will actually like them after all the research. They might as well turn out to be exactly what I thought they were. You are under no obligation to hate any of the people I will talk about, that is up to you and you only. I’m in no way trying to influence you, unlike my french teacher in tenth grade who made sure we hated the same people she did. Some parts of this article will not be based on facts. However, there will be actual facts. Without further ado, let’s start.
Starting with my number one nemesis, the reason this hate list exists in the first place, Plato. “The Greek philosopher? The one who was the student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle?” Yes, him. The one and only. This hatred of mine started in tenth grade philosophy class, while we were learning about the rationalists. This is very biased but I love empiricists way more than rationalists and my distaste towards Plato is highly influenced by that. Plato isn’t actually put under the “Rationalism” category since he has lived long before the word came to being, but he’s one of the people who planted the seeds of rationalism. Actually, let’s start from scratch.
Plato was born in 428 BC in Athens to a prominent and wealthy family in the city. He is considered to be the starting point of Western philosophy, and has written 36 books. Before him, none of the philosophers have left any written works. Plato’s books are a collection of dialogues of imaginary discussions in which Socrates is always allocated a starring role. In these dialogues, Socrates interrogates people on various terms of morality and politics. The reason he used him as the protagonist was because he wanted to redeem Socrates, who had received a lot of criticism from the elderly of the Greek society. At first he was simply transmitting Socrates’ philosophy to writing, but as time passed he started writing about his own beliefs and thoughts, still using Socrates as the “main character” in his books. We can’t say for sure when exactly Socrates’ own philosophy ends and Plato’s start.
Plato’s philosophy is focused on “ethos”, how we should live. He valued self. He thought we should focus on knowing ourselves, on reflecting on our lives instead of following the popular opinion. He believed we shouldn’t trust our senses, that we can only attain reality through mind. This is where the theory of Ideas comes in. Plato believed that there was only one ‘real’ version of anything—the perfect version. This perfect version couldn’t be found in the world we know, only phenomenon of it. These phenomena are fragile: unlike ideas, they are temporary. The closer a phenomenon is to its idea, the closer it gets to perfection. Our senses deceive and distract us from focusing on the Idea, which can only be attained through reflection. He favored the idea that the body was separate from the soul, that the soul was immortal. The immortal soul had seen the perfect version of everything in the world of Ideas before being trapped in this body, which is like a prison to it, and thus has been traumatized to the point of forgetting everything. Hence, when an Idea is “learned” it is actually just “recalled”. I will stop there with the theory of Ideas, for my sake and yours.
As mentioned before, Plato has written many books. His most famous work however is “Republic”. Plato believes democracies are destined to fail because the people are incapable of deciding what’s good for them. He says that the people should be ruled by a Philosopher king who would be the only person capable of knowing what’s good for them. According to Plato, a philosopher king is a ruler who possesses both a love of wisdom, as well as intelligence, reliability, and a willingness to live a simple life. He also thinks that people should be put under three different categories: the workers, the protectors and the rulers. However, a person is allowed to join any of the categories, no matter the social class they were born into. So I guess this whole thing is not as unjust as it sounds.
Plato deduced that art was a threat to society, since it was an imitation of phenomena who were already imitations of the Idea on their own. Art takes us away from the reality. As a big fan of art and painting, I can’t say this particular belief of his is helping me in this process of trying to like him. Nonetheless, a few disagreements aren’t enough of a reason to hate someone (Or are they?).
I have reasons to believe that if Plato were to live today, he’d tell women that they belong in the kitchen (This is not based on any facts, he just has that vibe). Then again, when Plato was given a dress as a gift from the king Dionysus, he refused it saying he was a man and he wouldn’t wear a dress, to which Aristippos replied saying whatever a human wears, they’re still a man if they are a man even in a dress. So Plato had toxic masculinity, believed in gender stereotypes and probably in gender roles too. Maybe my accusation wasn’t in vain.
There are many more things to say about Plato. At the end, he was a great philosopher, one of the best, if not the best (still debatable). He changed philosophy and reflective thinking to what we know today. I can not deny that I have huge respect for him. So maybe he isn’t that bad, maybe I was exaggerating my hatred for him. Having said that, writing this article was an actual nightmare. It is currently 4am and I don’t think I want to hear anything about Plato ever again. My whole being is refusing to form any kind of affection towards him. Perhaps this relationship was a lost cause from the start.