Most people refuse to discuss the deep questions: Who are we? Why are we here? What is the truth? The answers seem so vast and intimidating that it’s easier to lock them away in a little storage cubby in the back of our minds and let them get dusty. YOLO – or “you only live once,” a popular slang word that surfaced in 2011 when Drake featured it in one of his songs – encompasses the general view of this avoidance perfectly: these things are too big, too scary, and the only thing we know is we should make the most of the time we’ve got.
I’ve always liked philosophy. There’s a feeling of adventure in it, to the roots of deeper understanding and awareness. I love that there’s no right or wrong answer, they’re all observations on humanity, the world, life itself… and logically drawn conclusions. I think I’ve read Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” half a dozen times between high school social studies classes and college philosophy classes, but it wasn’t until my final year of college that I was assigned the full text of Plato’s Republic.
For those who like to be intellectually challenged, or enjoy thinking about things in a deep, introspective way ought to read Republic. In fact, I kep my copy after the course concluded and I intend to read it again, when I can find the time to give it the attention it deserves. The book is written as a conversation between Plato and his teacher Socrates, in which they discuss everything from the state of reality to justice to government. I remember finding the book likable and very approachable because it was written in this way. At no point is Plato telling the reader that they are wrong or stupid – he is just sharing a conversation which is intended to make you think and question the way you perceive the world. I find it fascinating and enlightening.