The “sequel” to the Sophist contains a character named Young Socrates and he doesn’t know what a statesman is in a similar way that the kid in the Sophist didn’t know what a sophist was. So this trilogy can be seen as What is truth, What is illusion, What is statesmanship.
How’s this for a beginning definition?
We’re used to thinking of politicians that way instead, yeah? Maybe the opposite is also the case.
I’ve been dwelling on the middle of this trilogy, and just as much can be said about the final part of it. The latter two are about techne- sophistry is an art, statesmanship is an art. There’s a double-aspect to this too. Talking about these technes requires types of techne. The sophist is a hunter, and the hunter was himself hunted. And in this third part this is a sort of governing of the statesman.
In making the two dialogues connected it seems to be implied that the statesman tends to be a type of sophist. Also- that sophists are guilty of causing the people to be the two-footed swine that the statesman has to care for as swineherd.
It isn’t as simple as this first definition though. Recall the sophist goes through seven definitions. The swineherd definition is likened to a statue that was sculpted. The conversation moves on to speaking of “painting” the statesman instead. It switches from being an art of herding to an art of weaving.
Kind of amusing how you probably accepted it like it was obvious that citizens are two-footed swine though right? The initial definitions in the dialogues usually have a truth to them.
I do think many believe they can spray on some cologne and have a polite demeanor and not be recognized as swine. No, they are swine.
Anyway, a good and just city depends on the problems of both sophistry and statesmanship being solved. Poor statesmen increase sophistry, and sophists increase poor statesmen. I would have to say that it seems obvious that we live in a City of Pigs ourselves.
Consider that these last two dialogues follow a dialogue known as the founding text of epistemology. I.e. this trilogy begins with the question What is truth? You can’t get much more serious than that. I’m not sure the two arts in question really wonder about truth too much. Life only gets worse and worse for me for wondering about that publicly, so maybe that’s why.
Unfortunately, in multicultural America there are many subspecies whose very physis is sophistry. Many of whom are types of European even, so imagine the third-worlders here. Are you able to look at a map of Europe and coldly isolate the “nigger pockets”? Well if you can do that then you can also see the opposite- and there are geographical concentrations of demographics in the US. You know, just darkly hinting and whatnot. Certain subspecies are more apt to clamor for equality than others. What this means is they implicitly clamor for baboonification and plebification. This is obviously a type of swine.
Here’s a cynical way of thinking to begin mending things
The Stranger… limits the task of statesmanship to fostering true opinion and not knowledge.
Neither our statesmen or sophists foster true opinion, let alone knowledge.
I’m just skipping ahead and spoiling the dialogue you could say. We already have statesmanship now, and we shouldn’t have any illusions about what the new one would look like.
The art of forging bonds and chains, then, would complete the art of the weaver-statesman, who, the Stranger says, does his joining with divine and human bonds… What are, however, these bonds? They are, I think, the laws, which the statesman must impose on all natures including the best. The laws are those opinions which all the citizens as citizens must share; they are the bonds which hold down the citizens in the cave as well as, literally, Socrates in prison
They’re not going to stop being two-footed swine, so they need to be kept in a new cave. Heh Benardete quoted Aristotle’s History of Animals in the same breath as the above. Only misanthropes will understand these things. The first step is to realize progs keep us in a cave. It’s naive to remain there and think the swine don’t merely need a different, better cave. Hey, this is just the foundation of political philosophy, don’t shoot the messenger. This trilogy begins with the question of truth, and… the truth might surprise you.
I’ve tried to explain this to you on numerous occasions. Discussion of the verticality of Neoplatonism only causes people to freak out and does not make them more virtuous, only the opposite. Today we have the noble lie in place of total non-verticality. That isn’t a true opinion, that’s a false opinion, hence Weimar. Neoplatonism needs to be fashioned into something that doesn’t make the sickening pigs freak out.
You need to be realistic. Even if you relate to Socrates yourself, you’re not getting the full picture of what humanity is if you can’t acknowledge that in a political order based on true opinion the hemlock strategy would be implemented. This is the modesty of humanity. The swine need to be kept in line through the guarding of esotericism. I try to do this myself by being such a monster to people such that they’re scared away.
The ones I usually call grifters sometimes do operate in the realm of true opinion, and there’s merit to that. I just think that to make the shift out of the prog government of false opinion TO a robust order of true opinion we need to have a “cultural moment” that is higher than true opinion. Without that one is unable to know if true opinion is true and not just another form of false opinion (which it often is with grifters). Most people on both the right and left tend to be some sort of Weimar prog-sophist.
There’s much hilarity in this question
I.e. this very discussion about the swine MAKES the swine freak out! So this discussion itself is decidedly not mere true opinion- it’s too much. Myth replaces knowledge for the benefit of the City of Pigs. Many of you are naturals at that. Unfortunately it’s usually a pig that does it.