Meditations on The Philosopher King, Plato, and if Utopia is possible.

Source: bigthink.com

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Many great thinkers have devoted their time to trying to understand the ideal society; laying out a system of government, values, and behavior, practiced in their utopia. Few, if any, of these thinkers ever had a chance to directly enact their ideas. While the ideas of great thinkers are often cited by leaders, there are only rare moments when a concept in a Utopian vision is given a real, concrete, demonstration.


But what happens when those moments arrive? They are few and far between, but they do occur. Often we get only bits and pieces of a utopia put into practice, but even these moments can be enlightening.

In the original Utopian book, Republic, Plato lays out the idea of a city state lead by Philosopher Kings, stating “Until philosophers are kings….cities will never have rest from their evils”. Luckily for us, there is a clear example of this being put into action, when the Roman Empire was lead by a Philosopher King: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.

So, how did it go? What was it like to have one of the key ideas of one of the greatest minds in history enacted in one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen? It kind of depends on who you ask.

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