April 07, 2019

The following article is inspired by Plato's reasoning on human's character. Man has three main principles within his constitution, that define his way and quality of life. The first principle is the one through which the individual learns, the second is the one through which he is passionate, and the third being the one through which he acts. The first principle finds its source within the intellect, the second within the the emotions, and the third within the bodily desires.


Each of those principles comes with its own set of pleasures. The overall character of every individual is shaped by the sum of all three principles. The one in which the intellectual principle is dominant feels love and desire for truth and knowledge - a "philosopher" indeed. The one in which the principle of passion is dominant feels love and desire for honour, fame and authority - an "ambitious" character indeed. Man in which the principle of action is dominant feels love and desire for material pleasures, in the sense of satisfying all the bodily needs for survival and reproduction, as well as all unnecessary needs that are dependent on material possessions - a "materialistic" character indeed. If we are to ask each of those three types of characters which one, according to them, lives a better life filled with pleasure, each one will hold their own position as being the supreme bliss. The material man would be of the opinion that the advantages of having material richness are greater than those of honour and knowledge. The ambitious man would be of the opinion that living like a slave of the body is foolish, and the pleasure of gaining knowledge and truth is worthless if it doesn't bring fame and authority, thus placing fame as the most noblest of goals. The philosopher would be of the opinion that knowledge and truth bring the greatest pleasure of all, because it is through knowledge that man sees the real nature of life. Therefore the criteria for defining which of the three characters lives a better life has to be looked for within the level of pleasure each of them experiences.


Let's examine the materialistic man and comapre him with the philosopher. Which one of them experiences a greater level of pleasure? The materialistic man is dealing with satisfying those needs, which every individual must satisfy out of necessity for his own survival, but he is never interested in knowledge and truth, therefore he never experiences their pleasures. The philosopher however, since early age, is experiencing the materialistic pleasures out of necessity, but he also experiences the pleasure of knowledge and truth, therefore his level of pleasure is greater than that of the materialistic man, for he is experiencing both the materialistic pleasures and the pleasures of wisdom. Let's compare the ambitious man with the philosopher then. The ambitious individual, as well as the philosopher and the materialistic man, is sure to experience the materialistic pleasaures out of necessity for survival and reproduction, but he is also experiencing the pleasure of being honored and respected. Isn't it true however that every man, who has distinguished himself from others with his character and doings, is being honored and held in high-esteem by those within the same field?

The rich materialistic man is being honored by those who seek material pleasures and richness, the ambitious and well-known man is to being honored by those who seek fame, the philosopher is therefore, being honored by those who seek knowledge and truth. Therefore each of the three characters, while being successful within his field, is sure to experience the pleasure of being honored and respected, but the ambitious and famous man also remains blind towards the pleasures of wisdom, therefore his level of pleasure is also lesser than that of the philosopher, who remains the only person having experienced all three sets of pleasures. In this line of thought then, we reach the conclusion that man having love and desire for knowledge and truth is to live the most valuable and highest quality way of life filled with happiness.

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