Life expectancy

I was reading Plato’s “The Republic” and it is a very worthwhile read. I highly recommend it to everyone, although that’s besides the point now. I want to talk about something else than the functioning of our society and its destination. In the very last chapter he managed to surprise me once again. Plato says:

“…once in a hundred years — such being reckoned to be the length of man’s life…”

And that small part of a sentence spoke mountains to me. I heard already from several sources that the length of human life is diminishing slowly over centuries, quite opposite to what the official science teaches us. But to hear from Plato that in his time (roughly 2400 years ago) the life expectancy was 100 years is stunning.

You see, Plato preaches philosophy as the basis for all human endeavors and he insists that everyone must study mathematics as the beginning of all other science and harmony. So, for him, to say the life expectancy is 100 years if it was not would be unacceptable. He speaks the truth in this case as in all other cases, mentioning it as a simple well-known fact of life.

So in his time to live to a hundred years was the same as now to live to sixty. We are down about one third in just two and a half centuries. This simple fact is hidden from us and we are taught that people live longer and longer while quite the opposite is the truth. People are dying.… -->

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Plato’s parable of the State

Reading this excellent book called “The Republic” written by Plato reportedly in circa 380 b.c. amuses me to no end. This passage is simply irresistible:

I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.  Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering –every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made

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