Have You Lost Self-Control?
Plato’s Three Simple Steps to Improve Self-Control
Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, was a pivotal figure in the development of Western philosophical tradition. Born around 428 B.C. in Athens, Plato was a student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle, forming a trio of thinkers whose ideas have profoundly influenced various realms of human thought and civilization.
One of Plato’s central themes in his philosophical writings is the concept of self-control, which he saw as a fundamental aspect of a virtuous life. Self-control, or enkrateia in Greek, is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, desires, and actions in the face of temptations and impulses.
Plato believed that self-control was not just a personal virtue but also a societal necessity. In his work “The Republic,” Plato discusses the idea of the tripartite soul, which consists of the rational, spirited, and appetitive parts. He argues that a just and moral person is one in whom the rational part of the soul rules over the other parts, thus maintaining self-control and harmony within the individual.
Plato’s perspective on self-control can be encapsulated in one of his famous quotes. This quote underscores the idea that mastering one’s desires and impulses is a more remarkable feat than overcoming external adversaries.
“For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.”
Another relevant quote from Plato is:
“The first and best victory is to conquer self.”
Here, Plato places self-control as the highest form of victory, suggesting that it is the foundation upon which other virtues and successes are built.
Self-Control In Governance
Plato also delved into the importance of self-control in governance. He believed that leaders must possess self-control to rule justly and effectively.
In “The Republic,” he states, “The man who makes everything that…