Why I Plan to Re-read Plato’s Republic Each Year for the Next Decade

republic - platoI’ve only read The Republic by Plato twice. I read it once right after I had turned sixteen and then again this year. Both times that I have read it, I have changed, and I have always changed for the better. This actually came as a surprise to me because both times that I have read the book I have found myself largely disagreeing with what is being said.

Even so, I have benefited from reading it each time that I have read it. I may disagree with many of the conclusions, but I still somehow manage to glean something of use from this book. And whatever it is that I receive from reading it, it is good.

So what do I get from the book, and how does it benefit me?

What I have noticed is that my level of thoughtfulness, sincerity, maturity, and responsibility vary greatly within any given year. In the last two years, I have caught myself drifting away from being any of these things. However, when I have read The Republic, I find that I am immediately set back on course.

As to how it does this, well, I believe that it is because it forces me to think about my life. Reading this book forces me to reflect, to introspect, to ask questions, to critically examine my life. Even though I may disagree with many of the points made, especially those concerning just governance, I still benefit from reading this book because I cannot help but answer for myself the questions which are being raised.

This isn’t the only book that brings about these positive results in my life, but it is the only book that I largely disagree with that still brings me closer to who I ought to be. It raises some really important questions – namely, those concerning how we should live –  and as I go through my early and mid twenties, I am going to need to be asking these questions a lot. I do not want to find myself adrift, so I shall read this book to raise the questions, and then I shall search the scriptures, other books, my heart, and reason for the answers.

Discussion — 2 Responses

  • Jean Golladay January 27, 2014 on 5:00 pm

    As with a movie seen more than once, the second and subsequent readings reveal more- more of the author’s intent, more of the philosophies of his time, more relevance to your own stage of growth in knowledge. Keep on reading!