Plutarch writes:

They are wrong who think that politics is like an ocean voyage or a military campaign, something to be done with some particular end in view, something which leaves off as soon as that end is reached. It is not a public chore, to be got over with. It is a way of life. It is the life of a domesticated political and social creature who is born with a love for public life, with a desire for honor, with a feeling for his fellows; and it lasts as long as need be.

It is not simply office-holding, not just keeping your place, not just raising your voice from the floor, not just ranting on the rostrum with speeches and motions; which is what many people think politics is; just as they think of course you are a philosopher if you sit in a chair and lecture, or if you are able to carry through a dispute over a book. The even and consistent, day in day out, work and practice of both politics and philosophy escape them.

Politics and philosophy are alike. Socrates neither set out benches for his students, nor sat on a platform, nor set hours for his lectures. He was philosophizing all the time --- while he was joking, while he was drinking, while he was soldiering, whenever he met you on the street, and at the end when he was in prison and drinking the poison. He was the first to show that all your life, all the time, in everything you do, whatever you are doing, is the time for philosophy. And so also it is of politics.

(Emphasis added; quote from The Practical Cogitator; or the Thinker's Anthology, selected and edited by Charles P. Curtis, Jr. and Ferris Greenslet, 1945.)

Saturday, June 12, 1999 at 18:37:26 (EDT) = 1999-06-12

TopicLiterature - TopicPhilosophy

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