Why I wrote Plato’s Visual Utopia
An important part of any blog is to explain it’s main content. This post explains how and why my illustrated book ‘Plato’s Visual Utopia‘ came into being.
Turmoil politics and research
We live in a world that is somewhat in turmoil. I say somewhat, because in some places on our planet there is extreme turmoil, while in other places less so. And it appears that the reasons, in most cases, are of political nature. Issues of power, governance and political corruption due to the lack of ethics at both individual and state level play a major role and occupy the major part of our daily news. Politics prominently reign the worldly news cycle.
I consider myself to be apolitical. However, due to the current politics in this country, I have become somewhat interested in the subject. I have always believed that education is the most important part in the formation of an individual. To know and understand any subject one must have a baseline to start from, and an education leading to knowledge. So my first stop was to research the subject. And I wanted to go back to the beginning, to the very early sources of political thought. My research into finding the beginnings of what is coined “political thought”, brought me back 2000 years to Plato and his Republic.
One can trace back the history of political thought all the way to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato’s Republic and the work of Aristotle. So, reading the Republic became a must. From the get go it became clear that reading and comprehending Plato’s masterpiece would not be an easy task. This is because the philosopher’s famed dialogue is difficult to digest for non philosophers. I delved deeper and deeper to comprehend the Republic’s meaning. In due process I had to resort to reading many auxiliary works that have been written on the subject. There are likely tens or even hundreds of translations and explanations galore.
Image over word
We now live in fast paced world. And it is for the most part a visual world. People do not have much time to sit down and read a lengthy text such as the Republic, (unless of course they are in the field of philosophy). Instead, instant satisfaction and the gratification of understanding things through image viewing is the current name of the game.
Thousands of images scroll in front of our eyes daily. One doesn’t need to go too far beyond the social media outlets of Facebook and Instagram to understand the phenomena and the dominance of image over word.
Illustrating the text
I thought to myself, if it is difficult for me to read and to understand such a lengthy text, the same probably must apply to many other people. And this is where the idea of illustrating the Republic was born.
Many books and explanatory texts have been written about the Republic. But to my knowledge ‘Plato’s Visual Utopia’ is the first book that was written and illustrated to facilitate the understanding of the Platonic dialogue and to create renewed interest in this important book. And the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is very much applicable. The imaginative re-formulation of Plato’s vision in both text and pictorial terms, opened for me the way to an independent creative act capable of revisiting and amending the Republic.
Writing and illustrating Plato’s literary work, meant commenting on and interpreting it in the light of my own creative visionary experience.
Other blog posts of interest: Plato’s Dystopia, Plato’s Academia, Plato and Justice, Plato’s Imitation Theory, The Republic Lead subjects, Plato’s Regimes, Art as Imitation, Duality in Plato’s Republic, Plato and Art, Dystopia Connotations, Utopia Connotations, What is Utopia, Plato’s Republic, Who was Plato, Plato’s Visual Utopia book