UFO Conjectures

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Plato, Giambattista Vico, and Ufology


Platos’s template for society – the ideal (utopian) city-state consisted of The Elite Guardians, The Soldiers, and The Masses.

Wikipedia provides this (about the government of that city-state):

Socrates points out the human tendency to corruption by power and thus the road from timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny: ruling should be left to philo-sophers, the most just and therefore least susceptible to corruption. That "good city" is depicted as being governed by philosopher-kings; disinterested persons who rule not for their personal enjoyment but for the good of the city-state (polis). The paradigmatic society which stands behind every historical society is hierarchical, but social classes have a marginal permeability; there are no slaves, no discrim-ination between men and women.

And Wikipedia says this about Plato’s view:

Plato says that a tyrant's nature will leave him with "horrid pains and pangs" and that the typical tyrant engages in a lifestyle that will be physically and mentally exacting on such a ruler. Such a disposition is in contrast to the truth-loving philosopher king, and a tyrant "never tastes of true freedom or friendship".

The second argument proposes that of all the different types of person, only the Philosopher is able to judge which type of ruler is best since only he can see the Form of the Good. Thirdly, Plato argues, "Pleasures which are approved of by the lover of wisdom and reason are the truest".

Plus this (Wikipedia):

In Books VII-X stand Plato's criticism of the forms of government. It begins with the dismissal of timocracy, a sort of authoritarian regime, not unlike a military dictatorship…The third worst regime is oligarchy, the rule of a small band of rich people, millionaires that only respect money. Then comes the democratic form of government, and its susceptibility to being ruled by unfit "sectarians" demagogues.

Finally the worst regime is tyranny, where the whimsical desires of the ruler became law and there is no check upon arbitrariness.

(A further elaboration of The Republic can be found via Google.)

Gimabattista Vico, the 18th Century social theorist/philosopher, takes the Platonic ideal and forms it into a practical theory of governance whereby “good honest men would be supreme lords….[forming a] natural aristocracy.” {Scienza nuova, 1097]


“The peoples (Vico writes)…[should] do decent and just things rather than talk about them, because they do them instinctively, not from reflection.” [ibid, 1406]

And Vico goes on to note that “Hence the men who have neither counsel nor virtue of their own are…formless…defective.” [ibid, 1408]

And “It is the men who pursue nothing but their own private interests…the doltish men who…never remain content with the same thing, who always love and affect new things; who in a word are called the vulgus.” [ibid, 1409]

Finally “peoples so far corrupted have already become slaves of their unrestrained passions – of luxury, effeminacy, avarice, envy, pride, and vanity – and in pursuit of the pleasures of their dissolute life are falling back into the vices of the most abject slaves [becoming] liars, tricksters, calumniators, thieves, cowards, and pretenders.” [ibid, 1105]

What has this to do with ufology?

It provides insight to the ufological community as it exists today.

Are there any “Elite Guardians” in ufology? Honest men who are without the vices listed by Socrates, Plato, or Vico?

We can think of only one: Richard Hall presently, and James McDonald and John Mack who died before assuming the needed role.

All others are suspect or tinged by opprobrium.

The Platonic Soldiers, those in ufology who carry the torch for truth, such as “Isaac Koi,” Nick Pope, and a few others, are above reproach and scandal.

But if one wonders why science or decent men eschew UFOs and/or ufology, one need only discover web-sites and blogs where anti-semitism reigns or material is interspersed with sexist pictures of scantily clad women to whet the appetite of lascivious internet visitors.

Ufology needs an intellectual (philosophical) elite, that’s certain, but it can’t get that from the current crop of UFO habitués.

The “governing body” of ufology went by the wayside with the demise of Donald Keyhoe, The Lorenzens, and a select few who have gone underground (Jacques Vallee) to avoid the vulgarity and sleaziness of those who’ve usurped the UFO mystery and bent it to their nefarious and corrupt desires.

That’s one of the reasons – and not the only one – that UFOs are anathema to those who proceed with integrity and ethical behavior or thought.