Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Plato's Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Plato's Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology

Article excerpt

Review: Plato's Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology By William Ophuls Reviewed by Byron Anderson DeKalb, Illinois, USA Ophuls, William. Plato's Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2011. xiv, 256pp. ISBN: 9780262015905,US $27.95, cloth.

Plato's Revenge is an attempt to rethink how future societies might go about building a culturally and spiritually rich culture by reconciling with Nature and foregoing our materialistic excesses. Author Ophuls creates a strong case of how we became misguided, why it is necessary to correct this, and what it would take to get there. Throughout the text, three Greek concepts are employed: therapeia, a path toward wisdom and virtue, paideia, a vision of workable and human politics, and politeia, a realization of the above two. The Gaian metaphor, an ecological hypothesis that views Earth like a giant cell, a living planet, and a self-organizing system, is also used.

Modern man is viewed as a waster and consumer of Earth's ecological capital. We are poor stewards and live under the illusions of material abundance and mastery of nature. While Ophuls sees a moral depravity in how we conduct ourselves, he does provide us with a foundation to rethink our civilization with the aim of making it more sane and humane. Presented is a new ethos, a radical transformation of our way of thinking. If civilization is to survive, "...it must be inspired to be a new ideal that renounces endless material acquisition and make a virtue out of the necessity of living within our ecological means" (p.167). We need to move beyond sustainability and focus on a need for a more Platonic notion of justice, that is, ". …

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