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Psychopolis: Plato's Republic as Psychological Allegory

Literal Element

Allegorical Interpretation*

the polis or Republic


Citizens of the polis
Guardians

The community of ones psyche, personality, mind or soul; psychopolis


Subpersonalities, sub-egos, dispositions, plans and projects
Subpersonalities concerned with moderating irascible and appetitive elements of
psyche; lovers of Truth, Reason, Wisdom, Justice
Irascible or spirited subpersonalities concerned with seeking honor; also prone to
anger, indignation.
Appetitive subpersonalities concerned with gratifying desires, appetites, etc.
Subpersonalities which deceive us with false reasoning, false judgment, etc.
Like sophists, but deceive us with pleasurable fantasies, delusions, follies
A new and special guardian subpersonality which seeks harmonization and
integration of entire personality which we must develop in order to obtain happiness.
Measures we take to develop this special philosopher subpersonality; e.g., by
dialectic, virtue, contemplation, music, dance, etc.
Alternative systems by which psychopolis is governed
Natural, wholesome following of instinct; playful, childlike, innocent.
Government by the best and most virtuous elements of ones soul.

Soldiers
Artisans, workers
Sophists
Poets (of the bad sort)
Philosopher or
philosopher-king
Education of guardians
Regimes
Spartan/Cretan
Monarchy/
Aristocracy
Timocracy

Honor-seeking as organizing principle of personality. Also righteous indignation


(e.g., 'crusader' personality type).
Oligarchy
Narrow set of subpersonalities control psyche.
Democracy
Free-for-all; no consistent course; if it feels good, do it; short-sighted hedonism
Tyranny
Obsessive, destructive pursuit of single desire or appetite; e.g., addiction
Men, Fathers
'Male' elements of personality: logic; the intellect; impersonal idealism; action and
initiative; disregard for comfort; anger and aggression.
Women, Mothers
'Female' elements of personality: feelings, emotions, compassion, art and beauty,
tenderness; the will.
Infants
New ideas conceived by a combination of male and female elements of psyche; some
aborted (not pursued or due to being unrealistic, conflicting with other ambitions or
goals).
Children
Conceived ideas permitted to develop into plans and tangible goals; these become
new subpersonalities, i.e., citizens of the polis.
Myth of Metals
Our subpersonalities and thoughts are of variable value quality, differing in
authenticity, truth, and virtue. Some are nobler than others. This dimension is
orthogonal to the male/female distinction, and possibly also to the
Worker/Soldier/Guardian distinction. Our psyche contains a mixture of races.
Golden/Silver races Nobler (more virtuous, wise, authentic) thoughts and subpersonalities
Bronze/Iron races
Baser (les virtuous, wise, authentic) thoughts and subpersonalities
Intermarriage
Citizens of different races may interbreed (see above), producing children of a mixed
nature. Therefore we must test thoughts to determine their quality, and cannot rely on
their pedigree alone to judge their worthiness.
Reincarnation (Myth of End (due to failure or obsolescence) of one regime or ruling subpersonality and
Er)
transition to another.
'karma'
A non-virtuous regime tends to weaken our virtue, wisdom, and discernment, so that
the next regime of self-government is likely to be worse; conversely, a virtuous
regime is likely to lead to a more virtuous regime.
*These are only suggestions.
www.john-uebersax.com (rev. 01 Dec 2014)