) is a basically an examination of the "Good Life," or the harmony achieved by applying pure reason and justice. As a typical Plato piece, the book itself is a series of arguments between Socrates, Plato's mentor, and several other theorists. They argue issues concerning the social conditions of an ideal republic, which is chiefly Plato's vision projected through the book's words into our minds' eye. The book contains many ideas that really made sense to me and that surprised me because you could apply these standards to any group of people, of any race, and any economic background anywhere in the world. Even more surprising is that this was written so long ago and yet still today we are reading Plato's theories, but I don't think we're really paying attention, looking at all the chaos in the world today.
In the story, Socrates is returning to Athens from a festival when he meets Polemarchos on the road. Polemarchos insists that Socrates accompany him home where they greet his father and start right into a discussion of old age. Socrates says, "It seems right to enquire of them [meaning the elderly men], as if they traversed a long journey which perhaps we will have to traverse." This makes sense to me, as I can relate to it personally. I have long email discussions with my grandfather in California, with whom I am very close. He is writing a book on our Irish ancestry and I am to continue it. With each email he writes, he encloses little bits and pieces of his beliefs, which I find very interesting and save in a folder which I am planning to use to write a book about his life to be passed on from generation to generation of Curleys in the future. According to my grandfather, I still have a lot to learn. And I believe it.
The next topic of discussion with Socrates concerns justice or "doing the right thing." Socrates believes that "right living" is basically dutiful service to others and doing that which is "appropriate" to the person and situation are the prerequisites to individual happiness and prerequisites for avoiding chaos within a republic.