Until Philosophers Are Kings, Or Genuine and Capable Philosophers Are Sovereigns, There Will Be No Truce From Evils

“I think, I said, that there might be a reform of the State if only one change were made, which is not a slight or easy though still a possible one.

What is it? he said.

Now then, I said, I go to meet that which I liken to the greatest of the waves; yet shall the word be spoken, even though the wave break and drown me in laughter and dishonour; and do you mark my words.


I said: ‘Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy [N.A.: Plato uses these adjectives (spirit and power) because philosophy for him is true love and experience of wisdom, which is much more than intellectual knowledge, as in the Book of Wisdom, commonly attributed to Solomon, which is addressed to rulers], and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils, — nor the human race, as I believe, — and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.’

Such was the thought, my dear Glaucon, which I would fain have uttered if it had not seemed too extravagant; for to be convinced that in no other State can there be happiness private or public is indeed a hard thing.” (Plato. The Republic, Book V. The Project Gutenberg, Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Note and emphasis added)