In an Utopia, everyone is Plutarch

Reading Plutarch surprised me, for all the wrong reasons. It was quite literally a re-telling of what I had already read. His "Ερωτικός" is quite literally a clone of Plato's Symposium. Nothing really original, it's the same from a different angle. Kinda like journalists reporting on an event with different angles, or blogposters posting on the very same topic which is trending.

His "On Peace of Mind" (Περί Ευθυμίας), is basically common knowledge for people of his day. Stoicism pretty much, like the following things paraphrased:

Why is Plutarch even popular? What distincts him from other Philosophers? That in each page, he quotes Homer/Plato/Aristotle/Cicero etc etc, to reinforce his arguments.

He is flexing on these pages, by displaying his 'great learnings' but nothing written is new or exciting. If you have read some of the works he quotes, you will find Plutarch "mediocre". And that is when it hit me. Plutarch is quite literally an index, which fits his name: The arch which leads to riches (αρχή του πλούτου) since you are led to the greatest books through his references.

And Plutarch is quite literally the result of a man who is raised in an ideal enviroment. Seriously, think of a man who is constantly exposed to the majority of works from the following authors: Homer, Plato, Aristotle - and by extension commentary to these works. By exposure, I do not define sitting down and reading it as homework, but these works being naturally embedded into the culture, for example waiting for a friend in the park and hearing a bard sing random Iliad lyrics, or wanting to go out with your family and booking a ticket for a theater, and watching some based play like Assemblywomen (Ἐκκλησιάζουσαι) or Philoctetes. You are naturally exposed to these works, involuntarily and unconsciously absorbing this culture and its beneficial values which cultivate virtue.

If someone is raised with exclusively great works like Homer, Plato, Aristotle, he will naturally come to similar conclusions to them, and his daily actions depend on such conclusions. This is Plutarch. The 'default' state of a citizen living in an Utopic culture. The very worst citizen, who like any 'mass-man' literally imitates what he is exposed at, nurtured in an Utopic culture, will undeniably become critical and based. In an Utopia, 'mediocre' men could be compared to some of the best of our own cultures. And imagine a society full of Plutarchs. Uncorruptable. There is an infamous quote which is frequently parroted onto the internet: "As above, so below" but few look into the source, to read the full quote: "As above, so below. As below, so above." A pyramid's capstone falls if the foundation breaks. In a society where the worse men are like Plutarchs, it is genuinely impossible to degrade any man, for even the rulers elected from 'the bottomless mass pit' will always be High Kings in body and soul.