Plato was an ancient philosopher in Athens. There, he ran a University called ‘The Academy’ (clever, Plato), where young Athenian intellectuals would answer life’s most paramount questions. (P.S. Aristotle went there. Was definitely the teacher’s pet.) A fundamental question that kept coming up was “How can we be happy?”
In Plato’s book titled, The Republic, he attempted to answer this question through the theory of…well everything. In the book, he describes the fundamental nature of the universe, physics, how mathematics underpins all physical reality, and what the ideal society would look like for human beings to flourish.
To explain the tension between humans and their temptations, he uses the analogy of a charioteer and two horses. Picture a charioteer driving a chariot with two horses—one noble horse and one wild horse. The noble one can be described as honourable, principled, and morally inclined based on other people’s perceptions. The wild horse, on the other hand, possesses the fundamental desires that we share with non-human animals. You know, sleep, sex, and the desire to scream at the Door Dash delivery man if he’s 15 minutes late.
Plato says in order to flourish, we need to control both of these horses, not just get rid of the wild horse. In fact, we need this wild one (and so does Flo Rida). It’s what propels humanity forwards. It’s the piece that holds our drives and passions. How could we possibly move forward as a species if your wild friend doesn’t make you laugh by changing her background in a company-wide zoom meeting?