Plato's cave

Kompas – January 27, 2024

[From an oped piece in by Boni Hargens titled "Leaving Plato's Cave".]

In 2023, Freedom House in Washington placed Indonesia in the rather red region in the democratic freedom index global map. Put simply, the watchdog institution considers Indonesia as still only half democratic, or not substantially a full democracy, with an index breakdown of 30/40 in the category of "political rights" and 28/60 for "civil freedoms".

Overall Indonesia scored 58 out of a possible 100. People can say, it's a foreign assessment that may have a hidden interest. But criticism is always useful for self-improvement. There's nothing wrong with us accepting it as a lesson.

2024 is a critical moment because Indonesia will determine a new leader. Whoever wins the elections will determines the pendulum of the history of the nation – forget the debate about whether history is formed upstream (from the elite) or downstream (from the grassroots)!

Obviously, political leadership has always shaped the character of an era, and vice-versa. Could it be that the 2024 elections will open the door to Kalabendu (an era of disaster)? Or is history leading us towards a golden age?

Plato (428-348 BC) told the story of a "Cave Man" to his teacher, Socrates (470-399 BC), which is contained in the Politeia, a huge work that was somehow translated into "The Republic" by British readers, as if it was similar to the De Re Publica by Cicero containing the Roman political story in 51-50 BC.

Interpreting this, just maybe, there is a connection with Plato's utopian love for the Republican model of governance.

[The full article can be read here:]