3 of the Most Important Philosophical Texts of All Time
The most important philosophical texts of all time can be argued about just as much as philosophy itself. Discussed here are merely three of the most important texts chosen specifically for their profound global cultural impact. That is to say, these three texts stand as pillars throughout the formation of today’s superpowers. Beyond that, the intricacies of philosophical impact on modern cultures we leave open for your argumentative and musing delight.
— The Republic by Plato
The predominance of Western culture has left little, if any, of the globe untouched. Laying the groundwork for much of Western philosophy and culture is Plato’s The Republic. Written around 380 BCE, Plato shares the teachings of Socrates on justice, forms of government, and the ideal State. Socrates’ ideals resonate to this day, especially when compared to many of today’s political and societal arguments. The similarities between modern Western culture and Socrates’ teachings are striking, while other ideas are even radical. Expand your understanding of your own culture’s system by putting it into perspective against Socrates’ ideas. Including the famous ‘Allegory of the Cave,’ Plato’sThe Republic offers inspiring food for thought on the Western way.
— The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
There’s no denying the significance of 1848’s The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx. Marx points out the faults of Capitalism and its ultimate degradation into collapse, arguing his ideal State of Communism. Although others used Marx’s model toward corrupt means, his ideas have resonated through time, inspiring many a rebel and revolutionary. There are still Marxists the world over seeking to free the peoples of the globe into a more unified State. The Communist Manifesto is a must-read for anyone looking to explore beyond the money-blinded boundaries of Capitalism. Feed the revolutionary in you!
— Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
A classic of Eastern literature and philosophy, Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching dates back to the late 4th century BCE. English-reading audiences were first introduced to this gem of Eastern wisdom in 1891. Fundamental to the development of Taoism, this text has also inspired Buddhism, Confucianism, and other sects of thought and religion. Its impact on Eastern culture and, more markedly recent, trickle into Western thought deems importance while offering wisdom with elegance. For those with a deeper appetite, Lao Tzu’s commentary includes states of being and consciousness. Roughly translated as ‘The Way of Virtues,’ the Tao Te Ching teaches harmony and unity. To this day, many seek and find serenity within its words.
Taking It Further
The philosophies of Plato, Marx, and Lao Tzu are at the core of today’s global culture. While certainly not a list to be-all-and-end-all, their reverberations continue to shake the world over. Their influence throughout history continues to blend and adapt in varying, interesting ways. Consider how other philosophies adapted concepts these classics laid down and how such adaptations influenced further cultural change. Where might we go from here?