So Many Things

In their mindlessness they involuntarily falsified music itself when they asserted that there was no such thing as correct music, and that it was quite correct to judge music by the standard of the pleasure it gives to whoever enjoys it, whether he be better or worse. By creating works of this kind, and then by adding these sorts of arguments, they instilled in the many a lawlessness as regards music, and made them dare to suppose that they were adequate judges. The outcome was that the theaters have become noisy instead of quiet, claiming to understand what is beautiful in the Muses and what is not; and in place of an aristocracy of music, a wretched theatocracy has emerged. If only there had emerged a democracy of free men, in music, what has happened wouldn’t be so terrible. But as it was, the opinion that everyone is wise in everything, together with lawlessness, originated in our music, and freedom followed. People became fearless, as if they were knowers, and the absence of fear engendered shamelessness. For to be so bold as not to fear the opinion of someone who is better, this is almost the same as vile shamelessness, and springs from an excessively brazen freedom.

  • Plato, Laws, 700E-701B
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