In Plato’s Gorgias, Callicles’ response to Socrates’ concept of temperance as mastering pleasures and desires, which arise within one, was especially interesting. Callicles has distaste towards the idea of self-discipline. This idea caught my eye because it introduced idea of limitations and contrasting ideas of happiness.
Previously, Callicles states that clever, brave, and superior people should be in control of the inferior others. However, Socrates examines whether the superior rulers have self-discipline and control of oneself. In response, Callicles introduces his negative point of view on temperance. He describes that good life is “to do nothing to hinder or restrain the expansion of one’s desires, until they can grow no larger” (79). At this point, one should be able to put courage and cleverness at their service and satisfy every mind and desire. Consequently, he states that life of sensual and self-indulgent freedom is the happiest state of existence.
Callicles believes that happiness results from freeing one’s desires from all restraint and allowing them to grow without limitation. On the other hand, Socrates seems to believe that happiness constitutes from mastering to discipline and to control their desires. The two opposing ideas, limitation of desires and pleasures or none, in pursuit of achieving a good life was interesting to see because these ideas weren’t considered for Aristotle’s theory of happiness.