The invocation of Plato in any article about Donald Trump might seem misplaced to most readers. How does one of the most brilliant philosophers of all times relate to an unqualified, opportunistic US presidential candidate? What can Plato possibly say about the current mess of American politics? Are we really so desperate that we have to fall back on philosophy? However odd, part of the public debate has turned to the ancient Greek philosopher in order to explain the unanticipated popularity of Trump – and with it the rise of populism in Europe and the US. Democracy may eventually lead to tyranny, as Plato argues, but it is even more interesting to see how he would prevent this process in the first place.
Traveling: one of the most ubiquitous activities in our lives. We book a flight to Thailand with a few clicks on a website, or jump on a train heading for Eastern Europe that leaves three times a day. Quite naturally, we know where we want to go and how to get there. Yet we rarely ask ourselves why we want to go to a particular place – or why we should go at all. This seems a fitting question for a time when our Facebook timelines (mine included) are filled with photos of beaches, mountains, and smiling faces: what is it that motivates us to travel?