Friday, December 10, 2010

Blog #38 - How would our culture differ if we lived in Plato's Republic?

Watching the Great Books episode on Plato's Republic got me started thinking on how our culture would be different if suddenly its cultural requirements were imposed upon the United States.  For this blog, we'd have to suspend our disbelief about the probable mass confusion / rebellion that might explode across the nation while transitioning from freedom of expression and protected 1st Amendment rights to a society where poets and writers bow to reason (to borrow a phrase from the video). 

Bertrand Russell divides up Plato’s Republic into the three neat sections. You may find his simple outline helpful:

1.Books I-V: The definition of “justice” and the Utopian Republic
2.Books VI-VII: The definition of “philosopher” and Philosopher Kings as the ideal rulers
3.Books VIII-X: Discussion of the various forms of government (their pros and cons)

  - Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, Book I, part 2, ch. 14 (2)

I will quote Socrates in Book III of Plato's Republic as to why there needs to be censorship:

"Some tales are to be told, and others are not to be told to our disciples from their youth upwards, if we mean them to honour the gods and their parents, and to value friendship with one another...But if they are to be courageous, must they not learn other lessons besides these, and lessons of such a kind as will take away the fear of death? Can any man be courageous who has the fear of death in him?  And can he be fearless of death, or will he choose death in battle rather than defeat and slavery, who believes the world below to be real and terrible?

It sounds as if Socrates wants his warriors in the ideal society to not fear death but fear defeat and slavery instead.  Stories of myths, ghosts and the gods can somehow convince warriors that the underworld / Hades / afterlife is real and that if the warriors believe that from these "incorrect" stories, the Republic's warriors might be willing to accept death as an alternative to surrender. 

"Then we must assume a control over the narrators of this class of tales as well as over the others, and beg them not simply to but rather to commend the world below, intimating to them that their descriptions are untrue, and will do harm to our future warriors.  Then, I said, we shall have to obliterate many obnoxious passages, beginning with the verses...

"And we must beg Homer and the other poets not to be angry if we strike out these and similar passages, not because they are unpoetical, or unattractive to the popular ear, but because the greater the poetical charm of them, the less are they meet for the ears of boys and men who are meant to be free, and who should fear slavery more than death...

"Also we shall have to reject all the terrible and appalling names describe the world below--Cocytus and Styx, ghosts under the earth, and sapless shades, and any similar words of which the very mention causes a shudder to pass through the inmost soul of him who hears them. I do not say that these horrible stories may not have a use of some kind; but there is a danger that the nerves of our guardians may be rendered too excitable and effeminate by them...There is a real danger, he said.  Then we must have no more of them."

Ghost stories might make our leaders too nervous if they're exposed to them.  I guess it's time to stop the remakes of Friday the 13th and Halloween.  Because if the leaders are too scared, then the warriors / guardians might be as well.  But what happens if a warrior loses a friend in battle, is that warrior allowed to grieve?

"Reflect: our principle is that the good man will not consider death terrible to any other good man who is his comrade... And therefore he will not sorrow for his departed friend as though he had suffered anything terrible... Such an one, as we further maintain, is sufficient for himself and his own happiness, and therefore is least in need of other men...And for this reason the loss of a son or brother, or the deprivation of fortune, is to him of all men least terrible... And therefore he will be least likely to lament, and will bear with the greatest equanimity any misfortune of this sort which may befall him." 

In essence, when a warrior would lose a friend or family member, he/she wouldn't take a moment to grieve b/c in the whole scheme of things, that person was just one human.  But what about comedy? 

"Neither ought our guardians to be given to laughter. For a fit of laughter which has been indulged to excess almost always produces a violent reaction... Then persons of worth, even if only mortal men, must not be represented as overcome by laughter, and still less must such a representation of the gods be allowed..."

So, apparently no comedy.  Sad.  What about fiction, you ask?  I wondered the same thing myself.  Socrates equates fiction w/ lying and only reserves that "right" to doctors and the State:

"Again, truth should be highly valued; if, as we were saying, a lie is useless to the gods, and useful only as a medicine to men, then the use of such medicines should be restricted to physicians; private individuals have no business with them...Then if any one at all is to have the privilege of lying, the rulers of the State should be the persons; and they, in their dealings either with enemies or with their own citizens, may be allowed to lie for the public good.

But nobody else should meddle with anything of the kind; and although the rulers have this privilege, for a private man to lie to them in return is to be deemed a more heinous fault than for the patient or the pupil of a gymnasium not to speak the truth about his own bodily illnesses to the physician or to the trainer, or for a sailor not to tell the captain what is happening about the ship and the rest of the crew, and how things are going with himself or his fellow sailors."

For a leader to lie to the public, it must be "for the public good."  Well, I wonder, what the difference is between a politician's lie and a broken campaign promise.  If Obama said he would end President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy but then has gone back on his promise (like he has recently in a compromise to extend unemployment benefits), is that a lie?  And what is the public good?  Is keeping knowledge of the discovery of extra-terrestrial aliens a public good?  Or what about news of an asteroid hurtling towards the planet that could have a dramatic impact on our climate - is that in the interest of the public good? 

And in the interests of truth?  How does lying work in the best interests of truth?  I'm still not happy w/ Socrates' answers with this one. 

As for crime / mystery stories, I'm in agreement with him:

"Because, if I am not mistaken, we shall have to say that about men poets and story-tellers are guilty of making the gravest misstatements when they tell us that wicked men are often happy, and the good miserable; and that injustice is profitable when undetected, but that justice is a man's own loss and another's gain--these things we shall forbid them to utter, and command them to sing and say the opposite." 

In summary, Socrates explains why he wants his warrior / guardians to hear only positive things in his very specialized society:

"If then we adhere to our original notion and bear in mind that our guardians, setting aside every other business, are to dedicate themselves wholly to the maintenance of freedom in the State, making this their craft, and engaging in no work which does not bear on this end, they ought not to practise or imitate anything else; if they imitate at all, they should imitate from youth upward only those characters which are suitable to their profession-- the courageous, temperate, holy, free, and the like; but they should not depict or be skilful at imitating any kind of illiberality or baseness, lest from imitation they should come to be what they imitate."

In the end, my question is, how would our American culture change if Socrates had his way about the arts?  Provide specific examples by using points listed above and songs / TV shows / artists / movies from our culture today. 

Due Monday, December 13.  Minimum 200 words. 

Further reading:
1. Plato's contribution to society - specialization / division of labor -

Online books, Book III, Plato's The Republic.

Plus, a great quote from a cool movie:
"BILL MURRAY: “What did you study?”
BILL MURRAY: “Yeah, there’s a good buck in that racket.”
SCARLETT JOHANSSON: “Well, so far it’s pro bono.”
Lost in Translation (2003)


  1. With the United States having an established government since 1776, there would be some challenging adjustments for the people of America. But if we were to adjust to the ways of the republic, there could be many perks. Plato stated the so-called government should be ruled by philosopher-king rule. These rulers only have to worry about making the society a better place for the people. They don’t have to worry about crime, because in essence, everyone is doing the job that they were made to do and are happy. Initially, I believe our society would be very peaceful and people would love doing their jobs. But after a while, people could possibly get bored of their job and want to switch. With them not being able to switch jobs, it could be an incentive for crime and protest. Subsequently, it could lead to the end of the country and put us into a country of constant flux.

    Prior to our society becoming a battle zone, I think many cultural things would be different. For example, the Starz hit series “Spartacus” would not be the same. In it there are battles between spartans who are slaves. But if this was the republic, people wouldn’t be fighting due to everyone is essentially happy with what they are doing. Another aspect that would different, is what today’s rappers would rap about. Today rappers (Eminem, Kid Cudi, The Game) wouldn’t be rapping about how bad their lives were when they were living in hardship. Rather, they would enjoy where they lived and rap about the nice people they met along the way up to star status. In conclusion, I wouldn’t want to live in the society that Plato wrote about because there would be too many troubles against the philosopher- king rule, and things would become quite boring with never having the ability to change jobs.

    Dylan Reiners Hour: 3rd

  2. I think that many things about our culture would be different if we existed in Plato’s republic. The first thing would be that we wouldn’t be able to choose our jobs they would be assigned to us at a young age. That could be considered a pro or a con. A pro would be that we wouldn’t have to study multiple things throughout our lives we could just focus the majority of our studies on the career we were destined to work in. A con would be that if you didn’t like your career or were unhappy with it, you wouldn’t be able to change it because it was a predetermined destiny. I think another difference would be only having positive influences and stories told. In our society today there is so much negative news thrown at us and I personally think that it changes peoples perception of the world and the people who inhabit it. If we had only positive stories told than I feel like as a society we would be a happier place.
    Something else that I find interesting is this: would there be a rebellion? Because if you grew up in a society where only positive vibes were felt would you know a negative vibe? And if you grew up in a place where everyone had a specific assigned role would you know any different? I don’t think you would. If we were born and raised in Plato’s republic I don’t believe that anything would seem “different” because it is always the world that we’ve known, however if all of the sudden our society switched over than I do believe that it would have more negative outcomes than positive ones.
    Jaimmie Koss 3rd

  3. The American culture would change drastically if society were to be based on The Republic. For starters, the new system would be extremely hard to implement, as the common citizen has the idea of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of petition, as well as the rest of the 1st amendment rights so deeply entwined in their thought that many would refuse to change, no matter how enticing the philosophers made it. At least until the currently living generations died, the new society would not conform to Plato's wishes. By the time the new government was in full effect, the new culture would not be recognizable as American. In contrast to the music of today, their music would not include the same degree of expression. For example, in 1988 the rap group N.W.A. released the song "F*** Tha Police". It was written as a protest to police brutality (after a LA citizen was murdered) and includes (aside form the one in its name) a multitude of swear words. In Plato's society this song would never have existed. This is because the rap group would not have been allowed to express sadness from the death of a friend. "And therefore he will not sorrow for his departed friend as though he had suffered anything terrible." An additional example of the great change that the implementation of Plato's government would cause is the fact that there would be no more evil in society. "If they imitate at all, they should imitate from youth upward only those characters which are suitable to their profession-- the courageous, temperate, holy, free." This means that there would only be those that are raised to do good and none that end up acting bad when they are older. This is similar to the movie "The Truman Show", where a person is born into a reality TV show. On the set of the show there is no crime nor evil. The main character is made to think that everyone acts good. In reality, however, the reality show's basis is fake. The final example of the change that would occur in a society following The Republic as a model would be the fact that the rulers would not be able to take into account the actions of people outside of the country. "There is a danger that the nerves of our guardians may be rendered too excitable and effeminate by them." If this is to be interpreted to mean that the rulers and guardians can't be exposed to evil because it would scare them then the rulers and guardians would not be able to interact with other societies and cultures. In this day in age there are many evils in the world, the most prevalent being the many terrorist groups. Based on this quote, our rulers and guardians would not be able to interact/be exposed to these evils. As a result, our society could be vulnerable to the evils of these groups.

  4. America's government is greatly different from Plato's ideal society. Because politicians are allowed to have money and a family, there will always be some motive for those politicians to cheat or steal. A great example of this is 9/11. Many people think that the attack was planned by our own government in an attempt to get Americans gung-ho about moving into Iraq, resulting in war and, ultimately, more oil for the U.S. In Plato's utopian society, rulers would not benefit from this, and thus it wouldn't happen.
    Another major difference between the two governments is censorship. Lets use the music industry as an example. Unlike Plato's ideal government, our government is very liberal about what is said in its songs. Rap plays a major role in this lack of censorship, and without freedom of speech rappers such as Eminem or Rick Ross would be considered too explicit to be legal. In fact, in Plato's society their music would probably be too vulgar to to played on the radio or sold in stores. Only "approved" music would be played, and in time, some people would learn to dislike the songs allowed to be played. This could lead in people not liking ANY music; a shame, if you ask me. So much talent and so many ideas would be lost that, although society would be slightly tainted, people's voices would be lost.

    -Ben Robinson

  5. Practically none of today’s culture would survive if we switched over to Socrates’s way of the world. First thing to change would be fear of death. A lot of movies have this fear. Let’s think about every horror film written the whole premise of these films is to run away from the killer because we are afraid to die, that’s what makes it scary. Then say we can’t grieve. Think of every film you have seen with a death in it. How many of those movies had a sad funeral scene in it? Superman and My Girl to name two. So many books mourn death; Harry Potter, Narnia, and Bridge to Taribithia. Lot’s of songs mourn as well. None of these would have those scenes and moments. Taribithia wouldn’t even have a point. We all watch comedy’s as well, and we can’t have those. So lets look at every Jack Black movie for instance, He wouldn’t even have a career and there goes Comedy Central… that’s depressing (really, I love comedy central). No more jokes then either, I can’t even imagine that. As far as politics goes, they will always lie to us, but doctors? That does not sit well with me, my doctor lying to me. Then, to always be happy or positive, this is not American. We have the American dream, which is always to be happy, but a part of this dream is the romantic notion of having to fight to get it. This is difficult, hard and not happy, and to have the American dream, we need there to be those who don’t get to live the dream, if we are all happy, this can not happen. The entire aspect of America then, would change. The entire culture would change. It would not be anything like today at all.

    Natalie Douma

  6. Socrates’s “Rupublic” that he writes about is clearly not meant for a complex society like our own. However, there are similarities between his ideas and attitudes of our society. For example, when Socrates expresses that his soldiers should not fear death, but should fear defeat and surrender instead. I associate this with people in the military who give their lives to serve their country. To them, being defeating is worse than death itself. The idea of not grieving when a comrade dies is completely appalling to me. If the people are not allowed to feel emotion, then what makes them human? If a person feels no sorrow, how will he/she know what happiness is? It sounds to me like Socrates wants his warriors to be emotionless machines. Similarly, Socrates’s view on comedy infuriates me. He makes it sound like laughter is a sign of weakness and violence. Seriously? If living in a utopia means being a robot, I say no thank you…and so would many others. Conversely, I agree with Socrates about poets and storytellers conveying the unjust ones to be happy and the just ones miserable. In society today, I would have to say some T.V. producers are guilty of the same crime. For example, today I was watching 16 and Pregnant on MTV. It frustrates me how the show is subconsciously portraying early pregnancy as socially acceptable and not a big deal. The show does show some of the hardships of being a teen mom, like dropping out of school, waking up several times a night to a crying child, frustrations with the father, and financial problems. However, these issues are shown to be minimum when in real life, they cause huge problems. What 16 and Pregnant doesn’t show, is that most of the time the father will leave the mother alone with the child, the mother losing her friends because she can’t spend time with them, the mother living in poverty because of one huge mistake. By only showing the positive side of the story (another thing that Socrates advocates), MTV is insinuating that teen pregnancy is normal, acceptable, and almost trendy.

    Gretchen Geist 3rd Hour!

  7. If the American culture were to be solely based off of Plato’s The Republic, the great country we know would be a polar opposite. Plato’s The Republic is a text which is based off of some of Socrates teachings and new ideas from Plato. An example from the text that describes how people reacted to differences from their ideal republic would have to be the men in the cave story, which describes the two different realities. In The Republic, a bunch of men were trapped in a cave and were gazing head on at a wall. That wall had portions of light because of a fire that was a blaze behind the men, and images were cast on that wall by ordinary object’s shadows. Those images that were cast by the shadows of the objects were what the men thought of as reality. Those images to them exemplify what the real world is. One day, one of those men broke free and left the cave, eventually getting to ponder at the actual real world. Eventually, that man who broke free went back into the cave to describe everything he has just witnessed for the very first time, and all the others still in the cave thought he was a complete and utter lunatic, and wanted to kill that man. In American culture, we as Americans are very open to new things, and we can handle different ideas and theories. The reason that Americans are generally open to new and different theories and ideas is because of our constitutional amendments. Some of the constitutional amendments that make it sort of a polar opposite against Plato’s ideas in The Republic would have to be the amendments that deal with freedom of speech, religion, etc. Going off of that cave example, if the United States culture were to be based off of Plato’s The Republic, we would not be able to have expression like we have in our government, is because the norm is one particular thing, and new ideas are seen as ludicrous, and we could potentially get ourselves killed because of it. In that example, this shows how our country is not similar to Plato’s ideas in The Republic. Also, considering Socrates restrictions on the arts would be terrible for most modern day artists. In Socrates ideal society, all those men would be imprisoned or killed because of their works. Socrates wanted some of the arts to be educational for certain things and very impressionable for the youth. What that would be would be songs about how perfect things are, and how everything is sailing smoothly. So, shows like “Conan” on TBS couldn’t be around, because in every monologue at the beginning of the program, host Conan O’Brien informs the American public with current events, and makes fun of certain situations by exposing the flaws and expressing funny situations that can spin off from those current events. Also, musicians such as Kanye West couldn’t express flaws in his society lyrically. Those individuals like Conan O’Brien and Kanye West would consequently have negative consequences for their actions. Personally, I would not want to live in a culture that limits expression, which is why the current culture the United States has benefits mostly every citizen’s life. I feel the culture based off of The Republic would result in a form of corruption some way or another.

    Jake Stein
    3rd Hour

  8. I think that first off, there would be a lot less self - expression or feeling of meaning and purpose. If you are allotted a in society, and your job is outlined for you, what is your life? Granted there would be a lot more meaningful discussion, but it meaningful discussion enough to give you a meaningful life? It just doesn't seem like you'd get all that much freedom in life choices, not just in rights per say, but the direction you want to take with it. With the way things are now, you can choose your job, choose what kind of path you want, the underachiever, mediocrity, overachiever and everything in between. You make up your life as you go and therefore establish yourself in the world.
    I also think that the government in Plato's world would be a step up from what we have now. Thinkers as rulers would be nice, people run by their actual thoughts rather than party pressures. But the lying for the greater good doesn't sit right with me. If the average joe can't lie, government shouldn't either. Although this idea is greatly flawed considering there is no real way to control lying without getting a 1984 - type society.
    His whole society just seems to revolve around thought and philosophical meaning, but I can't imagine life without laughter or even fear. It takes away part of what makes us human.

    Alice Turner

  9. If we lived in Plato’s Republic, everything would pretty much be different. Our culture today is one where everyone has the same rights, and everyone has an equal opportunity in everything. In our new Republic, this would not be true. If one wished to be a leader or a military personal, they would have to forgo having a family. This would definitely change the minds of many. Also, because it is now a privilege to have a family, essentially, laborers, who often receive the short end of the stick, now have something that no one else can acquire. This levels the playing field between those who have power, and those who do the dirty work. Also, because the laborers are the ones to have the families, they must be treated as equals. Seeing as they will be the only ones producing future generations, their thoughts on the society will be carried on through their children. This will cause the future leaders and military personal to have grown up in a laboring family, widening their view on society. No one will be born into a privileged family, everyone will have the same start.

    Andrew Sadler

  10. 3rd hour

    Changing the US into a world like in Plato’s republic?? It would be a very interesting switch from the culture of the current US. If we skipped the whole transition process and just looked at the US when the new life settled in, I still that that there would be a big uprising of people against the new culture. Although Plato’s republic seems like a better idea for society, there are a lot of freedoms that people should be able to have. For one, I feel that people should be able to choose what job they want to do for the rest of their lives. If they are good at something, but don’t enjoy doing it, then they might not do it as well then if they enjoyed the work they had to do. Secondly, I don’t like how all the power in the Republic goes to one philosopher, especially if he can lie for “the benefit of the republic”. Even though he may be a smart and learned leader, he may not always know what is best for the republic as a whole. I don’t think that this way of thinking would fit with the attitude of the people in the US. Everything that we know and love today would basically be stripped away from us, since we can’t have anything that doesn’t have a positive attitude. Everyone has to focus on learning and can have no music, book, or stories that aren’t centered on it and they also can’t have anything negative in them. This theory rules out a lot of things that we enjoy today whether its movies, books, or music it would all have to go according to Plato’s republic. Anything with fear, comedy, horror, even love would have to be taken away. Our culture in the US would essentially be wiped out and we would become almost clones in a Plato’s republic.

  11. If the people of today’s society were to live in Plato's republic and were able to adjust to his ways, everything that we have strived for, especially along the lines of freedom, will vanish. Our whole society will be based off a system much like that portrayed in The Giver, where everyone, from a very young age, will be assigned a job that they will have for the rest of their lives whether they like it or not. In that case, our society may become a lot more efficient, yet the happiness of the people may suffer due to such restraints.
    We’re used to a world where family is the key to society. If the workers are the only ones who are allowed to have families, then this could cause insensitivity toward kids on the soldiers and philosophers part, which may be a bad thing when it comes to ruling. How can you rule a bunch of families if you don't have one yourself? How can you know how to suit their needs? I do see the reasoning behind why people above the workers are not allowed to have property, but not so much when it comes to family… maybe I think this way because I live in a society where even the president has a wife and kids.
    When it comes to possessions it makes sense to me how Plato thought that rulers and soldiers shouldn’t have them, but in the end, possession of things is typically a persons motivation. If there is no motivation, then how do we know that our rulers are actually trying their hardest to support us… maybe our society will just slowly go down hill as people get restless with out a sense of individuality or importance due to the lack of property and family.
    No matter what kind of society we live in, there will always be flaws, not even Plato can create a utopia.

    3rd hour
    Natalie Hords

  12. What wouldn’t change. Television for starters wouldn’t be. Look how much of our lives our shaped by what we watch. In the Socrates society there is only good and movie, TV. shows and other media would only dilute our image towards a better society. The same goes for music, clothing, education and news. Just about everything we stand for, would fall in the new way of life. Besides the fact it would take years to transition over., if at all possible. American’s and humans period, have instincts to learn , to find more in the world. Socrates, envisioned a world that cannot exist. He started with virtues we all have. Seemingly ignoring the sin mankind has had since the root of creation. In his ideals a ruler does not get money because “he cannot have”. We would say a man with no money has no power. Without money I believe the workers would in turn be able to use them to rule, it’s just in our nature. Furthermore taking aim at how our culture would change, entirely! Our culture defines us as who we are, the Socratian culture would consume us and mold “American’s” into Socratians. In relation to the allegory of the cave, this world is one we cant understand, although it may be for greater good. Americans have made it just fine staring at shadows.

  13. It’s hard for me to remember exactly what each of the governments mean, but it seems to me that Socrates’ ideal world reminds me of ideas of communism and a dictatorship. If he wants his workers to do certain things that they specialize in, that reminds me of communism, and if warriors are told to not fear death and that everyone should only hear the truth except for higher power, it sounds like a mild dictatorship. If these rules were set upon America, it would be extremely difficult. All of the arts that you would see now, would not exist because all of our inventions and experiments wouldn’t exist. Our every move, every emotion, everything that makes us human would be regulated.
    America’s media started from people having different ideas than the others, which grew into generations of people with similar ideas. If those ideas were regulated, then the world wouldn’t even have to go round anymore, because you would live out the exact same day for the rest of your life.
    America is about independence and experimenting. If we lived with Socrates’, we would probably want to move out as soon as possible. His demands are too extreme. For example, Socrates explains that if the warriors were given laughter, they will have a violent reaction. To me that sounds a little absurd. I love to laugh. It makes me feel good and I am not violent when I laugh. If I was told I could not laugh, then I would get violent.
    Which leads me to another idea of his ideal world. Since there are no emotions that are allowed in this utopia, how are people going to survive? Americans would die a lot sooner if there were no happiness, no grief, or no stories.

    -Maya Campbell

  14. I do not believe that having most of our rights stripped away from us would settle well our modern American culture. I know for a fact that I would never enjoy having someone else dictate my life. Dictate what I do. Dictate what I see. Dictate what stories I hear. No, I would go insane, plain and simple. Although some people say it would be a relief to have their life job handed to them, I would not say so. If our jobs were handed to us, how would we learn past the scope of our profession? If I had a sole job for my entire life I would get bored of it; I would get curious about what else lies beyond my role in society. Another aspect of Plato’s Republic that doesn’t resonate with me is the idea of censorship. If all we hear every day are happy stories about rainbows and unicorns and about how HAPPY everyone is. People would get bored of that too. The main theme I’m getting from this society is that it’s boring. How are people supposed to enjoy the happy stories if there are no not-happy stories to juxtapose them to? If we were born into this society, we would be brainwashed in to doing our job every day. I feel as if the human race would turn in to slugs; carrying out their duty day-in and day-out. So, you’re asking me how American culture would change if we suddenly had no control over our art? Well, I say we’d be even more bored than we already were. Mind numbingly bored. Without being able to express our individuality in a society such as Plato’s I believe that the society would crumble in on itself. Some people need to hear Taylor Swift’s lovey dovey heart-wrenching music. Some people need to hear Eminem’s individualistic rap [which I’m about 98.7% sure Plato would not allow in his society]. If that society strips us one of the very things that makes us human, then I want nothing to do with it.

    Yours truly, Dustin Oakwood from 3rd hour

  15. The American culture today differs quite a bit with Plato's Republic. I will use the show House as an example. House, is a very negative individual,but the way he is negative is more honest than anything. Plato expects everything to be positive, in all actuality not everything is positive and that is a fact. For example,
    when House delivers the news that an individual has cancer, there is simply no positive way to say it. It is a negative thing to begin with. The way that House presents things are negative but they are brutally straight to the point. Plato expected things to be positive. In reality there is nothing that is always positive there will always be something negative. That is not an American culture that is human nature. House the show itself is fiction. In Plato's Republic it would be banned, because it is negative and it is made up. If Plato’s Republic banned all negative things than many other movies, books, music and television would be gone. Plato’s idea of positive all the time was in a way negative. The way it was negative was in the bigger picture, not just the show but all art (music, portraits, books, movies etc.) is an expression and a reflection of something inside us or outside us.

    Mariam Sharaf
    hour 3

  16. It is hard to imagine a society governed by The Republic, especially the United States where freedoms and emotions are the core of our beliefs. The Republic essentially takes emotions out of society. In The Republic you should never feel sadness/grief, you should never have a sense of humor, and you should never fear anything except defeat and slavery. But to me then it seems like you should fear The Republic, because in its world you are put into a job without a choice and you must enjoy it whether or not you truly do. And in this world you should feel no real emotions, and in some cases you aren’t allowed to own any property. Every day could essentially blend together, so essentially The Republic is a type of slavery in itself. It is strange to see how an attempt at a “perfect” society can go so wrong.

    In the United States today I would see our government transform from a Democracy to a Dictatorship. Our culture that we have today wouldn’t exist, in fact it would be hard to imagine a culture at all that is regulated to keep certain emotions out. The world of art would be destroyed, if no sense of grief/sadness or humor could be expressed through a movie, a song, or a piece or artwork then almost no art would exist at all. Sadness and humor are such driving forces in the world of art. It is hard to think of some form of art that doesn’t involve either. They offer different perspectives, without them things would be so similar. A lot of music today is based off of sadness and hardships, so any song that imposes a sad or troubling mindset wouldn’t exist. This whole concept essentially applies to everything. So the only things that would exist would be the things the Rulers saw fit, which would make the list very small. In the end I hope our society never comes to this, I would never want to live in the type of dictatorship it creates.

    Austin Slawinski
    3rd Hour

  17. If Socrates had his way, American culture would be completely different. There would be virtually none of the amazing art that there is today. First, Socrates likes the idea of the warriors to understand death, and to welcome it. This would be very difficult to ensure, seeing as how all people have their different values and beliefs. But Socrates would say that in his system, all people would have the same values and beliefs. I do not think that human nature would abide under his rule. Everyone wants to be an individual and have characteristics unique to them. His idea of not grieving over a person, because they are only one person, is just not rational. It is in our nature to become attached to others, and we would grieve over one’s passing. Socrates’ idea of lying only permitted to leaders, when it benefits the public good, is a smart idea. However, I do not think that it would work. Again, it is human nature to do some of these things, and they cannot just be completely suppressed. Most of the things that people want to hear about today are music artists and actors. These are forms of art, and in Socrates’ version of the world, some of them would not exist. His version of the world would completely change American culture, and I think it would change it for the worse.

    Tyler Porritt

  18. Now let's just say the world wasn't what it was and everything we thought wasn't actually what we thought it was, life wouldn't be as it seems and nothing would be as it was. If we were in Plato's republic culture would never evolve, nor would it devolve, it would maintain a constant limbo of utopian mediocracy. In this day and age we find that we love to seldom, and hate to often. In Plato's republic in today's day and age things would seldom have meaning. Without rebalance there is no order. Because order is a given, but the concept of order would have never been placed without something to counteract it. Far away are the days of aristocracy and hypocrisy and enter the days of where meaning has no meaning and ideas are found to burn up in the atmosphere. And today we're all waiting on the world to change, but in this platonic society we're waiting for nothing. We're waiting for what we know, surprise and awe are lost forever. The moments we cherish and hold onto forever never happen. And there will never be no such thing as dreaming with a broken heart, the things that give us guilty pleasures are gone gone gone. We'll find ourselves, sitting, waiting, wishing, for good people to remember times like these. But in the end we'll just sleep through the static.

    Written By Yours Truly,
    Evan Fried, Son of Ron Fried, Grandson of Paul Fried

  19. If society today were to change into Plato’s republic and “transform” into the perfect society with every person born with a purpose, led only by philosophers, then the world would be a far more peaceful place in the aspect of coulters fighting against one another. In theory this would be a pleasant idea, but in reality, the possibilities of uprisings and rebellions would be astronomical because of the way humans today take for granted their ability to think freely. This can be seen in the openness of the media, for example the local news, with their supposed “non-biased” opinion. Even so, if we were to be forced to transform into the republic then this very would be gone to all because one of the few good things about the news is the fact that at least they can talk freely about some information no matter how miniscule that information may be. Not only would society today not be able to cope with the loss of free will, but I don’t think that society could handle being led under philosophers as the republic would be. It’s obvious today that mankind doesn’t base their thoughts on matters of questioning, but on matters of logic based only on what we know. So if we were to change to this society then people would have a hard time understanding what philosophers strive to teach, and therefore the society would fail.

    Jared Monchnik

  20. Putting aside the fact that it is inconceivable that anything resembling Plato’s Republic could ever become reality in America today, I think that our culture would be different in almost every way. I think that our culture would resemble that portrayed in Huxley’s Brave New World. In the book Huxley describes a world in which everyone has a socio-economic class which they are given at birth and that will stay with them throughout their entire life. Furthermore, the members of this society are completely content with their lot in life and have no reason to question it. The only people who are able to think for themselves are those few rulers at the top. They rule over everyone without question and they are considered to be all knowing and therefore they are admired by all. Also they provide the people with what they need and keep them happy. If a form of government such as the one described in Plato’s Republic ever did come into existence I think that we would accept our roles in life and leave the thinking to the philosophers at the top.

    Andrew Gordner

  21. I believe that the transition from our set form of government to Platos Republic would be a very difficult change for America. There are many reasons why this would be a difficult change but I believe that the single hardest thing to change would be us not being able to pick our jobs. In Platos Republic you are given a job from birth. In some way this would be good because you would have the best people in the republic working on the task that they were best at, but this could also be a con because some people may like or dislike that job that they have to fulfill. Another reason why it would be a hard transition is censorship. In today’s industries there are many things that go uncensored. The biggest example of this is in the music and movie industries. In today’s world these uncensored things are the main choices of entertainment that people pick. For example in the music industry one of the biggest and most famous rapper is Eminem. In almost all of his songs he is using some type of profanity. If we were in Platos Republic we wouldn’t have any of these luxuries. These are the two biggest reasons why a transition from modern day systems to Platos republic would be very hard.

    Matt Trogu, 3rd Hour

  22. If we switched to Plato’s Republic today in our society things would crumble. People not being able to pick jobs, writing censored, films censored, and there will even be some genres taken out of existence. People could not choose their jobs anymore they would have to take the job that they were the best in no matter whether they liked doing it or not. This can kill a man on the inside. If you are doing a job you may be good at but hate you lose part of yourself. There would also be censoring. All movies, books, articles, and magazines would be censored so that it only told of uplifting news and happy things. No depressing information. Plato thought that any bad news would corrupt his society. I think that if we changed to this now it would just be chaos. The government would think they have power they don’t really have and there would be an uprising within the nation. They wouldn’t be able to censor everything because even now the things that are illegal and censored still leak out or are ‘underground’. So establishing Plato’s Republic now would just be a mess.

    Ryan St. John


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