Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Imaginary City

In Republic by Plato, the main character, Socrates, discusses a theoretical city  to demonstrate justice and injustice within a community and people. The town he imagines is unethical. Socrates talks about a city without free will, where people are born into their class and career with no ability to change their situation. Only the guardians, the military, are allowed to move up to the leader position, but they cannot chose to be the ruler. Someone else decides who is the leader, and that catch is the leader must not want to rule. Thus, the set up of this government forces its subjects to do what they do not want and follow the rules instead of doing things for their own happiness. Socrates says citizens must be loyal to make sure his town is the best town. He believes the way to make people loyal is to demonstrate how people are suppose to act through limited and altered literature and music, as well as children’s playground games. Socrates believes literature must be changed to exclude parts where the hero or gods do something he deems as inappropriate behavior. He is trying to create a perfect city, an utopia, but this is impossible. Utopia means that it cannot be man made, and therefore, anytime someone tries to make a perfect place, it turns into a dystopia. Socrates has good intentions and believes “our city, if indeed it has been correctly founded, is completely good.” The foundation of the city, how the people are forced to live, is not “good.” People are stuck in their social class and denied the basic right to make decisions for themselves.