Monday, August 19, 2019

Platos Repulic, book V Essay -- essays research papers fc

ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the viability of certain aspects (the sex lottery) of Plato's Republic, book V. It is college level 'A' paper. Book V of The Republic finds Socrates explaining the practical details necessary in the creation of an ideal polis. He proposes a system for population control and human eugenics based on a lottery of sorts which will determine who will mate with whom and when. The lottery is â€Å"rigged† by the rulers in order that the best of the â€Å"herd† will mate much more frequently than others. However, only the rulers of this society will know the lottery is rigged. This system will presumably assure that children will be conceived as the result of reason, not irrational behaviors such as love or lust, and will produce the best possible future generations (Plato 458d – 460c). I argue that Plato’s lottery would not have worked in his time, nor would it work now because the desire to propagate was and still is a human instinct propelled by passion, not something that can simply be reasoned away. While Plato proposed that licentiousness would be forbidden and matrimony given the highest degree of sanctity (458e), I do not think that would be enough to stop a massive rise in sex crimes and passionate affairs. Instead of a just society, Plato’s proposal would have created one of fear, self-doubt and lack of trust in the government and is not something I would advocate implementing. While we can never really know how this utopia would have â€Å"played out† in Plato’s time, the negative effects on a society when passions are forcibly controlled can be illustrated in a modern sense by the Catholic Church and our penal system. Plato wrote that guardians would be â€Å"drawn together by a necessity of their natures to have intercourse† (458d) and yet, their sexual interludes should be limited by the use of the lottery. It is important to point out that since reliable and accessible birth control is a recent luxury, Plato was not simply advocating for selective child birth, he was talking about abstaining from heterosexual sex unless you â€Å"won† the lottery. I don’t think Plato’s lottery system would have worked out as well as he envisioned. When the less desirable of the population were consistently â€Å"unlucky† and unable to propagate year after year, what would have happened to them psychologically? Given that copulation was to be an honor bestowed upon... ...or other punishments. Whether restraint of sexual instincts are willingly accepted or forced upon a community, the results can lead to a decidedly non-ideal situation. By looking at some modern examples, I have shown how human desire can, and often does, override reason and the law even when faced with community imposed consequences or dire punishments. While current society differs greatly from Plato’s Greece, people are still people and human instinct existed then just as it exists today. People who are denied the ability to choose if and with whom they can have sex are liable to become irrational or turn to violent means to reach that end, regardless of the era in which they live. In Plato’s ideal society these unsanctioned actions could have lead to an increased level in the public’s fear for their physical safety. Individuals consistently denied by the rulers to copulate might develop self-worth issues and finally, a pin-prick of imperfection in this utopian society may be discovered by those who are forbidden from enjoying physical relations with those they desire or love. Works Cited Plato, The Republic. Trans. Benjamin Jowett. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2004.

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