|← Ralph Emerson||Kierkegaard: Stages on Lifes Way →|
The human perception of their true nature is diverse, varied and dependent on individuals. Socrates 'ideal city' represents his own conception and understanding of human nature, behaviorism and mannerisms towards life, leadership, stratification and social integration (Ross, 2001). His proposition of institutions and designs imply the creative man in Socrates but fail to truly capture the true picture of the society, let alone the Greek society of the time. Socrates adamantly defied human behavior as 'natural.' It is therefore surprising that he goes out of this setting and creates an imaginary match-up of the values, beliefs, norms and structures that totally contrast the real situation on the ground.
In a concerted effort to explain humanity, Socrates came up with the tripartite soul. Appetite, reason and spirit were used to replicate the elements which found societal governance. They implied the productive, protective and governing elements of the society (Martin, 2007). Whereas humanity must co-exist, it is imperative to point out here that no man likes being ruled. That was a misconception of Socrates. Ideally, Socrates backed this argument with the statement that 'people should lead a just life (pg 102).' The use of a myriad examples derived from societal norms were the backbone of Socrates argument. Scholars have found fault in the fact that the society is a continuum Change is always abound and thus the validity of those examples then would be totally irrelevant over time.
The ideal city is founded on the willingness of people to be led. He seconded his thoughts on social stratification, arguing that it would be constituted of the producers, auxiliaries and guardians. The willingness of the people to be led would prompt sound and just leadership, adding that each citizen of the city would be convinced that they have metallic souls (Martin, 2007). The metal would dictate the class with gold for rulers, silver for auxiliaries and bronze/iron for producers (pg 106). The class belonging would be final. Through merit, rulers ought to espouse wisdom, moderation, courage and justice (Martin,2007).
The justice of the city consists in the principle of specialization. Each part of the city performs that task that it is naturally suited to perform. Justice in the city: each part of the city performing the function it is naturally suited for. Guardians ruling, Auxiliaries aiding the rulers, the producers obeying the rulers. The other virtues of the city, wisdom, courage, and moderation follow directly from justice (Ross, 2001). No one thing can have opposite characteristics. If one thing seems to have opposite characteristics this is because it has different parts. Example: Socrates is moving and not moving. This is only possible if one part is moving and another is not moving (his arms might be moving, and his legs not moving (pg 107)
The formulations of the ideal city are based on resignation. It is not true that people do accept a life of poverty, suffering and menial labor. They accept it because it is the only thing they can rely on and get themselves a lifeline. Assigning role to people in the society is a tact bound to backfire due to the comparison principle, the one that makes certain jobs appear to be better than others. The assumption that people placed at a lower caste are happy with their status is ill-informed. Their resilience is informed by hope and desire to live, rather than to let go and be counted a failure (Ross, 2001).
Socrates' perceptions had profound impacts on the society. They influenced the culture and can also account for the Western culture as well. His inspirational works prompted Plato to divide the world into two; the world of senses and the world of ideas (pg 201). This was known as Plato's radical dualism and it fathered the metaphysics of Christian theology. These metaphysics devalued the world here and now and declared eternal life to be a matter of a non-physical transcendence. It was under the guidance of Christian theologians that, hundreds of years after Socrates, the sculptures of classical Greece were smashed or mutilated as sinful frivolities or dangerous expressions of a false attachment to the body and the physical world (Martin, 2007).
To conclude, it is imperative to link the societal evaluations of Socrates to the distinct human behavior. The fact that people are different means diverse perceptions are always going to suffice. Incidentally, the perfectionism in Socrates was espoused by the one believe he held dear to his life and that was to live for the sake of living. Critical examination of the ideal state as Plato calls it (Aristocracy), provide a basis upon which his assessment of the impacts of democracy and tyranny cement the inclination that he is an eloquent self-centered scholar who uses his experiences and knowhow to base his arguments. Subsequently, most of them are flawed as life can always be conceived from diverse angles.