Socrates believed that the wise man, the philosopher who could understand ideas was the one capable of ruling others. In his entire life, he was opposed to democracy. During his adult life, Athens was governed by democracy and he openly rejected the regime. Not only was Socrates objected to Athenian democracy, he denounced any form of government. He desired an ideal republic whose leaders were philosophers. In the last days of Socrates life, his relative Critias who was his student overthrew the democratic system of governance (Huxley, 2010).
On the other hand, Plato's views also proposed a perfect government. He implied that society should have an ideal class structure, which is tripartite. He likened the society to a single soul with three parts the appetite, the spirit and reason. Each different part represents the castes in the society. The appetite part symbolizes the workers e.g. carpenter, farmers and laborers. The spirit corresponds to the guardians i.e. the armed forces that protect the soul. Finally, the head is suited to make decisions and symbolize the government. It is the governing part of the soul and consists of the philosophers who are intelligent and wise. From these observations, we realize that both Socrates and Plato agree to the idea that philosophers should govern the society.
From his book brave new world, Aldous Huxley outlines a society whose governance is based on this principle (Huxley, 2010). The stable society is divided into two groups, the plus and the minus. Members of the highest caste Alpha govern the others. The intelligence and physical growth of the lower class is manipulated so that their development is retarded. Thus, there cognitive and physical abilities are limited. The lower caste forms the majority of the human society and since they are less intelligent, they are easier to manipulate and control. This upper caste is naturally more intelligent hence able to govern.
Personally, I do not agree with the views of these philosophers. Being intelligent does not necessarily mean that one can make a good leader. I believe that society should be governed democratically. If each member of a society were given the opportunity to vote, they probably would choose the best leaders.
The study of philosophy also involves doing philosophy. This means that one needs to know how to do philosophy so that he can effectively study philosophy. Doing philosophy requires the ability to analyze arguments, ability to ask the right questions and construction of valid arguments on philosophical topics. Doing philosophy goes beyond mere memorization of facts and requires that one understands ideas and concepts (Huxley, 2010). In brave new world, one cannot understand the plot, the characters, and other elements like the setting, themes, styles and the different points of view unless he is well versed in doing philosophy.
The author of the brave new world believes that, the best way to govern the society is to have philosophers in government. In addition, for one to be a philosopher, he has to understand ideas, themes and concepts. Needless to say that the person who understands is one that is doing philosophy. This explains the author's belief in the importance of doing philosophy (Huxley, 2010). The idea that I will think about is the possibility of having a perfect society.
The less intelligent people do the dirty work willingly while the intelligent cream of the society rules. Each person plays his role and conforms to the rules of society. The idea that will influence my life as I go forward is the notion that the government might be limiting information hence our knowledge so that it can achieve its purpose. Is it possible that society lives on propaganda so that the citizens live blindly without the truth? Can the government condition or plant information in the so that each citizen is orderly, happy and satisfied?