The relevance of The Republic to our modern society
In Plato’s The Republic, Plato illustrates what his ideal city would look like. He describes the educational systems, ideal legislators and the purposes of democracy. The republic influenced many people to understand the purpose for democracy, and it led to new philosophical schools of thought. Although this work was written hundreds of years ago, it still affects our modern world today. One of the most important things that Plato stresses is the importance of education. Without education of the masses, democracy would cease to exist. When Plato was forming his ideal society, he stressed the importance of education for several reasons. Most importantly, educating citizens led to a peaceful, well-run republic. For Plato, education was not about information intake and data storage. Rather, education was drawing out the knowledge that was already in the student. He said that “the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already” He gives an allegory of prisoners in a cave, who have never seen light before. They become free, come out of the cave and see the light. They understand that the shadows are just reflections of real things; they are not the real things themselves. They ascend up to a mountain and see the world for what it really is. Plato uses this story to illustrate what education does for the human soul. We are all born in a dark cave, chained to a wall and cannot see the light. We still around all day looking at shadows, which appear to be so real to us. Education breaks the chains of ignorance. We can ascend to the top of the mountain and look out onto the beautiful world. According to Plato, after the prisoners’ ascend all the way to the top of the mountain, “they must be made to descend again among the prisoners’ in the den and partake in labors and honors, whether worth having or not.” Plato notes that once a person is educated and has received knowledge and truth, they should go back...
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