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The Ideal State

In the book Republic, Socrates, the narrator, starts off by attempting to define justice and distinguish it from injustice. In doing so he comes up with an example of an ideal state which has people participating in the economy in an ideal manner. It is in this state that we find the ‘Guardians’ who are a specific group of people to be found in the state. This paper will explore the character and roles of the guardians as explained by Socrates to his peers. After creating a perfectly just state, there arises a need for increase in production.

This happens yet the resources are still the same and hence the requirement to get from the neighbors that which they own. The same need has arisen in their neighbors midst. This therefore necessitates the formation of another group of people whose duty will be to protect the state. These are the guardians. They are supposed to be in the highest ranking class in the state compared to gold and silver whereas the rest of the population is compared to base metals (http://www. constitution. org).

As a member of the highest class in the state, they are picked from a very tender age and are instructed as directed and approved by the state. All their instruction is aimed at producing the ultimate warrior, defender and philosopher all in one person. They are educated in gymnastics and music but later the importance of arithmetic is introduced by Glaucon since it is required in all arts including the art of military. What they are taught especially in music is censured by the authorities to ensure that they do not become fearful of death and they learn to respect the gods (http://www.

constitution. org). They are to defend the state from all its enemies who may want to do its citizens harm. To become a guardian, one must be able to strike a balance between a warrior and a philosopher. He must be swift, brave, strong, spirited and quick to see. When these physical attributes are coupled with the love of wisdom and knowledge they produce a perfect guardian of the state. They are trained in gymnastics from a tender age throughput their lives.

This is done with an intention to make them warrior athletes and they are tempered with music to make them gentle and not entirely brutal. Their diet is very strict to ensure that they never require the ministrations of a physician. They are to be seen as saviors of the state and are held in very high esteem. To maintain this illusion, they are to get only that which they require keeping nothing extra for this would lead to corruption of their souls. They are to have no money although they hold the highest position in the land since they are in themselves filled with gold and silver.

They are supposed to be wise and set an example for the other people in the state thus the requirement to keep themselves pure and away from all corruption (http://www. constitution. org). They are supposed to also be the guardians of the law and the government and lead their armies to war. The training of the guardians starts from a very young age. What they are taught is also censured to ensure only that which assists them to excel in their profession is taught to them.

All this is important in formation of culture since the training that one gets as a child is never forgotten and if there is consistency then it becomes a part of ones life. The examples provided to the children exhort some virtues thus providing an image to look up to. The entire training of the guardians therefore is relevant to the formation of culture. Reference Plato 360 BCE The Republic Translated By Jowett B. The Constitution Society Retrieved On 11th March 2009 from http://www. constitution. org/pla/republic. htm

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