Posts Tagged ‘The Republic – Plato’
There has always been multiple arguments about the origin of feminism. Some believe it is owned and funded by capitalists to bring women to the workforce so as to boost the sales and hike the prices/profits. Some believe feminism was formed as a women’s wing of radical communists/socialists to bring them to workforce, tax everyone, dismantle families and take ownership of kids, and there by establish a totalitarian state.
Recently, I happen to listen to Dr. Rajiv Dixit’s speech comparing Indian and Western civilization. He claims to have done plenty of research on European culture and India culture. Most interesting to me, in his speech, was his references to Plato’s concepts of feminism dating back to 420BC! His comments were unbelievably insane; so I decided to do a fact check. Here is what I found in Plato’s one of the great works, The Republic. I’m totally astonished by the way Plato, Socrates and others approach an issue in question and how they reach a conclusion. It is a philosophical marvel that is guaranteed to take you to the higher levels of your thoughts.
This book is all about philosophical answers to “What is Justice?” and “What does one’s ‘right’ mean”? In the process of analyzing and explaining these questions, Plato visualizes an ideal State, its citizens and their roles in the society. It is a highly intellectual discussion took place at the residence of Polemarcus in port of Athens. Socrates, Thrasymachus, Plato’s elder brothers Ademantus, Glaucon and few others were also parties in this discussion. Information provided here are from the book that you see in the picture above; I’ve borrowed only a few lines out of 408 pages and I’m sure this will encourage you to buy and read the whole book.
Plato was influenced by Spartan society and some of the features of his own ideal society are borrowed from it. Spartans were a military caste, in which the individual was rigidly subordinated to the community. When a child was born it was submitted to the inspection of the heads of the tribe, and if they judged it to be unhealthy or weak, it was exposed to die on the slopes of Mount Taygetos. They had a high repute for chastity; but if the government directed them to breed children for the State, they had no scruples in obeying the command, though it should involve a violation of the sanctity of the marriage-tie. Plato calls it Timarchy, and also criticizes its exploitation of the lowest class as a wrong relation between ruler and ruled, liable to lead to serious disunity. He criticizes its intellectual limitations.
The population of Athens when Plato was born was perhaps 200-300000 including men women and slaves; and Athens was by Greek standards large. In its democracy the vote was confined to the adult male citizen population. Greeks never invented representative government, and the sovereign body at Athens was the Assembly, a mass meeting of all adult male citizens. One of Plato’s own criticisms of democracy was that its politicians constantly mislead it, governing by propaganda rather than reason.
‘The Republic‘ has three modules regarding women and family as follows:
The Status of Women
Here it is identified that the only difference between men and women is one of physical function – one begets, the other bears children. Apart from that, both can and both should follow the same range of occupations and perform the same functions; though men will, on the whole, perform them better. They should share all duties, though we should treat the females as the weaker, the males as the stronger. Can you use any animal for the same purpose as another, unless you bring it up and train it in the same way? They figured, we shall have to train the women also, then, in both kinds of skill, and train them for war as well, and treat them in the same way as the men.
For the purpose of argument they also question themselves, what professions or occupations in the structure of society men and women are differently suited by nature? They said, we need not waste time over exceptions like weaving and various cooking operations, at which women are thought to be experts, and get badly laughed at if a man does them better. So in general, one sex is much better at everything than the other. A good many women, it is true, are better than a good many men at a good many things. There is therefore no administrative occupation which is peculiar to woman as woman or man as man; natural capacities are similarly distributed in each sex, and it is natural for women to take part in all occupations as well as men, though in all, women will be the weaker partners. As they are the weaker sex, we must give them a lighter share of these duties than men.
Marriage and Family
Here is the biggest wave that is going to drown you for sure; Plato is of the opinion that if men and women are to lead the same lives, the family must be abolished. But the sex instinct has to be satisfied and controlled, and new citizens produced. Plato therefore substitutes for the family a system of eugenic breeding analogous to that used in breeding domestic animals. He says, “that our men and women Guardians should be forbidden by law to live together in separate households, and all the women should be common to all the men; similarly, children should be held in common, and no parent should know its child, or child its parent. We must, if we are to be consistent, and if we’re to have a real pedigree herd, mate the best of our men with the best of our women as often as possible, and the inferior men with the inferior women as seldom as possible, and bring up only the offspring of the best. And no one but the Rulers must know what is happening, if we are to avoid dissension in our Guardian herd”.
The plan laid out for the kids here is, “officers will take the children of the better Guardians to a nursery and put them in charge of nurses living in a separate part of the city: the children of the inferior Guardians, and any defective offspring of the others, will be quietly and secretly disposed of. They will arrange for the suckling of the children by bringing their mothers to the nursery when their breasts are still full, taking every precaution to see that no mother recognizes her child; if the mothers have not enough milk they will provide wet-nurse. They will see that the mothers do not suckle children for more than a reasonable length of time, and will hand over all the sitting up at night and hard work to nurses and attendants”
Promotion Demotion and Infanticide
What he says about promotion and demotion runs as follows: “ You will remember too that we said that the children of the good were to be brought up, and those of the bad distributed secretly among the rest of the community; and the Rulers were to keep an eye on the children as they grew up and promote any who deserved it, and degrade into the places of the promoted any in their own ranks who seemed unworthy of their position.” Here the ‘secret distribution‘ of the Timaeus is very similar to the ‘quiet and secret disposal‘ of The Republic. To sum up, Plato seems to have sanctioned infanticide(1) of defective children (the grounds here would be eugenic), (2) of children born to over-age Guardians (eugenic grounds again) (3) of children in any sense illegitimate (ie. Conceived in contravention of the laws regulating the relation of the sexes).
Most of you might be familiar with some of the words (not original concepts) mentioned here; eugenics, infanticide, abolishing family, nurseries, day care and all the rest of it. After reading this, you should be aware of its origin and if you still have no clue why you are hearing these in your day to day life, as if someone is trying to implement these ideas on a global scale, I would recommend you to watch this “UN Agenda 21 EXPLAINED, full version”.
If you are interested to watch Rajiv Dixit’s speech you may watch it here in YouTube “Bharat Aur Europe Ki Sabhyata Aur Sanskriti by Sri Rajiv Dixit”
उत्तिष्टता जाग्रता प्राप्यवरण निभोदता