Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Diversity of Knowledge- To Think or Not To Think

In book three of The Republic Socrates plays with the idea of education in the ideal city. They discuss the differences in styles and the importance of certain types of subjects and the effect that can have on an individual and a cities development.
Education varies throughout the world, throughout the US, The state of Vermont, and even Burlington. However as you travel from a more general sample to a centralized local sample you can get a better idea of the general type that is preferred in an area. However, the question is what is really the best or even what is better then the other. In Vermont we are very accustomed to learning from a generally liberal viewpoint. We are taught about evolution and not creative science and the like, we believe in what science says and question the bible. However just because that is our local norm is the better or the best out of all the types of view that people take across the world?
Would it be better to learn something else, or a compilation of all we can, sampling from different ideologies and societies. Plato discusses this very theme in book three. He takes a guardian and wonders what is the best type of education for that type of individual. What it is that would best prepare a person that will be guarding in the future. What type of education can prepare people in the most efficient way possible?
Plato discusses with his peers about the idea of imitation. Concerning the art of language and its influences and effects on people.
“Or haven't you observed that imitations, if they are practices continually from youth onwards, become established as habits and nature, in body and sounds as in thought.”(Plato, 395c)
Whether it is more beneficial to be able to imitate, or think. At the Vermont Commons School we learn the fundamentals of thought process. Our education is not based around facts and figures as many of our peers in the public system are accustomed to. Instead we become able thinkers. We have the ability to imitate and/or recite facts and figures, however we also are able to think about the connection between those facts and figures and create a path the evolves into a deeper understanding.
Plato discusses this similarly. However put most simply it is decided that to be able to imitate is less complicated and therefore more efficient. Therefore the questions posed by society are not discussed but it is rather just accepted that those who have a certain title should stick to that title and not bother with thinking. This proves fatly though because a person who is able to think is also able to decide the differences between good and evil, justice and injustice, to be able to discern and understand such concept lends itself for a more advanced society.
Alternatively this can also be self-destructive. Because as the thought process evolves the questions can become more complex and people can question different opinions. This can end in a war, which in a way was the original creation for guardian, however is not necessary.
Education is such an impotent part of our society, especially the society that it has evolved to be. In a diversified world it is important to consider the importance of knowing how to think and how to analysis situation that you might find yourself in. Knowing only what pertains to you field of knowledge can lead you down narrow road. Even in college when the ask you to pick a major they have still created a curriculum that is diverse so that you can be educated and well rounded at the same time.
Plato argues that to create a society that it is most beneficial to purge the society or the city of any non-related subject. That it is beneficial to purge the city of certain kinds of art because that type can me misinterpreted and misunderstood, creating unwanted messages that can ruin the creation of justice. To essentially create a city that is without flare, or diversity, that sticks to the bare minimum with one end in mind. This seems to be the best way to achieve a set end, as the understanding of a perfect justice system. However as a by-product the city as a whole will suffer because of the monoculture that has been created. Because the people will not be able to think they will end up much more like robots controlling machinery then humans controlling a living environment, which is reality.


At 9:06 PM, Blogger Elisha Cuthbert said...

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