I am halfway through reading The State from Plato. But I think I am reading it from the wrong perspective. In the book Sokrates has a conversation with some other pals in which they build a state up from the ground. Not just a state, but an ideal state.
Some examples of rules Sokrates wants to maintain in his ideal state:
- Artists, writers and musicians can't freely publish what they want. Only positive 'validated' stories can be published to avoid bad influence on the education of children.
- Actors/Performers/People in general are not allowed to play/act as 'another person' because every person has one and only one task in the society on which they must focus.
- Soldiers are not allowed to have any money. Having material assets would make them weak.
- Luxury assets will not be present in the society.
- When someone is incurably sick doctors should not try to prolong the life of that person. 'It'd be best for the doctor and the sick person if he/she would just die. Because a person that is focusing on his sickness can't focus on his task in the society.'
- People with mental problems also should just better die. 'Would be better for everyone'.
All these rules are very logical. I perfectly understand why they would work or make a society more productive. But I won't call that an "ideal state". I think nobody would want to live in a state as described in this book. If so, can we even call it ideal?
Or maybe the state described is ideal but the problem lies with mankind? Because mankind isn't perfect and desires stuff like luxury and sex, is building an ideal state is impossible because you wouldn't find people who want to?
Anyway, the question I have is: Can someone explain how I should continue reading this book? What is the right perspective/context/understanding?