The first explicit mention on thetopic of education in Plato’s ideal polity, arises after Glaucon questions themoderate and plain lifestyle required in Socrates’ just city “ofspeech” in Plato’s book 2. Even though Socrates provides an adequateresponse to Thrasymachus through the discussion of justice, Glaucon is notconvinced. “…so, he said to me: Socrates, do you wish really to persuade us, oronly to seem to have persuaded us, that to be just is always better than to beunjust” (Plato, 2000). Here, one notices that Glaucon is fixated on imaginingthe idyllic city, and cannot measure the severity of the situation when onedesires too many luxuries. Socrates shows how potentially dangerous this iswhen he theorizes about acting on one’s desires, where more people desire andneed more land to hold their growing population and properties.
Additionally,there is also an increase in the military’s presence, that is needed to guardthe city against its neighbours. Furthermore, with the threat of theever-present peril of a tyrannical rule, an exerted effort must be made inorder to control the guardian’s normal tendency to rule over the citizens.Socrates suggests that this control can be exercised through the guardian’sreceiving an education that will make them behave like “noble puppies” that areto adopt a hostile approach with their enemies but a more docile and friendlyone with their own citizens. (Plato, 2000).Socrates further mentions in his speech how education is similar to music forthe soul and gymnastics for the body. “quote”. He explains how education is thebest way to control and shape the guardian’s character, in order to prevent anyviolence with the citizens.
This in return reflects light on how the Guardian’seducation is primarily based on blindly accepting beliefs and behaviours ratherthan having the ability to independently critically think and evaluate. Socrates states that in order to be fit for aGuardian’s education, one must be of ‘philosophic, spirited, swift, and strong'(Plato, 2000). Furthermore, they must be keen to learn, similar to ‘noblepuppies’ who are able to differentiate what is to be familiar and foreign by ‘knowledgeand ignorance’ (Plato, 2000). These guardian’s therefore, are able to thenapprove of those they are familiar with but are able to show hostility againstthose they are not familiar with.
It is important to point out, that thoughSocrates mentions how these potential guardians of the city must contain acertain character, at the same time, the impressionability of what the Idealpolity suggests is that they must be also physically built to suit the job, asthe other essential abilities will be instilled in them through education. Anarticle on Plato’s concept of education, draws parallels between Plato’spersonal educational background to understand its profound importance inPlato’s ideal polity, that he writes about in ‘The Republic’. From this we can gather that “Plato seeseducation as an important activity of human beings which is the main responsibilityof the state” (Selahattin, 2011). Therefore, in relation to the Guardians, andtheir role in society, it can be concluded as to how, the function of educationis closely linked to the development of human character and in order to live ina well and just society, one’s positive contribution to society.