Plato’s The Republic, Books 5 and 6 Reflection

Before anything else, I would like to inform you, the reader who accidentally stumbled upon this obscure blog of mine, that the title has misled you into this. The content of the post, no matter how general the post title might have suggested this post would be, is my own analysis on only a particular part of the discussion in Books 5 and 6– Book 5 to be exact– of The Republic by Plato.

The particular part I am pertaining to is the eugenics as the system described as the best means for the female and male guardians to procreate in the ideal and just city-state. Upon birth of the child, it is taken away from the parents to be raised in a “rearing pen”, without the parents ever knowing who their child(ren) might be. This was seen as the most suitable way of raising the next generation of suitable guardians, but in such a way that the current male and female guardians would think of all the children–and I mean ALL–who were born from eugenics as their own child.

You might be wondering why I bothered including Book 5 in the post title. Welp, that’s just there as a sort of bookmark, in the sense that we are required in our Social, Economic, and Political Thought class to write a reaction/reflection/analysis to every two books/chapters that we read. Since I fairly liked this specific paper and am content with how this turned out–just the way I wanted it to be–I’d just like to leave it here. I think it might be worth reading.

Will a female guardian’s deprivation of the right to raise a child affect her very being?

It is the instinct of a mother to raise the newborn, even after all the possible difficulties that she has to undergo while carrying the developing child in her womb. It is because of the obviously different lifestyle the woman has to adapt in order to support the life in her. From the moment of conception, a woman’s life is fundamentally not her own anymore. It is also the life of her child. No matter how much assistance a pregnant woman gets from others, it is her that gets to go through pregnancy and has to make and carry out decisions. If she starves, the child also starves. If she dies, the child also dies. Because of that delicate biological connection that they have, their lives are intertwined.

Child development within the womb of his/her mother is a crucial state in both lives of the mother and child. Bearing a child does not only change the woman physically, but also in various aspects in her life. Physical changes during pregnancy include the change in metabolism of the mother. Nutritional needs of the child should also be met, so the mother would have to consume more food than she normally does. The mother would, in turn, start caring more about herself, particularly her health. This is a change in her mental and emotional state. Her thinking process would change such that she is more conscious of what and how much she consumes, her sleeping habits, and her physical activities. Nine months of pregnancy is a long time that can adequately alter the total lifestyle and habits of a woman. Through building and breaking habits within that period, it would be virtually difficult for the female guardian to go back to her old ways.

The moment the child is born would be the very proof of the hard work that the female guardian has exerted. As much as the developing fetus needed the mother during pregnancy, the newborn would still have to be dependent on the mother. The mother feels obligated to do everything she can to provide the child with all his needs. Thus, childbirth doesn’t end the connection between mother and child but, rather, reinforces that bond between them. I think this is why many people often describe childbirth as one of the most life-changing moments in a woman’s lifetime.

The infant’s most basic need, food, is best provided from the breast milk of the mother because it is complete of all the nutrients necessary for his growth and health. Children who do not get the most out of the breast milk of their mothers are mostly the ones who are unhealthy and develop illnesses as they grow older. It is best not to separate the child from his birth mother if the just city desires an army of strong guardians.

Analysis by miharusshi

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