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Victoria Smith-Tyson January 11, 2013 GB K 202 Dr. Whitfield Educated or Brainwashed? No matter where you go or who you talk with, the majority of the human race will tell you that education is important and that everything that is taught in school has a purpose. Whether it is for your career or so that you can learn something that may help you in the long run, most people will say you will need it. In the Republic, Socrates takes a drastic stand for education and makes the argument that what was taught in school during his time was taught wrongly and that the subjects should be taught and applied in a way that will help the individual as both a community and society grow. We have come a long way from the education system that was put into place, but are we still misusing the subjects? Given pressure from the government about standardized tests and getting into college, are students being taught what they need to know to help them in the real world, or are they being taught what the school system and tests say they should know? Socrates was right, and he still is. The method in which students are being taught does not allow them to better explore themselves and their world better, but it prepares them for what society believes is most needed and leaves them confused once they enter the real world. Socrates breaks down each subject and explains how it should be taught. He talks about astronomy, geometry, and the hymn of dialectic (language arts). Based on what he described as the perfect way to use them, we are still misusing the subjects, and students are still being taught to misuse them.

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During Socrates time, astronomy was naturally used to help sailors navigate their way around the world. No one went past navigation and explored the universe as a whole. No one thought of how they could use the stars to better humankind. Socrates states that in my opinion, that knowledge only which is of being and of the unseen can make the soul look upwards, and whether a man gapes at the heavens or blinks on the ground, seeking to learn some particular of sense, I would deny that he can learn, for nothing of that sort is matter of science; his soul is looking downwards, not upwards, whether his way to knowledge is by water or by land, whether he floats, or only lies on his back (Plato, 272). Since humankind was only looking to learn what they already knew about the universe, they were not going depth and learning everything there is to learn about the universe. Astronomy was only being used to teach children the same thing every generation. It was not being used as a tool to gather more information and knowledge that would help society as a whole. Since the use of the subject was limited to just that one usage, there were many things no one knew about because no one had the ability to properly use the knowledge they obtained. Socrates also went on to explain how geometry and the misuse of math to aid only in war, does not move humans to a higher place. According to Socrates, geometry will draw the soul towards truth, and create the spirit of philosophy, and rise up that which is now unhappily allowed to fall down. (Plato, 272) Geometry should be used not only in battle, but to find the truth in life, and it should help humans to find their true soul. According to Socrates, geometry is more than basic math; it is a tool used to view the true nature of humankind and the universe around them. It also helps create the curious soul in people. It provides answers and the spirit the curiosity to ask questions.

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The next subject addressed was the hymn of dialectic. The literatures of their time were mostly passed down by storytellers and were used to make people behave or answer unknown questions. Socrates stated his thoughts on Homers works and others like him enough times that the readers of his works know he detests what is said in those hymns. Socrates thinks literature should not be used as a tool to make children behave, but as an entrance to a new world. It should entice the children to want to know more, and it should tell them the truth about the world around them. The stories told to the world are lies used to make the audience behave in a favorable way. When stories are told to children, it is to put the fear of the gods in them; when told to adults, it is to appease them into spending money. Very few times literature is used to spread the truth and when it does it is slowly silenced over time. Socrates believes that literature should be used to create interest in the world and in human beings. It should create a want to go out and explore new things, instead of a fear of the unknown. Socrates discusses using the subjects to train children into the perfect adults and prepare them for their futures. Many people see a problem with this style and say brainwashing children into a certain occupation not only takes away their freedom, but also limits their outlook on life. While I think this claim is true, many schools use this method to bring up their students. Students are separated and divided based on their abilities and are taught to use each and every subject in a manner that can only apply to their career choice. This may not happen in many schools, but it happens enough to see that the subjects are still seen as a tool for society to bend and use for their own advantage. Socrates method may seem extreme to most, but it provides the students with the tools they need not only to get a career, but also explore the world and the human nature.