How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 The Nuclear Family?   [ Page: 1  2  ]
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

The Nuclear Family?

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Local Parasite
Deputy Moderator 10 Tours
Member Elite
since 11-05-2001
Posts 2929
Transylconia, Winnipeg


0 posted 12-08-2002 03:07 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

I'm starting to think less and less of the effectiveness of the classic "Nuclear Family" that we're used to seeing in our society.

I've been reading Plato's Republic lately, and I just finished Book V.  I recall reading Huxley's "Brave New World" and finding it striking, the concept of children being made and raised in specialized facilities, in order to ensure that they recieve the best upbringing for their purpose and occupation.  It seems like Plato has the same sort of idea, with less of a technological twist.  

Here's Book V: http://www.constitution.org/pla/repub_05.htm

Well if you haven't read the Republic, it's about justice, politics and the human soul.  He uses the image of a city in speech, and discusses how best for it to function, if ruled by philosopher kings... of course this is just an image necessary for talking about the human soul, it's not the focus of the book, but some of the things he mentions are genuinely intriguing.

Anyways, in Book V he's talking about the rearing of children.  Basically, he suggests that in order to produce the best society, a few elements are necessary.  Among them -

- People should only be permitted to have children if they are of ideal age to reproduce.
- Children should not be raised by their parents, they should be raised by the "guardians," without ever knowing who their parents are.
- The community would consider people of their own age to be brothers and sisters, ones a generation younger to be sons and daughters, ones a generation older to be fathers and mothers, etc.

It's a fascinating book if you've never read it.  Anyways, it certainly resembles the Brave New World philosophy on rearing children... minus the technological elements of Brave New World, of course.  Still, Plato seems to think that the rearing of children would be best done by those certified for the task.  He also suggests that children who are undesirable be eliminated from the gene pool, in order to ensure strength in the species.  It is all clearly to the advantage of the city, and I have a hard time disagreeing with it.

What do we all think?  Would our society benefit from its children being raised in absolute similarity, to ensure that they are all equally able citizens?  OR Are there benefits to the Nuclear Family of father, mother, children - as we know it today?


[This message has been edited by Local Parasite (12-08-2002 03:11 PM).]

Denise
Moderator
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


1 posted 12-08-2002 04:05 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I personally find these ideas chilling, impersonal and calculating. Certainly not the way that I would want to live. *shivers*
Local Parasite
Deputy Moderator 10 Tours
Member Elite
since 11-05-2001
Posts 2929
Transylconia, Winnipeg


2 posted 12-08-2002 04:16 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

Would you have the same opinion if you existed within such a society?
Local Rebel
Member Ascendant
since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia


3 posted 12-08-2002 05:21 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

You should study the Hopi as well Parasite... they had some unique ideas that they actually practiced (as well as other native americans).

There is one reason why I don't think the Platonic idea would work though -- and it is this -- God made kids cute so that you don't kill them -- and nobody elses kids are as cute as your own... lol
Red
Member
since 01-01-2000
Posts 144
Ca


4 posted 12-08-2002 06:14 PM       View Profile for Red   Email Red   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Red

"Would our society benefit from its children being raised in absolute similarity, to ensure that they are all equally able citizens"

It's the absolute similarity as well as mention of the word 'equally' that I would fear.

Our history seems to show us that as soon as you strive for such things, the people who don't fit in the mold (of which there are always some) are shunned and things like gulags and concentration camps occur.

I'd be wary of saying we would benefit from such a society because the ideal behind it may not be possible, but who knows?

Look at history, and you might say that it's not and that it is damaging more than anything.    
Denise
Moderator
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


5 posted 12-08-2002 07:13 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
He also suggests that children who are undesirable be eliminated from the gene pool, in order to ensure strength in the species.


Probably not, LP, I really couldn't say. I doubt that I'd have made it past the "elimination" stage to find out, though.   Hmmmm...who decides the criteria for "undesirable" in this hypothetical society, I wonder, and who would appoint their equivalent of the philosopher kings?

Doesn't this strike you as a bit Hitleresque? He had some similar ideas for the perfecting of society for the supposed benefit of the state. Honestly, I don't see much difference in the philosphies of any of these guys. I've never found them convincing at all.

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


6 posted 12-08-2002 07:29 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Plato would also ban poets and poetry.

For the good of the city of course.
Local Parasite
Deputy Moderator 10 Tours
Member Elite
since 11-05-2001
Posts 2929
Transylconia, Winnipeg


7 posted 12-08-2002 08:51 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

I disagree, Brad.  Doesn't Plato discuss the nature of art and poetry as a part of the philosophic education?  He would probably love to include poetry, so long as it was not simple and pleasurable in nature.  It would have to be complex and require rational thinking to understand.  And of course, good poetry does this, right?

When Plato talks about public art as a bad thing, he means it orders the soul improperly.  Any art that he would use in the philosophic education would require reason in order to be enjoyed.  Such poetry can exist.

I'm sure Plato would embrace many types of poetry in the philosophic education, so long as they appealed equally to reason and desire.

[This message has been edited by Local Parasite (12-08-2002 08:53 PM).]

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


8 posted 12-08-2002 08:59 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Who decides the proper type of poetry?
Local Parasite
Deputy Moderator 10 Tours
Member Elite
since 11-05-2001
Posts 2929
Transylconia, Winnipeg


9 posted 12-08-2002 09:11 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

I'm only arguing from Plato's perspective, but I suppose the city guardians would decide what is poetry.  That seems to be the theme of the Republic.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


10 posted 12-08-2002 09:26 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't have time right now but consider:

quote:
And so, when we hear persons saying that the tragedians, and Homer, who is at their head, know all the arts [598e] and all things human, virtue as well as vice, and divine things too, for that the good poet cannot compose well unless he knows his subject, and that he who has not this knowledge can never be a poet, we ought to consider whether here also there may not be a similar illusion. Perhaps they may have come across imitators and been deceived by them; they may not have remembered when they saw their works [599a] that these were but imitations thrice removed from the truth, and could easily be made without any knowledge of the truth, because they are appearances only and not realities? Or, after all, they may be in the right, and poets do really know the things about which they seem to the many to speak so well?

The question, he said, should by all means be considered.

Now do you suppose that if a person were able to make the original as well as the image, he would seriously devote himself to the image-making branch? Would he allow imitation to be the ruling principle [599b] of his life, as if he had nothing higher in him?

I should say not.

The real artist, who knew what he was imitating, would be interested in realities and not in imitations; and would desire to leave as memorials of himself works many and fair; and, instead of being the author of encomiums, he would prefer to be the theme of them.

Yes, he said, that would be to him a source of much greater honour and profit.

Denise
Moderator
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


11 posted 12-08-2002 09:39 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

See? I knew I wouldn't make the cut!

I like simple pleasures! Some of the best things in life are just that. I also think that the simple and complex in poetry and in all of life are quite complimentary to a balanced whole. How boring and bland it would be with just one or the other.

My opinion of Plato, et al, is that they probably got too wrapped up in their own intelligence, desiring to create a society of like super-intellectuals, perhaps even diefying human intellect. (?) To that end, I think they came up with some pretty frightening ideas.

I think one of the main reasons that these philosophies have never taken hold is that those cute little babies keep being born. Once a parent looks into the eyes of their own little offspring, something magical happens. That nuclear family is instantly and irrevocably created and I think most parents would die to preserve it just the way it is.



  
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


12 posted 12-09-2002 01:51 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I think your right. There's something fishy when a philosopher says that it's the philosophers that should be ruining things.

Uh, that's running things.  

The two types of people who are more screwed up than the rest are academics (all philosophers, don't you know?) and psychologists.

And maybe expatriates.
Local Parasite
Deputy Moderator 10 Tours
Member Elite
since 11-05-2001
Posts 2929
Transylconia, Winnipeg


13 posted 12-09-2002 02:31 AM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

You know, Brad, I made the very same comment to the cute girl who sits next to me in philosophy class, on the first day we were studying the republic.  If it was written by a labourer, he would have written it about how the labourers should be running everything, et cetera.

But you have to understand Plato's point of view in the Republic (by the way, have you read it?).  He views philosophy as the deliverance from political control, into complete objectivity.  According to him, philosophy is the only way to have a free mind, and be able to best consider the "good."  Who better to run a city than those with the most ability to examine the good?

However I do agree with Denise that these ideals are impractical.  The only way to be able to implement any such system of family would be through tyrannical means, which Plato officially condemns in the Republic.

This whole discussion makes me think of Brave New World.  O, how I adore Aldous Huxley.  

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
~Aldous Huxley

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


14 posted 12-09-2002 05:47 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Yes, I've read it. A long time ago in a country far away.

But the question is precisely that priveging of reason, of reality over appearance, of the reification of the GOOD and the TRUE. It sounds great, but in the end he wants to privilege a certain group of people over others in a general sense.

These days when you look at these points closely, they look rather empty.

You might take a look, if you have time, at Popper's "The Open Society and its Enemies."

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


15 posted 12-10-2002 12:38 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

"Would our society benefit from its children being raised in absolute similarity, to ensure that they are all equally able citizens?  OR Are there benefits to the Nuclear Family of father, mother, children - as we know it today?"


Since such a society has never actually been maintained successfully, or even tried (as far as I am aware), the viability and pervasiveness of traditional family structure speaks for itself.


Personally I think it is a reflection of community as found perfect in God himself ... I think family is a divine ordinance.  And regardless of whether if you believe that or not, the universality of it is undeniable.  In saying this, I am in no way denying that variations exist, but this is common motif that we can't seem to get rid of.


Stephen.    

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-10-2002 12:41 AM).]

jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


16 posted 12-10-2002 08:41 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

LP:

It doesn't surprise me that Plato would espouse such a view.  I'm curious as to whether Plato shared the same admiration for Spartan culture as Aristotle did (if I recall my Ancient Civilations 101 experiences correctly, the Spartans regularly practiced the segretation of children from parents and "weeded out" the children who were "undesirable").

The problem as I see it is that making such determinations would always be arbitrary.  Who decides what qualities are "undesirable"?  If the leadership wants a nation of warriors, then the Spartan way may be an effective one, but then again, you could argue that the United States military is second to none without such a policy.

Surely, there are plentiful examples of when nuclear families fail.  But I don't believe you will find people who advocate more strongly for children than parents.  This advocacy often enables many children to achieve a level of excellence that few other systems would be well equipped to accomplish.  I've witnessed many parents force "systems" to look at their children in a different light with their commitment to their children and a thorough understanding of their children's needs.

In my opinion, implementing Plato's model or a system that resembled the one portrayed by Huxley would bring more harm than good.

Jim

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


17 posted 12-10-2002 10:24 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jim,

Yep.

Local Parasite,

Rereading what you've said, I think you're right but for the wrong reasons. I suspect your professor is trying to show you why Plato matters. He does matter. Plato (Socrates, as Nietsche pointed out, did not write). Plato, in my opinion, created philosophy. Plato is one of us, and we can agree or disagree depending on our point of view.

Plato is, in a certain sense,  the beginning.

So, in a certain sense, you are right.

Now, let's talk (That's what Plato gave us.)
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


18 posted 12-10-2002 12:48 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Yes Brad.... But though you are right, LP's point was not about Plato being the Father of Philosophy, but about his particular philosophical views.  Saying that Plato influenced the world of philosophy and thought is no determiner of being "right" or "wrong".  I would dare say that practically no one denies the importance of Plato in this regard, no matter where they stand on issues.


Jim...  Well said.


Stephen

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-10-2002 12:49 PM).]

hush
Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


19 posted 12-10-2002 05:22 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

'He views philosophy as the deliverance from political control, into complete objectivity.'

You're not going to get me to agree that total objectivity is something I want. Hey, you know what, my heart does influence my brain, and I like it that way... even when my heart is wrong.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


20 posted 12-10-2002 07:14 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't want complete objectivity either.

Stephen,

Yes, but if you combine the lack of interest in history with the anti-Platonism that pervades today, I think there's a tendency to be too dismissive. But you're right too.

Let me get more specific.

As I'm sure everybody here knows, the advent of the nuclear family is recent and its demise, I think, is its lack of flexibility. The result has been the proliferation of day care centers, the professionalization or rationalization of parenting. Is this a good thing? From Plato's point of view, the answer would be yes.  A while back I watched a TV show debating whether it was better to leave your child with a day care center or with your grandparents. Unfortunately, the grandparent side had no argument, it relied on "If I can raise her, I can raise these kids" argument. The day care providers argued that they were trained to give kids the best possible experience.

Are they?

No doubt Local Parasite saw this question in the abstract, but I think we already live, to some extent, in the world she describes. My answer would be to bring back the extended family (No surprise there. That's what we do here.).

One more thing:

quote:
Would you have the same opinion if you existed within such a society?


This can be applied across the board. Would any of us have a different opinion if we lived in a different trajectory? It's an unanswerable question.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


21 posted 12-10-2002 08:03 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

On the other hand, the anti-professional argument simply because they are professional comes from Aristotle.
Local Parasite
Deputy Moderator 10 Tours
Member Elite
since 11-05-2001
Posts 2929
Transylconia, Winnipeg


22 posted 12-10-2002 08:27 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

quote:
A while back I watched a TV show debating whether it was better to leave your child with a day care center or with your grandparents. Unfortunately, the grandparent side had no argument, it relied on "If I can raise her, I can raise these kids" argument. The day care providers argued that they were trained to give kids the best possible experience.

Are they?


I would say that they are, assuming their education and experience in the profession is sufficient.  They are, however, daycare workers and are not trained to raise the children... but to care for them and tend to their needs while their parents are away.  I would still say that a professional parent, who has recieved specialized training in the field, is more certified to raise a child than a grandmother... in the same way I would sooner pick a professional chef to prepare a meal for me than my grandmother.  That sounds a bit harsh, of course, but with a professional position comes an expected level of expertise, and assuming it's not their first day, the fact that they are and continue to be in that profession speaks for their ability.

quote:
No doubt Local Parasite saw this question in the abstract, but I think we already live, to some extent, in the world she describes.


Thanks for all the input, Brad.  In the shower this morning I checked and yep, I'm still a male.     No harm done, I'm used to being a little bit androgenous.

quote:
Who decides what qualities are "undesirable"?  If the leadership wants a nation of warriors, then the Spartan way may be an effective one, but then again, you could argue that the United States military is second to none without such a policy.


Jim - I would say it would be easy to select which qualities are "undesirable" based on the groups of people you're going for.  Plato, for example, is discussing the city's guardians.  But if you know a little bit about genetics (which I'm guessing you do, judging from your post history), you'll know that traits like body type, muscle capacity, and physical health are pretty easy to determine on the basis of good or bad... and they come at no expense to one another.  What I mean is, genetically, you could have a character of optimal physical and mental health, body structure, and muscle capacity, without having to sacrifice any other good qualities.  Things such as hair and eye color would most probably become neutral and simply be used to tell the difference between individuals, I'd think (although it might also be used to distinguish between job groups, perhaps).

quote:
Since such a society has never actually been maintained successfully, or even tried (as far as I am aware), the viability and pervasiveness of traditional family structure speaks for itself.


Stephanos - Plato would argue (and I agree with him on this) that the reason it has never been tried nor maintained is because people are, as a whole, too comfortable in their established political doctrines to consider what would be better for them.  Like Denise, people admittedly enjoy the simple pleasures and have no desire to seek anything greater.  The viability and pervasiveness is not of the traditional family structure, it is of the general population's sense of tradition.  In my opinion, tradition exists because people have no immediate reason to question whether or not it is the most efficient course of action to be taken.  

For example, if I could offer you a career that you would both be able to perform with ease and enjoy doing a great deal, which would pay you enough money to sustain yourself for the rest of your life, you would most likely take me up on it.  But if I said the key to that was being genetically tweaked, raised and conditioned so that you would be apt for a pre-selected career, you would shake your head, because it would seem that it is denying you the will to choose.  

quote:
this is common motif that we can't seem to get rid of.


I agree fully with you on this point.  The only difference in my opinion, is that this motif is problematic.     

And not to sound taunting, but I still see no argument that supports our existing system of parenting over a more organized one.  Problems like child abuse, neglect and infantcide could be done away with completely.  We would also have more population control, and would be able to organize the amount of people entering any area of work, as required.  In the world we have today, people get an unreasonable amount of general education that doesn't become specific until very late in their educational lives.  If one's occupation was set out for them, they were conditioned (or to a lesser extent, encouraged) to appreciate it and were trained to be specifically capable of preforming it, then what is the problem?  
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


23 posted 12-10-2002 09:21 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Ooops. Sorry about that.
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


24 posted 12-10-2002 11:55 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

The biggest problem with the family is that it allows the parents to get it wrong. And far too many do. The greatest strength of the family is that allows the parents to get it wrong. Because no one really knows how to define what is right.

Unlike many, I have no problem at all with a little creative gene splicing. Done ethically, it's no different than setting a broken leg. And heaven knows I'm a proponent of teaching people how to avoid traumatizing their poor kids for life. Being young and stupid, I was too much of a disciplinarian with my first daughter, and was proud that we could take her into someone's home without asking them to put all their little knickknacks on the mantle. I didn't know that curiosity is something to be encouraged in a toddler, though I still think it's something I should have been taught in high school. Yea, we could definitely do better.

The problem I have with an "official" regimentation is that it will inevitably destroy diversity. We aren't smart enough to build more than a token biosphere, where the plants and animals are all in balance, so how in the world can we be smart enough to account for what is "good" and what is "bad" in our own natures? When you're playing with the next generation of humanity, upon which the whole of our future depends, there's isn't a lot of room for mistakes. We need diversity, and frankly, I don't think we're smart enough to do it on purpose.

Personally, I think instead of trying to find better ways to rear children we should be looking for better ways to reward those who are doing it right and to avoid rewarding those who do it wrong. The way our social systems are currently organized, we're doing exactly the opposite.
 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> The Nuclear Family?   [ Page: 1  2  ] Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors