Given what now is taught in our schools, is it any wonder that our leaders today behave like wearers of Gyges' ring
who have not given thought to the questions raised by Socrates in The Republic, or to the connection between the principles of the Declaration of Independence and civil and religious liberty?
The story of Gyges' ring
, which Glaucon tells Socrates, is this:
His as sumption about the size of society is, I think, a different version of the problem which was demonstrated in one of the famous thought experiment of Plato: Gyges' Ring
(Resemblances between Gyges' ring
and the One Ring are discussed in a short article by Robert E.
Like the shepherd of Gyges' ring
, computers facilitate and enable these things under a mantle of invisibility.
In Plato's Republic we see a vivid expression of this infinite malleability of human nature as Socrates proposes a city where human beings can be trained to care nothing for their own child, their own parents, their brothers and their sisters, to love only what is public, at the same time as distinguishing their own city from that which belongs to other groups or cities. This is a plasticity which readies absurd, even comic, proportions as Socrates tries to answer the challenge of Gyges' ring
by portraying the unified, just city.
By their subjugation of the press, the political powers in America have conferred on themselves the greatest of political blessings -- Gyges' ring