After studying about Socrates’ account of the imaginary republic he created, and the “noble lie” involved, the way he expects that if people believed in the stratified society of the three different type of metals in different individuals, society would definitely run smoothly, I became really curious. I wondered if such imagined society can really be realized, and if it could, what it would be like in real life. Although the experimentation of Socrates’ republic is highly unlikely, there is a movie that popped into my head which I assume would likely to be the similar outcome of such a society: V for Vandetta (2006).
The movie V for Vandetta is basically a futuristic film where Britain is controlled by a fascist government. Anything that may have inspired imagination such as classical music or books was banned. People kind of live in a fabricated society made up by the government without the freedom to question authority. This reminds me very much of Socrates’ idea that imitative art is problematic in society, because it’s believed to make people focus on the wrong things, that they think they gained true knowledge but really haven’t. It also reminds me of one of the four virtues in Socrates’ just city: moderation, that people should live harmoniously accepting the hierachical organization of the city instead of questioning or going against it. In Socrates’ stratified society, the “noble” lie, also seems to be very similar with the Fascist state, basically that by not telling the citizens the truth, it’s actually doing what’s best for the city in general.
In the movie, the freedom fighter known as “V” gains the support of Evey Hammond, a girl he saved from a life-death situation involving the secret police, to bring down those who committed the atrocities that led to Britain being in the shape it’s in. I think Socrates is kind of on the edge of being naive when he suggested the “noble” lie. Just like in V for Vandetta, people will figure out sooner or later that something’s not quite making sense, and there will always be someone who will question it, as it is almost instinctive that human beings will question what they don’t understand or does not have a satisfying answer to.