Aristotle embarks upon the journey to find the ideal governance by weighing the constitutions of different states in a bid to search for the counterpoise of the faulty institutions. The stalwart further goes on to introspect on the nature of the state and community. While every state aims at conformity with a prototype and thus achieves commonality and unity among the citizens, it is also not solicited at the same time. The very difference among the subjects constitutes the primal essence of a state and it is this dialectical feature which rather brings about the amalgamation of the state’s constituents. Aristotle writes that the state is not made of similar kind of men, “but of different kinds of men; for similars do not constitute a state.” (Aristotle) This dichotomous relationship defines the very nature of state and quite clearly paramount form of unification is a negative development in a state. For the sake of self-sufficiency, lesser unity among the people is desired just as a family is complete as a nuclear unit by the active participation of different kind of individuals. Here the question of vested interests of individuals and the very basic nature of evil and manipulation comes into reckoning which might influence the functioning of the state and society.
Considering the question of common property is of omnipotent importance in the regard of the state. It can be so that the produce is consumed by all, although the land is appropriated. The soil and cultivation maybe common, but later the produce maybe divided as private property. Also, both the soil and produce can be common. But, this raises the question of proportionality between labor and consumption. It has to be understood that private property would nullify this clash of interest, although there would be a sense of commonality of ownership in specific cases. Aristotle writes in this regard, “It is clearly better that property should be private, but the use of it common; and the special business of the legislator is to create in men this benevolent disposition.” (Aristotle) Temperance toward women and liberality of property are lost in a state which defies the differentiation of the masses and aims at unification. Aristotle ignites the question in the mind of the avid readers how common property can initiate friction among the people.
The state is essentially “a plurality” which needs to be combined by education. It is the testimony of a quintessential union of fundamentally different elements. In the course of the reading, a burning question is raised in the mind. The women and children are evidently judged as subordinates to the husbandmen and their equal status is denied. In the wake of the feminist movement all across the world, one should reckon the impetus of the women folk of the society as equal to the men and their omnipotent role in society and state. Aristotle raises the question, “And who will do so if the agricultural class have both their property and their wives in common?” (Aristotle) The introspective writing talks about happiness. In this regard it is required to be comprehended that a state can only be successful as machinery if there is no gender discrimination. Women are not subjected to “manage a household” and actually have a far greater role to play in the society, politics, economy and education.
The work raises significant questions of how the notion of statehood has changed with time and how the role of gender has come forward to hog the limelight in debates over state and society.
Aristotle. Poetics. New York: Cosimo Inc., 2008. Print.
Rorty, Amélie, ed. Essays on Aristotle’s Poetics. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992.