The Politics By Aristotle Essay, Research Paper
The Politics by Aristotle contains two extremely important ideas concerning the community, Aristotle felt that the state is not only a community, but that it is the highest of all communities. Aristotle felt that the state, or formation of the state, is only natural and is very much like a human being containing complex structures and sensitive areas that could cause the whole thing to crumble if not checked. The state, for Aristotle, is the natural and final stage in human relations. The state is by nature clearly prior to the family and the individual, since the whole is necessary prior to the part. In this passage Aristotle clearly defines the necessity of the state for human evolution and that as a state cannot exist without men, nor can man exist without the state. Aristotle shows how association is a constant goal for man and that further proves that the state is the natural outcome to man s endeavors. The family is the first form of association and is established for the supply of men s everyday wants. The family is the lowest form of association and is behind the village. The village is the next form of association and it meets cultural wants the family cannot provide. The city-state is the highest form of association in terms of social evolution. The city-state exists for the sake of a good life, whereas the family and village exist for companionship and life preservation. Aristotle felt that man, at each stage of association, develops himself so as to meet self-actualization in portions. These portions are relevant to which stage the individual is at in their lives. Within the family, man reproduces himself. The village provides the man with companionship that he naturally seeks. In the city-state man is finally shown as distinct from the beasts and other natural creatures. Aristotle continues, by stating that all associations aim at a common good through joint action, with the state seeking the greatest good of all associations for all. The concept of equality was important for Aristotle especially within the state. The state, for Aristotle, was held together, not by personal bonds of fellowship, but by the rules of laws . . . applying to vast territories and populations. Fellowship should be the basic building block of the community. Building on this concept modern thought seeks to create a society that has no outcasts and that allows all areas of life, whether personal or financial, are attainable for all.
Aristotle, though, seeks the best state which, he felt, is truly unattainable. However, its legislatures and statesmen must be aware of what form of government is best, but also what is possible and what is easily attainable by all. Aristotle continues to describe the necessity of equality among men. The freedom of the poor must be given strict attention or else a state where the poor are excluded will be full of enemies. Further warnings by Aristotle say that, poverty is the parent of revolution and crime, and that when the middle class is small and the poor make up the majority of the population trouble shall arise and the state, as it is, will cease to exist. Aristotle felt that the best state is formed by citizens of the middle class providing a balance between the wealthy and the poor. Although equality played an important role for Aristotle, he did allow for self fulfillment of property. Private property drove individuals to make progress in his own area of business. Progress led to pleasure and material self-realization that stemmed from private property ownership. Private property also led to more generous acts of a state s citizens and should not be abandoned outright since it has existed for so long. Aristotle realizes, though, that extreme wealth or poverty should be curbed, further supporting his belief of rule by the middle class since they hold no vested interest for either wealth nor poverty. Thus, in the community every person has equal opportunity for self-realization and each stage of association is vital for moral and virtuous development. It is only within the state that man can attain this level of realization making the state first and foremost of man s goals. Aristotle warns of possible disastrous shifts within the state but provides cautionary words to steer safely through these dangerous waters. A good state is reached through reason seeking happiness for all and virtue.