Page 85 - Jackson Journal
P. 85

                  - in addition
to soldier and
citizen, we
must discover
the scholar, the
philosopher”
(2010). The
process described
here contains
likenesses with
IET in that both
focus on the
importance of shaping the mindset of the guardian/ Soldier and not only their physical attributes when identifying who is fit for military service.
Human Nature
A person’s human nature is a key characteristic that indicates if they are fit to serve in the military. The U.S. military, like Plato, see this as initial screening criteria to determine if a person can become a good Soldier or guardian of society. If a person’s human nature is not “naturally fit for the pursuit” (Plato, & Bloom, 1968 p.51), it is likely they will not successfully complete Initial Entry Training and serve in the military. A service member should possess a sense of patriotism, passion for service, and a love for their society. In addition they should be capable of behaving in a professional manner and be able to cope with high levels of stress in dangerous situations. According to Plato, those
fit for a guardian’s education must by nature be “philosophic, spirited, swift, and strong” (Plato,
& Bloom, 1968 p.53). Today’s military expects its recruits to have a willingness to learn. This aligns with Plato’s description of a philosopher’s love for
learning and the desire to increase ones wisdom. “The guardians must be lovers of learning” (Plato, & Bloom, 1968 p.53). Citizens recruited by the military strive for excellence or justice as Plato
would see it. Self-discipline is the foundation of military excellence. In many cases service members have to learn and practice this skill to achieve perfection.
Virtues
The U.S. military is a professional organization. During the early stages of IET, recruits spend a great deal of time discussing desired virtues and values. “Training in human relations, values, rigor, and Army traditions were added to the Basic Combat Training Program of Instruction, totaling 54 hours,” (Crane, et al, 2019, p.69). These virtues and values are the foundational ideas that establish the culture of military organizations. The Army values such as loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage
are a substantial part of initial training. Recruits receive training on the Code of Conduct and the professional Army ethic. All of this training covers what Plato would call the “tales” that shape the soul of the guardians. “The first “tales” told to the guardians are of virtue. In “The Republic”, Plato describes that the content of the tales not only
are meant to instill virtue, but “must also foster courage, moderation, and justice. Tales must also show bravery in the face of danger” (Gregg, 2018). In addition to shaping the soul of the guardian/ service member, virtues reinforce the culture and tradition of the organization. From Plato’s point of view, education is necessary in order to overcome the selfish and acquisitive side of nature. “The education entails physical and cultural education to produce a well-balanced soul which loves what is noble and desires to imitate what is noble” (Hittinger, 2010, p1.). It is evident that the training topics important to Plato are still important to military organizations.
The Guardians
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