Plato's Ideal City

by William E. Kee-Nee

To Jacque Fresco whose visionary ideas fertilized a newly planted seed that had lain fallow in my mind and heart for a number of years prior to our first face-to-face meeting on the site of The Venus Project in 1984. Although many of my own utopian concepts have expanded beyond those specifics in his book Looking Forward over the years, the foundation lies within those he outlined in his literary effort and depicted in his extraordinary illustrations.

I wish to thank my thesis committee members whose critiques made this completed project so much more than it would have been without their insightful comments. Dr. Sape Zylstra, the major professor, provided the necessary balance between cajoling and nurturing me during the rough draft process. Dr. Silvio Gaggi injected humor and posed deeper questions about my work than I wanted to pursue originally. Dr. Priscilla Brewer, amidst her own overburdened workload, took just enough time to offer less rigorous, but very
worthwhile, suggestions for improving this thesis. In addition, my special t hanks to my mother and father who provided a base of operations that possesses much love and psychological support for this transitional period in my life.

This thesis examines two modern-day utopian expressions, one in the field of architecture and the other in the literary arena, which exhibit characteristics of Plato's ideal city as portrayed in The Republic. The former is Arcosanti of Arizona, designed by architect and philosopher Paolo Soleri. The latter pertains to the community depicted in the novel Looking Forward, with its visionary illustrations, by Florida futurist Jacque Fresco.

The thesis focuses on the archetypal features of each utopian construct as related to those contained in The Republic, with Timaeus and Critias providing supplementary data. The methodology consists of a comparison of the physical design features, philosophical foundations, and social organizations. Similarities and differences are examined in this way.

Plato's archetypal elements are identified when comparing both futuristic creations, within the ideal city perspective. The mythic structural design of Atlantis, the moral and rational foundation, and the systematized harmonic social system are essentially depicted in these twentieth-century constructs.

Potential issues which must be addressed relate to the absent characteristics of all three utopias. Without delineating them some comparisons could not be made. They are not major issues, but remain question marks in this study. Central ideas that differentiate the three creations pertain to Plato's philosopher-kings using lies and deception in order to maintain order. Manipulation is the worst that can be found in the other two societies. The existence of slaves remains unclear; Plato seems to contradict himself in The Republic. The most pressing concern is the auxiliaries' role. If they can be established as conducting totalitarian tactics to repress the citizenry, as well as active warfare against neighboring cities, such information would present more serious challenges to this thesis.


This thesis project proposes that Plato's ideal city provides the archetypal framework for two utopian designs created by futurists more than two millennia after the composition of The Republic, Timaeus, and Critias. These three books contain all of the essential elements of one type of Platonian construct of a utopia.

This thesis concentrates on the basic elements contained in Plato's utopic design and examines their application in the architectural utopia of Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti (begun in 1970), and the literary-visual utopia of Jacque Fresco's Looking Forward (1969). The elements of the mythic structural design, moral and rational association, and systematized harmonic society.

Plato lived during a period of great political, intellectual, and moral upheaval, to some extent like the America of the 1960s. Blood flowed on the political stage. Interparty conflict poisoned politics. Philosophy flourished as Athens drew great intellectuals who lectured and taught before large, interested crowds. Devastating warfare brought on religious and moral skepticism and relativism. Traditional Greek standards encompassing human-derived ideals broke down, leading to these social conditions. Plato wrote that the previously mentioned books were a literary attempt to re-establish stability within his society.

The Republic presents, through a dialogue, a Platonian vision of an ideal city. Its dialgoue is designed to achieve Socrates' demand for rationality and right conduct. Although the city's physical layout is largely absent from this utopian work, the Greek author clings to Atlantis as his model throughout the book. It is within this structure that Socrates' demand is accomplished.

Since time immemorial human beings have designed their living areas, consciously or unconsciously, around certain archetypal concepts. According to Peter F. Smith, at least five archetypal elements of urban design exist, with examples extending into the deep past. These include the sacred center of the universe, ideal place, sacred journey, struggle to impose order upon chaos in order to establish cosmic harmony on earth, and a sacred womb. l In the case of Plato's utopia, all of these traits are found in the accessory texts of Timaeus and Critias, based on what Smith calls "rationalopolis."

Plato also seems to have embraced the human qualities of the simpler communities of the agricultural past, inferring that this environment encourages behavioral traits necessary for the flourishing of right conduct. This emphasis on a natural setting as an important component of human life, combined with the idea of self-containment, eliminates external influences which would be negative factors in the development of the human species.

Plato bases his ideal city on a moral framework because he believed that his own Greek state was established as a moral association founded on "the Law. " He uses this idea of a code of unchanging rules and absolute sanctions as the basis for life in The Republic. People obey the code because ancient generations made it the essence of their social customs, regarding it as sacred.

Rationality complements the maintenance of the moral state. To Plato, laws cannot be the creators of right conduct so a philosopher's education instills this absolute code in each citizen. "Poetry" and "gymnastics" are the core for this educational process. (This is what might today be considered a holistic mind-body approach. ) It stimulates the highest human value, as each individual is directed toward the discovery of his or her best-endowed nature. Citizens then harness their inner mental and spiritual energies to their maximum effect for the common good through rational (intellectual) studies.

Platonian justice ensures that the ideal city functions in harmony. Justice is an internal commitment to do good in order to eliminate the individual desire to gain any advantage over others or put others at a disadvantage. Justice is then achieved when each person performs that specialized task dictated by personal interest and talent. Gender equality is another ideal practiced to further social harmony.

Lewis Mumford, in his book The City in History, writes that Plato's ideal city would very likely arise in the days ahead if "[c]ybernetics, medical psychiatry, artificial insemination, surgery and chemotherapy" fulfilled their potentials. His project began to manifest in the late 1960s when Paolo Soleri and Jacque Fresco initiated their own unique utopian constructs. Soleri is the founder of Arcosanti, located in Arizona. Fresco heads up The Venus Project, in Florida, based on his novel Looking Forward. (This was co-written with Kenneth Keyes, Jr., but is drawn largely from Fresco's ideas. )

Arcosanti's compact, interconnected architecture features an ecological emphasis which its inventor labels arcology. It provides the framework for this utopian vision. Soleri wishes to recreate the living environment so that its residents are stimulated by their surroundings to live in harmony. Fresco's technological, communal, and interactive society presents a second example of a unified human community that has similar stimuli for its residents.

The compact city of Arcosanti, which Soleri compares to the self-contained and highly functional layout
of ocean liners, provides an alternative to the constant expansion of urban sprawl. It accomplishes this through a three-dimensional topographical approach, rather than only two as used today. Beyond that, arcology is an architectural organism that has specific characteristics and dimensions that make it ecologically relevant to human development. Hyper-density living environments that grow only vertically are mandatory, in Soleri's mind, as sophisticated technology and population numbers explode. This compactness permits ninety percent of land to be used for farming and conservation.

Arcology has three major characteristics : complexity, miniaturization, and esthetogenesis. The first two are interlinked, since complexity "demands a corresponding effort toward miniaturization." Miniaturization is a process defined as a "conscious use of the universe of matter and energy." It is inclusive, keeping things and events together to make them perform and achieve. Human survival and evolution follow along this route.2

To Soleri, greater complexity means an increase in human and social fulfillment. Thus the living area has to be made smaller so as to create "the lively community [which], by the momentum of its intensity, is pushed from within to an ever more subtle co-ordination of things. " 3 Esthetogenesis is the conscious, human- directed evolution of its species within a specially designed environment that stimulates that process.

Looking Forward portrays a society of the twenty-first century based on the highest possible level of technology Jacque Fresco could imagine in the 1960s. In this little known utopian novel the main characters, Scott and Hella, go about their lives in an ideal community of the future. Through their example they show what everyday life is like. Among features included in their society there is a central computer, operating on technologically advanced principles, which controls sleeping hours of the inhabitants, communications, and all other mechanical devices.

The world in which these two people live possesses weather control, computer implants, and genetic engineering. Wages have long been eliminated. Individuals pursue their interests and develop their skills and talents to the highest possible level of proficiency. No work schedules exist. Private property is considered an outmoded concept, since nothing has a price. Teachers are unnecessary, having been replaced by educational technology and hands-on learning.

Fresco's most radical idea consists of the Correlation Center, or Corcen, a gigantic computer complex that handles the daily operations of society. It facilitates all monotonous manual and technical activities in such fields as production, communication, and transportation. Everything runs at supra-human efficiency, as it analyzes all of the data from its spacious memory, that receives constant input, faster that any group of human brains. This leaves all of the people to engage in continual improvement through creative and challenging experiences.

Through Arcosanti's architecture and Looking Forward's literary and visual depictions, this thesis project examines two utopias developed by independent visionaries that may be traced back to Plato's model of the ideal city. Past studies of artistic and architectural creations critique design theory as it pertains to "beauty" and aesthetic elements. (See Helen Rosenau's The Ideal City : Its Architectural Evolution.) Literary creations have undergone scrutiny from the perspective of political, social, and literary theory. (Warman Welliver's Character, Plot and Thought in Plato's Timaeus - Critias applies here.) This study, however, concentrates on Plato's archetype as outlined in The Republic. Timaeus and Critias are important texts due to their supplementary information, and will be referred to when appropriate.

As in any thesis there are inherent limitations which must be delineated. Perhaps the major limit pertains to interpretations of works of great age and the fact that The Republic, and supplementary books, were originally written in a different language. When selecting one translation, a researcher falls under its constraints. Eva T.H. Brann, in the introduction to Raymond Lar son's translation, cites Larson as translating "idea" as " shape, " giving Plato's original words a more visual connotation than "form. " She also points out that some translators invoke implied judgments against egalitarianism. A second issue is related to those who believe that Plato's school espoused certain "secret doctrines, " leading to speculative interpretations. 4

One other limitation enters the picture when a researcher discovers a great debate within the scholarly arena of Plato's writings. The Republic is typically characterized as either a dialogue about a totalitarian state or one that promotes human unity through a stimulation of the intellect.

This thesis approaches the text minus any concern with possible prejudices, without attention to hidden meanings, and from an open-minded perspective that tries hard not to read anything into the writings of the Greek intellectual.


Atlantis, with its geometric absolute, provides Plato's archetypal model for the structural design of the ideal city. This mythical continent exhibits all five of the archetypal characteristics delineated by Peter F. Smith. These include a sacred center, sense of being the ideal place, an environment for the sacred journey, the image of imposing order on the chaos of the physical world, and the city as a sacred womb.

A circular wall encloses the palace of the gods in the Atlantean continent's central site. The heavenly abode rests upon a small mount. This acropolis, as Plato calls it, symbolizes the ideal city's sacred center. Beyond the central palace Plato lists gardens, recreational facilities, barracks, gymnasia, and dockyards. The area past the outer canal contains agricultural, wild, and mountainous terrain. Atlantis consists of five total zones of land linked by bridges over ringed canals. It also features beautiful landscape and abundant natural resources.S Each ringed segment of the Atlantean community can be entered through towered gates, with the roadways leading to the acropolis. As the house w·here residents commune with the gods, anyone walking toward it through these entryways will feel as if taking part in a sacred journey. 6

In order to maintain a social cohesion and produce the effect of cosmic harmony upon the material world Plato opts for a two-pronged approach. He limits his population to that number who can gather together in an auditorium to hear any public address. In addition, the Greek intellectual employs the circle for design purposes, a form long associated with wholeness and balance.

Smith describes the sacred womb in terms of the idea of fertility. Critias portrays this concept through Plato 's definition of Atlantis as a place where the people can attain a greatness of mind. They use wisdom and forebearance in dealing with life's vagaries and each other. The Republic stresses the production of citizens of "good natures... who will grow better than their predecessors in breeding and everything else" due to the educational process. Thus the inhabitants are nurtured within this environment so they will develop into citizens ready to participate in an ideal city.

Plato also merges the rural (characterized by open spaces and farmland) and the city for his living area. Its development consists of a self-contained unit based upon self-sufficiency of land to ensure that food can be grown to feed every resident while maintaining its independence from the outside. Both Arcosanti and the community of Scott and Hella in Looking Forward blur any distinction between the rural village and metropolis. They also embrace the Platonian ideas of self-sufficiency and containment in design.

Arcosanti's "sacred palace" is the actual compact structure itself which "puts each city dweller at the 'center' of the city, the ideal position for a person to be conscious and to be part of the information-communication-action- participation world, to which he belongs as a social-cultural individual." 7 The physical structure equates with Plato's acropolis because it sits on a small elevation that is encircled with a rocky mesa facade.

The visionary architect-philosopher extends this preceding concept to make his entire city an acropolis. Within its arcology ''it contains in 'no space' the whole of itself and its own content into pure spirit. This transformation, as paradoxical as it might appear, is none but the dreamed omnipotence and omnipresence of God."8 Add to the mix his emphasis on verticality (building up instead of out) and he indicates the building possesses a metaphysical aura. A citizen then feels as if he or she is in Plato's sacred center, which w·as a separate structure that housed the gods.

Planning and development are based on Soleri's conceptof arcology. It emphasizes "the complete dependence of architecture upon arcology, but not necessarily the natural arcology... a new landscape and a new and more direct relation between the urban and country life." 9 Out of over 4, 000 acres only ten are to be developed, with a population cap of 5,000. The surrounding plain is characterized by the wild and cultivated land that features distant mountains. Living, working, hydroponic and leisure facilities exist within the complex, creating a sense of the ideal place.

Elements of Arcosanti match those of the Platonian ideal. Atlantis possesses a plain on which homesites are located. The plain is significant because it represents a regular form on which a planned environment can be more readily realized. Mountains loom in the background, with wild areas and food-growing plots closer to the center of the community. A similar population cap of 5,000 residents meets Plato's requirement for the maximum number of people who can be present simultaneously in a theater setting.

Using the architectural characteristic of vaulted entryways, Soleri's utopian city evokes the idea of the Platonian sacred journey. Gigantic corridors, like Atlantean gateways, provide this feeling. Once inside an inhabitant has entered Arcosanti's version of the sacred palace, as noted above.

Soleri's architecture features both classical and geometric order, creating an environment o f cos mic harmony. He establishes this through structural and functional symmetry. Building parts are arranged on opposite sides around points, lines, and planes. The visual imagery, or "estheto-copassionate" in Soleri's terms, stimulates the human brain to balance the body's "non-symmetrical behavior." 10

As Helen Rosenau points out, Plato's use of the circle is more likely applied in a similar manner, to exhibit regularity and order. ll He slices up homesites into square shapes, juxtaposing the square and circle, which are both symbols of wholeness and balance.

Arcosanti's design merely employs this technique in innovative ways to generate wholeness. Walls with circular windows are sited next to living units that have square shapes or above square walkways. A circular solar sink for absorbing sunlight in winter and blocking the heat in summer sits next to a square facade. Circular entryways between rooms in living units are juxtaposed with square interior walls or windows.

Compactness adds to the facilitation of the optimum or ideal city through miniaturization within Arcosanti. It is one of the pathways to unobtrusiveness, being the road to the goal of generating more with less. Plato addresses a similar thought by stressing frugality. Soleri stacks units one upon another to complement this process. This, too, is reminiscent of the common dormitories which house the inhabitants of The Republic.12

The compact structure arcology exhibits also relates to the architect's concept of life. To Soleri, it is a "rigorous phenomenon" totally linked to the larger mechanism of the universe. (See Chapter 2. ) Therefore, human "logistics" must be arranged in "an uninterrupted and strong net of co-ordinated performances designed for man and for life... so as to let the persons... puncture through and take flight."13 Cosmic harmony is achieved as humanity enters into a stage of "becoming," or moving toward perfection.

These ideas coincide nicely with Platonian thought. Plato's main reason for the creation of the ideal city pertains to the development of human perfection. In his words the ultimate reality consists of "Being," while "Becoming" relates to that state containing "all the things perceived by our senses, about which no certain and final knowledge is possible." 14 ("Becoming" is humanity's physical existence.) Plato 's city of interdependent workers provides one mechanism to accomplish this.

Arcology plainly resembles the sacred womb, in that it is based on "interiorization" and "living inside." Within this "urban organism" Soleri perceives "natural man" as a "creature whose complexity is in constant growth. " This echoes the ongoing process of development portrayed by Plato in The Republic and Critias.

Jacque Fresco's utopia in Looking Forward contains similar elements. The sacred center of the community is the Correlation Center, site of the super computer or brain that runs everything. As an excerpt from the novel explains, "Scott and Hella's apartment is in the ring surrounding the large central core that contains the atomic power generator, computer center, and research labs."15

Upon visiting this site, Hella describes its effect as giving her "a heightened perception and a depth of meaning" and "a feeling of awe and appreciation."16 The ancients of Plato's era would have spoken about similar feelings after entering their own palace of the gods. Hella also eyes the image of the Acropolis on a very large telescreen while in Corcen's presence. The picture mirrors the sacred acropolis in the Atlantean community.

Life in the world of Scott and Hella is filled with overtones of a Golden Age, echoing Plato's utopia as the ideal place. The living unit of these two main characters is designed to meet human needs in every possible way... Over 83% of the land in the community is maintained as park and recreation areas."17 This latter element reflects Atlantis, with its gymnasia and other recreational facilities amidst the barracks. The former parallels living conditions in The Republic, founded on the basis of supplying people's needs, "of which the most important is providing food for existence and life, next shelter, then clothing, and so on."

Traits of this geometrically planned would include "the vast waterways that have eliminated forever the tragedy of floods" and "farm belts with their gleaming tracks, the dynamic cities that are the focal points   of technology harnessed to serve all mankind. " In addition, the "central core of each city also contains a master computer that cybernetically watches over the city as a whole... connected to every room in the entire city. "18

These descriptions of Fresco's ideal place fit the Atlantis model quite well. The ringed design of Plato's ideal city features channeled rivers that make "a complete circuit of the plain" and empty excess water in the sea. Besides flood control these and other artificial channels alter the natural landscape so that "any defects in its shape were corrected." 19

Since The Republic is "a number of people [who] have gathered together in one place as common partners and helpers," each has committed "to provide different services... for the needs of the body... 20 Technology is a part of these Figure 3. Layout of Scott's and Hella's Community in Looking Forward, from Jacque Fresco, The Venus Project, Venus, Florida. services, in that the metalworkers and other manufacturers create products used by the citizenry. There are also the auxiliaries, responsible for internal security, that is accomplished by monitoring the people's activities. They "restrain any citizen  within from breaking the laws."

The layout of the city in Looking Forward exhibits the sense of the sacred journey, reflecting that in Atlantis. Every road leads to the center. Covered portals, like Atlantean gateways, lead to the Correlation Center or sacred center of the community.

Each person is also invited to embark on a unique journey due to the structure of this society. Plato's mental optimization can be achieved here during this great adventure because, as Fresco explains, the people employ the "use of all senses in ways that produce the highest and most accurate input to the brain and output to others." 21

Childhood education initiates the sacred journey by allowing children to explore the environment and letting natural curiosity be the driving force behind the learning process. In The Republic, Plato insists that "enforced learning doesn't stay with the soul." Children must be permitted to play (which includes exploration), free from coercive studies.

Cosmic harmony and social cohesion are aided by the same Platonian approach. A population cap exists: "Each individual realizes that upon his death a new baby will be permitted to enter into the world." 22 The ringed design, of a circulatory nature, is also employed in the layout of Fresco's utopia with Corcen in the center. Scott and Hella, in fact, "live in a circular, multistory apartment building that is over a mile in diameter. " This resembles the Atlantean model, especially with the encircling canal system. The concepts of wholeness and balance assist in generating a sense of order imposed on chaos.

Looking Forward's community acts as a sacred womb as well. Residents are able to grow and develop to their fullest. People "challenge everything that seems self-evident" and "are experts at changing their minds." This is a "never-ending process" that involves using "our creative imagination to think up ideas and hypotheses." In addition, "the people of Scott and Hella's world are using 18% of their intellectual, artistic, and sensory capacity" compared to two to five percent at present.

Child-raising aids in this process of development. They are "raised without hostility and scarcity." That approach allows them to "develop social skills that enable them to achieve the finest possible relations with other people." An "environment that is scaled to meet the needs of each individual age level" takes precedence. A child never needs coercion since "it can nothing undesirable in this environment. "23

This, too, sounds very Platonian. Without forced learning children develop to the point where their interests reveal "what each of them is naturally fit for." Plato agrees with Fresco that argument and debate is essential, for a "comprehensive man is dialectical." The educational process also aims to create citizens who are "gentle to each other" in their social interactions in the ideal city of The Republic.

The mythic structural design provided by Plato for his ideal city is clearly echoed in the works of Paolo Soleri and Jacque Fresco. Both of these futuristic constructs exhibit the five archetypal elements delineated by Peter F. Smith, which are observed in Plato's literary works.

This sets the stage for developing a human association based on morality and rationality according to the Platonian ideals.


According to Plato, an ideal city has to consist of a populace bounded together morally and spiritually. This can only happen as the relationship between society and the state underwent a reversal from existing conditions of his day. The ideal state then becomes the crucial element in providing a liberal education. This involves early exposure to the arts and physical exercise, and progressing into abstract mathematics, empirical sciences, and philosophy.

Plato employs this social precedence because he felt that ignorance and selfishness could only be eliminated through the educational process. As a result, all bodily senses can then perceive the "actual," or objective, state of things; the soul comprehends the intelligible world."24

Another concern of Plato pertains to an overly spiritual orientation of people living in the ideal city, since such individuals might not be able to function on a practical basis. Therefore, he urges the "good man" to denounce immersion in divine ideas in order to be of service to the rest of the community.25

Rationality reigns supreme in The Republic, perhaps to keep citizens firmly rooted on earth. To Plato, this word is associated with calculation and reason. In Book 7 it is stated : "so calculation, it seems, is one of the studies we're looking for: a soldier must learn it to marshal troops, a philosopher to emerge from becoming and seize being, or never become a rational being. "26 In this context, calculation is a mechanism for developing the rational part of the soul, but also equals reason. 27

Yet, the people who inhabit the ideal city exhibit behaviors that are more than merely rational. Plato's philosopher-king acts with the wisdom of the gods in directing the society. Riding, hunting, festival dancing, and choral performances exemplify physical activities that demand skill development beyond that of just the mind.

Besides science and mathematics, studies include philosophy, so necessary in Plato's mind for building a true moral character in the citizenry. This emphasis upon intellectual and moral development ensures that the society would not be only an interconnected beehive of human drones. Arcology is predominantly a rational system based on continuing scientific discovery and practical application. A partial definition of the term, in Soleri's words, characterizes it as architecture "in the process of becoming the physical definition of a multilevel human ecology... instrumented by science and technology." Continual mental stimulation is facilitated through Arcosanti's compactness, "the swiftest way to communication, information, and action." 29

Arcosanti's operation is "always superrational," a market place, a learning organism, a productive mechanism, and a playground. Like Plato's utopia, its main "effort will go into improving what we have,"30 permitting humanity to continue its progression to unknown evolutionary heights. Yet, only "a total subordination of the technologies of government and economies to the ethical demands of society can win for all men a better condition." 31 such moral principles reflect the Platonian requirement for creating a moral citizenry.

Fresco's constructed world in Looking Forward employs the word "rational" with regard to education and human development throughout the text. Hella echoes Plato by stating, "It is equally important that [the young] find pleasure in reasoning."32 In the Platonian style of correcting human behaviors through discussion and critique ("let's gently persuade him"), citizens of this utopia "challenge everything that seems self-evident" and "are experts in changing their minds." 33 In fact, they want their values to change.

The society of Looking Forward treasures more than just intellectual rationalism, reflecting Plato's ideal city. Fresco's novel shows this feeling through the statement : "Scott believes that the test of all things is the happiness they yield." 34 This echoes Plato's idea of judging each life experience on the basis of which gives "the most pleasure and least pain."35

Four cardinal virtues provide the foundation for behavior in The Republic. They are justice, temperance, bravery, and wisdom. In Book 4, Glaucon learns that "if our city was properly founded it must be perfectly good'' and these are the normal traits of the citizens.36 Justice pertains to "tending your own business" and "having and doing what is properly yours." But in the broadest context Plato uses justice to represent a social morality based on an absolute standard of right and wrong. The state is not considered a legal person or a person at all, but a moral unity sharing these very same ideals. Ultimately, this means that morally and spiritually all citizens are members of an interconnected social body obligated to perform reciprocal duties. It would be totally unjust for any one individual to fail to perform his or her duty, which includes taking on a job for which that person is unqualified (the supreme irresponsibility). No one is to interfere with another's duties.

Soleri approaches justice from a similar perspective. Within his "urban organism," based on "complexification," people inhabiting Arcosanti are limited in what kind of enterprise or activity they may engage. This is mandated by his philosophical approach to human "logistics," an uninterrupted and strong net of co-ordinated performances."37

Looking Forward contains related ideas about justice. Scott and Hella live in a society where everyone, like the citizens of The Republic, pursue "work" that is of particular interest and for which they exhibit a talent. There is no interference in others' duties, but people feel free to help others in "hobby" workshops. The ability to find satisfaction in assisting and participating is one of the founding rational tenets of this society, with the associated premise that one contributes "always, within the limits one can give without resentment."

Temperance "is a kind of order, and control over certain pleasures and desires, as is shown... by expressions like 'mastering oneself,'" 38 according to Plato. In other words, it "resembles a concord or harmony." In fact, "temperance extends through the whole and makes everyone – the weak, the strong, and the in-between, in knowledge, strength, numbers, wealth, or however you want to judge them – sing the same song on key. "39 So the ideal city contains citizens who are masters of self-control and discipline.

Arcosantians become masters of themselves by employing intelligence and mental discipline to pursue pleasures and desires that are personally and socially enriching. As with Plato, disruptions cannot be tolerated; temperance is required. Equity is another essential ideal employed to aid the manifestation of temperance, a necessity to Soleri. Without it, "the irrational, the illogical, the unjust (also inventions of man) would be rampant.40

Scott explains his world's idea of temperance by saying, "It's been years since taboos or laws were forced by society on the individual... Only in our age could we be sure that human beings could be fully trusted if they are reared in ways that avoid hostile conditioning."41 This yields citizens deeply involved in self-development, who "make continual and satisfying, day-by-day, minute-by-minute progress" and who possess "a deeper ability to live by our own standards and to remain the masters of ourselves."42

The simile of the dye is used to provide a definition of Platonian bravery in The Republic: "Things dyed... are permanent, and even detergent won't t wash out the dye..." 43 The founding laws are the "dye" and training for the auxiliaries, in this specific context, tries to "persuade them to take our laws like a beautiful dye, so that, since they have the appropriate nature and upbringing, their opinion of terrors and other things will be permanent and their dye won't wash out in those terrible detergents –  pleasure (stronger than the strongest detergent), pain, fear, and desire..." 44

Soleri's "real man" (or brave soul) is created through the arcological process of complexification and miniaturization. This individual is "the man of the spirit." Having been transformed by the "divine trigger," this person becomes "practical" within the larger social context, as the two characteristics coincide. Out of this merger of the practical and the divine evolves someone who knows what "the Law" is in its ultimate manifestation – stewardship, energy, etc. – all traits of arcology... 45 Here is the dye that won't wash out.

Both technological and social programming ensure that everyone exhibits bravery in Fresco's utopia. Most notably, the "dye" is set from infancy as each baby is instilled with the appropriate "assortment of attitudes" and this continues throughout childhood. The entire environment, from infant nurseries to the larger social setting, continually acts to motivate inhabitants to "develop positive feelings of co-operation and comradeship" and identify with the whole.

Nurseries are cybernated environments where the few attending adults, along :with ·the totally controlled interiors, raise offspring who manifest ''a companionship of a quality that never existed before between parents and children." Corcen employs a "soothing cybernated voice" and a "three-dimensional teletactile arm" to nurture the growing infants. Within such confines the children receive "more warmth and more of everything they need" to develop their inner resources. The overall "orientation" process that continues throughout life creates adults that are ''confident, secure humans" in a crimeless society. So the "dye" is cast early in life.

The Republic features the Platonian ideal of wisdom through a citizenry that embraces and utilizes it. A wise demeanor: comes from the fact that "good judgment is clearly a kind of knowledge... men make good judgments by knowledge rather than ignorance." But knowledge lags behind wisdom since the former is the sole requirement for merely performing any given occupational skill. Philosophical studies assist in developing wisdom, or "seeing and embracing the nature of the beautiful itself.46 In turn, the total number of philosopher-kings needed to guide the society "is by nature the smallest in number."

In like fashion Soleri's "natural order of things" is associated with life being "totally dependent on information and the appropriate responses the information elicits about itself and itself as part of the environment."47 This kind of ''feedback loop" permits good judgment to develop as society becomes dynamic. The system features "the ethical imperative that demands the conscious and willful use of the universe of matter and energy in the only way that can sustain the survival and evolution of life."48 Wisdom is a necessary trait for this to transpire.

Arcosanti then becomes a society in which the "[d]elegation of responsibilities effectively controlled by the community is the goal and the smaller the supervised body and the machinery it uses,... the bureaucratic machinery shrivels."49 This mirrors Plato's reduction of the number of "rulers" through the application of wise behavior by all citizens. The end goal of Arcosanti also reflects The Republic, in that the former's environment aims to cultivate each soul through perfect balancing of body and mind.

Hella and Scott live in the ultimate Platonian society, The people "don't act aggressively toward others." Their main desire is a constant improvement of self and a rapid correction of errors by traversing the "limitless intellectual horizon." Therefore, Corcen exists as the sole means of social regulation mentioned.

Learning from the legal morass in his own Greek state, Plato minimizes the number of laws in the ideal city by emphasizing a moral association. In The Republic he writes that laws cannot be the creators of right, but that right knowing equals right behavior. The basic framework for his utopia is then inculcated through moral values, discovered by engaging in an intellectual pursuit of truth. Fresco's community replicates this philosophical approach.

Plato also indicates that not all citizens would achieve the ultimate state of virtue in the short term, due to the inherent differences in each person's soul. The weaker soul can, at best, achieve a vicarious participation in the "divine governing principle which the best man... has within himself. 50 This explains why Plato establishes the position of philosopher-king to guide the populace, "so we may all be friendly and as nearly as possible, all steered by the same thing."

One or more heads of state may fill the upper echelon of Plato's utopia. Those having achieved the ultimate state of virtue, and who work to acquire all knowledge available to society, are the best judges of what should be the most  beneficial elements of his ideal city. The key duty of these philosopher-kings consists of caring for the people's well-being, by employing their own free judgement, while being responsible for their own consciences. 52

Arcosanti's physical encasement is analogous to Plato's philosopher-king. As such it "w·ants to enlarge the personal universe of each individual by centering him in the thick of things" so that this universe "resolves itself and its mm content into pure spirit."53 With each person existing in the city 'center,' where all information, communication, and social participation lie, his or her consciousness becomes a part of the larger whole. (Soleri's belief in the compact enclosure having an ongoing stimulus that affects the human brain to alter consciousness was explained in the Introduction.)

The Correlation Center fulfills the same function as Plato's philosopher-king. In Fresco's words: "This six-foot sphere which serves as the world's correlation and knowledge bank has trillions of inputs from all over the globe that enable it to serve every individual and coordinate the humanized man-machine symbiosis."54 Inside each living unit Careen senses the mood of its inhabitants "and immediately provides a delightful fragrance of flowers with a background of stimulating music."55 This is but one means that Careen uses to maintain the moral association within the social system.

Just like its Platonian counterpart, Corcen "never tells us how we should run our lives... simply specifices that if we want certain results, we should go about getting them in certain ways. 56

At the same time Careen "has no ego or hostile feelings" and "usually has better insight into what  brings people happiness than any individual. " 57 Such a description matches the philosopher-king, who is "love of wisdom" (information acquirer), "not greedy, slavish, cowardly, or boastful," and "molding a happy city" through persuasion.

The process which Corcen employs to make decisions also fits Platonian cosmology. It is stated that the "fundamental principle upon which Careen operates is that decisions with a high degree of predictability can be made when adequate facts are available... although we know it is impossible to predict the behavior of single atoms, the prediction of the average behavior of aggregate atoms – which we regard as objects in the real world – is predictable within stated limits of reliability if we have adequate sampling of facts."58

Plato's World-Soul is similarly characterized as proceeding "through the whole gamut of eternal Ideas" while it keeps ''in contact with contingent facts and probabilities in the instantial world" (or realm of matter ). Since this Soul of the world has archetypal cosmic dimensions, Corcen's spherical shape is an exact match. The second resemblance pertains to the soul's interconnection with all of the physical life, similar to Corcen's links with all aspects of earthly existence.

Of course it is this World-Soul that the ideal city of The Republic tries to mimic through the godly wisdom of the philosopher-king's careful guidance. Arcosanti's shell plays the same function as the directing influence over its citizens' lives, promoting continual interaction and intellectual exchange.

The supreme social standard of Looking Forward's world comes directly from Socrates and right out of The Republic. He advocates "Gnothi seauton" (Know thyself). A fulfilled person in this future construct has to know the limits of his or her own knowledge in order to continue to grow in wisdom, just as Socrates defines his expression. Similarly, one arcology tenet differentiates watching audiovisuals from any actual interactive experiences. Experiences related to observation are less substantial, so "have not become knowledge." Moral decisions based on them must be suspect... 60

Censorship plays an important role in Plato's utopia. It is required "of mothers and nurses to tell the good stories to their children, to shape their souls with them even more than their bodies with their hands." 61 Children are to be nurtured only with specific poetry, so "its rhythms and melodies enter the innermost part of the soul and powerfully seize it, bringing grace to make graceful one who is properly nurtured... he'll approve beautiful things, joyfully take them into his soul, and from their nurture grow beautiful and good."62 Through deleting what Plato deems as negative influences, children grow up to live a moral and spiritual life in thought and action.

Art and music fall under the same restrictions, since they are considered "poetry" as well. "[R]hythms that correspond to a brave and orderly life and make the metrical feet and the music follow words suited to such a life " characterize the type of artistic products that stimulates Plato's spiritual development. 63

Arcology begins with architectural censorship--its limited visual size. This characteristic adds to the reinforcing aspect of the shell that aims to create the best citizens and a higher level of human culture. Soleri writes that to "put boundaries to a phenomenon is not to isolate it. It is to be able to govern, care, identify, characterize it. Isolation comes from division, not from containment, self-containment... A self-reliant community is an outgoing community... In fact, the core result of physical containment is metaphysical radiance... this is the radiance that is broadcast at different intensities by any living thing from as low down as the virus to as high up as man."64

In addition, the "instrumentality for the services of society are imploded and consequently the mental and spiritual options 'explode' and man steps up one more flight upward to the spirit. "65 This relates directly to Plato's objective for his utopia, to reflect the spiritual life in thought and action.

Soleri, like Plato, questions the quality of contemporary arts : "They hardly are a part of life, as they cannot be any longer the intermediary between the mortal and the 'immortal'... When it is not t hat, when it does not perform, it is automatically absent... A poor poem is simply not an esthetic event. It is a miscarriage of knowledge and emotions that adds no novelty to the flow of becoming." 66

He wishes to ensure, as Plato does, that all art produced in the confines of his utopia stimulates the exaltation of being (and art becomes a true part of life). This permits "the return to artists being 'creators of a third world, the world of compassionate beauty.'" 67 Compassion, to Soleri, is "the gift to justice of insight, the gift to structure of form, the gift of intensity to the rational, and it is the personalization of the three of them with the rewards of joy and at the price of blood and tears." 68 This presents the visionary architect's view of the highest characterization of humaneness.

These ideas coincide well with Plato's view of censorship to develop citizens who would create only spiritually uplifting works of art. The Republic portrays the good artists as "those craftsmen,.,hose natural talent allows them to track down the nature of grace and beauty, so that our young, inhabiting a healthy region, may benefit from beautiful works all around them, whose sight and sound everywhere impinge on them and whose influence, like a breeze wafting from agreeable places, will – from childhood – insensibly lead them to likeness, friendship, and harmony with beautiful reason." 69

Looking Forward features a world that utilizes censorship in the children's nurseries where much learning takes place. The "obscene material used on TV and movies... showing brutality, murder, and sadism, are not available."70 There is no censorship of artistic creations because adults "produce them for the satisfaction of developing their artistic talents to a higher level. "71 Due to the rigorous
early socialization process the only art created later in life automatically fits Fresco's idea of that which reinforces human growth and improvement.

Fresco's censorship matches the Platonian approach. In The Republic, children are exposed only to the "beautiful things" so that they grow into "beautiful and good" citizens. Nurtured by these sights and sounds from youth, such programming mirrors Corcen's techniques, although this brain employs other, more sophisticated technological techniques.

Both futurists depict societies founded upon Plato's ideal moral and rational association. In this way humanity can then find personal and social fulfillment, which leads to an efficient and interlinked social body.


The ideal cities of Plato, Paolo Soleri, and Jacque Fresco exhibit characteristics of a gigantic beehive or a superorganism. They do so most explicitly through their key tenets of the unified collective of interconnected specialization and koinonia (universal brother- and sisterhood). These concepts are largely indistinguishable as they manifest in these utopian communities.

A three-tiered society of specialists is displayed in Plato's utopian construct. Each person undergoes training in that particular function which corresponds to his or her natural predisposition. Plato also notes that the inequality of individuals' innate abilities and skills mandated this approach and that everyone would prosper through this interdependence. Although each person is limited to a single occupation for life, this dictate permits people to develop their particular talent to the highest degree. When all residents of the ideal city have perfected their function then the social system will reach t~e state of ne plus ultra.'

Within this setting citizens are to remain in the class fitting their nature and mind their own business. No one is to interfere with the duties of another. Auxiliaries preserve order by preventing residents from committing illegal acts, so functions of the city are smooth and w·i thout disruption.

Citizens living and working in Arcosanti's cellular nooks become essential mental mechanisms in the larger social-cultural organism. Arcology forces their brains to interact outside those nooks (by the nature of the living environment), so all residents conform to a mutually resolved way of life. Since the mental processes of the people are centralized and interiorized in the community's cooperative venture, a just state is depicted as a "magnified form of the composition and harmonious organization of the just soul."72

This cellular specialization matches Plato's description of his learning society and its hands-on application. Book 2 of The Republic sheds light on this matter: "So when each is freed from other work to do the one thing he 's naturally fit for at the right time, the more work gets done easier and better."73 Only in this way will the entire city "naturally grow to be one than many. " Platonian justice agrees with the arcological model since justice focuses on the "true self and its business internal."

Based on knowledge and information expansion, arcology could very well be compared to the complexity of a human body. To Soleri,both are vertical structures composed of "cells" intricately linked to produce a complex and miniaturized network. The two work by way of communication or transmission, retention or memory, manipulation or coordination, and invention or creation that develops from the energy of matter which feeds on increasingly select and concentrated energy packets. Due to the complexity and miniaturization such a system demands, specialization is required. (Certain cells are associated with particular tissues, organs perform limited functions, the nervous system signals pleasure and pain, etc.)

The Republic shares this analogy with a physical organism:

Don't shared pleasures and pains bind it together? When all the citizens feel a common joy or sorrow at the same rise or fall of events?... When one of us smashes his thumb, for instance, the entire partnership of the body to soul, organized into a single community under its ruler, instantly feels it and suffers together as one with the hurt part, and we say 'the man feels pain in his thumb.' Don't we say the same of any part of a person, concerning pain if it's suffering or pleasure if pain is abating?... the best-governed city is arranged most like such an organism. 74

Looking Forward also portrays a world in which people pursue that which interests them. For example, "Scott has a strong interest in medical engineering. He enjoys playing a part in experiments designed to yield data that helps people attain the highest possible level of health."75 Hella "has been appointed to a committee that is studying the degree to which privacy in living areas adds or detracts from the human happiness potential," due to her curiosity about human relationships.76 This exhibits Plato's position on male-female similarities, that "various talents are scattered throughout both sexes, and by nature women take part in all pursuits, as do men."77

Since all jobs involving drudgery "have long been cyberanted" (automated), what people pursue "'will probably be interesting, if not challenging. "78 Hella quotes Thomas Edison in pronouncing the typical mindset of people in her world: "The yearning of man's brain for new knowledge and experience... can never be completely met."79 All citizens are driven by a desire to constantly improve and correct errors, reminiscent of the feedback loops in a physical organism. And since all children a re born with an inner "resource-available but untapped-just as the capacity of young Mozart existed at birth," maturation permits it to manifest in order to facilitate "feelings of playing an important part on the human team in the game of life. "80

Here, too, Plato's specialized society of lifelong learners is depicted. The Platonian soul has three characteristics, which all people possess. One of these, the rational, is fond of learning and "anyone can see that the part we learn with is always bent on knowing the truth and the nature of everything. "8l That is accomplished by "experience, knowledge, and argument. " As children mature in an ideal city that believes "enforced learning" is harmful, educators "more easily see what each of them is naturally fit for. "82 In this way that "inner resource" displays itself.

In addition to communal sharing of pleasure and pain, Plato's private property ban evokes koinonia. It develops when the "things of friends are common. " With the working class producing no excesses, there will be no jealousy, envy, or other covetous feelings aroused.

Certainly Plato described a frugal agricultural community, but all citizens have their basic needs met. He noted that "they'll all share common houses" and "in winter they'll be bundled and warm. For nourishment they'll grind barley and wheat, kneading from the former noble patties, baking fine loaves of the latter, upon which, served up on reeds or fresh leaves... washing it down with wine."83

Both Arcosanti and Looking Forward possess these same elements. The concept of arcology is described as frugal by Soleri, With regard to use of natural resources and an ethical mind. He believes a frugal man will control the future.

Arcosanti exhibits a pronounced movement "away from materialism" because a recognition has been made that "greater things than wealth" exist. In Soleri's words, "Real man knows that man cannot do his own things for the elementary reason that his own things are everybody's things, that the private and the public or collective are totally meshed and inextricably bound by a common destiny." 84

Plato would have applauded this statement. Book 2 contains a declaration against luxury and excesses as the causes of expansionism and societal breakdown (that ultimately leads to war). Socrates pronounces: So we'll have to cut into our neighbors' land to get for plow and pasture, and they'll do the same to us if they've also overstepped the bounds of mere necessities and let themselves go after the unlimited possession of wealth.85

(Consumerism hinders the development of interconnectedness.)

Looking Forward features Platonian koinonia as well. The novel contains this statement : "[Scott and Hella] are pioneers in a new age of social and individual symbiosis. "86 The renewed society is then described by the author in terms of the sense of brother- and sisterhood: We're closer, both to ourselves and to others... we seem to develop at the same time a deeper and more profound relationship with others. The more we find ourselves, the more we transcend the boundaries of our own egos. 87

While the Fresco novel depicts a highly technological society example's of Platonian frugality do exist. As to private property, the "entire concept of personal possessions belongs to the old scarcity societies. It isn't that [they] are forbidden... [People] don't want them."88 Yet functional items "are structured into the environment" for everybody's use. In this society it can truly be said that the people "have a civilization where the entire range of human needs can be met. "89 Expansionism and excesses are absent as all citizens pursue self-development instead of things, mirroring Plato's ideal city.

Over tones of Platonian coordinated authoritarianism come forth during certain times, expressed in a machine-like efficiency of operations. When Scott spots a roadside accident, helpful citizens rush to the site after Corcen is notified. "Within six minutes six people lift a branch and release the injured man. "90

In the ideal city of Plato people would respond with similar efficiency due to its strong sense of koinonia and interconnectedness. Such acts are ensured because unity becomes routine through "the...hole organization of the city... likening good government to the relation of the body to its parts when they are in pleasure or in pain. "91

To create an ideal city all three utopias employ some means of eugenics. Plato maintains that "to develop a prime herd our best men must come together with the best,.,omen as often as possible. " The number of marriages is solely a decision made by the philosopher-king to preserve a steady-state populations. 92

Therefore, the constricted size of Arcosanti, limited by length, width, and height, provides the determinant for a fixed number of residents. Although no specific arcological tenet dictates eugenics as a mandate, some principles do. This society functions along Platonian lines to ensure that people's lives continually improve. Arcology does demand that raw material usage is minimized. With the 5,000-person residential cap there will 'be a limited reproductive pool. If too many mentally deficient offspring arise from inbreeding, their care would overburden the efficient functioning of society and detract from the pursuit of perfection through increasing the complexity of life. The limited population leaves open the potential use of eugenics due to these factors.

Fresco's utopia declares its worship of eugenics without hesitation. In order to generate consistently improved offspring, careen engineers the process from start to finish. This echoes Plato's guardians who mix and match the men and women who will reproduce. The novel's author words this quite explicitly: "By manipulation of the DNA and RNA molecules, a small auxiliary brain was developed that is nurtured in vitro outside of the human body. " The cortical cells of this brain "are electronically connected uith Careen. These brains are then imprinted with the basic attitudes and skills needed for orientation. "9?

Newborns in both The Republic and Looking Forward are raised by those who perform this task best. In the former this occurs through appointment by the rulership, while in the latter anyone who enjoys being with child r en raises them in conjunction with the cybernetic environment created by Corcen. Plato's "pens " resemble the specialized rooms separated from the rest of the city that Fresco devises for his novel, but without the high-tech accouterments. Ultimately, each of these utopian models generates a true superorganism, one that is a systematic harmonic society. As such, they exhibit numerous elements of a biological structure, yet operate within both a rational and moral framework as people merge into a complex koinonian entity.


Plato's ideal city, appears to have been the model for the utopian constructions developed by Paolo Soleri and Jacque Fresco in their central elements. They all possess very similar mythic structural designs, moral and rational associations, and systematized harmonic societies. Both Arcosanti and Looking Forward employ technological extrapolations based on the foundations established by the Platonian archetype.

The first element relating to design demonstrates how these futuristic cities duplicate the majority of Atlantean qualities. They exhibit prominent usage of an acropolis or sacred center that is elevated and surrounded by a wall-like structure. Housing, wild and agricultural landscapes, recreational facilities, and artificial alterations to the plain on which they are sited appear related. Basic needs are ensured. Towering and arched entryways lead into the sacred center. Cosmic harmony is achieved through a population cap and the use of the circle and square, symbols of wholeness and balance. The city acts as a sacred womb where all residents can grow and develop morally and intellectually to the godly state of Plato's philosopher-king.

Education and specialization are the tools employed to ensure that a moral and rational association is maintained. Learning, in Platonian terms, emphasizes the ultimate development of each person's moral character. Ignorance and selfishness are eliminated to create the "good man" through the study of philosophy. Science and mathematics provide the basis for rational thinking, necessary to maintain the technological level of each ideal city. Physical exercise plays a key role in self-development and discipline.

Both futuristic utopias exemplify Platonian justice, temperance, bravery, and wisdom. Embracing these moral concepts, the citizens of Arcosanti and the world of Looking Forward live in Plato's city of minimal, if any, laws. They adhere to a code passed down from generation to generation. A controlling influence, resembling the philosopher-king of The Republic, assures that all people are encouraged to exhibit "right behavior." The guidance procedure differs in specific application, but in keeping with the Greek intellectual's model. A technological mechanism prepares, advises, and assists citizens in Looking Forward, while miniaturization and compactness influence the inhabitants of Arcosanti in the same way. In these ways the futurists duplicate Plato 's social environment.

Censorship of the type Plato outlines in The Republic is featured in Soleri's and Fresco's creations. Only the beautiful and uplifting music, literature, and visual arts can be produced. Children are exposed to only these kinds of works as they are nurtured during their early development. Consequently, in adulthood, the sole type of art that is generated leads city dwellers toward ''harmony and beautiful reason." In the end the residents are happy and continually master their human faults and frailties.

Specialization plays another prominent part in the development of the ideal city. The smooth and efficient operation of the society is ensured because every individual pursues occupations that reflect his or her unique talents and interests. This represents Plato's interconnected society of specialists whose "services" create an interdependent community.

Even the inward focus of the two utopian constructs is based on Platonian thought. According to Lawrence J. Hatab, The Republic stresses unity and interiority of self-consciousness because it allows a new direction for thinking.94 Arcology centralizes and interiorizes all mental processes in order to stimulate human transformation. Fresco ' s fictional society's supreme tenet is to "Know Thyself," accomplished by developing mental rigor. In this way all people can pursue unlimited intellectual horizons, while constantly improving themselves through the continual correction of errors and a questioning of accepted premises.

Koinonia assists in this effort by tying all inhabitants together as brothers and sisters in a selfless
and compassionate commonwealth. Plato's eugenic mating of the best men and women complements koinonia, explicitly demonstrated in Looking Forward and implicitly suggested in the tenets of arcology. These optimum offspring create what might be called a true cosmic ecological model in the two future societies, blending nature and spirit.

At the same time there are some potential issues which must be addressed, most notably relating to the missing details of all three utopias. Arcosanti fails to match the circular design of Atlantis. No waterway channeling is mentioned, nor landscape alteration beyond that required for the city's site. The specifics of child-rearing are absent.

Scott and Hella live in a community that possesses a larger population cap than the other two. Men and women no longer participate in physical copulation to produce the best offspring. (As in Plato ' s utopia, recreational sex is still permitted.)

A lower level of technology is delineated in The Republic than in Arcosanti and the community of Looking Forward. Manual labor provides all of the employment in Plato ' s ideal city that technological automation eliminates in the futuristic constructs.

Neither Soleri nor Fresco divides up the good and bad agricultural lands into 60,000 plots that are distributed equally to the citizens as described in Critias. In addition, common meals mentioned in The Republic, do not appear in the other two.

The systematized society of the Platonian ideal features three classes of a hierarchical nature which are not directly reflected in the utopias of Soleri and Fresco. The idea of hierarchies seems absent from these two constructs, although no specific mention is made either way. Any alleged warrior auxiliaries (a debatable issue among Platonian scholars) are totally unnecessary in the peaceful worlds designed by the two futurists.

Perhaps the most egregious difference between Plato and his counterparts pertains to use of "much lying and deceit" to maintain order. (Here the philosopher-king's role is equated with a doctor who must deal with a sick patient.) Lies "fabricate fictions" about the gods to shape people's behaviors so they do not commit "evil" acts.

Soleri does not describe any related approach – arcology's environment motivates all citizens to behave properly. Looking Forward ' s society finds Corcen using environmental controls to manipulate surroundings and food components, in addition to pre- programming and enlightened personal advice for a whole range of behavioral purposes.

Newborns who are the "worst" in The Republic are either discarded or hidden away. Both Soleri and Fresco create communities in which only the best seem to exist. In Looking Forward this is explicit. Arcosanti lacks any comment on this topic beyond a goal of spiritual transformation for all residents.

However, even with such details making a clear distinction between the ideal cities of Plato, Soleri, and Fresco, this thesis remains intact with regard to the central elements. The variations which the futurists
inject into the daily operations of their constructs demonstrate the flexibility built into The Republic model. From a twentieth century perspective, with the technological advancements since the time of Plato, both Soleri and Fresco have merely exhibited creative adaptability of a Platonian ideal city to their own times. Through their work, they have taken the mythic structural design of Atlantis, moral and rational association, and systematized harmonic society of Plato to similar ultimate states of perfection that one knowledgeable about Plato ' s literary attempts to build a utopia could identify.

Further studies need to made with regard to two issues. One is the warrior auxiliary subject, which could add clarity to this thesis. Much debate continues as to whether these adjuncts to the ruling class of The Republic are to actively pursue intercity warfare or not. Plato appears to contradict himself on this matter in his dialogue.

A second topic is one not addressed in this thesis. It concerns the issue of slavery. On the one hand Plato writes that slaves, like all other specialists, must know their place. On the other hand he identifies slavery of free citizens as the first step in the decline of an ideal city.

Should an aggressive warrior class and the institutionalization of slavery in Plato's republic be legitimized, more serious questions will then arise with regard to the preceding comparisons.

The fact that both Paolo Soleri and Jacque Fresco are developing their visions is a testament to the yearning of people for a more perfect society. This means that these utopian communities are still relevant thirty years after their inception on paper. For these reasons Plato ' s model in The Republic remains a potent ideal that is truly timeless in nature, establishing it as a genuine archetype which continues to inspire humanity.

Both Soleri and Fresco employ that archetype in innovative ways to deal with topical issues of the day. Both apply a universal design mode for a technological era with which people can identify. They create societies that feature a moral foundation based on four timeless ideals which many people yearn to see return in daily life. In an increasingly complex technological world the rational emphasis must be a significant aspect of human behavior. Since it is defined in terms of a blend of the intellectual and spiritual components of existence, such an approach could very well aid in solving many human problems. Koinonia, that feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood, also lingers prominently in people's hearts. The concept of full employment, at a job that permits full development of talents and abilities, would be attractive to many individuals today as well.

However, major warning signals should sound. Who trains the citizen-leaders that will create Arcosantians or citizens of the community depicted in Looking Forward? Both founders, now in their seventies, will probably die before their visions can be completed. Will there be successors, and, if so, will they retain or change any major characteristics of these utopias as they are presently defined?

There is also the issue of censorship. Power does corrupt. How many future leaders of these societies will use their positions to censor the residents of these communities in destructive ways? Any kind of checks and balances seem to be absent that might prevent such acts. No Corcen exists, nor does the benign technology required to make it function as stated. Merely living in the enclosed shell of Arcosnati does not ensure that people living within it will automatically interact like a single organism and for the collective good.

Therefore, although these utopic visions are attractive in idea form, they remain just that until people change. For it is inside each person that real change occurs and becomes permanent, the result of a conscious effort that takes years to accomplish. At the same time, social experiments like Soleri's and Fresco's deserve to go forward. Only through trying new ways of living will human beings learn new lessons. From such lessons improvements to existing social and economic systems can then be made to create a better life for humanity.


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83 Plato, ReEublic, 43.

84 Sol eri, 213-214.

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87 Fresco, 194.

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