Are Professions Predestined?

Are people born with an inclination to do a certain job? Plato (through Socrates) believes this is the case (370b-c). He says, “one man is naturally fitted for one task, and another for another.” This means that fate determines what your profession will be before you ever set foot in school. If you don’t do this job, you are not being the best that you can be.

On some level, this ideology reminds me of the strict caste system in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. In this system, people are born to do certain kinds of work. They don’t try to improve themselves or their status because they believe they are in their rightful place. The garbage man will aspire to nothing but collecting trash. Of course, Brave New World is an over-exaggerated representation of a society with this ideology, but it does suggest that everyone has a “rightful place” in the community.

Plato’s way of thinking not only inhibits social mobility, but also discourages interest in multiple disciplines. Although one could learn how to do many different things, they would be wasting their time because one man would be better and more productive working “one at one.”

This also has the potential to suppress innovation. Inventors often draw from different pools of knowledge to create something new, so if they were to focus solely on one occupation, they would have trouble creating new technology or coming up with new ideas. For example, if a farmer needed a tool that could sew seeds faster, he would not have the knowledge or craftsmanship to create such equipment. Similarly, a carpenter or tool-maker could not fulfill the farmers needs because he lacks the understanding of the farmer.

This ideology would create a society that runs smoothly however it would be forever static.

3 responses to “Are Professions Predestined?

Leave a Reply