VIEW OF JUSTICE 4
Thestory that describes Gyges illustrates how justice would have been iflaws did not exist. According to this story, people have goodintentions when other individuals consider their actions to be unjust(Plato & Jowett, 1991). One can assume that Gyges was initially ahumble person since he worked as a shepherd. However, once heobtained the ring, the fact that it provided him with powers thatcould make him do any action without being punished made him actunjustly. Themajority of people do not do injustice because the law does not allowthem to break it, but if they get the opportunity, they would alsoact in a manner considered to be immoral.
Iagree with Glaucon’s assertion that individuals prefer doing whatothers believe is morally wrong, while those who experience injusticefind such actions to be evil. Most people only choose to be morallyupright because the law expects then to do so, and if such mutualcovenants did not exist, misdeeds could often be occurring. Theargument that Glaucon presents by giving the story of Gyges provesthat people only practice justice because the law limits them fromdoing whatever they like, including morally wrong actions.
AfterGyges had obtained the ring, he did not have an idea about the powersthat it possessed, and he never did any illegal action at this point.Similarly, people might have the opportunity of acting in anunethical manner, but they fail to do so because they fear therepercussions that might follow. Gyges was evidently a law-abidingperson when he worked as a shepherd, considering that he fed hisflock as part of his duties and also attended the meeting where hegave his monthly report. However, from the moment that Gygesdiscovered that his ring had powers, he chose to conspire against theking (Plato & Jowettt, 1991). Gyges’ actions are an accuraterepresentation of how human nature could have been if everyone hadthe liberty do what they wanted.
Peopledesire to obtain the best out of their lives, and some even goagainst the law while acquiring material things. Although justiceensures that people act morally in most societies, some of those whoare in power abuse the system and do misdeeds. The society mightlabel the unjust individuals as outcasts, and this is the reason thatmost of them go to jail. However, when a morally upright person andanother one who is unjust obtain rings, which are similar to the onethat Gyges had, both of them would commit injustices (Plato &Jowett, 1991). Similarly, when equating the ring to power, some ofthe morally upright individuals would use it to do immoral acts thatwould satisfy their desires. The society would, therefore, label thewicked person as morally upright since he has obtained materialpossessions.
Iagree with Plato that individuals find injustice to be more valuableto them than injustice. The laws that are in place expect people tobe morally upright, and the same individuals who are virtuous couldhave been doing wrongful acts if the legal structures did not exist.People might have the opportunity of doing immoral actions, but theywould act in a moral way since they fear to go against the law. Ifindividuals had the freedom to do what they wanted, most of themwould do what they perceived to be best for their individualbenefits, including taking other people’s possessions.
Plato& Jowett, B. (1991). TheRepublic: The complete and unabridged Jowett Translation. New York, NY: Vintage Books.