Why do we strive to be just? To live within the constraints of our laws or for the benefit of our soul?

Essay by cokefix.University, Bachelor'sA-, October 2003

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In our society murders, rapes, and other such atrocities are steadily increasing in frequency. We who pride ourselves on our efficient judicial system and competent police force still cannot control and eliminate the undesirable elements of our society. If this problem still exists within a firmly regimented society, perhaps the trouble stems from an internal failure... a failure to have the desire to be truly, and most importantly, internally just. One of the inherent problems with the twenty-first century mindset is that justice is viewed as something externally beneficial, and therefore most people are just so that they will remain within the boundaries of the law. We must begin to view justice as something beneficial to our soul and our lives instead of using it as a façade. These changes must come from within, and they must come from a desire to change. Justice must be present within the individual.

Plato's Republic is admittedly over two thousand years old, but it retains its significance to this day. Within these timeless pages, the answer to a question that desperately needs to be revisited is answered: Why should I want to be just? Through telling analogies and compelling dialogue, the answer is evident, discernable, and most importantly, honest.

Realizing the intricacy of this problem, Plato through Socrates creates a city, instead of a single person to explore justice because, as he says "perhaps there is more justice in the larger thing, and it will be easier to learn what it is."(II, 43) This creation or kallipolis as he calls it shows up throughout Republic and serves as an interesting parallel between the justice of a human and the justness of a city. Socrates says that if all the people within a city are just than the city will prosper...