False Concepts of “the Good” Held By the Many

This was written almost twenty-five hundred years ago, and yet it seems quite relevant to today.

For the things said to be good by the many are not correctly so described. It is said that the the best thing is health, and the second is beauty, and third is wealth – and then are said to be ten thousand other goods: sharp sight, hearing, and good perception of all the objects of the senses; and then, by becoming a tyrant, to do whatever one desires; and finally the perfection of complete blessedness, which is to possess all these things and then to become immortal, as quickly as possible. But you two and I, presumably, speak as follows: we say that these things, beginning with health, are all very good when possessed by just and pious men, but all very bad when possessed by unjust men. To see, to hear, to perceive, and, in general, to live as an immortal for the whole of time, while possessing all the things said to be good except for justice and the whole of virtue, is the greatest of evil. The evil gets less as the time such a man continues to live gets shorter. (Plato, The Laws 661a-661c)

This entry was posted in Ancient Greece, Ancient Wisdom for Today. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>