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Superiority of Life: Plato's Just: Individual

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I. Introduction: Superiority of Just Life

Under the auspices of Plato it is meticulously established that leading the just, good and happiest life entails living the harmoniously balanced life, which satisfies in proper order the needs of three distinct and integral fragments of the self, as he affirms that a person does not possess a simple essence or form, but is constituted by several elements that comply with their various natural capacities or functions. Within the unjust individual, the separate divisions of the soul are not compatibly amalgamated and so the person in question cannot be at peace with themselves, and will be unable to experience human happiness or a sense of well-being of their whole entity, whereas if they should experience it, it would be to a grossly inadequate extent at best. Unjust persons frequently possess and accordingly materialize certain desires and fantasies, for instance those relating to unconscionable power and eroticism, which lead to the types of consequences, in particular anguish, trepidation, and frustration, that everyone prefers to avoid and that no persons regard as consistent with an absolutely happy human life. The life of the unqualifiedly just person is not impaired by these features, and apprehensiveness, frustration and chaos surely are not included in the price a philosophical character must inevitably pay for having a love or understanding of Forms or for rendering this devotion or passion a dominant role in their lives.

II. Harmony within the Tripartite Soul

Aside from the numerous and manifest remarks Socrates presents with respect to the superiority of the life of the just individual in Book 2 alone, for instance that it is better to be just than unjust (Plato, 380 B.C.,357b), justice must be welcomed for itself if one expects to be blessed (358a), the common judgment that injustice is more profitable must be refuted (360c), and justice by itself is advantageous to someone who possesses it whereas injustice is injurious to them (367d), Plato likewise expounds one of his initial and most consequential arguments throughout Books 2 to 4, which asserts that a person epitomizing justice functions in accordance with three distinct elements which constitute a hierarchical structure from bodily appetites, or the lower proportion of the structure, to reason, or the highest proportion of the structure, whereas the person embodying injustice does not and is therefore significantly less contented in life. The affirmation of concordant cooperation between the three elements of the soul accompanied by the analogy between health and psychic fitness serve to demonstrate that the just person lives the morally superior, more virtuous life and overall enjoys better living circumstances than the unjust human being.

Specifically, Plato commences by declaring that the rational part of the soul, expressly the mind or intellect, characterizes the thinking portion within each individual that discerns and distinguishes reality from ostensibility, judges what is a verity and what is a falsity, and generates wise as well as rational decisions in accordance with which human life is most suitably experienced. The spirited part of the soul, namely volition, is portrayed as the active portion, whose function is to execute the dictates of reason in practical life by performing whatever the intellect has determined to be most beneficial. Thirdly, the appetitive part of the soul reflects emotion or desire and signifies the portion of each of us that wants and feels various things, the majority of which must be either deferred or renounced in the face of rational pursuits if one is to achieve a favorable degree of self-control. Therefore, one is properly said to be just when the three parts of the soul work in consonance for the good of the person as a whole, and an individual's highest good indicates the sense of well-being and happiness which derives from operating in agreement with one's nature and from fulfilling the needs of all three elements which encompass being a living person (Plato, 380 B.C., 433-434). Plato moreover asserts that morality is concerned with knowing or awareness and maintenance of the harmony and balance between the rational and the irrational elements of the soul, and thus it follows that a person exemplifying a deficient morality, or imbalance and disharmony in the soul amounts to injustice of that soul, its virtue or excellence and its product, which is happiness. In essence, an individual whose soul is characterized by injustice, which is vice to the soul, must naturally be a miserable character or, in any event, must be considerably less content than an individual whose soul is characterized by justice.

III. The Analogy between Health and Psychic Fitness

The self or soul is not merely regarded as a hierarchical order or structure but is also professed by Plato as an organism, as he attempts to establish that the goodness of a body, that is to say its health, exists in a particular natural priority among various physical components, and to additionally employ this concept to reinforce his claim that a just person's soul is in good condition if it similarly exhibits a definite order among its constituent parts (Plato, 380 B.C., 444c), while an unjust person's soul is not in good condition precisely in view of infracting this certain order. To elaborate, in a healthy living organism, a harmonious interdependence is extant among the parts, and each part possesses a function which serves the whole organism, while the various parts are in a hierarchical order of importance to the life of the organism, for example, with the lungs and liver possessing vital functions that the appendix does not. Any and all dysfunctions or malfunctions of any part of the organism will evidently produce adverse effects upon the rest in the same manner that in the soul, the dysfunction of any of the three elements will exhaust its sense of well-being.

A notable point that should be obtained from this proposition is that, relative to it, Plato ascertains that there is immense capacity in the human soul for internal conflict, ill health and misery, on account of the fact that reason and the incitation or need to reach the truth of Forms, which will be discussed in due course, and the idea of the good come into conflict with the appetitive part, since human nature desires knowledge, as well as explicitly knowledge of the forms yet also struggles against this knowledge (Plato, 380 B.C., 434Ð'-436). The pivotal determinant of mental health, morality and justice, and thus to a more elated life, is the correct integration of these potentially antagonistic parts of the self (Plato, 380 B.C., 441eÐ'-442a). To summarize then, justice equates to the health of the



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