02 Mar
Justice and truth are the common ties of society; Justice, injustice, wellness and wellbeing
John Locke —Quote

What in the world is the connection between justice, injustice, wellness and wellbeing? Well, there is quite a bit of connection. For millennia, mankind has struggled with the appropriate answers to the question: “What is Justice”?  From antiquity to modernity, the greatest thinkers have wrestled with the issue of justice and injustice, their impact on a meaningful, mindful life with inner peace and wether a “just life” is superior to an “unjust life”. Why are the issues of justice and injustice so crucial for wellness and life with meaning? Well, first, let us address wellness and wellbeing looking through the lens of justice and injustice rather than from the viewpoint of physical fitness, consuming healthy diet and the capacity to meet the daily demands of supporting one’s self and family. These daily demands include, but are not limited to providing shelter, material comfort and other support systems including adequate financial support.

Statute of Socrates; Justice, injustice, wellness and wellbeing
Statute of Socrates

Every person is a unique individual. Even identical twins, who originate from the same fertilized egg are unique separate individuals with different fingerprints even though they have the same DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Thus, it is rather difficult to speak in universal terms when it comes to linking justice, injustice, wellness and wellbeing. This is because every one’s goals and mission in life and the path taken to accomplish them are different. That said, most philosophers and scholars would agree that there is some universal form of justice and by inference, a universal form of injustice. Life is finite and at the end, you will leave everything behind except what your family or friends decide to use to adorn your breathless body. The awareness and mindfulness of that finality brings a new perspective of life and the essence of existence which significantly informs one’s desires and behavior.

When all is said and done and at the end of the day, after satisfying the basic needs of life, and if and when possible all the desired luxuries and perks, the critical link between justice, injustice, wellness and wellbeing of any human being lies in establishing those crucial connections and inner links with the “many”, especially the marginalized and dispossessed rather than the “opulent few”. At the beginning of this post, I asserted that for millennia, mankind has struggled with the appropriate answers to the question: “What is Justice”? Perhaps the best answer to this fundamental question is provided in that immortal text, Plato’s Republic. The participants in the discussion including Glaucon, Plato’s brother and Socrates are pondering whether any person would be just if the person knows that he or she can get away with injustice and will never be caught. Glaucon then sets up a thought experiment by introducing the Ring of Gyges.

Plato's Academy; Justice, injustice, wellness and wellbeing
Plato’s Academy

In this thought experiment, Gyges, a shepherd, got hold of a magical ring which made him invisible. He used the ring to do unjust things for which he was never punished. Glaucon stated that all human beings believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and that nobody would be just if the person knows that he or she could get away with unjust deeds. So, if anybody has a magical ring that makes him or her invisible, why should he or she be just instead of being unjust? How should one use this magical ring if one has the guarantee that one would never be caught or punished? Here lies the essence of existence– doing the right thing even when nobody is watching– and the intersection of justice, injustice, wellness and wellbeing. So, what is justice and what should you do if you get hold of the Ring of Gyges? Socrates declares at the end of The Republic in Book X:

“Let a man do what is just whether he have the ring of Gyges or not.—And here, my dear Glaucon, is the supreme peril of our human state; and therefore the utmost care should be taken. Let each one of us leave every other kind of knowledge and seek and follow one thing only—he will then look at the nature of the soul, and from the consideration of all these qualities, he will be able to determine which is the better and which is the worse; and so he will choose, giving the name of evil to the life which will make his soul more unjust, and good to the life which will make his soul more just; all else he will disregard”.

Thus, we are reminded that a just life is inherently superior and more desirable than an unjust life, and is far more profitable not only to the individual but to society at large. The pursuit of justice and the avoidance of injustice brings meaning to a life beyond physical fitness, fortune and fame. Our lives are richer and more meaningful with a full awareness of the concept of justice, injustice, wellness and wellbeing. So, eat healthy, keep moving, exercise at least three times a week, 45 minutes to one hour per session, keep learning new things and you are on your way to wellness and you would avoid rust.

The information contained in this blog post can contribute to the enhancement of your effort to avoid physical, mental and emotional rust and to maintain a balanced life and wellbeing. The ads on the right side of this page deal with  physical and mental fitness, exercise equipments and tools, healthy diets, books on healthy living, wellness and wellbeing. Please feel free to check them out. Also, I look forward to your comments about this post.



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