The Greeks had some strange ideas

I find it curious that they would argue nothing is naturally and intrinsically just, or honourable or disgraceful; but things are considered so because of law and fashion(custom). Is this the case or can a case be made that it is good to help a person in need regardless of custom? Or do is it the case that what we consider good are so just by custom?

I however agree with them that both the poor man and the rich man experience pleasure in the same way, that is, wealth or poverty have no bearing on the sensation of pleasure.

I think, our criminal justice systems would have served us all better if it was grounded on the basis that errors ought to meet with pardon, for men err not intentionally but from external circumstances or influences and that is best to teach one who has erred than to hate him.

And finally, since the wise man’s country is the world it is prudent not to expose oneself to danger for the sake of country.

Which do you disagree with?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

5 thoughts on “The Greeks had some strange ideas

  1. john zande says:

    If custom is learned (and repeated) behaviour, then we learnt that cooperation was beneficial to us. Memetic evolution.


  2. Barry says:

    I tend to agree with the ancient Greeks – that nothing is naturally and intrinsically just, or honourable or disgraceful. Those are human values, and while some may be based on human instinct, that doesn’t mean they’re natural or intrinsic. They are emotions that have evolved as they benefit human survival. Take away humans, and they cease to exist. We define what is just, honourable or disgraceful based on the society we’re immersed in.

    I agree with you regarding criminal justice. In NZ we’re taking tentative steps towards restorative justice – far too slowly in my mind. The Western concept of punitive justice, is not really justice at all. One only needs to look the American system of justice to see how it doesn’t work. One in four people incarcerated in the entire world are lock up in American prisons, but their crime rates are still high.


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