Justice and the Construction of Potential

Should a person, free of any sanctions or consequences, act in a way that disregards and takes advantage their fellow human beings? No, they should not; people should at all times honor and respect other human beings. Of course, without some type of sanction, many would, like the shepherd in “The Ring of Gyges”, act with impunity. However, not being sanction from without does not mean removing all sanctions within. The unjust man or woman will still have to cope with their choices psychologically.

They may not be punished for their transgressions, but they would certainly be able to view the resultant suffering endured by others at their hand. One needs no trio of ghosts like Scrooge to illustrate that their actions would cause harm to others. This would be evident in the words and faces of those who were treated unfair, and these faces would eventually erode the psyche of the perpetrator with massive waves of guilt. The person could, possibly, if they had a remarkable pathology, continue on without remorse, but human beings need other human beings.

This may be one reason the human grows so slow is that it is nature’s way nurture a dependence on others. In any event, the person who acts with impunity is most likely to create a hell for themselves. A place that, wherever they go, they cannot avoid the misery born from their own hands. So, as a means of psychological self-preservation, a person should take account of others. Now, let’s consider that the perpetrator is in fact a person who is pathological. What interest would this person possibly have in justice?

What would be the benefit if the person had not a shred of empathy, nor the slightest amount of emotion? The answer in this situation has to do with the attainment of human potential. If every human being merely took what they wanted when they wanted it, had no regard or respect for their fellow citizens, the only result would be mass chaos. With a world entirely self-interested, nothing would improve? If the worker, charged with the responsibility of constructing something, simply left his post without performing his job, what could ever be attained?

Could the pyramids, the Sphinx, still lord over the Egyptian sands? Could the Eiffel Tower still wind its slender beams into blue Parisian skies? Could the Statue of Liberty still offer its light to those alighting on the Eastern shore? The answer is no. Without concern for one’s fellow human being, the world would be as dry and drab as a weathered desert storm, for it is these great things, colossal things, that one cannot possibly accomplish on their own. But what if it’s just one man, a single shepherd?

Well, this man, by acting with impunity, has forfeited the coffers of his own personal potential for nothing of significance can be obtained the easy way. This man may come by riches, by power, but these do not create. This man could never find satisfaction in a life of depriving others, for nothing would he have gained on his own. He would be nothing more than the leech than one never notices, who gorges himself and slithers away when he cannot suffer a drop more. The man that does this never finds out what he is capable of and thus never finds peace.

Regarding others makes him responsible to himself. The respecting man builds himself by not preying upon others and losing his own self-sufficiency. The respecting man is independent and able to plumb the depths of his being for something that is not only of himself, but of the richest ore lodged deep within the mines of his potential. For self, for satisfaction, for peace, the shepherd must deny the impulse toward impunity; otherwise, he cannot but suffer the discontent of mediocrity.