Tuesday, November 8, 2016
One question that arose when reading "In the Shadow of " was whether life matters, and if it does, do all lives matter equally? In Plato's utopia, this is not the case. Plato differentiates people by their class (Bronze, Silver or Gold) which reflects their abilities to do tasks of varying importance. Philosophers were valued most highly because their job as rulers and philosophical deciders was of utmost importance in society, while soldiers and common people were regarded with less worth. Although I don't agree with Plato that a person's value or importance is determined at birth, I do believe it can vary from person to person. I believe that every life matters, but at the moment of birth, each individual begins determining their value in the world. Superior skills, knowledge, or exceptionality in really anything increases one's value because it makes them less common. The more rare an ability of importance is, the higher your demand becomes in society and therefore, the higher your worth is. This model is easy when examined in a societal structure because monetary worth tends to be highly reflective of this system. However, even on a smaller scale it remains accurate. If you consider a group of friends. Those friends who provide us with the ideals of companionship begin to be viewed with higher regard. They become our best friends, instead of just our friends, and we value an hour with them more highly than we may value 3 hours, per se, with the company of a more minor friends. When you cross from group to group, however, it gets convoluted because my best friend may not be as valuable to you as your best friend is and vice versa. Your value as a friend may exist independently of your value as a worker in society, but it is up to individuals to recognize and develop some extent of self-worth on their own. We must understand how we are useful in society, to other people, to nature, and to ourselves, and serve those useful functions to develop worth. It's these valuable acts that give people a sense of purpose in the world and make us feel like we "matter."